In recent congressional hearings, the people responsible for this year’s major salmonella poisoning of at least 1600 people were questioned about the unsanitary practices at their farm. As usual, they tried to play down their responsibility. The FDA reports, available online as pdf files outline the disgusting filth at these “farms.” A recent article in Care2, an online semi-news source gives a good rundown on the situation.
This is a prime example of unbridled, unrestrained capitalism in action. The DeCoster family made more money by not keeping their facilities clean. The bottom line was all that mattered to them. They had no concern about the infections they caused and the discomfort experienced by those who were infected. The costs of health care for all those who came down with the disease is an enormous cost to individuals and society. Yet, there are those who say we should reduce government because private enterprise can do everything better. Those who speak those ideologies have obviously never studied the history of capitalism in this country. Even Teddy Roosevelt felt that it could not be left to operate on its own. Remember the term “Robber Barons?” Have your read about the Johnstown flood of 1889. History is filled with instances in which greed and power were more important to capitalist than the welfare of the citizens. Here in Colorado you can see what happened when capitalist controlled the government. The mine operators in Ludlow, Colorado convinced the governor to send in the National Guard to protect their interests, Read here about the Ludlow Massacre. There are many thing that can be done better by private enterprise, but many things are better accomplished by government. The “Citizens Alliance” groups, including the Citizens Alliance Group of Denver, give a good example of what one might expect if too much power is put in private hands. Colorado Republican Governor James Peabody (elected 1902) saw the Western Federation of Miners as a threat to his own class interests, to private property, to democratic institutions, and to the nation itself. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it. He promised in his inaugural address to make Colorado safe for investments, if necessary using all the power of the state to accomplish his aims. Peabody’s tactic in dealing with these strikes was to call out the Colorado National Guard whenever he felt it necessary.
Read the following article, or others you may find on line and ask yourself, would I want this man, or men like him, running the country.