Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Let me choose (or not) trans fats

Liberty on the Run: The Massachusetts legislature will be considering a bill that will ban all trans-fats. While there is no need to explain how this puts freedom on the run, I think there are two points that should be explored.

What do politicians think will be the net benefit to society (besides their reelection)? They say the reason is to curb obesity, especially in children, because it will increase quality of life and lower health care costs. Both of these points are dubious. Each individual should choose what they believe to be quality in their own life. If an individual believes that consuming McDonald's French fries will bring them a quality life then they should be allowed to consume that product.

The second point about saving health care costs is articulated by people who know nothing about economics. By artificially raising the price of food they are placing a tax on the people who can least afford to pay more; the poor. Shifting the burden from health care to food consumption equals no net change. Furthermore, the businesses most affected are not the corporate conglomerates, (which have been phasing out trans fats) but small businesses. McDonalds may be able to financially handle a shock but no the family owned neighborhood dinner.

No comments: