What does America lack? Government control of our food portions! This summer one particularly out-of-touch physician called for the Surgeon General to mandate that “all portions of food served in restaurants and fast-food places be cut by one-half to two-thirds.” And now some academics are telling us we should regulate sodas like we do internal combustion. Two professors and a graduate student at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business publicized misguided research on Thursday, concluding that Congress should “institute a set of guidelines for the fast-food industry similar to the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards established for the automobile industry.” CAFE standards penalize the makers of cars with below-average fuel economy. Now we’re facing a proposal to do the same to soda, of all things.
Channeling some feel-good paternalism, professor Richard Staelin blithely claims: “If Congress gave fast-food companies the directive to reduce their customers’ overall caloric intake by 10 percent, our research indicates companies could do that.”
What’s next? Ice-cream shops forced to offer spinach salad to offset their frozen treats? Government agents (à la the “Soup Nazi“) stationed at food counters to stop people from getting free refills?