Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Restaurant Menu Reform: The Real Issue of the Day!

Somewhere buried in that 2,000 page healthcare bill is a new restriction on restaurants. Congress is now mandating that restaurants place a calorie count on menus, somehow trying to make us healthier. Now, this does not apply to all restaurants, but rather only chains with more than 20 locations. It also applies to vending machines apparently . . .

There are going to be two problems with this mandate.
  1. Those companies will have to reprint millions of menus, costing them huge amounts of money. This could mean that those extra costs are going to be covered by us, the consumer.
  2. How on earth is this going to make America healthier? What is the evidence behind making this decision? You can't expect people to change habits and lifestyles just because you tell them how much weight the will gain by eating the angus burger. It just isn't possible.
To elaborate on the second position, I have to quote someone from a newspaper interview in Idaho who said that, "If revealing the consequences of a decision like that had any effect, then putting the stickers of the miles per gallon on a Hummer would mean nobody would buy a Hummer, it's not going to work". My sentiments exactly.

People are looking for two things when they eat out: price, and quality (taste, etc). You can't make people healthier if you can't make the healthy things cheaper and better tasting. Since the matter of quality has only to do with the restaurant, you have to make it more economically desirable to eat healthy. One way this is going to happen? Get the government out of the agriculture business. Stop subsidizing farmers and mandating what they grow. Let the market decide that, and allow competition to lower prices. To go further, lets stop subsidizing food altogether; we might actually see some change then, but until then . . .

Ahh, the government. You think the problems are bad? Wait until you see the solutions.

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