Written by Daniel Greenfield
Food prices have been steadily rising under Obama. The price of a pound of potatoes has gone up by a third, the price of a gallon of milk has increased by a fifth and the price of a 5lb bag of flour has gone up by a dollar.
Bacon was at $3.60 a lb under Bush. It’s now up to $5.60 a lb under Obama. The price of a whole frozen Thanksgiving turkey was at $1.32 a lb under Bush. It’s up to $1.81 under Obama giving Americans that much less to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
The price of a tub of margarine went up from $1.50 to $2.10. But that won’t be a problem for long because thanks to Obama it may soon become hard to get margarine at any price.
Obama’s FDA is considering a ban on trans fat in foods. Like incandescent bulbs and cheap free market health insurance, margarine may become one of those things that you can no longer buy anymore.
It will also mean that many other foods will either be banned, become more expensive or taste worse.
The FDA had already mandated trans fat labeling on products. The new ban would not protect anyone; instead it would take away the right of Americans to choose what they eat. Under the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, the FDA was created to prevent “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors.”
Its claim that trans fat in foods make them adulterated is a deliberate misinterpretation of its powers.
The FDA’s food policing powers do not give it the right to ban unhealthy foods. If they did, the FDA could outlaw every kind of junk food. And it has begun doing that with its argument that trans fats are unsafe because they are unhealthy; building up plaque in arteries and increasing the risk of heart attacks.
Here’s a short list of foods that build up plaque in arteries and increase the risk of heart attacks.
Milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, hot dogs, salami, French fries and eggs. The FDA has given itself the authority to ban everything from a glass of milk to a carton of eggs. And that’s not an exaggeration.
Last year a new study came out whose author claimed that eating eggs was as bad for the heart as smoking cigarettes, compared the egg industry to the tobacco industry and was followed by suggestions that egg cartons should carry health warnings like tobacco cartons.
Every time you see another one of those contradictory health warning stories, imagine that they can lead to a ban on everything from wine to chocolate to eggs.
Bloomberg, who pushed through a trans fats ban in 2006, is celebrating that Obama has caught up to him. The question is which element of Bloomberg’s food fascism will Obama adopt next? Will it be his ban on salt or on large sodas?
Many of the largest junk food companies are as cheerful about the ban as Bloomberg.
The ban on trans foods will make everything from doughnuts to popcorn to cookies taste worse. That’s bad news for working moms who like their frozen pizzas, movie lovers who like their microwave popcorn and Vegans and Kosher Jews who use margarine instead of butter in their cooking.
But it is good news for big food companies which have the cash to sink into R&D for new techniques; some of which may even be patentable. Smaller manufacturers will be squeezed out as their doughnuts suddenly start tasting oily and consumers switch to the big budget brands which become the only game in town.
In the age of Obama, rent seeking is one of the most effective ways to compete. Regulatory barriers favor big companies over small ones. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which is spending a lot of money to fight genetically modified foods labeling, cheerfully welcomed the trans fat ban. The GMA wouldn’t be doing that if it weren’t profitable
GMA members welcomed Michelle Obama’s call for “healthier food” with a standing ovation at their convention; understanding the competitive advantages that added regulatory barriers would bring. The big companies have already slashed trans fats in preparation for what they no doubt knew was coming. Now they get to watch their smaller competitors desperately scramble to hold on to their customers.
The products of the smaller local manufacturers may even be healthier overall, but health has nothing to do with this. Like everything that this government does; it’s about power. The power to move money out of less politically connected pockets into more politically connected pockets.
The FDA is making an aggressive power grab into an area that most people pay very little attention to. Bloomberg started with trans fats before moving on to more familiar targets like soda and salt. If the FDA succeeds in banning a food because it clogs up arteries, it will pave the way for unlimited bans. And those bans will also serve the interests of crony capitalist food firms with ties to the Democratic Party.
All this would be bad enough in a healthy economy, but when American families are already worrying about how to put food on the table; it’s downright criminal.
Marie Antoinette at least allowed the peasants to eat cake; if they could find it. Barack Obama isn’t just starving Americans of food money with his economic policies; he is now taking food out of their mouths.
The price of a frozen pizza went up by 33% under Obama. Now due to his trans fat ban, it will increase even more and taste worse.
That may be Obama’s legacy. That he made Americans poorer and worse off, forced them to spend more and get less for their money. That he deprived Americans of every basic necessity, made it more expensive for them to drive to work, to see a doctor and to eat a meal.
And when they did sit down at a table to eat; Obama even made the food in their mouths taste worse.
During the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover campaigned on a promise of a chicken in every pot. During his own economic depression, Obama celebrated Thanksgiving by signing a bill legalizing the slaughter of horses for human consumption. According to nutrition experts, horse meat is healthier than beef.
Forget your hot dogs, doughnuts and popcorn. Start eating your horse.
*Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.
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