Happy Meals

“San Francisco liberalism” is generally just a silly political epithet to scare Americans with gay people, but damn if San Fransciso didn’t just set the liberal cause back with their ridiculous over-reach on Happy Meals.  Normally, when conservatives complaining about excessive government interference and regulation, it’s just a lot of hot air (clean air and water regulations– oh no!!).  Alas, San Francisco has banned the sale of toys with kids’ fast food meals if they don’t meet certain nutritional requirements (e.g., contain a vegetable).  I’m all for encouraging healthier food choices for kids and families, but please don’t take away my kids’ Megamind toy because he wants fries instead of apple slices.  Without seeing the exact details of the legislation, if I’m McDonald’s I just would do something like toy available for $.01 with purchase of Happy Meal.  Also, there’s a 600 calorie limit.  It cannot be too hard to figure out marginally smaller portion sizes that take you to 590 or 29% of calories from fat instead of 30%.  Regardless, this certainly strikes me as over-stepping the proper bounds of government.  Or maybe its just because I love my kids meal toys.



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Happy Meals

  1. Jason says:

    I think this might be a case of ridiculous under-reach instead! In the larger context, we make political decisions that end up in essence subsidizing large fast food corporations like McDonald’s (from our agriculture policies to labor policies). I think it’s reasonable to have additional policies that could help reverse rising obesity rates and all of the health problems (and costs) that come from that, and if one way is to not allow McDonald’s to bribe kids to pester parents for a horribly un-nutritious meal, I don’t have a problem with it.

    Of course, being a vegetarian makes my position somewhat suspect, I know!

    • Steve Greene says:

      We’re totally agreed on our agricultural policies that subsidize unhealthy food. I’m a vego-sympathetic omnivore. Just because our policies regarding corn, etc., subsidize McDonald’s cheap food are wrong, does not mean that such heavy-handed interference in a market is right. Two wrongs…

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