Government Intervention for my benefit ?
The recent proposal by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to restrict the serving size of sugared soft drinks, reminded me of a piece I read a while ago about the Denmark “fat tax”. The tax was levied on the amount of fat used in prepared food, as a way to reduce fat content.
Denmark is not the only country to use taxation in an attempt to improve citizen health and well being. Other countries have imposed costs on sugar, chocolate, cigarettes, and beverages.
On one side of the argument, we hear the cries of those fearful of government meddling into our private lives, and the loss of freedom. I can understand that thinking. I don’t want to me micro-managed either.
On the other side, I think we benefit from most government intervention. I feel this way largely because I distrust big business!
With their primary mission of making a profit, industry will, on occasion, bend rules, ignore potential hazards, and basically try to “get away with” whatever it can. And we, the small, unorganized consumers, have not the knowledge, means, or time to detect problems, and enforce change. Any noise our small voices can make is easily shouted down by use of huge advertizing budgets.
Those of us old enough to remember the 1960s may recall the resistance the auto industry mounted against safety issues made known in the book “Unsafe At Any Speed”, by consumer advocate, Ralph Nader. The auto companies personally attacked Mr. Nader. And he would have been an impotent warrior against the “Big Three” had congress not stepped in as our advocate.
Today, most of us wouldn’t get in a car without seat-belts and air bags. We all take these things for granted and society benefits greatly from them. Had it not been for government intervention, it may have taken decades longer to have these items in place.
Here are just a few more health and safety issues that Big Brother has addressed to our great benefit.
Reduced cigarette use,
Smoke free restaurants and public places,
Safer imported goods (three examples, all from China) cadmium in childrens jewelry, drywall made with fly-ash instead of gypsum, malamine in food products.