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January 11, 2008

Government Cheese

Michael Bloomberg may be mulling a run for the presidency, but he'd better take care to keep the photographers away when he gets the munchies. After pushing through a ban on trans-fats in New York City restaurants, Bloomberg got his photo snapped by Wired Magazine while munching on a bag of Cheez-Its in the office. So what's in a bag of Cheez-Its?

  • 220 calories

  • 11g total fat

  • 360mg sodium

  • 25g carbohydrate

  • 5g protein
  • Newsday columnist Justin Rocket Silverman notes the hypocrisy:

    After gaining national media attention for spearheading an almost total ban on trans fats in city restaurants starting last July, Bloomberg was photographed in this month's issue of Wired magazine munching on those very same dangerous fats.

    The photo, which accompanies a short Q&A about technology and politics, features Bloomberg at his City Hall desk, looking thoughtful and serious. Meanwhile, his right hand is seen almost absent-mindedly pulling a Cheez-It out of a single-serving bag of the crackers. ...

    The mayor's food choice directly counters the guidance of his own Department of Health, which specifies on its Web site that "there is no safe level of artificial trans fat consumption." The site also points out that trans fats are responsible for at least 500 deaths in the city every year from heart disease.

    No one begrudges Hizzoner the choice to put transfats in his mouth, except that Bloomberg doesn't appear to believe in reciprocity. Rather than just treat New Yorkers like adults who could make their own dietary decisions, and restauranteurs as free-market proprietors accountable to their customers, Bloomberg imposed government bans on those very choices. Even worse, we see that Bloomberg indulges in trans-fat consumption while in the very office from which the Burgermeister issued that very edict.

    His spokesman tried to spin this one into a matter of choice, but that won't fly. Bloomberg specifically rejected choice with his government-enforced ban. The mayor used the power of the city to strip that choice from chefs and their customers last year.

    Silverman includes the quote about trans-fat killing 500 people in New York every year, the same kind of statistic that Bloomberg used in imposing that lack of choice on the Big Apple. Those kind of scare tactics can allow for unlimited nanny-statism as choices get taken away from us, supposedly for our own good, but mostly because of a condescending paternalism among statist elites that individuals are too stupid to act in their own self-interest. Eventually, that thinking leads to government cheese for the masses -- and Cheez-Its for their betters. (via Michelle Malkin)


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