November 12 2012
When it Comes to Food Policy, Some People Prefer Big Government to Being a Grown Up
Vicki E. Alger
As kids, most of us probably relished the treat of a trip to the neighborhood burger place, when parental restrictions on soda, fries, and milk shares were temporarily suspended. When we got a bit older we likely appreciated the convenience of 24-hour drive thrus—not to mention the affordability of fast-food value menus—on occasion.
Much of the policy debate over healthy food seems to assume that most of us have never grown up, and we still need parental restrictions in the form of government mandates. A recent Time column by Josh Ozersky captures this sentiment.
Ozersky recalls being a child and looking out his window longingly at the Burger King on his block. Oh! If only his mother would let him loose for a burger and fries instead of the veggies and wheat crackers. As Ozersky writes:
If only Burger King had delivered back then! The chain’s home-delivery experiment, which has been expanding very slowly — first in a few mid-Atlantic states and most recently in southern Florida — is the first by any major restaurant chain that doesn’t have the word “pizza” in its name. …
But whether or not Burger King manages to avoid going down to flame-broiled doom, there’s no doubt that fast-food delivery will happen. It just makes too much sense, for the chain and the consumer, for it not to happen. Which is not to say it’s a good thing.
Far too many people eat fast food, says Ozersky ,and home delivery is going to make it that much harder to save us from ourselves. But here’s the thing: governmental nannying is no substitute for personal responsibility.
Left to my own devices and aversion to cooking, I could easily see myself at places like Burger King on a regular basis—especially with the great new fries they have. Then I remember how much I like fitting in my clothes and how expensive it would be to eat out so frequently—not to mention the cost of regularly supersizing my wardrobe.
If people like Mr. Ozersky truly believe they need saving from themselves, they are free to call their mommies or daddies. But the rest of us shouldn’t have to put up with big government because some people refuse to grow up.