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The War On Happy Meals Reaches New York City

The slightly absurd legislative effort to regulate what meals parents can buy for their children has reached the Big Apple:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – San Francisco’s already done it, and now New York may follow suit. New York City Councilman Leroy Comrie thinks the city should consider a ban on “Happy Meals” and similar fast food promotions aimed at kids unless those meals meet certain nutritional standards.

Comrie has fought the battle of the bulge himself.

“As you know, and I’m an example, nearly one-third of all children in New York City and throughout the United States are either overweight or obese,” Comrie said.

Comrie planned to introduce his own bill Wednesday that would essentially rewrite what could currently be considered a “Happy Meal.” The bill would require establishmentsPenalties would be steep: between $200 to $2,500 for repeat restaurant offenders who use toys to sell unhealthy meals.

Comrie said fast food restaurants know exactly what they’re doing.

“It comes as no surprise that these ads and meals are also targeted in low income and minority neighborhoods that are already at risk for childhood obesity. These are the same communities that have limited access to supermarkets, limited access to healthy food options,” Comrie said. that offer toys with food make sure the meals are 500 calories or less and have low fat and low sodium totals.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this of course, last year similar measures were passed in San Francisco and in Santa Clara County, California and the justifications for the ban were the same there as they are in this case.  In all three cases, they essentially assume that parents are mindless zombies under the control of their 3, 4, and 5 year-old children and deprived of the ability to say no when little Sally or Johnny threatens to throw a temper tantrum if they don’t get their Chicken McNuggets. Now, perhaps there’s a little bit of projection going on here and people like Comrie just assume that no parent can say no just because they can’t. That’s hardly a justification for legislation like this.

When the Santa Clara legislation was being considered last year, Bruce McQuain said this:

What has to be understood here is this is one of those precedent setters – if you give the Board of Supervisors this without a fight, how can you deny them the right, next time, to go after something else? Legitimate question. Because you know if they win this, there’s very little to restrain them from managing the rest of your life.

There is no cure for bad parenting and making it harder to buy Happy Meals isn’t going to force a bad parent to make sure their child is eating healthy. The only thing a law like this does is impose yet another level of regulation on business, put more power in the hands of government bureaucrats, and deprive good parents of the opportunity to give their children a treat every now and then. After all, if you’re going to regulate Happy Meals, why stop there? Baskin Robbins? You’re next!

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Bleev K says:

    OK, it’s stupid but calling it “war on childhood fun” is also stupid. It reminds me of the war on christmas.

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  2. Tano says:

    Because you know if they win this, there’s very little to restrain them from managing the rest of your life.

    Ridiculous claim. A lazy attempt to trot out “slippery-slope-ism”. Whenever the argument gets reduced to this – essentially saying “don’t focus so much on this particular bill, but other scarier bills that you could imagine are analogous to it” – then you know you have a weak argument.

    “There is no cure for bad parenting”

    Probably no silver bullet cure, but lots of little steps to mitigate the bad effects could be helpful.

    ” and making it harder to buy Happy Meals”

    Lazy thinking here. It will not be harder to buy Happy Meals. Happy Meals will be healthier.

    ” isn’t going to force a bad parent to make sure their child is eating healthy.”

    That is obviously not the point. Once again, this is really lazy thinking. Take your own arguments seriously, for goodness sakes. It is precisely because you cannot really force bad parents to make sure their child eats healthy that the law is aimed at simply removing the unhealthy choices from the marketplace.

    ” The only thing a law like this does is impose yet another level of regulation on business,”

    Once again with the meaningless phrasing. What “level of regulation”? It is a simple rule, not a “level of regulation”. Provide junk food – you cannot also entice with a toy. Entice with a toy, then you must provide healthy food. Not really very complicated.

    “deprive good parents of the opportunity to give their children a treat every now and then.”

    And this is the most ridiculous statement of all. You are seriously trying to claim that a good parent is not going to be able to give their kids a treat now and then? Give them any damn treat you want. You are totally free to buy them three big Macs and then take them to the toy store. The law merely prevents McDonalds from trying to entice your kids into wanting the unhealthy food by bribing them with a toy. Doesn’t restrict your freedom at all.

    ” After all, if you’re going to regulate Happy Meals, why stop there? ”

    Is there something about the name “Happy Meals” that you find just so cute and adorable that you think we will all react reflexively in support of it if you paint a picture of the big bad government bureaucrat interfering with it?

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  3. Tano,

    Unlike you I prefer to let people make their own choices rather than having the state make them for them.

    It’s really all that simple

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  4. Jay Tea says:

    No, Doug, it isn’t all that simple. One of the most important duties of government is to protect us from making bad choices. And the easiest way to do that is to take away the bad choices, and make it illegal to choose bad things. And the rationale is always the same; our bad choices could, some day, in some way, cost someone else some money, so they have the right to pre-emptively veto our right to choose.

    This tends to get inverted in the case of abortion, but that seems to be addressed by saying that “there is no wrong choice” there. I’m still shaky on that part.

    But you’re pushing the individualist angle, and that’s simply not allowed in the age of where we are all part of the big social collective, the national community.

    If only there was some kind of term to describe that kind of philosophy. Maybe something based on “social” or “commune” that sums it all up for us…

    J.

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  5. PD Shaw says:

    The thing that continually bothers me about this issue is that as a parent of young children, I would rate McDonald’s as being one of the healthier places to eat for children. We don’t eat out very much except when we travel, but typically more adult friendly restaurants will have a kid’s menu consisting of a sea of fries and chicken nuggets, often with poor beverage choices as well. It would not be odd for the kids to have eaten healthiest on a given trip at McDonald’s than anywhere else.

    (Not paid for or any way affiliated with McDonalds)

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  6. another john galt says:

    JT:
    I believe the word your looking for is “Gulag”. No thanks. I don’t need the national or local gov’t to protect me from myself. I don’t need the collective idiots (and I’m being polite here) across the river to inflict any more damage in the interest of ‘protecting’ myself.
    I need to be protected from them. Maybe it means writing a law or laws to limit government. I think I read there’s a copy of something like that somewhere in an archive in downtown DC.

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  7. Jonathan says:

    @ Jay Tea:

    “One of the most important duties of government is to protect us from making bad choices.”

    This is so depressing a statement, I don’t know where to begin. It’s depressing that in the 200 + years since this country was founded, that some of its citizens would have become so deluded as to actually think and make a statement like yours.

    It is NOT the duty of the government to protect us from making bad personal decisions. It simply isn’t- and I challenge you to show me the constitutional basis (state or federal) that outlines or supports your bizarre view of the responsibilities of government.

    Second, even IF it were the role of government to “protect” me from “bad decisions” (how do you even know what constitutes a “bad decision” for EVERYONE, by the way?), there’s no evidence to suggest that the Happy Meal constitutes a “bad decision”.

    I eat fast food, at most, twice a year. I have a young daughter who has never had a happy meal. It’s our decision as parents to keep it that way. But should the time come that we visit our relatives in NYC, I’m not going to care if she has a Happy Meal. She doesn’t eat them everyday. Why shouldn’t I have the personal liberty to make decisions on my own, or on my family’s behalf, especially with regard to what we eat?

    That you believe it is the role of the government to nanny state us to death, to regulate every act of human behaviour….. even eating, is absolutely disgusting.

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  8. Jay Tea says:

    Jonathan, it’s time like this that there was a “sarcasm” tag. Good lord, no, I don’t believe any of that — I was interpreting the mentality behind the War On Happy Meals and a host of other nanny-state moves.

    Honest.

    J.

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  9. Jonathan says:

    Thank God Jay Tea. I appreciate the followup.

    That being said, please feel free to forward my comments to New York City Councilman Leroy Commie…… oops…. I mean “Comrie”.

    :)

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  10. mpw280 says:

    Jonathan, you might have read the last line before you finished on JT, I am quite sure he was in full on sarcasm.

    Tano, pick your favorite vice and apply said statement about happy meals, then figure out if it is ok to outlaw them. They are only going after the fast food places and not the little restaurants that serve the same or worse but don’t have more of marketing phrase than Children’s Menu.

    I would rather the morons in gov’t concentrate on not spending so much money, lowering taxes and making it easier for business’ to do business so they can make money and pay taxes.

    mpw

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  11. JKB says:

    Unlike you I prefer to let people make their own choices rather than having the state make them for them.

    Doug, that’s crazy talk. Why the next thing we know, you’ll be out saying people have freedom of thought. Get thee to DailyKos for a therapeutic intervention.

    You know what would help these fat kids, let them outside sometime. Rebuild their strenuous playground equipment.

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  12. wr says:

    Wow, the internet has found someone dumber than Jay Tea. I’m impressed.

    Almost as impressed as I am with Jay’s argument: It’s terrible that the government wants to make choices for its citizens, except in the cases of things like abortion where everyone should be forced to do what I say.

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  13. PD Shaw says:

    One difference btw/ the NY proposal and the SF proposal is that SF was only punishing meals with over 600 calories, while NY would set the bar at 500 calories. Since most kid’s meals are between 500 and 600 calories, the SF proposal didn’t do much except encourage substituting carbonated soft drinks for milk.
    To get below 500 calories, you will generally need to substitute apple dippers for a small order of fries.

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  14. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, at least liberals haven’t gone all Libya and starting dropping actual bombs on McDonald’s.

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  15. Jay Tea says:

    wr, you fail at failing. I’m on record, countless times, as being pro-choice. Squishily, but hardly a pro-lifer.

    I just point out the irony of most liberal policies are to eliminate people’s right to choose in pretty much every area of their lives except sex. But there is a unifying principle underlying it all:

    It’s to prevent people from experiencing the consequences of their choices. Because, you know, that could be icky.

    Years ago, I called it “The Grand Unified Theory Of Liberalism.” I’d explain it to you, but I seriously doubt you could grasp it.

    J.

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  16. Tano says:

    Unlike you I prefer to let people make their own choices rather than having the state make them for them.

    Once again, Doug you discuss this in a sloppy, lazy manner. The state is not regulating the choices that you are making – they are regulating the actions of McDonalds, in terms of establishing boundaries for how they market their wares to children. You remain free to buy your children any food that you wish to buy them, and you are free to buy them toys, and you are free to establish the links in their mind between the junk food and the toy, if you so wish.

    Would you allow McDonalds to offer a free pack of cigarettes to teenagers if they buy a Big Mac? How about a free joint? Do you absolutely reject the notion that society can ever step in and tell a business that certain behaviors are destructive to some aspect of the social fabric, and that therefore they must not do that?

    Do you really believe that the freedom of individual businessmen to run their businesses the way they want to trumps any right of the people to ever object to anything they might do – no matter how destructive it is?

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  17. wr says:

    Yes, Jay Tea. Liberals are out to destroy your choice to die homeless in a gutter when you turn 65. They want to destroy your choice to die of an illness that could have been treated if you’d had access to health insurance. They want to destroy your choice to raise your children as illiterate savages by forcing them to go to government schools.

    Man, what terrible people they are. Thank God we have saints like you fighting for our rights to suffer needlessly.

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  18. Presumably all 7-11s, QuikMarts and other like establishments with little floor space packed with about 90% “bad” food are next.

    Tano, limiting choices is regulating choices, whether you choose to read it that way or not.

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  19. Tano says:

    Charles,

    I specifically asked Doug, and now I will ask you, how far you willing to take this principle. Are all businesses to be totally free from any regulation of their behavior by the larger society? Do you draw any lines at all?

    I see a lot of lazy bloviating and name calling on issues like this, and very little serious engagement with the actual issues. Everyone around here seems to run for the simple, absolute pronouncements about freedom – I would like to know if y’all really hold to that.

    Or do you accept that the larger society does have the right to establish some boundaries for how businesses behave, and it is just not the case in this particular instance that the behavior of McD’s is beyond the pale?

    We could discuss the issue further on those grounds, but for now, it seems that everyone here is holding to the larger, and frankly the absurd, absolutist statements.

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  20. Tano says:

    Presumably all 7-11s, QuikMarts and other like establishments with little floor space packed with about 90% “bad” food are next.

    next for what? The regulation is not against junk food. It is against marketing toys to children to entice the purchase of junk food.

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  21. PD Shaw says:

    Tano, you equate cigarettes with food, or in the particular case milk?

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  22. Tano says:

    PD,

    I don’t understand your point.
    What do you mean “equating” cigarettes with food? I was asking whether anyone would object if a business enticed young customers with cigarettes, as they are doing in this case, with toys.

    Trying to figure out if there were any point at which folks around here might admit that the aversion to government regulation was not absolute – that it is perfectly fine in some cases for the community, through the government, to step in and prohibit the business from certain activities because they are destructive to things we want to protect, like our kids.

    It would be a different discussion if it were conducted along the lines of – “government regulation of this type is fine in some cases, but this is not one of those cases” – versus – “government regulation of this type is never ok”.

    It seems that most everyone here is taking the latter position without really thinking about it very clearly. Lazy formulations from Doug, and knee-jerk ranting from everyone else. I just wonder if anyone is willing to lay out a serious argument.

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  23. Rick DeMent says:

    While I think there are better things to go after then happy meals, I have to say that I am curious about Tano’s challenge. Everyone draws the line somewhere (which is why slippery sloop is a BS augment)

    So what should retailers have any restrictions on what they can sell? I assume all of you libertarians are all for legal pot. What about coke? Cigarettes to kids (with a toy maybe) How unhealthy does something have to be before regulating it isn’t an affront to the very freedoms this great country stands for. And what level of proof do you need to demonstrate said unearthliness? Will an industry study be enough to keep retailers safe from the long arm of government (I’m sure big tobacco can come up with something that says skole is completely safe for the kiddies )

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  24. PD Shaw says:

    Food is good for you. Milk contains essential vitamins and minerals. People need calories. Six year old kids are recommended to have about 500 calories per meal. 500 calories is not enough for an active child or children over nine years of age.

    These government policies* may in fact be damaging to children. The policies encourage substituting soft drinks for milk. They encourage children to not meet their caloric intact if they are reasonably active. They encourage eating at places far less healthy than McDs.

    *Assuming they actually work as intended.

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  25. Jay Tea says:

    So, Tano, I presume that you would have no problems with the states doing something like, say, outlawing the performance of abortions? There would be no penalty for a woman seeking an abortion or having one, but the law would come down like a ton of bricks on those who performed it.

    No limits on the consumer there, right? Just on the supplier, so that’s just fine and dandy with you?

    J.

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  26. wr says:

    Rick DeMent — I suspect you meant to type unhealthiness, but “unearthliness” is one of the best new words I’ve come across in a long time. I plan to use it in the future!

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  27. wr says:

    Jay Tea — What you are describing is the Republican approach to abortion laws. What this has to do with liberals or Happy Meals is, well, zero.

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  28. TG Chicago says:

    These government policies* may in fact be damaging to children. The policies encourage substituting soft drinks for milk. They encourage children to not meet their caloric intact if they are reasonably active. They encourage eating at places far less healthy than McDs.

    So you’re not against the policies in theory; you just believe that the policies should be written better.

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  29. PD Shaw says:

    TG Chicago: I think that eating, and particularly in the area of meal-planning and diet, are such intimate personal activities that government policy intending to regulate “balance” will either have bad outcomes or simply be ineffective.

    I also don’t think that Happy Meals are unhealthy. They may be if a kid eats them every day, but that would be pretty much true of anything.

    I support government regulation of food quality; and believe it should be more active in the area of milk protein concentrates.

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  30. Tano says:

    So, Tano, I presume that you would have no problems with the states doing something like, say, outlawing the performance of abortions?

    Huh?
    Would it be asking too much for you to focus on the question at hand, and answer it?

    There would be no penalty for a woman seeking an abortion or having one, but the law would come down like a ton of bricks on those who performed it.

    I am not making some grand argument about regulating businesses vs. regulating consumers. I merely have pointed out that Doug has improperly framed this particular issue as an assault on individual liberty, when in fact it is a regulation of business activity.

    No limits on the consumer there, right? Just on the supplier, so that’s just fine and dandy with you?

    Not only is your point utterly irrelevant to the discussion here, it also makes no sense in its own right. Are you trying to claim that so long as I support any example of a government regulating a business, then I am somehow obliged to support any regulation of any business that anyone could dream up? Thats just stupid.

    Try to focus on the issue at hand.

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  31. Tano says:

    I also don’t think that Happy Meals are unhealthy.

    Just to be clear though. Happy Meals, as food, would not be banned. Its only the inclusion of the toy that is the target of the regulation.

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  32. Steve Verdon says:

    Once again, Doug you discuss this in a sloppy, lazy manner. The state is not regulating the choices that you are making – they are regulating the actions of McDonalds, in terms of establishing boundaries for how they market their wares to children.

    Now that is a nice bit of rhetorical jujutsu. We aren’t regulating you (because if we did you might not re-elect us) so we’ll regulate the other person in the voluntary exchange you want to enter into to stop you from doing “damage” to your children. But we aren’t regulating you.

    Do you really believe that the freedom of individual businessmen to run their businesses the way they want to trumps any right of the people to ever object to anything they might do – no matter how destructive it is?

    If it is destructive of course you can stop it. But putting a free toy in the happy meal is not destructive, it is an inducement. The toy does not explode, it does not destroy anything. So yes, let the individual business run their business as they see fit. If I object then I wont patronize their business. Transactions in the market place are all voluntary I am not compelled to buy anything from anyone…well except by the state. If I don’t like their product, their business tactics, etc. I don’t give them my business. I can encourage others do follow along with me.

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  33. TG Chicago says:

    I think that eating, and particularly in the area of meal-planning and diet, are such intimate personal activities that government policy intending to regulate “balance” will either have bad outcomes or simply be ineffective.

    Surely you can agree that it’s well within the realm of possibility that a regulation could end up having a net positive effect, though. Right?

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  34. Tano says:

    Now that is a nice bit of rhetorical jujutsu.

    Jujutsu? Its a simple, clear, accurate statement of the facts. The regulation prevents the McDonalds Corporation from including toys with certain unhealthy meal offerings. It is a bizarre twisting of the facts to argue that this is a regulation of the consumer’s behavior.

    If it is destructive of course you can stop it.

    What do you mean “of course”? By what right do you get to stop it, under your absolutist rhetoric? And, of course, who gets to decide if it is destructive or not?

    “Destructive” is not a legal term here, but I guess we need some term to function in that manner. What shall the standard be?

    It seems to me that some people find the Happy Meal toy to have enough of a negative effect on childhood eating habits that there is a justification for regulating it. You seem to think that the effect is not so great. That strikes me as a difference in degree, not a principled difference. If it were some other issue, besides the toy, one that were more obviously “destructive” – then “of course” we could regulate it?

    So why all the ranting about freedom and nanny-statism and the whole boring shtick? The real issue is simply whether this _particular_ marketing gimmick is appropriate or not.

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  35. jonathan says:

    @ Tano:

    “So why all the ranting about freedom and nanny-statism and the whole boring shtick? The real issue is simply whether this _particular_ marketing gimmick is appropriate or not.”

    Because the government shouldn’t be in the practice of “nanny stating” or regulating toys included as inducements to buy products. Re: cigarettes- I have no issue with businesses offering cigarettes, or toys, to anyone who buys their products. There may be problems with that for under 18 year old crowds, but as a general concept, I simply don’t care. Neither should the govt.

    Banks give toasters. Plenty of businesses offer inducements to purchase their products. The last time I checked, PARENTS did 99% of the purchasing of Happy Meals. Therefore, PARENTS should be able to decide what they wish to buy, how they’ll spend their own money.

    It is not the role of the government to try to adjust personal choices and behavior by regulating whether a food restaurant can offer toys to children (objects that carry no risk, nor harm to them, BTW). Should we regulate whether my corner diner is allowed to offer CRAYONS to my kids when they dine there? That’s an inducement aimed at families and children. And my kid LOVES drawing when we visit the diner.

    It’s NOT boring schtick. There is such a thing as “NANNY STATISM” and if you want to deny it, simply because you have a different view of this debate, is disingenuous.

    I don’t see why this is SO hard. The government, by its original design, is not supposed to be regulating stuff like this. it’s literally none of their business.

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  36. Jay Tea says:

    Tano, I believe my parallel was perfectly constructed. You are arguing that the specific action — regulating business — is acceptable, while denying the practical effect — denying consumers their right to choose whether or not to partake of the good or service offered.

    “We’re not saying you can’t have a Happy Meal. We just won’t let anyone sell it to you!”

    It’s a back door way to deny people their right to make their own choices. I chose the abortion parallel precisely because the tactic you propose has been tried in that field, and the pro-choice crowd has spent years and years honing their “a choice that you can’t exercise isn’t a choice at all” argument. And since they had put all that work into it, I figured what the hell — I’ll just sponge off their efforts.

    Here’s another example: Candidate Obama on coal power. He said he wouldn’t make it illegal to build a new coal plant, but he would use the full power of the federal government to prevent it. “You can build it, but you’ll go bankrupt,” were his words, I believe.

    A choice you can’t actually exercise isn’t a choice at all.

    If a parent wants to feed their kid a Happy Meal, then why shouldn’t they?

    I realize the left has serious problems with the capitalist system, but one of the basic tenets is “offer consumers things they actually want.” That’s why the left usually tries to rig the system with taxes and tax breaks, to use public money and government power as a carrot and stick to control people’s behavior.

    J.

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  37. Drew says:

    “One of the most important duties of government is to protect us from making bad choices.”

    Orwellian.

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  38. Tano says:

    Re: cigarettes- … There may be problems with that for under 18 year old crowds, but as a general concept….

    The issue, in the case at hand, is about marketing to children. So, we are not talking about “general concepts”. If you admit “there may be problems”, then I guess you admit that there may be a role for a government regulation.

    Therefore, PARENTS should be able to decide what they wish to buy, how they’ll spend their own money.

    No one is telling PARENTS how to spend their money. They can buy all the junk food and toys that they want. The regulation tells businesses what they can market to children.

    There is such a thing as “NANNY STATISM” and if you want to deny it, simply because you have a different view of this debate, is disingenuous.

    “Nanny statism” is a term used by propagandists to refer to any form of government regulation that they object to, while exempting any regulation that they happen to approve of. Usually, of course, the type of person who uses this term will avoid admitting that there is any regulation that they actually do approve of, unless pressed – then they say – “well, of of course if something is REALLY destructive…..”.

    It’s NOT boring schtick.

    Well, we are talking subjective opinions here. I certainly find it to be so – because these lines are trotted out as a rant rather than engaging in a serious discussion of where the lines should be drawn.

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  39. jonathan says:

    I’ll make it simple for you:

    It is not the role of the government to try to adjust personal choices and behavior by regulating whether a food restaurant can offer toys to children. PERIOD.

    The elected officials trying to pass this measure clearly state that they wish to do this to change personal behavior, to reduce obesity in children. That they choose to do this via regulating McDonalds, as opposed to individuals, doesn’t change the end result. It is not the role of the government to do this.

    That is the very nature of Nanny Statism- the government attempting to regulate personal behavior. The fact that you don’t have an issue with the government trying to regulate personal behavior is kind of disgusting. Its a view that’s completely at odds with the founders of this country.

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  40. jonathan says:

    And for the record- I don’t give a f–k if McDonald’s offers cigarettes with Happy Meals to children, or toys, or toasters, or movie tickets, or crayons. It’s up to the PARENTS of those children to decide what’s best for their own families.

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  41. wr says:

    Actually, Jonathan, it’s the government attempting to regulate the behavior of a multi-national, multi-billion dollar business to the extent that it markets its goods to children. That this so terrifies you that all you can do is spout cliches about “nanny statism” just proves that libertarianism is a bought and sold division of corporatism.

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  42. ponce says:

    “It is not the role of the government to try to adjust personal choices and behavior”

    It is if the government is paying for future medical bills of obese children.

    Or do you object to the government operating more efficiently?

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  43. jonathan says:

    Your own communist words:

    “It is precisely because you cannot really force bad parents to make sure their child eats healthy that the law is aimed at simply removing the unhealthy choices from the marketplace.”

    That you would actually believe it is the role of the government to engage in this type of regulatory action is insane. Additionally, how is the meal unhealthy? Who decides? If my kid eats a Happy Meal once a year, it won’t have any undue affect on her. Who are you, or anyone else, for that matter, to tell parents how to raise their own children?

    “The law merely prevents McDonalds from trying to entice your kids into wanting the unhealthy food by bribing them with a toy. Doesn’t restrict your freedom at all.”

    What has happened to the most basic concepts of free and open markets? Why not simply let the consumer decide…. but you don’t like their choices, so you agree with regulating it. That’s the very definition of Nanny Statism…. oh sorry, that’s “boring” to you.

    Why can’t you simply allow people to live with real personal liberty, the liberty to make choices, even bad ones, that you may not agree with. A mandate like the “anti-Happy Meal” law won’t solve ANY problems- it certainly won’t eliminate childhood obesity.

    By the way…. care to point me to the US Constitution or NY State Constitution where that falls under the responsibility of the Federal or State Government?

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  44. Vast Variety says:

    “One of the most important duties of government is to protect us from making bad choices. “

    Absolutely not! There is nothing in the constitution that gives the government the right to protect us from our own stupidity.

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  45. jonathan says:

    “Actually, Jonathan, it’s the government attempting to regulate the behavior of a multi-national, multi-billion dollar business to the extent that it markets its goods to children. That this so terrifies you that all you can do is spout cliches about “nanny statism” just proves that libertarianism is a bought and sold division of corporatism.”

    It doesn’t terrify me at all. It simply has no place in the role of the government. It is not the legitimate function of the government to tell businesses how they can induce customers to purchase their products. This is especially true when the inducement carries no risk or harm to the child and its DUBIOUS at best that the product is harmful, merely unhealthy when consumed in mass quantities.

    @Ponce:

    “It is if the government is paying for future medical bills of obese children.

    Or do you object to the government operating more efficiently?”

    Wow, I had no idea that you could read the future so clearly. Amazing! Please tell me exactly how you know the future govt is going to be paying for the medical bills of ALL of the children that consume Happy Meals henceforth. I’m all ears.

    That’s an amazing assumption- that the US government will be paying for medical bills for obese children. Also- that McDonlds caused their obesity, and therefore requires this legislation.

    Why do liberals hate liberty so much? Why do they dislike the concept of individual choice and responsibility? It’s disgusting.

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  46. Tano says:

    Tano, I believe my parallel was perfectly constructed.

    I don’t think you even realize what you wrote. You claimed that I must approve of abortion restrictions because I approve of Happy Meals regulations. That is idiotic.

    You are arguing that the specific action — regulating business — is acceptable, while denying the practical effect — denying consumers their right to choose whether or not to partake of the good or service offered.

    huh? If the marketing gimmick is banned, then the “good or service” is not being offered. Obviously the consumer is not going to partake of something that is not offered. But it is banned because the business is regulated, not the individual.

    This is not complicated. You could, in theory, write a law or regulation that forbid consumers from purchasing something that is otherwise perfectly legal. That would be a regulation of consumer behavior. This is a regulation of what a business can market to children. It imposes no burden or requirement, nor any potential penalty, on consumers.

    “We’re not saying you can’t have a Happy Meal. We just won’t let anyone sell it to you!”

    Once again, its not the meal that is banned, its the marketing of the toy with the meal.

    You seem unable to appreciate the difference between regulating a market, and controlling individual behavior. They are fundamentally different things. McDonalds, for example,. must comply with all manner of government regulation regarding food safety laws. They are essentially forbidden from selling you food that is laden with toxins or deleterious bacteria. Is this a restriction on your freedom? Is it a tyrannical regulation of your behavior, given that the nanny state is preventing you from choosing to poison yourself? I suppose you could twist your logic to fit that, but it certainly is not a standard usage of the term “freedom”.

    Yes, the government is shaping, to some extent, the marketplace for food, behind your back. You don’t actually see it, but certain theoretical possibilities, like your burger being made up of rotten rat meat, is precluded by government regulation before you even walk in the door. Andi f this law is passed, then an unhealthy meal featuring a toy will also simply not be available. The possibilities laid out in front of you may be lesser, but your freedom of action is not addressed at all.

    If a parent wants to feed their kid a Happy Meal, then why shouldn’t they?

    Parents can do whatever they want. The government is not telling parents anything. It is not threatening to punish parents. The behavior of parents is simply not the subject of anything that the government is doing here.

    A choice you can’t actually exercise isn’t a choice at all

    Well that true. No one is denying that there will be fewer choices. It will not, however, be the result of any regulation of the individual consumer.

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  47. John Burgess says:

    There is a solution to this nanny-statism. It involves tar and feathers, perhaps something even more violent. Once the idiot elected officials and those who buy into their idiocies have to pay a real, personal price–and that includes the likes of Tano–they might see where the borders between their gosh-it-makes-me-feel-warm-and-fuzzy philosophizing and other people’s right are to be found.

    Keep your f*ing legislative hands off my matters of choice. You insist on it when it comes to certain issues, but insist as fervently against it when the issues aren’t yours. Just simply go away and leave people to make their own decisions.

    Yes, there is a place for government regulation, but that place is far, far from where it now exists and where it’s seeking to extend itself. I’m sure AFSCME and SEIU support this *sshole’s measure. Why, it’ll need a whole new bureaucracy, or at least a couple hundred new union slaves dues-paying union members.

    That casuistry exhibited by the supporters of nanny-statism would make Ignatius Loyola lift his eyes in marvel.

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  48. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, my god, I can totally see it now. A little plastic toy is EXACTLY THE SAME as spoiled, poisonous meat! It makes total sense!

    The fundamental question is, “what business is it of the government if a private company chooses to give away a (perfectly safe) little plastic toy with a (perfectly safe, if not as healthy as Michelle Obama would prefer) meal intended for children, almost always entirely purchased by said child’s parent, with the full knowledge that it’s not the most nutritious choice, but they are exercising their parental rights and discretion?”

    The answer is, apparently, “because people like legion think parents can’t be trusted to take care of their own children, and need to have ‘parents’ of their own to keep them from making bad decisions.”

    Screw you, legion. Go be a dictator over someone else.

    J.

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  49. wr says:

    Actually, Jay Tea, the toy in the Happy Meal is closer to spoiled meat than it is to an abortion.

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  50. ponce says:

    “Please tell me exactly how you know the future govt is going to be paying for the medical bills of ALL of the children that consume Happy Meals henceforth. I’m all ears.”

    The government already provides medical insurance to about 10 million kids through CHIP.

    And not even the most sociopathic libertarians are brave/dumb enough to try to take that away from them.

    So it’s a fair bet the government will continue to provide American kids with medical insurance in the future.

    Therefor they have the right to steer parents to treat their kids right.

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  51. Tano says:

    Jay,

    Your style of argumentation is really rather strange. It seems that you have an absolute compulsion to take what might be an interesting point, and instantly run it out to a total absurdity. As a result, you convince no one of anything, and you totally undermine your own arguments.

    What is the point of this?

    I should clarify – when I say “an interesting point”, I don’t really mean to complement you. I don’t know if any of your points are really interesting or not – you never get around to actually laying them out in an understandable manner.

    For example –

    A little plastic toy is EXACTLY THE SAME as spoiled, poisonous meat!

    I guess you find this to be snarky and insightfully sarcastic or something? But what are you actually saying?
    If you were to actually think about it, you might realize that you are conceding a rather major point to me here, but I suspect that you are so caught up in being a wiseass you dont even see it.

    By mockingly pretending that I am equating the two things, you are conceding that when it comes to rotten meat, there is a legitimate place for government regulation. Whats more, and even more to the point, you are conceding that this TYPE of government regulation – this behind the scenes shaping of the marketplace in which rotten rat meat is excluded from the choices available to consumers – that this is not some tyrannical imposition on personal freedom.

    But that is exactly what you were trying to establish in the first place. Somehow, if the government precludes certain possibilities from the marketplace, that is exactly the same as regulating personal behavior.

    Well, it is not. All you need do is look to the sanctions involved. Who is the target of the enforcement?
    Your freedom of action is not affected in any way if the government regulates out of existence certain theoretical possibilities in the marketplace.

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  52. michael reynolds says:

    As much as I hate to disagree with my esteemed fellow liberals, I have to agree with PD Shaw: Happy Meals are not the devil. My daughter has nuggets, fries and iced tea or bottled water. Total calories around 400. And she gets a stupid toy.

    On the big giant list of stuff that needs to get done this is ridiculously far down.

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  53. michael reynolds says:

    So it’s a fair bet the government will continue to provide American kids with medical insurance in the future.

    Therefor they have the right to steer parents to treat their kids right

    .

    Right there is where you hand conservatives a win. You’re basically saying that individual liberty has to be sacrificed to hold onto a government safety net.

    The way to change behavior is less through sanction and more through education. If you told me that the price of a government safety net was noodgy TV ads bitching at us to exercise and eat right I’d say, “Okay.” If you tell me the price is someone telling me butter’s illegal, that’s a very different situation.

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  54. Jay Tea says:

    Well, it is not. All you need do is look to the sanctions involved. Who is the target of the enforcement?

    The target of all this is kids, and parents who have the gall and presumption to think that they have the right to make decisions as basic as “will we have McDonald’s tonight?” in regards to their children.

    It would be more honest if they simply said “any parent who gives his or her kid a Happy Meal will have their kids taken away and sent to the Michelle Obama Fat Camp,” but that would be too obvious. So, instead, they simply make it impossible for parents to make “wrong” choices by taking away those choices.

    I stand by my earlier abortion analogy. It doesn’t target the pregnant women, it targets the providers, not the consumers, and it’s clearly established that the government has the right to regulate medical procedures as a matter of public health.

    Oh, and mantis, if you didn’t recognize him, is a former blog-buddy of mine who went stark raving loony and insists that I’m the crazy one, and makes a point of slamming me here whenever the mood strikes him. He caught me in a legitimate misstatement, so I made a point of thanking him.

    Partly, I confess, because I figured it would really piss him off for me to do it. But partly because I’m not the psycho lunatic he is obsessed with portraying me as, and it was the fair and right thing to do.

    J.

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  55. Tano says:

    The target of all this is kids,

    No Jay, you just can’t stop yourself from falling into rant mode. The target of this is the marketing divisions of multinational corporations who, if they simply come up with more and better ways to get you to part with your money – well more power to them. But they target kids with their marketing promos, and do so while selling unhealthy food.

    So, instead, they simply make it impossible for parents to make “wrong” choices by taking away those choices.

    Once again you exhibit this total inability to carry on an honest discussion. There is NOTHING in this proposal that will prevent you from buying ANY kind of junk food, in ANY quantity for your children. The only thing prevented is for McDonalds to give away the toy with the meal.
    They can still give you the toy. And you can still buy any meal you want.

    So stop lying.

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  56. Jay Tea says:

    Boy, Tano. Big hero you are, taking toys from kids. Ain’t you proud of yourself?

    You’ve gone into full frothing mode. Not much point in trying to introduce you to more reality than you apparently can handle.

    J.

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  57. ratufa says:

    From Tano:

    Your freedom of action is not affected in any way if the government regulates out of existence certain theoretical possibilities in the marketplace.

    In general, of course your freedom of action may be affected if the government regulates possibilities out of the marketplace. To what degree one considers such regulations to be going too far depends on what’s being regulated and your political preferences. Most people probably have no problem with the “sell rotten rat meat” example, because who wants to eat rotten rat meat? But, as a less clear example, the government forbids selling cheese made from unpasteurized milk that’s less than 60 days old. Some people sneak cheese from France through customs to bypass this rule, so they obviously have some issues with it. Or, look at prohibition as an example where most people agree that the government went too far with “marketplace regulation”. Note that the “target of enforcement” during prohibition was not the consumer, but the sellers, yet it would be silly to claim that the aim of prohibition was not to regulate personal behavior.

    In this particular case, parents’ choices are being limited in a very small way: they won’t be able to walk into a restaurant and buy “junk food” that comes with a toy or other inducement aimed at kids, though some pretty crappy food still would be allowed under the rule. It’s hardly tyranny, but I strongly doubt that it’s going to have much of an effect, if any, on childhood obesity.

    From Michael:

    Right there is where you hand conservatives a win. You’re basically saying that individual liberty has to be sacrificed to hold onto a government safety net.

    Yes. When a liberal makes an argument based on the general principle that the government has a right to regulate anything that directly or indirectly costs it money, they are sliding down someone else’s slippery slope.

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  58. Tano says:

    But, as a less clear example, the government forbids selling cheese made from unpasteurized milk that’s less than 60 days old. Some people sneak cheese from France through customs to bypass this rule,

    Sneaking cheese through customs does not violate the law against selling that cheese. Maybe there is a different customs law that is being broken – but lets not confuse the issue here. There is a distinction between regulation of the marketplace and regulating individual behavior that your example is glossing over.

    it would be silly to claim that the aim of prohibition was not to regulate personal behavior.

    In prohibition it does seem that the motivation was to control personal behavior. Maybe that is why it needed a Constitutional amendment in order to take effect. The motivation in the present case is obviously not to control personal behavior, since there is absolutely nothing in the proposal that would in any way prevent any parent from buying any type of food in any quantity for their kid.

    though some pretty crappy food still would be allowed under the rule.

    That is phrased in a strange way. “Still would be allowed”??? The rule has NOTHING to do with preventing ANY type of food from being sold. It does not take even the first step in preventing any type of food from being sold. It is about the toy as marketing gimmick directed at kids.

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  59. wr says:

    Why can’t McDonald’s give away a gram of cocaine with every Happy Meal if they want to?

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  60. mantis says:

    Cocaine is illegal to possess or give away.

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  61. Steve Verdon says:

    It is a bizarre twisting of the facts to argue that this is a regulation of the consumer’s behavior.

    Not really. You know that the true reason for this is that some parents do not exercise good judgement when it comes to their children’s diet. So instead of dealing with that you want to take limit behavior by attacking the problem from a different angle.

    What do you mean “of course”? By what right do you get to stop it, under your absolutist rhetoric? And, of course, who gets to decide if it is destructive or not?

    I love this, you use the word destructive, I reply to it and then you go completely bonkers and run right of the rails into errant nonsense.

    It seems to me that some people find the Happy Meal toy to have enough of a negative effect on childhood eating habits that there is a justification for regulating it. You seem to think that the effect is not so great.

    I think it depends on the child. My son, when he was that age probably could have eaten a half dozen of them and a big mac as well and not had any adverse effect. My son, at that age also swam 5 days a week for an hour and half. Right now he probably eats more than most grown men…maybe even two of them. Of course, now he swims 6 days a week, does dry land workouts and is still growing. It isn’t uncommon for him to eat a burger on the way home from practice then eat dinner. And when he isn’t training his food intake drops drastically. On the other hand I’m sure there are kids out there who shouldn’t eat happy meals all that often and probably need much more physical activity. Of course that is a failure of the parents. So what this is is an attempt to deal with bad parenting by some parents…I find it problematic in that it punishes the good parents (and their kids) as well as set a precedent for possibly further restrictions on peoples diets.

    Just because you can’t see the principles underlying my objection to this kind of law/regulation doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    There is NOTHING in this proposal that will prevent you from buying ANY kind of junk food, in ANY quantity for your children. The only thing prevented is for McDonalds to give away the toy with the meal.

    Soooo…its the toy then that is the problem. Does it make the food more fattening or something?

    And slippery slopism…hmmm I wonder what people would say 30 years ago if you told them the various court rulings on eminent domain where taking us to the point where governments could take private property and give it to private real estate developers? They’d probably have scoffed, I’m thinking.

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  62. Steve Verdon says:

    Why can’t McDonald’s give away a gram of cocaine with every Happy Meal if they want to?

    Hmmm lets see….

    Cocaine…a cheap plastic replica of Woody from Toy Story…yeah the same freaking thing.

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  63. ponce says:

    “You’re basically saying that individual liberty has to be sacrificed to hold onto a government safety net.”

    I don’t know.

    As someone who has dumped armies of Happy Meal toys into the trash when the kids finished the 2 minutes of playing they get out of them, I’d say there’s a pretty solid environmental reason to ban them, too.

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  64. wr says:

    Verdon — The hardcore libertarians here have been screaming that ANY government regulation on any business is the slippery slope to fascism. I want to know where they draw the line. Why not cocaine? Why not a loaded .45? (That’s not illegal.) How about lead paint chips?

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  65. Jay Tea says:

    ponce, we’ve butted heads before, and will again. But damn, that was a good line.

    J.

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  66. Jay Tea says:

    wr, could you cite an example of a “hard-core libertarian” who’s said something like that around here? And to be specific, one that exists outside your head?

    J.

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  67. Dood says:

    I agree whole-heartedly with Jay Tea. It seems the only people frothing at the mouth are those who believe this will is somehow restricting personal actions. I think it is the opposite.
    The government is there to regulate, but that is not necessarily a minus equation. This is aimed at opening McD’s up to offering more options. And here’s how.

    In summation, the issue is not regulation of the food we eat (you can still buy a happy meal). The issue is not the toy (McDonalds can sell what ever it wants so long as it’s licensed). The issue is the kid wants a toy. Parent must buy specific meal for toy. Meal is unhealthy (high caloric content) for kid.

    Why can’t McD offer several kinds of Happy meals (HM) with healthy options? Because, the lure of a HM is not the food but the toy. McD is not motivated to improve food in HM because there is no reason to if the goal is getting the toy. This is evinced by the constant cycle of new, trendy toys that go into to these HM.

    If a parent wants to buy their kid a big mac, then do it. I’m all for freedom of choice. But allow the parents to choose the healthy option.

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  68. Jonathan says:

    @ Ponce:

    “Please tell me exactly how you know the future govt is going to be paying for the medical bills of ALL of the children that consume Happy Meals henceforth. I’m all ears.”

    The government already provides medical insurance to about 10 million kids through CHIP.

    And not even the most sociopathic libertarians are brave/dumb enough to try to take that away from them.

    So it’s a fair bet the government will continue to provide American kids with medical insurance in the future.

    Therefor they have the right to steer parents to treat their kids right.

    Let’s be perfectly clear here. First, the government doesn’t insure all children in the United States, so there’s no reason that it should be in the business of legislating everyone else’s choices (even if we accept your ridiculous position that they should engage in that behavior in the 1st place).

    Second, there’ no indication that the US government will be insuring ALL children in the future.

    Third, there’s no indication that eating Happy Meals is detrimental to children’s health.

    Fourth, even if less than ideal as a meal choice, there’s no indication that the government has a right to legislate how children eat.

    Fifth, the government shouldn’t have any business in legislating what companies decide to offer as “bonuses” or inducements to purchase their products.

    According to your logic, based on your previous statement, the government should dictate parental meal choices for EVERYONE solely on the basis that is insures a select group of children, even when the meal option being presented is of no real harm to children, and the action being taken has ZERO chance of reducing obesity (their goal). Let’s not forget that it’s not the government’s role to legislate eating choices, nor the distribution of toy novelties.

    So you want to legislate everyone’s choice here, solely on the basis of some fat kids under govt health care, that can’t be proven to be fat because of Happy Meals?

    That’s got to be one of the stupidest concepts that I’ve read in quite some time.

    Again, it’s very simple.

    People should have the liberty to sell what they want, as long as they don’t injure people. Happy Meals have not been proven to injure people.

    People should have the liberty to make dietary and purchasing decisions for themselves and their families as they see fit.

    Neither is the purveyance of the government in any way, shape, or form.

    You dislike the choices that people make, so you feel it’s your right, or imperative, to be everyone else’s parent and tell them how to conduct their business, professionally or privately. It is not your imperative to do so.

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  69. Jonathan says:

    @ Dood

    Sure, have McD offer healthy options. but let them offer them if they see a market for them. It’ not the role of the government to tell McD to offer other food options. Period.

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  70. Jonathan says:

    Verdon — The hardcore libertarians here have been screaming that ANY government regulation on any business is the slippery slope to fascism. I want to know where they draw the line. Why not cocaine? Why not a loaded .45? (That’s not illegal.) How about lead paint chips?

    First, I think it’s clear to everyone in this discussion that there’s a functional difference between a children’s toy and dangerous objects (cocaine, lead paint, loaded firearms), particularly when it comes to children and their safety.

    But theoretically, for the sake of argument, what’s the big deal if McDonald’s offers handguns to patrons? or cigarettes? Short of possibly running foul of the ATF, that’s certainly their prerogative as a business.

    And its consumer’s right and prerogative to be appalled at those decisions and decide that they won’ patronize Mc Donald’s anymore as a result. Let the free market decide these things.

    That’s what is so frustrating about this to people who value personal liberty- the free market HAS decided. And it has overwhelmingly supported the Happy Meal toy option. That a bunch of liberals dislike these decisions and want to “correct” their fellows is obscene.

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  71. Dood says:

    Whoops, sorry Tano – I don’t know how I confused you with Jay Tea. I think Tano has deconstructed the argument very well and his points make sense.

    @ Jonathan

    Every market has regulations. I think it’s exactly the role of the government to ensure public health. And thanks for stating “period.” I wasn’t exactly sure when you ended your sentance.

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  72. Jonathan says:

    Please show me the location within the NY Constitution that states that it is a mandate of the government to dictate public health.

    Next, please show me the scientific evidence that shows, conclusively, that Happy Meals are dangerous to the public health.

    Third, show me the data that shows the detrimental effects as distributed by usage of the aforementioned product. How many Happy Meals becomes dangerous to children?

    once you can decisively show that information, then MAYBE we can have a fair discussion about having the government legislate this behavior. Until then, why not simply respect individual liberty as a default position?

    By the way, you can take your snark regarding my use of the word “Period” and F–k off. I have no respect for you communists and socialists trying to dictate every aspect of personal life.

    When the slippery slope has gone full tilt, I hope people like you enjoy the gulags you helped create by supporting intrusive state and federal action.

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  73. G.A.Phillips says:

    I can see the history books now…the Nazis stared with tobacco as the Libcoms started with the happy meal. Spooky…..

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  74. mantis says:

    First they came for the happy meal toys, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a happy meal toy…

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  75. ratufa says:

    That is phrased in a strange way. “Still would be allowed”??? The rule has NOTHING to do with preventing ANY type of food from being sold. It does not take even the first step in preventing any type of food from being sold. It is about the toy as marketing gimmick directed at kids.

    The “rule” (by which I mean the proposed law) does not ban any type of food from being sold by itself. It bans specific types of food from being sold when accompanied by a toy or similar inducement aimed at kids. My “pretty crappy food would stil be allowed under the rule” referred to the type of food that would still be allowed to be sold with such inducements. For example, (as somebody else pointed out), 2% milk wouldn’t be allowed, but fruit juice would (kids get enough sugar as it is, and most fruit juice is basically gussied up sugar).

    There is a distinction between regulation of the marketplace and regulating individual behavior that your example is glossing over.

    Of course there is a distinction between regulating the marketplace by imposing restrictions on sellers and regulating consumer behavior directly. But, often a market is regulated as a way to influence consumer behavior (whether the word “regulate” is more appropriate than “influence” with respect to the effect on consumers probably depends on the specific case).. The FDA has the rules it does with respect to unpasteurized milk because it doesn’t want consumers to drink the stuff (or eat fresh cheese made from it). “Last call” regulations in bars exist in order to regulate people’s drinking habits. Many types of Pigovian taxes fit this model as well.

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  76. ponce says:

    “Second, there’ no indication that the US government will be insuring ALL children in the future.”

    I hear the sound of goalposts moving.

    I’m sure America’s fast food industry will got out in front of this and “voluntarily” come up with healthier happy meals before the U.S. government puts its foot down.

    Looks like McDonalds is already close:
    http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/food_quality/nutrition_choices/kids_nutrition.html

    The skim milk and apple slices happy meal substituted for the pop and fries version already meets the proposed NYC happy meal standards.

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  77. Jonathan says:

    There are no goalposts moving with my response to you. You stated that it was acceptable to legislate this behavior because some kids are covered under government health insurance.

    My counterpoint is that they currently insure a small number, there’s no indication that they’ll ever insure all, there’s no indication that the Happy Meal is dangerous, and that there’s no proof that the Happy Meal is the cause of obesity, nor that those obese children under govt health coverage are caused by Happy Meals.

    As such, it makes NO sense to legislate and tell millions of consumers what they can or cannot purchase to feed their children tonight.

    No goalposts moved here at all. In fact, my point has remained exactly the same throughout this discourse. I can’t understand why you would deliberately try to obfuscate that fact.

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  78. Jonathan says:

    Ratfuta: Many types of Pigovian taxes fit this model as well.

    Except that there’s no clear reason or proof that this is an actual Pigovian Tax, as the social cost that isn’t covered by the private action hasn’t been proven- in any way shape or form.

    Again, please feel free to point me to the exhaustive studies that show that childhood obesity is the result of the toys they include in Happy Meals. Then let’s even begin to talk.

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  79. […] the food police have moved from San Francisco to New York City in their continuing battle with the nefarious Happy Meal. I’m a little surprised it took them […]

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  80. Jay Tea says:

    Good line, mantis, but ponce’s was better.

    J.

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  81. ratufa says:

    Jonathan,

    I was responding to Tano, and his arguments about the independence of market regulation and behavior (e.g. his statement that “Your freedom of action is not affected in any way if the government regulates out of existence certain theoretical possibilities in the marketplace.”).

    At no point have I argued that happy meals cause obesity (in fact, I’ve said pretty much the opposite).

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  82. wr says:

    Thank you for your honest answer, Jonathan. I will now bow out of this discussion, as there is no point in continuing. The obsession with “freedom” over any notion that a people can work together as a nation is, in my humble opinion, a sickness. Libertarianism is nothing but adolescent narcissism with a pseudo-philosophical covering, and most of us grow out of it once we learn there are other human beings in the world. Those who don’t never will, and it’s not worth my time to deal with them.

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  83. Steve Verdon says:

    First, I think it’s clear to everyone in this discussion that there’s a functional difference between a children’s toy and dangerous objects (cocaine, lead paint, loaded firearms), particularly when it comes to children and their safety.

    Right. The implication by these people who want to “know where the line is” is that for business people there is no line. Killing, raping, and harming children…well if it turns a profit, why not. That’s the implication and it is pretty despicable and it also poison’s the well.

    “Oh, so you don’t like regulations on whether or not a replica of Buzz Lightyear is in a happy meal, thus you must be happy putting broadswords in happy meals!!!”

    And yet I’m the one accused of slippery slope-ism? WTF?

    Never mind that from a legal stand point I think the slippery slope argument does work for my position….after all that is how our legal system works. Oh, here’s a precedent and we’ll extend it this way here….later on it gets extended just a bit more, then more, and soon we have Kelo. There absolutely was a slippery slope there.

    Is it the case that in legal issues there is always a slippery slope? Maybe not, but stop and consider there are those who have argued that the concept of absolute immunity for prosecutors should be extended to cover even situations where the prosecutor knowingly engages in behavior such as hiding exculpatory evidence or suborning perjury. You’d think we could draw a hard and fast line there, but the nitwits one the SCOTUS actually stopped and listened to that one!

    But theoretically, for the sake of argument, what’s the big deal if McDonald’s offers handguns to patrons? or cigarettes? Short of possibly running foul of the ATF, that’s certainly their prerogative as a business.

    And its consumer’s right and prerogative to be appalled at those decisions and decide that they won’ patronize Mc Donald’s anymore as a result. Let the free market decide these things.

    Right, if there were no regulations and some moron thought it would be a great idea to bundle happy meals with syringes full of heroin why I’d run right out and buy one for my kid. Every freaking day. What kind of nonsense is this? Wait I know, lets put thermonuclear bombs in happy meals.

    Can we maybe not make such stoopid arguments please?

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  84. Jonathan says:

    That isn’t my argument. A previous commentator asked me if I had an issue with the theoretical idea of McDonald’s giving cigarettes away with meals, as opposed to toys.

    Your quote was my response to that statement. I don’t care what inducements companies want to offer to sell their product. In a free and open market, PARENTS have the right to decide what is best for their children.

    You proved my very point with your answer

    Right, if there were no regulations and some moron thought it would be a great idea to bundle happy meals with syringes full of heroin why I’d run right out and buy one for my kid. Every freaking day.

    That’s EXACTLY my point. Parents will look at choices, and make decisions based on risk/rewards of transactions. If presented with something that is truly dangerous, parents won’t buy a Happy Meal for their child. Toys and the Happy Meal itself are not dangerous. As such, parents tend to purchase them a lot.

    aWR

    Thank you for your honest answer, Jonathan. I will now bow out of this discussion, as there is no point in continuing. The obsession with “freedom” over any notion that a people can work together as a nation is, in my humble opinion, a sickness. Libertarianism is nothing but adolescent narcissism with a pseudo-philosophical covering, and most of us grow out of it once we learn there are other human beings in the world. Those who don’t never will, and it’s not worth my time to deal with them.

    By all means, please retreat back to the safety of your home, where nobody will challenge your notion that “working together as a nation” means that we have to sacrifice core values of individual liberty, as proclaimed, fought for, died for, and protected under the establishment of the United States form of governance and it constitution.

    It’s not narcissistic to fight for EVERYBODY’s rights as free people. It’s not narcissistic nor pseudo-philiosphical to believe and fight for individual liberty- everyone’s liberty. It’s condescending and narcissistic to believe that you have the moral right to tell millions of parents how to raise their children. That’s, in essence, what this bill seeks to do- it’s the functional end result of the legislation, to decide that Happy Meals aren’t good for kids, so we should make it more difficult or attractive to buy them.

    Most people have no idea how radical the formation of our country truly was, how radical the Constitution truly is against the span of human history. These men died so that individual citizens would have the right to live their lives as they saw fit, to make their own decisions as to live their lives. That we’ve come to a place in our country’s history that we have de-valued liberty SO much as to believe that it’s morally correct, and appropriate, to tell others how to feed their children, is an abomination to the very concept of personal choice and liberty.

    That you can’t recognize this, that you willingly embrace the state having this power over you…. well, I don’t know if to be angry, or fundamentally disappointed with my fellow citizens anymore.

    You believe that “working together” means that we all have to agree to let the government regulate aspects of human behavior, solely on the basis that you think Happy Meals are unhealthy, yet you never question the underlying violation of the limitations of a constitutional government.

    Yet, when shown WHY the bill is offensive, you simply want to disparage Libertarianism, rather than address the fundamental role of government. Hell, why not even take the time to address my previous points, wherein I specifically ask for advocates to show me the scientific evidence that conclusively shows Happy Meal to be the cause of obesity in children, thereby TRYING to justify this legal action?

    But you can’t even do that.

    I started my young life as a Democrat, as a progressive. As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown out of it BECAUSE I learned there are other human beings in this world. And what I’ve learned is that human beings in our country have been afforded a unique opportunity in the span of all human history. That opportunity is to be truly free, more free than ever before. Yet, you and your kind, in all of your “wisdom” want to reject that freedom and embrace a state that restricts natural rights. And you do so, because we “want to work together”.

    You’ll work together all right- you’ll work together under a unified oppressive flag, the psychological (and perhaps literal) equivalent of a chain gang, compelled to work for an overbearing government, your locations and actions known and surveilled at all times. A world where you have to get paperwork approval for the simplest of actions, actions that were taken for granted as basic human rights for thousands of years.

    You think I’m exaggerating, but it is already happening in the western world, and in the United States.
    -Intrusive police state surveillance, out of control black budgets, beholden to no oversight, the arrest and permanent detention of anyone at anytime, to be tortured at a whim.
    -The regulation of basic farming, the right to grow your own food and consume it. The regulation and requirements to microchip, license, and surveil all livestock animals, even the smallest ones on non-business farms.
    -The requirement to submit biometric data, including DNA for merely being pulled over.
    -The maniacal drive to disarm every citizen in the USA, despite the clear protections afforded within the constitution.
    -The creation and continued support of a monetary system that has accomplished the eradication of 96.5% of the value of the American Dollar since its creation, resulting in a massive stealth tax on all holdings of value from American Citizens.

    Those are all happening today. No conjecture on my part. And you love it- you lap it up and ask for more. Your liberal mentality of “let’s work together”, rather than let’s advocate for personal liberty and responsibility has systemically weakened the United States to a point of possibly no return. And the worst part is, you don’t even recognize what you’ve done.

    Enjoy your degradation. I’ll enjoy and protect my freedoms, as well as yours, despite your disdain for them.

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  85. Steve Verdon says:

    Johnathan,

    Uhhmmm I’m agreeing with you. I quoted you and said, “Right…” The rest that followed in that paragraph was intended to be sarcastic (which I know doesn’t always come across well in the written medium). My comment about stoopid arguments was aimed at wr and others who started asking, “Oh so Buzz Lightyear is okay, what about cocaine? Uh? What about that? Or loaded guns? You okay with that? Well?” Total logic fail on the part of these people.

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  86. Dood says:

    It’s ok Steve, Jonathan is obviously out of control on this issue. He’s lost it a couple posts back. Because, obviously, the option of healthy happy meals are just a representation of

    -Intrusive police state surveillance, out of control black budgets, beholden to no oversight, the arrest and permanent detention of anyone at anytime, to be tortured at a whim.
    -The regulation of basic farming, the right to grow your own food and consume it. The regulation and requirements to microchip, license, and surveil all livestock animals, even the smallest ones on non-business farms.
    -The requirement to submit biometric data, including DNA for merely being pulled over.
    -The maniacal drive to disarm every citizen in the USA, despite the clear protections afforded within the constitution.
    -The creation and continued support of a monetary system that has accomplished the eradication of 96.5% of the value of the American Dollar since its creation, resulting in a massive stealth tax on all holdings of value from American Citizens.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree these are issues that need to be taken seriously. But I don’t believe we’ll sit around saying “if we only knew it was Happy Meals that did this to us…” Wipe off that foam Jonathan. Period.

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