Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Where does government intrusion stop?

Unless you do not follow the news at all, you know by now that the Los Angeles area was hit by a moderate earthquake on Tuesday. No major damages or injuries were reported, and life went on, especially in the halls of Los Angeles City Council.

In one of those moments that makes one thankful to live in a small town in South Carolina, Los Angeles City Council issued a one year moratorium on new fast food establishments in low income neighborhoods. From various reports, it seems the city council out there is just tired of overweight poor people, and in their idea of wisdom, if they can deter new fast food establishments from being created, they will help poor people eat healthy. (All these years, I wondered why Ronald McDonald hid behind a painted face! That rascal is out to make poor folks fat!)

As other agencies were going through a good test of their emergency procedures, Los Angeles City Council was trying to put the brakes on poor people eating Whoppers. It is a strange strand of the socialistic nature of California politics that raised its head in that ordinance. Of course, California did give us Speaker Nancy Pelosi and that nutcase Harry Waxman, and Maxine Waters, who once said that the CIA was dealing drugs to blacks in her district.

But, going after people who sell food because lower income people like the prices and buy it is, well, incredibly arrogant and on some degree even above California nuts.

Further let's talk about those "fast food" establishments. After losing nearly 90 pounds, I sort of feel qualified about how to eat and not eat. I read labels, go to establishment websites, and choose wisely. I am also not wealthy by any standard of the word. If you go to Subway and get a tuna sandwich on whole wheat, or a club on whole wheat, you will do well. Go the same place and get a meatball sub with extra bacon and chase it down with two servings of real soft drink and some cookies, you are not doing well. It is that simple. Be it Subway, Burger King, Hardee's, wherever, the consumer can choose to eat a relatively healthy meal. It is not the establishment's job to tell the consumer what the consumer should buy from it.

I suppose the Los Angeles City Council is telling people that low income folks in Los Angeles do not have the sense to have the cheeseburger or the desert once and a while. They think the people that elected them are too stupid to know choose the salad choices at Wendy's or forgo the fries and the deserts. The people were smart enough to elect them to office, but not smart enough to know what to buy at an eating establishment.

Such is where the American Left is today. They tell people not to worry, give them the political power, and they will make sure you get health care, housing, etc. Then, after they have the power, they come along and tell people the price, which is not only higher taxes but having choices of what you eat taken from you. The ever present Left knows better how you should run your life than you do.

As for me, I will keep reading the labels and watching what I consume. I like having the choice. I choose not to consume candy, cookies and real soft drinks. You might choose differently. I have no problem with that. It is your life.

Los Angeles City Council and others like them forget a quote by Ronald Reagan. Reagan once stated, "Freedom means you can be stupid if you want to be." Of course, that stupidity has a cost, in my case, it got me up to 366 pounds one time. If I, a man of admitted limitations, can make choices to change that, so can anyone else. I am not arrogant enough to think I am somehow above the lower income folks of Los Angeles and that those folks can not make better choices at the establishments that they eat at.

Call me an idealistic fool, but I believe most people do not want to be unhealthy and when they have access to information about what they are consuming and what it could be doing to them, they will act in their own self interests. That is economics at its purest form.

However, if the government comes along and tells people that they must eat certain foods, or creates a climate in which certain foods are harder to sell, it adds romance to the unhealthy food choices, and my guess is that they will increase. Besides, if I eat my spinach and tuna for several days and decide to treat myself to a monthly cheeseburger, what right does any government have to tell me I can not buy it? What right does any government have to say that someone can not sell it to me? What right does any government have to make it harder for me to buy it or for someone to sell it? Is there anything left that people elected to local office will not try to make their friends and neighbors who elected them to office do?

The United States was founded on the idea of limited government. Capitalism made the United States the envy of the world. In that, governments, at all levels, should protect property and basic civil rights, make sure fraud is prevented, and make sure in the consumer market that truthful information is available for the consumers. It is not the government's job, at any level, to influence consumers on their choices once the truthful information is presented. That is the economic freedom that made us into a nation where the poor live better than most of the world.

The situation makes me wonder what will be next. Perhaps banning alcohol sales in certain low income neighborhoods, or certain brands of malt beverages popular in some communities? Where does the government intrusion stop?


  1. SugarfootJuly 30, 2008

    Here's hoping you eat the double cheeseburger with bacon every day.

  2. Sounds like Sugarfoot has a
    Cheeseburger and Bacon brain.
    He can't figure out that Freedom
    of Choice is something every
    American should protect.