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  • Commentary posted September 16, 2014 by Daren Bakst Parents, not bureaucrats, should decide what kids eat

    The primary focus of the federal school meal programs should be meeting students’ needs. But for that to happen, there must be recognition that parents — not the first lady or Congress — know what’s best for their children. Unfortunately, the school meal standards that started to go into effect two years ago under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 ignore parents…

  • Issue Brief posted August 19, 2014 by Daren Bakst Reining in the EPA Through the Power of the Purse

    While significant criticism is rightfully directed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on issues such as greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation, Congress itself is to blame for not reasserting its lawmaking power over an agency that is supposed to be implementing the will of Congress, not the will of the agency. Through the appropriations process, Congress can rein in…

  • Issue Brief posted July 10, 2014 by Daren Bakst FDA’s Artificial Trans Fat “Ban”: A Dangerous Step to Control Personal Dietary Choices

    In November 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published its tentative determination[1] to revoke the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status for partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat. As explained in a recent FDA update, “If FDA determines that PHOs are not GRAS, it could, in effect, mean the end of…

  • Commentary posted June 30, 2014 by Daren Bakst The First Parent Of The United States

    Michelle Obama thinks she knows what your children should eat. She’s adamant about promoting her nutrition policies for kids, even the new and disastrous school meal standards implementing the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.” In a recent MSN interview, Michelle Obama revealed her own struggles with getting her kids to eat properly before she came to the White House. This…

  • Backgrounder posted May 30, 2014 by Daren Bakst Addressing Waste, Abuse, and Extremism in USDA Programs

    The federal debt is now more than $17 trillion. Congress needs to significantly cut spending across the board, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is no exception. Spending decisions are about more than just numbers; they reflect policy preferences. Congress should assert its lawmaking and spending powers to control expenditures and to formulate sound policy.…

  • Issue Brief posted May 5, 2014 by Daren Bakst 10 Guiding Principles for Agriculture Policy: A Free-Market Vision

    Agriculture has changed dramatically over the past 80 years, yet farm and commodity programs are Depression-era relics that are grounded in central-planning philosophies. Even some policymakers who claim to be strong proponents of free markets and limited government tend to forget these core beliefs when it comes to these programs. Agriculture policy is not just limited…

  • Issue Brief posted April 7, 2014 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield The “Heat and Eat” Food Stamp Loophole and the Outdated Cost Projections for Farm Programs

    In February, Congress passed a new farm bill that lacked meaningful and necessary reform. Making matters worse, Congress made critical mistakes that will have a major impact on both food stamps and farm programs. The most significant attempt at food stamp reform was to close the “heat and eat” loophole, which allows states to artificially boost the amount of food stamps…

  • Issue Brief posted February 28, 2014 by Daren Bakst Is the FDA Getting Out of Control?

    Acting on its own volition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is using the regulatory process to gain unprecedented control of food policy and remove dietary choices from Americans. Similar to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the FDA is pushing extreme policies to regulate in areas that have never been federally regulated. Recent examples highlight this…

  • Commentary posted January 30, 2014 by Daren Bakst The Farm Bill Would Make a Soviet Central Planner Blush

    Every five years, Congress takes a holiday from the principles that made this country great and turn to central planning policies that were in vogue in 1933. This nightmare holiday is the farm bill. Right on cue, the current House passed a nearly $1 trillion farm bill Wednesday that puts faith in Washington, DC and disrespects the farmers and ranchers who actually make…

  • Issue Brief posted January 27, 2014 by Nicolas Loris, Daren Bakst West Virginia Chemical Spill: Learn Lessons and Let States Lead

    On January 9, a leak in an above-ground storage facility spilled chemicals into the Elk River near Charleston, West Virginia, contaminating potable water affecting nine counties. But environmental pressure groups and big-government proponents are using the spill to serve their own agendas. While the incident warrants investigation and thoughtful examination of the…

  • Issue Brief posted January 8, 2014 by Daren Bakst EPA and the Corps Ignoring Sound Science on Critical Clean Water Act Regulations

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers have drafted regulations that would clarify what kinds of bodies of water are covered under the Clean Water Act (CWA).[1] This new definition would serve as the foundation of the CWA, determining the reach of the federal government’s jurisdiction under this law. The EPA is developing a scientific…

  • Issue Brief posted December 4, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield Eight Things to Watch for in the Farm Bill

    The House and Senate are working out differences between their farm bills.[1] Since both bills are seriously flawed, any bill that the negotiators produce is also likely to have major problems. The following is a list of major questions to consider if the negotiators do come up with a farm bill. 1. Will Congress Continue to Play Politics with the Farm Bill by Combining…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2013 by Daren Bakst FDA’s proposed trans fat ban is a power grab to control lives

    The Food and Drug Administration has taken the first step to ban trans fat. In so doing, it also took the first step to drastically undermine the integrity of the agency. Instead of protecting Americans from unreasonable risks, the agency has effectively decided to change its mission to nutrition activist. In its own announcements regarding the proposed ban, the…

  • Commentary posted November 4, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield The 'farm bill' is costing Americans billions

    The "farm bill"? Hardly. What the House and Senate are working on now, as they iron out the differences between their respective versions of this legislation, has little to do with agriculture. And it's proving very costly for every American. Based on projected costs, these massive bills are about $150 billion more expensive than the Obama stimulus bill. And about 80…

  • Issue Brief posted October 8, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield A Comparison of the House and Senate Farm Bills

    Congress continues to treat agriculture as if it were 1933 instead of 2013. Agriculture is a cutting-edge sector of the economy that continues to innovate and produce more food with fewer resources. Yet, every five years when the farm bill is up for renewal, many legislators, including those who claim to be pro–free market and limited government, push a farm bill that is…