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.

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“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.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/high-school/should-kids-take-physical-ed-e.html

“{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