In the fall of 2007, when the U.S. economy first seemed in peril, I began answering reader queries here on the Business Desk. I still do so occasionally, but this page has expanded to include posts from eminent economists, "far-flung correspondents," and a variety of voices that have intriguing and/or useful things to say about economics, broadly defined. Please feel encouraged to respond to any and all of them.
Question: While I admire your intelligence and integrity, your recent piece on herbal supplements omitted a critical piece of information that your viewers should know. It is no accident that consumers are at the mercy of the companies that make these products. Many of the firms that make these products are based in Utah. As a result, they have a powerful friend and protector in Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Years ago, when the Republicans controlled the U.S. Senate, Hatch made sure that these companies would be protected from the FDA and thoughtful consumers alike. A cynic might conclude that these herbal supplement companies don't want to know what their products are made of. Please investigate further and continue your reporting!
Paul Solman: I hadn't known anything about the Utah/Hatch/herbal supplement connection. After reading a bit on the web, I now do. Since I'd simply be paraphrasing, let me simply provide a link from a traditionally reliable source, The Washington Monthly and this from Minyanville.