The requirement in Obamacare that restaurants list calories on their menus will cost billions.

Finding out what’s in it: The requirement in Obamacare that restaurants list calories on their menus will cost billions.

President Obama’s own Office of Management and Budget listed the menu display imposition as the third most burdensome statutory requirement enacted that year, forcing retail outlets to expend 14,536,183 work hours every year just to keep Uncle Sam happy. Instead of applying the menu rule just to restaurants, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided on its own initiative to sweep certain convenience stores and pizza delivery storefronts under the calorie-count requirements. FDA bureaucrats are even micromanaging compliance, down to determining the sizes of fonts that can be used on menu signs.

This regulation does nothing to lower the cost of healthcare, and in fact increases costs in more ways than can be counted. Moreover, it is less than useless in improving the public’s health.

However, it does do a lot for federal bureaucrats, giving them more power over businesses and our lives. Hooray!

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9 comments

  • Patrick Ritchie

    Interesting.

    What level of super market labeling would you support?

    Calories? ingredients? Danger (think cleaning products)?

    • wodun

      You might have noticed that food sold in super markets already has labels, except for the food made there, which may or may not depending on where you shop.

      This is about putting labels on things like deli corn dogs and soups.

      IIRC, this rule does not apply to sit down restaurants unless they a chain over a certain size. This is just a symptom of the Democrats urge to punish franchises who they view as damaging “mom and pop” restaurants.

      Too bad it means mom and pop will be stuck working in their one or two restaurants unable to expand and unable to hire enough people to run the restaurant without them there.

      And it is doubtful their children will be able to pay the taxes on the restaurant when their parent dies so there is less chance of seeing a multi-generational family business.

    • I think the federal government has no business requiring any labeling at all. This is a state matter, pure and simple, both for practical and Constitutional reasons.

      • Patrick Ritchie

        Which practical reasons? I’m genuinely curious. What makes a state regulation inherently better than a federal one?

        • Local control. This is the heart of the American federalist system. We are not an anarchy, we are a nation founded specifically on government, but of a rational and complex nature. And I said in my reply to you, there are both for practical and Constitutional reasons for this.

          First the Constitutional reasons. You cannot have freedom without law and rules. However, if you allow law to run wild you cannot have freedom. The Founding Fathers understood this deeply. The solution to this contradictory reality that they came up with was to give the greatest flexibility and power to the local governments, slightly less to the states, and then even less to the Federal government. In fact, the Constitution itself is a negative document, whereby it outlines very specifically the few powers the Federal government shall have, and then clearly states that all other powers not so defined are reserved to the states and the people.

          This is the Constitutional reason why the Federal government should not be requiring labeling on food products. It isn’t its right or power, according to law. It is fundamentally unconstitutional.

          Then there is the practical reason, which is also why the Founding Fathers designed this system this way. They understood that it would be impractical in a large nation for all regulation to be managed from the central government. Better to leave the more mundane and detailed legalities to local and state governments, especially since these local and state governments are best placed to understand the problems themselves, being close to them. Central governments are too big, too distant, too unwieldy, to handle local regulatory issues.

          Also, local and state governments, being numerous and small, can be more flexible. They can try different things, then compare their efforts and, far more easily than a big centralized government, adapt and adjust. Having the federal government do it means you only get one choice, which will be very difficult to change because of that government’s huge size and inertia.

          Finally, there is the moral reason for keeping this regulatory power out of the hands of a big centralized government. Distant from the people it governs, it is too easy for a federal government to become power-hungry, greedy, and corrupt. Eventually its interests supersede those of its citizens. It acts for its own interests and power. It becomes oppressive.

          Such oppression, while possible in state and local governments, is far more difficult in those governments to maintain or impose. And even if they do become oppressive and corrupt, the citizens still have the ability to move. They can flee a failed local government and move to where government and society is more rationally maintained. (In fact, that is exactly what has been happening for the past forty years, with the big urban cities, most badly managed and highly taxed, seeing their populations dwindle as their citizens fled to greener pastures.)

          However, if a centralized federal government becomes corrupt or oppressive, there is no place for you to flee. And because of its huge size and power, it is far more difficult to modify or reform it. It simply grows and grows, and eventually eats itself and everyone else.

          Which sadly, appears to be happening.

  • Pzatchok

    Think of it this way.

    Is it easier for a lobbyist to pay off one or two politicians in the federal government or to payoff a hundred in each state?

    And giving the power to make these rules to an unelected bureaucrat in a distant federal government is even worse. They take smaller bribes and can’t be voted out.

    And please don’t ask us(the people) how much regulation we are willing to put up with. Ask yourself how much your willing to force on us(the people).

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