Green Room

Government Solves All Problems (If Your Name Is Obama)

posted at 2:00 pm on May 12, 2010 by

With childhood obesity reaching epidemic proportions in this country, no rational person would argue against the need for action, and pronto. When it comes to the question of what form that action should take, however, there is plenty of room for discussion.

The Obama adminstration’s solution is the same one it promulgates for every problem: more government control. And how better to wield that control than to crack down on the adminstration’s favorite whipping boy—big business? In this case, the specific target is the fast food industry.

Despite adminstration claims that the effort will take the form of “bully pulpit” pressure rather than federal mandates, the tone of early messages from the White House-sponsored Task Force on Childhood Obesity has an intrusive ring to it.

Job one for the Task Force, and its de facto spokesperson Michelle Obama, is gently persuading manufacturers of empty-calorie foods to go on “an advertising diet,” eliminating characters from their marketing campaigns that kids find favor with. And if asking nicely doesn’t work? The task force will attempt to force the FCC to implement new rules on commercials in children’s programming.

Putting aside entirely the questions of ethics and legality (some might argue that what the Task Force is advocating amounts to restraint of trade), “Captain Crunch isn’t Joe Camel,” as Ed Morrissey rightly notes, “and sugary cereals aren’t addictive. They may be bad choices for habitual eating, but the federal government doesn’t exist to save us from a few bad choices.”

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz finds the Task Force recommendations wrong-headed as well. He told reporters at a briefing that a “regulatory approach is certainly not where we want to start. You start by pushing self-regulation.”

Nor is Michelle Obama’s message any less threatening when it is aimed at you, the consumer. “No one gets off the hook on this one,” she is quoted as saying, “from governments to schools, corporations to non-profits all the way down to families sitting around their dinner table.” Excuse me? We must have all been out of the room when this woman was invested with the power to make our personal decisions for us.

Some of the ideas being proposed in this initiative have merit. Getting schools to offer more healthful options at lunchtime and increasing opportunities for students to engage more in physical activity are positive steps in the right direction. Overall, however, the problem of childhood obesity should not be viewed as another opportunity for the government to flex its muscles. The goal of persuading parents to do right by their children, moreover, would be better served by a less strident and divisive voice than that of the president’s wife.

Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at [email protected] or by posting a comment below.

Recently in the Green Room:



Trackback URL


“No one gets off the hook on this one,” she is quoted as saying, “from governments to schools, corporations to non-profits all the way down to families sitting around their dinner table.”

Flashback from Mama Obama: Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

We can’t say we weren’t warned.

Buy Danish on May 12, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Perhaps prior to assuming an enormous new responsibility — oversight of our children’s meals, the government should first accomplish core responsibilities such as securing our borders or Times Square or Ft. Hood.

levi from queens on May 12, 2010 at 3:02 PM

The stupid president wants to be the nation’s nanny.

tarpon on May 12, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Excuse me? We must have all been out of the room when this woman was invested with the power to make our personal decisions for us.

We weren’t out of the room, but some of you weren’t paying attention. Obama the Candidate said similar things about our thermostats and SUV.

The Obamas want government to control every part of our lives. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you should seek professional help.

Chris of Rights on May 12, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Before Mr. or Mrs. Obama get to tell me and my family what we should be doing healthwise (which I already KNOW, thank you very much…), they’d better get their own house in order first. Mrs. O can tell me to lose weight AFTER she gets rid of some of the unhealthy pounds hanging on her derriere, and Mr. O can lecture me AFTER he quits smoking (and doing drugs) AND releases ALL of his health records.

Oh, yeah – and Rahm has to have an AIDS test, and Axelrod and Gibbsy have to lose all of their excess weight.

I figure all of this will take at least the rest of this ungodly term. Until then, STAY THE H*** OUT OF MY BUSINESS….

TeresainFortWorth on May 12, 2010 at 5:06 PM

This recent article should be read by Micky Obama.

“{Jimmy}, turn off that TV and go outside and play.”

This should be the SOP for every mom and dad on the planet. Besides, the parents could use a little quiet time.

Robert17 on May 12, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Was kind of on her side until she started pulling this all encompassing talk. My dinner table is ours, and will be hers to control over my dead body. Once again I’m compelled to feel sorry for those girls, they must live in an atmosphere of constant control…mom and dad must police their every thought. Whew!

jeanie on May 13, 2010 at 9:11 AM

HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint
Top Pick

Will they stay or will they go?

Top Pick

I can’t imagine what I was thinking when I said that

Rocking the boat majorly

Big government never contracts. It only grows more powerful

It’s only a “ban” until it becomes inconvenient

The decline and fall of Obamacare and the AHCA

Jazz Shaw Jun 24, 2017 8:31 AM

This was all over before it began

Fixing crime in America is a complicated issue

Taylor Millard Jun 23, 2017 8:31 PM

Cops alone won’t solve it.

Victim’s father was President Maduro’s supervisor back when he was a bus driver.

Democrats forgot all about the “era of good feelings”

“Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up.”

“the Judiciary Committee is examining the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey.”

Winning isn’t everything. It is the only thing

Trump signs VA reform bill into law

John Sexton Jun 23, 2017 2:41 PM

“What happened was a national disgrace, and yet some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls.”

A new era of something.

“…died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S.”

The shortsightedness of “Denounce and Preserve”

Taylor Millard Jun 23, 2017 12:11 PM

Pragmatism for the sake of pragmatism doesn’t always work.

Perhaps if you threw in a new car?

Gay marriages still growing, but not as fast

Andrew Malcolm Jun 23, 2017 10:31 AM

More, but not as quickly.

Should’ve stuck with the pirate gig. It was working for him

The battle for the rubble of Raqqa is underway

Andrew Malcolm Jun 23, 2017 8:51 AM

Won’t be much left.

Your list of demands is a publicity stunt

“what happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives…”

“The jobs are still leaving. Nothing has stopped.”

Bad vendor. Bad! No cookie!

“The Corps is just starting to grapple with the issues the court has identified.”

“So you want me to sing my praises, is that what you’re saying?”

Why would we possibly want that?

“I mean he sold our country to The Russians.”

I could think of someone else you might want to ask about…

“You can ask a hundred people what hate speech is and you get a thousand different answers”

Trump: I never made any recordings of Comey

Allahpundit Jun 22, 2017 2:01 PM


Hackers stole private data from election databases

John Sexton Jun 22, 2017 1:21 PM

“90,000 records stolen by Russian state actors contained drivers license numbers”

Failure to protect the city

Big man on the Middle Eastern campus