Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Government Issue Gruel

David Harsanyi on the government's latest efforts to take on parental responsibility:

And if Washington can't dictate calorie counts in school vending machines, or tax soda pops, or force elementary schools in Topeka to stock their cupboards with USDA-approved nutritional fare, then, really, why do we have a federal government in the first place?

As we speak, legislation is wiggling through Congress that would ban candy and sugary beverages in local schools--bake sales, a la carte lunches, Halloween goodies, birthday cupcakes--and stipulate that suitable chow be offered. It's legislation that can't be stopped. It's for the children.

Michelle Obama--no doubt driven by the best of intentions--went on to take food manufacturers to task, asking them to "rethink the products" they produce because business, apparently, should be a clearinghouse for ethically sound groceries rather than a place that manufactures frozen pizza.

The passage of health care reform will only speed this process along. After all, if the government is now responsible for your children's health care, then they have a stake in ensuring that your kids do everything they can to stay healthy. That includes, but is not limited to eating right and exercising. Today, concerned parents will sometimes elect to send their kids to "fat camps" to try to help them lose weight. Tomorrow, it may be the government who decides that your children are in need of nutritional reeducation.

UPDATE: Okay, nutritional reeducation camps may have been a bit over the top, but do we really want the government dictating what kind of food our kids can eat and telling producers what they can and cannot sell based on whether it's deemed to be "good for them"? As a parent this concerns me on two levels.

The first is that the government is seeking to usurp what has traditionally been a parental responsibility. The second is that my kids are already pretty picky eaters the way it is. The last thing we need is the government telling a food producer that they can no longer sell the only kind of chicken nuggets my kids will eat because they're not "healthy" enough. Our family is still trying to recover from a fire at an Eggo plant last year that lead to the Great French Toast Drought of Aught-Nine. The last thing we need right now is Uncle Sam mucking about and making this situation even worse.

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