Friday, March 26, 2010

If the government won't be our nanny, who will? 

Metro NY:
What’s next on prohibited list?

Out with personal responsibility. In with laws banning things.

Or so it would seem as a sweep of prohibitory mandates have made their way into legislation.

But is it for the public good or simply political grandstanding?

In 2006, Mayor Bloomberg famously banned trans fat in restaurants and just this month New York state Assembly Member Felix Ortiz introduced legislation that would prohibit salt use in food preparation in restaurants throughout the state. (The assemblyman says he’d allow salt shakers on tables.)

The Department of Education banned home-baked goods at school fundraisers — in the name of good health — but allows the sale of packaged items like Pop-Tarts and Doritos.

"It leaves you speechless, it’s the most ridiculous ban on so many levels," said City Council Member Gale Brewer of the bake sale ban.

So are we becoming a nation of nanny-government interventionists?

"The ban thing is kind of weird," Brewer admits, referring to the "picayune and microscopic" nature of some of the regulations.

But while Brewer concedes that Libertarians might think government should back off, she does believe that bans have their place.

"There has to be someone who says, 'Wait that’s not a good idea.' If government doesn’t do it, then I don’t know who else will," she said.