- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
EDITORIAL: The pyramid of cronies
Michelle Obama should target government subsidies of junk food
Question of the Day
Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign has moved beyond her original goal, which all could applaud, of encouraging children to exercise and eat what’s good for them. Now the first lady has introduced a scheme from her husband’s administration to micromanage the trip to the supermarket. Otherwise, she says, Americans are too dumb to figure it out on their own.
Mrs. Obama describes Americans as befuddled by the array of choices in a modern, well-stocked supermarket. “So there you stood,” she says, “alone in some aisle in a store, the clock ticking away at the precious little time remaining to complete your weekly grocery shopping, and all you could do was scratch your head, confused and bewildered, and wonder if there’s too much sugar in this product?”
Help us, Mr. Government Man (or Lady), or we’ll be stuck in this aisle forever, trying to figure out whether butterbeans have calories.
Under the first lady’s scheme, the government will redesign packages and labels to tell everybody what they should and shouldn’t eat. “You as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store,” she says, “pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family. So this is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country.”
Mrs. Obama is working with the Agriculture Department on a rule to limit marketing of “unhealthy” foods to schoolchildren. The federal government will be the arbiter of what’s healthy, not parents and teachers. Advertising at the football stadium would have to reflect the first lady’s dietary preferences. If Coca-Cola sponsors the scoreboard, it can advertise Diet Coke, but not the real thing. Deciding whether one is actually healthier than the other is as arbitrary as a pass-interference call.
The odor of paternalism leaks through in the White House statement: “Parents can rest assured that the hard work they are doing at home to keep their kids healthy will be reinforced when they are in child care.” If parents can’t or won’t police what kids eat and drink, the White House will do it for them.
The problem with the food choices Americans make has little to do with advertising or labeling. Part of the problem is the pattern of government subsidies. American taxpayers subsidize one of the most unhealthy ingredients in the American diet. An independent research group finds that the the government pays out nearly $20 billion annually to subsidize corn syrup, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup and soy oils. The American sugar industry prospers under government protection, for which it pays handsomely.
There’s abundant cronyism inherent in government-approved nutrition advice. The famous food pyramid suggesting that everyone eat mostly grains was based on findings of the “McGovern Report,” which claimed that meat and dairy products were causing heart disease. The late Sen. George McGovern, who represented the South Dakota of the “amber waves of grain,” was a champion of grain growers.
The more effective way for Mrs. Obama to discourage unhealthy diets would be to cut off the subsidies, saving tens of billions of dollars while respecting the good sense of Americans to decide what’s best for themselves and their families. Instead of government nutrition labels, a label should disclose how much taxpayer cash goes to each product. Congress could explain why so much taxpayer money goes for junk food, but there’s small appetite for that.
About the Author
- Take a first look at The Washington Times' new dynamic website
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: West shouldn't pander to Putin
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: 'Redskins' hardly the only offender
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Radar, torpedos to end Hamas tunnels?
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Gaza 'analysis' poorly veiled bigotry
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
Get Breaking Alerts
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- ON THE RUN: Competition for Redskins backup running back is heating up