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HHS To Standardize Fast Food Serving Size?

It is completely beyond my why the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats could be this obtuse. No one should want — and I doubt any American really does support — the government standardizing serving sizes and recipe compositions, even on health grounds.

Remarkably, Section 4205 of the new health reform law, which requires chain restaurants and vending machines to provide nutrition notices, instructs the HHS Secretary to:

Consider standardization of recipes and methods of preparation, in reasonable variation in serving size and formula of menu items, space on menus and menu boards, inadvertent human error, training of food service workers, variations in ingredients…

HHS Secretary to Regulate Serving Sizes and Recipes for Cheeseburgers and Fries | John Goodman. Who could have known? That’s in part because the provision literally was buried:

You’ve heard the phrase “buried in the bill,” of course. Section 4205 of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the health care reform bill President Obama signed on March 23, 2010 is contained on pages 1206-14 of a 2407 page bill. It could hardly be more buried than that.

Food Lability Law Blog.


And so, America has gone from “Cheeseburger in Paradise” to “I Can Has Cheeseburger” to self-proclaimed “reformer” rants against Five Guys burgers as Xtreme Eating. What a country! It’s all well and good that Ms. Obama’s pet issue is childhood obesity, but outlawing fatty and big meals will, like illegal drugs, just make them more desirable. So this proposal for more government will inevitably backfire, as well as being totally repulsive from a civil liberties standpoint.

Opportunistic Reversal or Just Politics?

The Obama administration shocked a lot of people — including this author — when an advisor announced Sunday that taxing medical insurance benefits is on the table as part of its so-called “health care reform” initiative. White House Open to New Tax on Health Benefits [washingtonpost.com]. The explanation, namely that everything is negotiable, rings very hollow. Obama campaigned hard on a pledge that anyone earning less than $250,000 would not see a tax increase under his health care reform proposal. Indeed, this was a central point during the debates in differentiating Obama from John McCain and painting a picture of a candidate more in touch with the concerns of everyday Americans.

Part of the real explanation, of course, is that to avoid (correct) charges of budget-busting, the Obama administration needs to craft a more “revenue-neutral” plan, and thus really needs the incremental revenue from such taxes. But from my vantage point, this is both opportunistic and cynical. Why should insurance proceeds, used to defray health care expenses, be taxed when for almost all taxpayers, insurance premiums are not tax deductible? This makes no sense from a tax fairness or financial perspective. To paraphrase a famous Ronald Reagan quip from New Hampshire in 1980, “we paid for those health benefits, Mr. Obama!”