Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was scheduled to give an address Tuesday at the National Press Club, and it’s a real shame the D.C. Snowmaggeddon caused its cancellation. Had Vilsack been able to deliver what the Associated Press reports was in the speech, it might have brought on a real discussion about this child obesity campaign the First Lady is getting so much credit for taking on.
The Obama administration will ask Congress to improve childhood nutrition by ridding school vending machines of sugary snacks and drinks and giving school lunch and breakfast to more kids… the administration will seek changes when Congress overhauls the Childhood Nutrition Act.
…Child nutrition and obesity have emerged as key issues for the Obama administration. First Lady Michelle Obama plans to launch a campaign against childhood obesity on Tuesday.
Vilsack outlined changes that include a push to jettison cookies, cakes, pastries and salty food from school vending machines and cafeteria lines. Vilsack says schools need to help kids eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
…The administration also wants to enroll more kids in school lunch programs and boost the number of schools offering breakfast. Vilsack said the administration would also push for bigger reimbursements for schools serving breakfast.
First of all, someone really should explain where in the Constitution it’s written that the federal government has the power to decide what goes in vending machines and what doesn’t. If that isn’t the proper purview of local and state governments – or in this case the principals of the actual schools where the machines are – it’s hard to imagine what is. This kind of bureaucratic, nanny-state overreach is one of the main reasons our federal government has run up $14.3 trillion in debt while poisoning the public faith in its ability to execute its duties.
Just watch the press this thing gets, though. We’ll hear about the “epidemic” of fat kids and how the administration is engaging in a noble, heroic crusade to “end” childhood obesity, as though the federal government has any capability to offset parents who don’t get their kids out of the house to exercise or to eat correctly.
Just for the record, what is a lot worse than being overfed and out of shape is to be so bereft of self-reliance and individuality that you would for one second tolerate the idea that Washington, D.C. has the authority, constitutional or moral, to dictate to you what you or your children should eat. This is nanny-state totalitarianism and it should be rejected out of hand.
Is it a good thing to promote good nutrition and fitness for children? Sure it is. But to create federal programs aimed at regulating legal individual behavior, rather than attempting to encourage people to do the smart thing through communication and the bully pulpit? It reeks.
Bear in mind, this is not a Republican vs. Democrat thing. One of the reasons the previous administration found itself in so much disrepute at the end of its eight years was that it and the Republican leadership in Congress engaged in exactly the same behavior. A perfect example was the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, a ridiculous piece of nanny-state government which sought to outlaw online poker, of all things.
It’s time we recognize that the federal government sucks at pretty much everything it does the Founding Fathers didn’t envision in the Constitution, and get it out of that game. A good place to start would be for Vilsack’s speech to get shut down by more than the snow in Washington this week.
(Hat tip: Doug Ross @ Journal.)