Tag Archives: new york daily news

CEI Podcast for July 21, 2011: Stopping the Music

 

Have a listen here.

Tough economic times are forcing symphony orchestras across the country to cut budgets and lay off staff, and in some cases shut down entirely. Labor Policy Counsel Vinnie Vernuccio, who coauthored a recent op-ed in the New York Daily News, finds that labor unions, by resisting necessary changes and limiting organizations’ ability to adapt to hard times, are doing more harm than good for the arts.

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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.

Don’t Worry about Trade Deficits

Here’s a letter I sent recently to the New York Daily News:

December 3, 2009

Editor, New York Daily News
450 W. 33rd Street
New York, NY 10001

Washington, D.C.: In his December 3 column, “On jobs front, President Obama needs to show a little audacity,” Errol Louis worries about America’s trade deficit. He shouldn’t.

I run an ongoing trade deficit with my local grocery store. I import food from them every week. They have never purchased a thing from me in return. Even so, we both benefit. I’d rather have their food than my money, and they’d rather have my money than the food on their shelves. This is true even if an international border separates us.

If Mr. Louis is as worried about trade deficits as he says he is, he would never again set foot in a grocery store, start growing his own food, and engage only in barter transactions. If he doesn’t, he is either misinformed, or else he doesn’t really believe what he writes.

Ryan Young
Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Washington, D.C.