The recent attempt by New York City to ban the sale of drinks larger than 16 oz. has sparked a national controversy in the U.S., and rightly so. Aside from the obvious stupidity of not being able to buy a 16 oz. drink, but you can buy a car that will go 200 mph, contributing to the annual 40,000 traffic deaths, does anyone actually believe this has any chance of working? Should the government regulate the amount of food we can eat or drink?
Is obesity a problem in the U.S.? Sure, but is it because the food industry ties us to a chair and forces us to eat too much? Of course not. This is a self-inflicted problem. No one is forcing anyone to eat a 1-pound hamburger, or 3 pounds of French fries. By the same token, these regulations would not stop anyone from buying 3 hamburgers, 3 orders of fries, and 5 Cokes. These regulations are political stupidity at it’s worst, and I sincerely hope it costs these elected officials their jobs come next election.
In the U.S., the government does have an implied duty to protect the public from some things, such as foreign invasions, general public safety, and some health issues that effect the population as a whole. The government does not have a duty, or the authority to protect you from your own behavior. What if New York were to ban really harmful things like motorcycles, or alcohol? Does anyone think that would go over very well?
People in the U.S. are not obese because McDonald’s offers Super-Size meals, or KFC sells ‘buckets’ of chicken. Actually, people in most developed countries are getting more obese. This is due to more prosperity, and better technology, areas in which the U.S. is the world leader. People in the U.S. are obese because our entire country is designed around the use of cars. There are no national bicycle routes or walking paths from city-to-city, or even within most urban areas. Walking is discouraged, as is bicycle use for transportation. There are not even any national policies in the works for anything like this to be developed, even with gasoline prices over $3.50 per gallon. Rather than work on public transportation, our government’s solution is to increase the gas mileage of new vehicles. Cites are sprawled out so much that travel by foot or bicycle, or even horseback is impractical, or even impossible. I have neighbors that get into their cars to drive 100 yards to check their mailboxes. We are obese because somewhere in our history, someone decided that 40+ hours is the desirable work week, leaving little or no time for leisure activities such as walking, sports, etc… And our most desirable jobs are the ones that require us to sit at a desk, or at a machine for hours and hours, with little actual physical activity. Most physical jobs that might help keep us healthy are only performed by the lesser-educated among us, or immigrants, legal and otherwise.
There are a lot of reasons why we are overweight, none of which has anything to do with the fact that 32.oz Pepsi’s are available. And there is no way any type of government food regulation will have any effect whatsoever on the problem. A great case in point are my beloved Krystal’s Hamburgers. Started in 1932, in Chattanooga Tn., during the Depression, they sold small 1 oz. burgers for a nickle to people who had little money. I can tell you from experience, when you haven’t eaten in two or three days, a 1 oz. burger is a feast….. Luckily, the Depression ran it’s course, and people eventually had more money to spend on food. But the little Krystal burgers were (and still are) so tasty that people still kept flocking to the the restaurants, only now they were buying them 3 and 4 burgers at a time. Even though Krystal’s has introduced regular-sized burgers, they make up an almost insignificant portion of the sales. People that go to Krystal’s go there specifically for the tiny, delicious 1 oz. Krystal burgers, that now come in increments of 3, 4, 8, 12 or for the very hungry, a ‘Sackful’ of 24 small portions of Hamburger Heaven. Any attempt on the part of the government to limit the amount of the little jewels would spark another Civil War. In the Southern U.S., there are two things you never try to mess with; Krispy Creme Doughnuts, and Krystal’s Hamburgers.
My point is that even with regulation, there is no way to stop someone from buying multiple portions, rendering any type of food laws meaningless, and simply a waste of time that could better be spent on real problems that could be addressed. And attempting to limit the amount a person could purchase would be impossible to enforce. They would have to create a Food Police Force (just what this country needs…another Law Enforcement organization….), and require records-keeping procedures for restaurants that would bankrupt the industry. It wouldn’t be long before you would be approached on the street by a shady-looking person in a trench-coat saying, “Hey, man…need a fix?”, while opening his coat to reveal an assortment of Big Macs, Little Debbies, Quarter-Pounders, curly fries, and 32 oz. Cokes. The government would conduct ‘sting’ operations, enticing you to buy 2 Whoppers, 2 orders of fries and a 32 oz. Pepsi. You’d be incarcerated in the ‘Food Jail’ where you would be ‘dried-out’ by being fed nothing but rice cakes, organic salads, and distilled water. Upon release, you would have to attend a court-ordered ‘Food School’, where they would attempt to teach you to hate red meat, and love organic carrots. This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. And there are some misguided individuals that would actually support such measures, because after all, this government approach works so good for things like illegal drug use……….
You need to think about this before lending your support to idiotic politicians, and ask yourself,” Should the government regulate how much food we can eat or drink”.