Via Professor Bainbridge, I see that a committee of the Los Angeles City Council has recommended banning new fast food restaurants in a 32-square-mile section of the city on the grounds that the people who live there are too damn fat.
The proposed moratorium follows a report last year which found that about 30 percent of children living in the South Los Angeles, West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park areas are obese compared to about 21 percent in the rest of the city.
Those would be the poorer, browner, and blacker areas of Los Angeles, by the way.
"If people want to eat at a restaurant or go shopping at a neighborhood grocery store, these are choices that are not readily available to them at this time," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who spearheaded the measure.
Jan Perry apparently believes that Mayor McCheese and that Wendy bitch are holding off grocers and vegan restaraurantuers, possibly with huge vats of boiling trans fats. Note that Perry doesn't even bother to argue that false consciousness is leading folks in the loading zone to eschew the arugula aisle and the health-food restaurants — Perry admits they aren't even there. But Perry believes that if you prevent more fast food restaurants from going in — presumably because there is a demand for them — that groceries and healthy restaurants will appear. I am not certain where Perry studied economics.
It's a cliche to point it out by now, but poor people are statistically more likely to be fat than middle-income or rich people. Therefore to the extent that government is going to use obesity rates in particular regions as justification for this sort of food zoning, it will disproportionately limit the choices (including not only eating, but small business ownership and low-income jobs) of the poor.
Of course, the famously feckless L.A. City Council is not alone in turning into free-market-skeptic food scold. California just banned the use of trans fats in restaurants with the enthusiastic support of our governor, who made hundreds of millions impairing the health of opponents on the silver screen by more direct and quick methods. California acted despite evidence that the market was already addressing the issue:
In addition, Ms. Dunbar said, many of the state’s restaurants have already eliminated trans fats. “We don’t think you need a mandate,” she said. “Restaurants responded to a consumer demand.”
Among national chains, Wendy’s, KFC, Taco Bell, the Cheesecake Factory and McDonald’s have all begun to move away from trans fats because of consumer concerns.
If this sort of nanny-state behavior continues, how will we be able to hold our heads high and mock the Europeans for having elaborate regulations for the size, length, appearance, and "bendiness" of produce?
Remember — Your Government Knows Best.
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