May 15 2012
Government Mandated Carrot Sticks
Oh Jefferson...rolling, rolling, rolling in your grave. Yesterday, the AP reported that the 400+ Institute of Medicine Report outlines dozens of regulatory options over which federal regulators can feast. Among them:
- Zoning laws to restrict the construction of fast-food restaurants
- Requiring sports arenas to sell healthier snacks
- Taxes on sugary sodas and tax breaks on "healthier" drinks
- Regulations requiring restaurants to make children's meals comply with federal nutrition standards (and also preventing restaurants from charging more for higher-priced menu items).
- Requiring healthy foods to be available in malls and sports arenas
- Regulations on how food companies advertise their products (translation: banning food advertisements on television)
- Requiring local communities to design areas to walk and exercise
- Requiring public and private insurers to conduct obesity screening and provide preventive services and treatments
- Require businesses to expand workplace wellness programs.
Let's just think for a moment how these proposed regulations will impact businesses and an individual family's bottom line. If these recommendations are implemented, the federal government will be reaching into the minute details of how restaurants do business: menu choices, the serving sizes, even pricing. Under the IOM's recommendations, the feds will have the power to direct sports stadiums to chuck the hot dogs and beer for the government-prefered sports snack of flax-seed crackers and a berry smoothie. Go flaxseeds!
Unemployment, already at record high levels among young Americans, will increase as fast food restaurants--a leading employer for young adults--are prevented from opening in certain neighborhoods. Shopping mall food courts, which serve those perfect, on-the-run meals, will be directed to add certain food items to their menus and be required to maintain those menu items even if people don't purchase them. Local communities, already dealing with a lower tax base because of high unemployment rates, will face another federal mandate to construct walking and exercise areas. Health insurance companies and employers will be forced to create "wellness programs" and track employee's waist size.
You don't have to be a believer in small government to recognize this as government gone wild. Perhaps federal mandates for carrot sticks will make some people wake up to this looming government growth.