Government Is Spending Millions to Rush To the Front of the Parade

From Shawn Regan at PERC, via Arnold Kling

Last year, riding the buzz over dying bees, the Obama administration announced the creation of a pollinator-health task force to develop a “federal strategy” to promote honeybees and other pollinators. Last month the task force unveiled its long-awaited plan, the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The plan aims to reduce honeybee-colony losses to “sustainable” levels and create 7 million acres of pollinator-friendly habitat. It also calls for more than $82 million in federal funding to address pollinator health.

But here’s something you probably haven’t heard: There are more honeybee colonies in the United States today than there were when colony collapse disorder began in 2006. In fact, according to data released in March by the Department of Agriculture, U.S. honeybee-colony numbers are now at a 20-year high. And those colonies are producing plenty of honey. U.S. honey production is also at a 10-year high.

The White House downplays these extensive markets for pollination services. The task force makes no mention of the remarkable resilience of beekeepers. Instead, we’re told the government will address the crisis with an “all hands on deck” approach, by planting pollinator-friendly landscaping, expanding public education and outreach, and supporting more research on bee disease and potential environmental stressors.

I am sure the government, once they have had some bureaucrats running around filing reports and plans for a few years will soon claim credit for the improvement.  My prediction:  This agency will still be here 50 years from now.  You can never kill these things once created.  This is only slightly less irritating than politicians who claim that they "created X million jobs" when in office, but only slightly.

Update:  Another very similar example:  transfats.

The Food and Drug Administration recently moved to eliminate trans fats from the American diet, and food activists and the public-health lobby are claiming a historic victory. Yet this is a rare case of the Obama Administration regulating from behind. Markets had as much to do with the fall of trans fats as government did with their rise.

The FDA’s first restrictions on the use of partially hydrogenated oils as a major source of trans fats in processed foods—think Crisco shortening—give food makers three years to phase out the substance. Evidence began to accumulate in the early 2000s that trans fats were connected to bad cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases. Shoppers and diners concerned about health risks soon started to revolt against the fried and baked goods and the fast-food fare where they were prevalent.

Lo and behold, the food industry responded by changing their recipes and eliminating the oils from some 86% of their products. Trans fat consumption plunged by 78% over a decade, according to the FDA’s estimates, and is now well below the two grams per day that the American Heart Association says is the safe upper limit. The rare survivors of this purge are niche foods like microwave popcorn, frozen pizza and chocolate sprinkles, where trans fats are useful for improving taste and texture.


  1. craftman:

    After the recent win for raisin farmers against the RAC (Raisin Administrative Committee?) did that agency get shut down? Or are they still collecting raisin "surplus"?

  2. stan:

    See also Title IX

  3. obloodyhell:

    }}} Lo and behold, the food industry responded by changing their recipes and eliminating the oils from some 86% of their products.

    And the reason why most of what remains does remain is that they probably couldn't get rid of the transfat without F'ing up the taste.

    So, by "100%" they're likely fucking up the taste of foods in chasing an utterly UNneeded chimera of "zero transfat".

  4. obloodyhell:

    }}} You can never kill these things once created.

    And even when you can, they manage to rise from the dead.

    Remember "Wool and Mohair Price Supports"? They were such a ridiculous embarrassment that they finally killed them in the 90s., well, on multiple occasions over the subsequent decade, various bills were amended to slip the majority of the supports BACK into application.

    This government is insane.

    I tend to suggest that we go with Heinlein's suggestion, after things finally collapse, because they will:

    Two houses -- one passes laws by a 2/3rds supermajority.

    The other one REPEALS laws by a 1/3 minority.

    Make the process of eliminating laws MUCH easier than making them.

    That and something to limit the number of things that can be a single-vote of laws, to stop this crap where they slip some piece of garbage into important legislation knowing that no one will stop the legislation from passing over the "trivial bs" that becomes part of the problem en masse. Some kind of a "line-item veto" for legislature-level votes: "I'm voting for everything in this bill... except THAT thing."

  5. obloodyhell:

    Update: Another very similar example: transfats.

    This link is garbage. Doesn't go anywhere.

  6. marque2:

    Well the transfers were put in in the first place because of the war against saturated fats. We got rid of saturated animal fats and butter and put in trans fats instead.

    Turns out the sat fat scare was totally bogus and brought about by animal rights folks who wanted us to stop eating meat. Saturated fats like stearic acid, are actually very strong reducers of "bad" cholesterol. Note that there is probably nomsuch thing as "bad" cholesterol either. The body uses "bad" cholesterol to help cells heal - when the cells are chronically sick though, the body puts in more cholesterol to try to help. Solve the cause, the sick cells and you won't have the problem - plaque buildup and scarring.

  7. Nehemiah:

    If the government was managing the Saharan sand preservation project, there would be no sand in the Sahara a decade from now.