Tag Archives: diet

Friday Regulation Roundup

Some of the stranger governmental goings-on I’ve dug up recently:

-It is illegal to deface milk cartons in Massachusetts. The punishment is a $10 fine.

-If you aren’t quite sure about the definition of “children’s product,” a proposed regulation would clear that up. Here’s a small sampling: “A determination of whether a product is a ‘children’s product’ will be based on consideration of the four specified statutory factors as further described in the discussion and examples provided in this interpretative rule.”

-The federal government has an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

-The government spends $23m per year on the National Agricultural Library.

-Wondering what the prevailing consensus is surrounding trailer homes? Check out the government’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee.

-Stimulus money is being used to replace peoples’ mailboxes – in some cases against their will.

-Eat your vegetables: The federal government has a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

Seasteaders take note: the federal government has an Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee.

-$110,000 in stimulus money was spent on an industrial-grade, automated pizza oven.

-It is illegal for a 9th grader to have a mustache in Binghamton, New York.

Regulation of the Day 125: Salt

Having eliminated all crime from New York’s streets, ended homelessness, rebuilt Ground Zero, and fixed the state’s ailing public schools, New York’s state legislature has set its sights on how much salt you eat.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg already has a plan to reduce NYC residents’ salt intake by 25 percent over five years. But State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) thinks that doesn’t go nearly far enough. It only covers New York City, for starters. The rest of the state’s salt intake would remain perilously unregulated under the Bloomberg plan.

That’s why Mr. Ortiz has introduced statewide legislation that would “make it illegal for restaurants to use salt in the preparation of food. Period.

A $1,000 fine would accompany each violation.

Tom Colicchio, who owns a restaurant and has appeared on the television show Top Chef, is livid. He told the New York Daily News that “New York City is considered the restaurant capital of the world. If they banned salt, nobody would come here anymore… Anybody who wants to taste food with no salt, go to a hospital and taste that.”

He’s right; the salt ban does offend culinary decency. But there’s another angle that’s at least as important: personal responsibility.
If I want to pile on the salt, as Mayor Bloomberg famously does, that’s my right. But I also need to be liable for the consequences. If chronic salt over-consumption gives me high blood pressure and heart trouble, that’s my fault. I should pay the cost.

But that’s not how the current health care system works. We suffer from the 12-cent problem: on average, people only pay 12 cents for every dollar of health care they consume. Roughly 50 cents are picked up by the government, and insurers cover the rest.
That means people have less incentive to watch what they eat than under a more honest system. Why not rack up huge health care bills? Everyone else is paying for me. Health care on sale! 88 percent off!

Freedom cannot exist without responsibility. Decades of government encroachments in health care have taken away a lot of our responsibility for health care decisions. So it makes some sense that Mr. Ortiz would finish the job by taking away peoples’ freedom to eat what they want.

A better solution would be to have both freedom and responsibility, instead of neither. Ban the salt ban. Give people more control over their health care dollars. Let us be free. Let us be responsible. We’re all adults here. Treat us as such, Mr. Ortiz.