We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I hate to see the US going in the direction of the UK, with government nannies all over the place telling us what to do and how to live. It is not dignified, for adult humans, to put up with such nonsense from politicians, who are the last people on the planet we want or need advice from.
I'm no scold, but I would be glad if every sandwich place or fast food restaurant had to list the calories and nutritional content of the food they sold. Much of the food I buy to cook from scratch already does. It should be just as easy to make informed choices when eating out as at home.
But it is not always immediately apparent which foods at a restaurant of any kind are actually nutritious. Some commercial salads, for example, end up with more fat and calories than a Double Cheeseburger, but one's intuitive sense might steer one wrong. When with me, my kids will get a pretty good estimate, but when they are out alone or with friends they are at sea.
My family eat out a handful of times a year, and usuallly the occasion is a birthday banquet, so no problems. We are not killjoys. But given that restaurants and fast fod places add far more fat , salt, sugar, etc. to dishes than my home cooking and serve far larger portions, I feel that truthful information would be helpful on those everyday occasions when one simply needs a meal and can't get home in time. Easier to resist a triple layer Death by Chocolate if you see that it has 1200 calories than if you delude yourself it has 300. Most Americans grossly underestimate their caloric intake, just as they grossly underreport their liquor intake to their doctors.
I don't want government to be a parent. But it is not unreasonable to want nutritional labels on food. I don't give a damn if some idiots don't care what's in their food. I do.
Given that most of the restaurant industry refuses to disclose this information voluntarily (or makes you write them for it, which doesn't help you much when you have 15 minutes to grab a bite before going back into a courtroom or job meeting and are trying to decide what to eat) I don't think it outrageous to ask the government to require it.
You're not an ignorant child, and the greedy self-indulgent obese won't be helped, but I might be willing to eat out more often if I knew what I was getting. As it is, all I can do is vote with my feet and eat only at home. The food is tastier, cheaper, and healthier. But hard on a cook who never gets a day or even a meal off...
To take another example of an initially appealing item that people choose: a politician. Because I want a good servant, I want to know everything about them. And, despite the twaddle I read in the media, I want to know about their personal life, their education, their voting record, their religion, their sources of income and previous employment. I would laugh to scorn anyone who said "What you see is what you get! What do you mean, you want to know their record, and why they got divorced three times? All that matters is that they do good sound bites and are promising what you want. Come on, it's only politics and you aren't looking for a mate are you? No, just trust us and don't expect too much of a politician."
If government didn't do a certain amount (not nearly enough still) to protect our food supply, "The Jungle" would still be coming out in serial form in the news.
Haven't you wondered just a little, as this scandal over tainted pet food unfolds, if maybe, just maybe, certain highly processed human foods may include low grade ingredients that may, just may, be contributing to people's physical ills? Or do you honestly believe that government has no role to play in requiring full disclosure by the food industry?
On a related topic, I read that link to the pathetic West Virginia program to save the obese from themselves in an attempt to save on health costs. What it didn't mention is that Weight Watchers can't reach people who are obese for a whole slew of psychological, moral and social reasons. Government funding for group motivational talks and weigh-ins is a waste of money. People lose weight when they get sick and tired of being fat, and cut down and exercise. Or fall in love. No program is so effective as what people will do themselves to appear beautiful. But people become monstrously fat for complicated reasons, that go way beyond over-active forks.
A study of the psychiatric health of patients facing gastric reduction surgery for extreme obesity noted this "Approximately 66% of the participants had a lifetime history of at least one axis I disorder, and 38% met diagnostic criteria at the time of preoperative evaluation. In addition, 29% met criteria for one or more axis II disorders. Axis I psychopathology, but not axis II, was positively related to BMI, and both axis I and axis II psychopathology were associated with lower scores on the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey. CONCLUSIONS: Current and past DSM-IV psychiatric disorders are prevalent among bariatric surgery candidates and are associated with greater obesity and lower functional health status, highlighting the need to understand potential implications for surgery preparation and outcome. "