On Pink Slime and Jobs

Why pink slime shouldn't be a political issue.

Politicians just don’t get it.

If a product is no good, why keep pushing it?

One word –jobs – and in this case the term is just another sacred cow.

We’re talking about pink slime, of course, whose existence hit the airwaves just a few weeks ago. We all found out that our hamburgers, which have never been health food but are full of that all-American taste, were not what we thought they were.  We at least expected that they came from main parts of cows, but not true.  Up to 70 percent of all ground beef includes “pink slime,” or fatty meat by-products that are liquefied then treated with ammonia to ensure consumer “safety.”

Yuk.  No wonder the public outcry and concern.  Even if it’s really safe, who wants to eat that?  But of course, our politicians are now urging consumers to rethink pink slime, and to hold our noses while buying this questionable product.  Why?  Jobs, of course.  Companies that produce this delectable creation employ thousands of people in the Midwest, so people’s livelihood depends on it.  Thus five governors will soon tour a pink slime plant to give it a public relations boost.

Now this is a horrible time for a company to go under, and for people to lose jobs, but please.  Why push a product that people don’t want?  Do politicians really think that people should consume something they’re not happy with just to avoid eliminating jobs?

It makes as much as sense as using taxpayers’ money to produce obsolete aircraft engines for our military in order to protect jobs.   Are you listening Senator Brown?

That goes for Governor Patrick, President Obama, and a slew of other politicians, too.  Subsidies and tax breaks should not be given to certain companies because they’re considered “friendly” to the environment or they’ll create more jobs.  Let the makers of solar panels come up with a more efficient way of making them, so they make economic sense, before we all buy them.  Let the biotech companies do whatever they have to do to make a profit, but don’t give them better tax breaks than the company next door.  They employ people too.

And while it might be exciting to see Ben Affleck and Leo DiCaprio lunching on Newbury Street, do Massachusetts taxpayers really have to subsidize all movie businesses?  Recent statistics show that for every $50,000 job created, taxpayers have paid at least $170,000, going all the way up to $325,000.  It seems out-of-state movie tycoons have been profiting a lot more than your average Joe.   How can we justify that?

I’m no genius in economics, but I do remember learning that capitalism is supposed to be based on creating a product people like and selling it.  The company that comes up with the best product or service does better than the ones that don’t.  It sounds like a good system to me – those who don’t do their homework get beaten by those who do.   The consumer gets what he wants, and the loser goes back to the drawing board. 

It’s supposed to be the American way of life, and I wonder if we’ll ever get back to it.  But one step in the right direction is this – how about being able to buy hamburger that is labeled with or without pink slime.  If we want to buy it without pink slime, we can, because we should be able to put our own interests first before the potential loss of another person’s job.

robertzhurd March 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM
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