The Golden State continues to march toward becoming the country’s most restrictive territory as Gov. Jerry Brown signs S.B. 1192, a piece of legislation that fights childhood obesity by mandating that restaurants and fast food spots may no longer list sugary drinks on their kids’ menus. The only drinks they can properly advertise is water and milk — that’s right.
Interestingly enough, parents will still be allowed to order juices or sodas, even if these items are not listed as “default” beverages. However, if a restaurant fails to follow the new law and it advertises sugary drinks, it could face a fine of up to $500.
To state lawmakers, the law is necessary to keep children healthy.
“Kids’ meals shouldn’t come with a side order of diabetes, obesity or cardiovascular disease,” Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, a Sacramento Democrat, said while carrying a cup with nine packets of sugar to make a point about how much sugar a child ingests when drinking a small soda.
According to legislators’ logic, the fact that most American children consume almost twice as many calories when they go out to eat with their parents as they do at home, it’s the state’s job to make sure restaurants are aiding parents in keeping their children healthy.
Government Bans Do Nothing To Fight Obesity
When governments get into the business of regulating people’s personal lives, the role of personal responsibility loses its importance and all matters become someone else’s responsibility. No wonder so many people nowadays resort to the “somebody ought to do something” call for action whenever society faces a new hurdle.
Over time, however, what appears to be an overzealous attitude reveals itself as what it truly is: An attempt at keeping voters hooked on the “solutions” provided by bureaucrats.
The more the elected politician “looks after” the voter, the more the voter feels compelled to vouch for him and his colleagues in the next election.
As pointed out by FEE, this isn’t the first time California tries to curtail the obesity epidemic by trying to legislate the problem away.
In 2009, the state banned the sale of soda in public schools. But while supporters of the practice said children started consuming less soda as a result, the reality is that consumption of sugary beverages continued to grow among teenagers. Why? Well, they just switched to sports drinks instead.
In 2013, however, the party was over as it was the federal government’s turn to ban sports drink nationwide. But despite the countrywide ban, the national obesity rate among kids between 2 and 19 actually increased from 17.2 percent in 2013 to 18.5 percent in 2016. If anything, this increase proves that no matter how many new laws or regulations are implemented, you cannot solve problems by restricting consumer freedom.
This lesson is particularly lost on California officials, as the state wastes no opportunity to ban something new whenever possible.