Ban McDonald's Happy Meals! Isn't that taking government intrusion a little too far?
Not when you read the news further to learn county officials in California's Silicon Valley want to ban the toy giveaways accompanying restuarant meals of more than 486 calories, more that 600 mg of salt, or high levels of sugar or fat. Photo credit:Inhabitat.com
I am starting a new feature on this blog that I'll call SchwabBlog: Schwab reads the news. The endangered Happy Meals sparked my interest, but other stories in today's newspaper also caught my eye: on Colorado Republicans emulating Democratic fund-raising tactics; on the action in the U.S. Senate yesterday over financial reform; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's new interest in American workers; and, finally, on chocolate being identified as a possible source of depression. I thought I'd jot down a few short takes on each:
First, Happy Meals. You would think government has gone too far when it starts keeping your kids from eating a favorite food that just happens to come with the day's hottest junk toy, and serves as an inexpensive way to keep the little ones entertained for hours and hours.
But then you read calorie and salt content dictates the delinkage and you realize there is some sense behind the proposal. Obesity is a national problem, and our kids are not immune.
So, go for it Santa Clara County! It can't hurt anyone but big corporations like McDonald's, and since McDonald's has been ruled a person who enjoys free speech by the U.S. Supreme Court, the elected officials who vote for such a ban will eventually pay the piper, no doubt.
And then our kids can go back to being happily fat.
But how can food researchers go after chocolate? I was depressed for many years before my last divorce and all that time I loved chocolate ice cream. Only now, five years later, do I find myself buying butter pecan, Spumoni, and vanilla a lot more frequently than I used to.
And what about Colorado Republicans? I knew they were spooked by the Democratic Gang of Four millionaires who funded the campaigns of enough state House and Senate candidates to give control of the legislature to the Dems back in 2004. But I never would have guessed the old stick-in-the-muds of the establishment would ever become copy cats! If you like the two-party system in America and believe bipartisanship is necessary to the success of the nation, all you can really respond to the GOP is: Welcome back to the party! It's time you got back into the game.
Having said that, the Senate action on financial reform makes sense. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid forced a vote on limiting debate of the Democratic proposal to remake the nation's financial system, and then voted against his own motion in order to bring the topic up again after seeing it was going down by a few votes. Essentially, he gained time for proponents of reform to craft a bipartisan compromise, and yet put pressure on Republicans to sign on to some kind of reform bill. After all, those Repubs don't want to be seen as upholding the rights of fraudsters on Wall Street to rip off the American taxpayer. And bipartisanship is good; right?
And speaking of mixing it up politically. When was the last time you heard of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stepping up for the American worker? Thomas Donohue, CEO of the chamber, must have choked a little in a speech he gave in Denver yesterday when, according to the Denver Post, he said: "Americans have a long history of coming together to tackle a problem."
Then described the pro-business chamber's plans to help create 20 million jobs nationally. Anybody catch the naturally red-face Donohue blushing as he said that? You can bet they won't be union jobs.