Regulating fast food

by Ted Frank on August 21, 2008

At American.com, Sara Wexler casts a critical eye at the redlining of new fast-food restaurants out of certain Los Angeles neighborhoods. I hadn’t previously noticed that LA was justifying the ban in part on the claim that South LA’s obese residents are “plac[ing] enormous costs on the California state Medicare system”–as a good an example of the future dangers to freedom of government-run health-care as any.

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Big Macs a Health Food? Man Eats 23,000 Big Macs | OpenMarket.org
09.11.08 at 11:57 am

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1 Ken Johnson 08.21.08 at 10:55 am

I wonder what kind of enormous costs illegal aliens place on the California state Medicare system? I would imagine it’s slightly more than the big-boned of LA. Of course the state of California doesn’t seem quick to ban illegals.

2 VMS 08.21.08 at 1:16 pm

I didn’t know that fast food necessarily makes one obese or is necessarily unhealthful (not unhealthy). A burger, and a drink certainly does no harm, and is a fast convenient lunch. On the other hand, three triple burgers, a quart and a half of sugared soda and the super-duper fries on a continuous basis may cause problems. Using the logic that justified the zoning, supermarkets should also be banned in the area, because instead of buying milk, juice, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fresh lean meat and an occasional snack, these “weighers on the Medicare/Medicaid system” buy chips, fluorescent grape drink, fatty bacon, doughy white bread, beer, candy and sugar cookies. The gummint should stay away from people’s food choices, except maybe for public service announcements as to the benefits of balanced eating in moderation and exercise.

From a legal viewpoint (absent racial overtones of this specific California case), the gummint only has to justify its zoning decisions with a “rational basis,” usually an easily met statndard. Sounds as if McD’s, Yum Brands, Burger King Holdings, Wendy’s International need to lawyer up (justifiably so)against this ordinance.

One final thought: Is the corner donut shop included in this zoning ordinance? What about donut chains? Is a mom and pop burger joint more healthful than a BK or McD’s?

3 Ralph 08.22.08 at 7:48 am

“Just put the doughnuts down, and step over to the salad bar, ma’am, and no one will get hurt…”

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