Your Views for August 1


The big snub

The headline on page A10 (Tribune-Herald, July 30) says it all: “U.S. lawmakers struggle to seal $225M Iron Dome package.”

This bill has bipartisan support. In other words, the U.S. taxpayers are paying for the Israeli anti-missile system called the Iron Dome. Yet, Israel continues to snub and disregard our secretary of state.

The all-powerful Jewish-American lobby is disproportionately over-represented in our Congress. We might as well declare Israel the 51st state in our union, since that is the de-facto fact.

Pradeepta Chowdhury

Hilo

FDA’s approach

Like so many Americans, I’ve become disillusioned by the failure of our congressional leaders to work together across the political aisle to forge effective legislation. Of course, into this void stepped an army of federal bureaucrats, over-reaching their legislated authority and worsening the regulatory morass.

Now comes a pleasant surprise that gives us hope the ice jam is breaking.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, House Democrat John Dingell and Republican Ed Whitfield jointly sponsored, and got passed a couple of days ago, a bill that directs the Federal Drug Administration to clear out a backlog of approvals for new sunscreen products by the summer of 2015.

It seems that sunscreen technology has been improving in recent years and resulted in the adoption of more effective consumer products in Europe, Australia and the Americas. But in the United States, eight sunscreen products have been delayed by the FDA, some since as long ago as 2002. Incredibly, despite warnings from the surgeon general of an epidemic of skin cancer, the FDA apparently withheld approval of new sunscreen chemicals because of a lack of evidence that they are indeed safe.

Note carefully that it was not because the FDA had convincing evidence that these chemicals were harmful, just that they saw nothing, other than their acceptance by much of the rest of the sun-drenched world, to prove that they are safe.

Thus, Americans were deprived of increased skin protection by the well-intentioned but misguided authoritarian approach of the FDA.

Now, Congress, which has the power of the purse, directs the FDA to use its funds to make prompt decisions on these products.

What a great concept!

So now I am wondering whether any of Hawaii’s congressional representatives will take this cue and run with it, by working with others in Congress to provide guidance to the various executive agencies and instruct them to remove the many regulatory roadblocks to progress.

Hopefully, our wise citizenry will inquire this much of the candidates seeking high public office this election season.

Curtis Beck

Hilo

 

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