Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Big Burger Brother


Los Angeles City Council, which presumably has absolutely nothing better to do, has voted unanimously to prevent new fast-food restaurants from opening in the impoverished southern part of the city. It seems South Los Angeles has more fast-food outlets than other parts of the city, and a higher obesity rate among its residents, so the council, under some sort of plantation mentality, has determined that the poor folk who live there just aren't capable of making their own decisions about what they eat. Said Councilman Bernard Parks, "Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods." Did he ever hear of the free-market system? If a restaurant chain offering healthy food believed it could make big profits in South Los Angeles, it would open a store there as quickly as possible. Spokesmen from the fast-food chains say they're being singled out unfairly and have plenty of healthy options on their menus. What are they supposed to do when a person comes in and orders a double Whopper with cheese? Should they say, "Ma'am, I'd love to give you the hamburger, but your backside has its own zip code, so you're going to get a salad."? It's a nice concept to give people more dining options, but wouldn't it be better to work to attract different restaurants, rather than resort to a sort of economic-social-gastronomical engineering that is most likely an illegal restraint of trade? South Los Angeles resident Curtis English, who has no car and limited funds, recognizes that some of the fast-food offerings are not all that healthy, but the restaurants are convenient for him, and the price is right. Earlier this week, he got breakfast and lunch at McDonald's for a total of $2.39. Just try finding a place where you can get broiled cod and fresh vegetables for that price. And what about the people who guy groceries and cook at home? Shouldn't the city council be hiring monitors to snatch unhealthy foods out of people's shopping carts? Very few people are so stupid that they do not recognize that a Big Mac is worse for them than a garden salad with diet dressing, and that a steady diet of Big Macs and fries can lead to health problems down the road. I know that Oreos aren't health food, and I don't sit down and eat a dozen at a time, but I also know that they and Twinkies sure tasted a lot better in the days before the assault on trans fats began. It's time for governments - local, state and federal - to stop trying to micromanage people's daily lives. Our concerned leaders may see this as a matter of public health, but when it's all said and done, people will find what they want and eat it.

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5 Comments:

Blogger PRIguy said...

I'm so damn sick of the government dictating what I can eat, drink or smoke. I don't need a politician or a bureaucrat to tell me not to eat a Big Mac or a Whopper. The last time I checked, this still is a free country and I have a right to choose what I put into my body - whether it's going to kill me or not. This "policing" of entire neighborhoods and businesses is communism.

Once again, personal responsibility fails to present itself, and because of that, citizens get a city councilman telling them what to eat while keeping legitimate businesses out. Isn't that restraint of trade? I'd love to see the big burger chains slap a multi-million dollar lawsuit on this jerk. And in the process, let's see what his cholesterol, BMI index and daily fat consumption are. Then a lung x-ray. Colonoscopy. See, in my opinion, a guy like this had better be more immaculate than the Virgin Mary before he can tell me what to eat.

July 30, 2008 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Brant... did you ever see the documentary "People Like Us?"

It's about Class in America... The whole thing is quite entertaining, but one part that is in parallel with this post is regarding a food bank's inability to give away expensive sour dough bread that was donated by a bakery or restaurant or something like that... The wonderbread flew off the shelves, though.

Funny that they don't regulate the wine consumption in other areas of Los Angeles... Oh yeah... because "enlightened" alcoholics are different than poor, black, ghetto drunks...

-ellipses

July 30, 2008 at 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other question here is how we decide what's fast food and what's not. Is Boston Market fast food? They have some pretty healthy fare on their menu. How about Panera Bread? Some of their sandwiches pack more calories than a Big Mac. Is this ultimately decided on whether you get cloth napkins at the restaurant or paper?

One thing I do support is restaurants putting calorie counts on their menus. If you see how many calories a Triple Whopper with Cheese has, you might opt for the salad instead.

--Brad Hundt

July 30, 2008 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

And if you say "screw it, gimme two?"

This is a poor area... "how much food can I get for the smallest amount of money?"

I have no idea how many calories are in a whopper, but I do know it's bad for me... AND, I know it's delicious!

None of the residents of this area are going to wake up and wonder
"What happened to Micky D's?"
"The food was unhealthy? I had no idea!"

A baconator is just as unhealthy in Bel Aire as it is in Compton... if you are going to ban it for being unhealthy, do it across the board... don't presume to have the authority to tell poor people what they can and cannot eat.

-ellipses

July 30, 2008 at 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it not reserved to the Federal Government to regulate commerce? Given that the commerce clause has been expanded to include almost everything, would not the transportation and eventual sale of food truly be more of a federal matter?
The polling is overwhelming against the government but that will do little to stop this insanity. People don't vote people out for taking their freedoms like this.
Great column again Brant..

July 30, 2008 at 2:42 PM  

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