Tuesday, May 8, 2012

John Stossel on liberty and private enterprise

Because I have a very busy schedule over the next two weeks, my posting will be spotty and I will depend upon others to do my writing for me. John Stossel provides a very good article on why private enterprise always is painted as the enemy and government as the rescuer.

I will note that every time government really screws up something, the solution ALWAYS is to give more power to the government agency that performed poorly. After every financial and economic crisis which the Fed helps to create, the answer is to give the Fed even MORE authority, which it gladly takes.

In the early 1970s, the government created the Food Pyramid in which it emphasized lots and lots of carbs. Americans doubled their intake of wheat and "fat-free" but sugar-laden foods became the norm. The government also forced corn syrup on us while forcing up the price of sugar, all in the name of helping people.

Today, we have an obesity epidemic and the "solution" is to give the government more power to tell us what we can and cannot eat. And so it goes. The government helps to create a problem, and then is called upon to "fix" it. The best description I can give is that we have the firefighters who start fires and then are called heroes when they bravely put them out. (Except government seems to make the fires burn even brighter and hotter, all the while claiming it needs more authority to fight the very fires it is breeding.)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The USDA is an excellent example of how the government and special interests make us worse off. McGovern ignored all the data saying that grains could be bad for health (he did, after all, come from a major grain-producing state)and our health is worse than ever.

Robbie said...

I strongly suggest that you get your facts straight on the real causes of the obesity epidemic. When the Atkins diet originally came out in the 1970's, most people were unable to afford a diet of high fat and low fiber foods due to high commodity prices. Once the Nixon administration began to subsidize the grain used to feed livestock, gradual increases in the rates of obesity began to emerge. The obesity epidemic is a result of eating a diet of mostly animal products. Complex carbohydrates have consistently proven to be the ideal diet for humans while mountains of medical studies consistently confirm that the Atkin's diet is unhealthy. Furthermore, as an economist, you should be aware that farm subsidies are just another form of Keynesian economics. Diverting grain for human consumption to livestock consumption is tremendously inefficient and costly, even more so when one considers the amount of land, gasoline, water, and electricity required to produce animal products. Your blog has convinced me that the poor health of our country is one more example of what happens when "malinvestments" run amok. The best way to end the obesity epidemic is to eliminate the subsidies that largely benefit the meat,dairy, and junk food industries and require people to pay the true cost of these products if they choose to do so.

Mike Cheel said...

@Robbie

" Complex carbohydrates have consistently proven to be the ideal diet for humans while mountains of medical studies consistently confirm that the Atkin's diet is unhealthy."

He never said Atkins. Not all low carb diets are the same.

William L. Anderson said...

I absolutely agree regarding the farm subsidies. I think you are right on with that point, given that many of the crops that are subsidized seem to be figuring in modern obesity.

Of course, it seems that at least some of the Food Pyramid is directing people toward those subsidized foods.

jason h said...

Complex carbohydrates have consistently proven to be the ideal diet for humans...

Not true. Glucose triggers fat storage and fuels cancer cells. Grains cause inflammation, leach nutrients from the body, cause cavities...

"...meat,dairy, and junk food industries..."

Careful putting the first two in the same sentence with the last. Humans evolved eating a diet high in fat - fish and other animal meat. Veggies, berries, tubers and seeds made up these rest.

A consistent high carb diet of fruits, sugar and grains are quite new to the human diet and are very likely contributing to the declining heath of the species.

It's not the first time conventional wisdom has been completely wrong - and it doesn't help that the bread basket a very powerful lobby.

burkll13 said...

by what standard do we measure obesity? the BMI, which has been manipulated more times than the inflation formulas, and where tom cruise, will smith, and most athletes are considered overweight? and arnold Schwarzenegger is obese?

i do think the increased uses of corn syrups are negatively affecting consumers ( i switched from reg pop to drinking MD throwback, and lost 7 pounds), but i consider this " epidemic" as just another opportunity to intervene on the everyday decisions that people make.

Mike Cheel said...

@burkll13

" but i consider this " epidemic" as just another opportunity to intervene on the everyday decisions that people make."

/signed

Mikaelus said...

In response to all the comments about the human diet, I'd like to recommend a documentary called "Fat Head". It is meant as a response to Super Size Me (the McDonald's documentary), and talks about the obesity "epidemic" and how gov't has helped cause it.

Can find it on Netflix if you have it.

Tel said...

"Complex carbohydrates have consistently proven to be the ideal diet for humans while mountains of medical studies consistently confirm that the Atkin's diet is unhealthy."

Complex carbohydrates are the ideal diet for feeding a lot of humans cheaply. An individual human is better off eating meat if they can get it.

Anonymous said...

The idea that the food pyramid and somehow therefore the government is to blame for the obesity epidemic is laughable. I guess you geniuses never considered the effect of the 24/7 bombardment of the American consumer with ads from McDonalds, Burger King, Coke and Pepsi. And the fact that instead of pickup baseball, football and hoops, adolescents today are more apt to spend time in front of electronic diversions made by Nintendo and Apple. The last I heard McDonalds and Nintendo are NOT government agencies. I'd bet you ten thousand Romney dollars that the average teenager can't tell you a thing about the food pyramid but can tell you five different ways to supersize your Big Mac meal at the local Mickey Dees. I know facts have a liberal bias and therefore you guys ignore them, but you really should reconsider.

ALima said...

Who cares what's healthy? That's not the point. Why is government confiscating our money to tell us what to eat?