Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Intended Consequences: The Federal French-Fry Police in the War on Prosperity

HOW COME BIG GOVERNMENT NEVER HAS TO GO ON A DIET?

“Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”–Dr. Auric GoldTonsil, in Ian Fleming’s novel “Cashraker: The GoldTonsil-Amputator”, 1959

Ed Morrissey:

Responsible adults can navigate a menu on their own to choose the healthier options, if they want to do so, without forcing restauranteurs to conduct the kind of lab analyses necessary to give accurate calorie counts for menus.

The impact on businesses will be disproportionate to their size. Large restaurant chains with standardized menus can handle this mandate less expensively per dinner sold, thanks to the economies of scale, which is why Chili’s has the information on their national website. Chains under 20 locations will get exempt. But what about those chains with just over 20 locations?

Davanni’s, a local pizzeria-sandwich restaurant with 22 locations around the Twin Cities, will now have to comply with this mandate. A caller to my Saturday show (who wished to remain anonymous) told my radio partner Mitch Berg during a commercial break that it will cost Davanni’s approximately $200,000 to comply with the new mandate — just to start. Every menu change will require Davanni’s to have the new or modified items re-analyzed, which means that Davanni’s will probably resist adding new options for their customers. Meanwhile, larger chains with more economy of scale for such efforts such as Pizza Hut can do the tests once for all of their locations, keeping their prices lower for their customers — which they already do, thanks to consumer demand for the information.

Under those circumstances, will Davanni’s feel compelled to keep the extra three locations open, or to scale back to 19 to avoid the mandate? Even if they do keep all of their locations, that $200,000 will now get spent on something other than new jobs for teenagers and adults, and customers will pay higher prices for their food. Local and regional chains with 15-19 locations have a big economic disincentive to expand any further. I don’t know much about Davanni’s bottom line, but I’m pretty sure that even though they make some of the best pizza and hoagies in the area, they don’t have $200,000 lying around the pizza sauce to blow on lab analyses this year, or any other.

This is a fundamentally anti-growth policy — and in service of what? A federal mandate to treat adults like children, as though someone buying a pizza might be under the delusion that they’re ordering health food.

“We have to pass the meal bill to find out what’s in it.”

Nor are the perverse, job-killing disincentives limited to the food and beverage industry. I saw a business-owner on the news who had 30 employees, some of whom had health insurance. If he covered them all, he would qualify for large tax breaks…IF he got the number of employees down to 25.

There have been too many Cloward-Piven moments to believe these are just accidents anymore. Liberals used to do stupid things with bad, but unintended, consequences.

Now, believing that the only way to transform a capitalist economy into a socialist economy is to wreck it first, they do stupid things with Intended Consequences.

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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