Bloomberg columnist Ramesh Ponnuru reports some good news this morning-unemployment is down…among regulatory agencies. He explains:
At least one sector of the economy is booming, and President Barack Obama can legitimately take credit for it. Since he took office, employment has surged 13 percent at federal regulatory agencies. The regulators’ budgets are up 16 percent. (These numbers are derived from a May report published by Washington University and George Washington University.) And that’s before some of the major regulatory initiatives of the administration — the financial-reform bill and the health-care overhaul — are fully implemented.
Citing the new Obamacare-created regulations on the restaurant industry to illustrate the cost of these new rules, Ponnuru explains:
The new health-care law will force major fast-food chains to re-do their signs to include calorie information — a change that one chief executive officer said would cost his company as much as building 1 1/2 new (job-providing) restaurants.
Washington Examiner senior editorial writer Philip Klein further examined these new regulations last week:
Section 4205 of the national health care law, “Nutritional Labeling of Standard Menu Items at Chain Restaurants,” caused little stir when Obamacare passed last year. But the new rules are now causing a major headache for businesses, serving as yet another example of how the Obama administration is enacting sweeping changes without consideration of their real-world effects.
The law specifies that the number of calories in a food product must be printed directly next to the item on the menu, which is particularly difficult for fast-food restaurants that post their products on large, already crowded signs rather than standard paper menus.
In Domino’s case, the only way it can fit calorie information on its menu signs is to provide broad ranges. For instance, a large “Feast” pizza could range from 1,840 to 3,740 calories, because there are four different crust types and six different varieties.
But on the current website, a customer could get much more specific. As in — a slice of a large deep dish “ExtravaganZZa Feast” pizza contains 420 calories (and there are eight slices in a large pie).
Charlie Malament started working at Domino’s as a delivery driver in the 1980s while a senior in college. He moved up the ladder and now owns four Domino’s outlets in Maryland.
Under the new rules, if Malament wanted to introduce a new item, such as a crab cake pizza, he’d have to replace the signs in all of his stores, sucking time and money that could otherwise be used to build his business.
“There are so many different things that I have to do right now that are just completely unnecessary that take away from our profits,” he said. “When does it end? When does this stuff end? Just give a small business guy a break and let me take care of my customers and take care of my people.”
It is of course grating to read about all this new regulations — regulations that could ultimately cost jobs in such a fragile economy. But what grates even more is that these calorie postings do nothing to improve people’s food choices.
Food nannies don’t talk about the studies that prove calorie information is useless — that’s an inconvenient truth often left out of the dialogue (see my previous writing about those studies here, here, and here).
But at least some mainstream media outlets are paying attention. Last month, the Washington Post reported:
Evidence is mounting that calorie labels – promoted by some nutritionists and the restaurant industry to help stem the obesity crisis – do not steer most people to lower-calorie foods. Eating habits rarely change, according to several studies. Perversely, some diners see the labels yet consume more calories than usual. People who use the labels often don’t need to. (Meaning: They are thin.)