Unhappy Meals: Nanny State Bans Toys for Kiddies

Once again leading the way in zany legislation, California’s Santa Clara County became the first locale to ban toy give-aways with meals exceeding the Department of Health and Human Service’s recommended maximums of 485 calories, or with more than 35 percent of their calories from fat or 10 percent from added sweeteners, or that have more than 600 mg of sodium.

All this in the name of the War on Obesity.

Of the many causes for childhood obesity, toys with meals don’t even make it on most lists. In contrast, living in a single parent household—the number of which has exploded as the government has subsidized them—appears to be the number one correlation for childhood obesity.

Unfortunately, ObamaCare will further subsidize obesity, by removing the financial consequences of unhealthy lifestyles from their practitioners. When health insurance is priced according to risk factors—including obesity—rational individuals respond by addressing those risk factors.

As predicted, now that the costs associated with obesity’s attendant health problems are to be borne by “society” rather than the individual, “society”—i.e., the state—will increasingly exercise its “obligation” to dictate the terms of every aspect of what used to be considered our private lives: what we eat, drink, ingest, or inhale are just the earliest and easiest areas to control; and children are an already-accepted dependent class of citizen.

It takes little imagination to see where this is headed; and given the rapid pace from banning smoking to banning trans fats and now banning Happy Meals accelerating so quickly, it is unlikely to be long before this thin edge has expanded to widespread outright prohibition on all sorts of food and drink. And of course, enforcing prohibitions also means a more powerful and intrusive State: how about in-home monitoring and/or random blood or urine tests?

Parents like Chris Mackey may soon find themselves cited by Child Protective Services for child endangerment for daring to believe:

“I don’t need politicians to tell me what I can and can’t buy for my kid … This is a private matter between me and my child.”

Sorry, Chris, but when it takes a village to raise a child, don’t be surprised when the village takes over.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
Full Biography
Beacon Posts by Mary Theroux
  • Catalyst
  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org