In the "death by a thousand cuts" category:
A big story on NPR's Morning Edition touts the benefits of olive oil in the diet, but notes that for maximum benefit, the oil must be fresh. Unfortunately, a lot of imported oil isn't.
The story contains this seemingly anodyne statement:
[T]he U.S. Food and Drug Administration used to police olive oil imports to ensure producers were meeting quality and freshness standards. But those efforts have fallen off.Eh--a bunch of lazy bureaucrats sticking their noses into our glorious free market: who needs 'em? Of course, the article doesn't say why those efforts have "fallen off", but would you care to guess it might have something to do with austerity, possibly backed by industry lobbying?
OK, friends, how much in additional taxes would you personally be willing to pay to make sure your olive oil was healthy? A quarter a year? And Randians: please explain to me how the so-called "free market" could address a problem like this. Maybe some feisty entrepreneur will get rich selling "do-it-yourself olive oil testing kits" and we can all spend our time testing samples of the oils on the store shelves. Smell the Freedom!
Multiply this little case by a thousand, and that's the utopia conservative ideology has created for us.