FED-eralize the FDA?

Should the FDA be made an independent agency?

Daniel Carpenter argues in the New York Times that the Obama administration’s decision to block the availability of the Plan B contraceptive pill to adolescents without a prescription is an example of why U.S. Food and Drug Administration should be made an independent agency — like the Federal Reserve Board. Carpenter asserts that making the FDA an independent agency will reduce its politicization.

But “independent” agencies are not necessarily what they’re cracked up to be.

The EPA is technically an independent agency — and there is no more politicized agency than the EPA. The Federal Reserve Board operates in secret and can hardly be considered a success. The Securities and Exchange Commission is an independent agency and it’s not been too flash either.

Government and politics are inextricably intertwined. If you want to reduce politics, then you’ll need to reduce government. Rearranging the deck chairs is a futile exercise.

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