We'll 'Lighten Up' When FLOTUS Backs Off
Michelle Obama planted her garden with the help of kitchen staff and little elementary students from DC-area schools. Before that, she went to China with her daughters and mother, and before that, she rolled out the new proposed federally-mandated food labels. I doubt many would quibble with how much it cost her to plant the garden, and we are not allowed to know how much her trip to China was, but the new food labels will cost us more than $2.3 billion.
A month ago, media feasted on her roll-out speech that seemed to say that women can't figure out what to feed their families and, somehow, the new labels would help. But, if the point of her comments was that every woman reads every label and then plans her food menu accordingly, regardless of cost, she's nuts.
The changes to the food labeling are few. There is an additional line for "added sugars," a larger font for "calories," an omission of "calories from fat," and a mandatory statement of percentages for Vitamin D and potassium that switches out the prior mandate of Vitamins C and A. Oh, and the serving size is going to change to what somebody somewhere thinks you consume, rather than what a moderate amount is, you fat Americans.
So, out the window goes the argument for portion control. Those bottles of sugary soda are now one serving instead of 2.5, and that will make that really big calorie number jump. And it's big enough to see so you can't claim you didn't know.
But, the end result won't be that Americans will grow thin and healthy - the end result will be what it is now. Decisions will be based on what tastes good, what people have the money for, and what will feed the family.
It also moves people toward eating more fruits and vegetables, which isn't a bad thing at all, and neither, I might add, is the consciousness of watching caloric intake. But, that could have been accomplished with a few actors doing PSA's on counting calories and balancing your diet.
Instead, we are spending a couple of billion dollars on re-labeling every food out there, and that cost to the food industry will be reflected in higher food prices. Every move Michelle makes costs us more money, good intentioned or not.
I do think the First Lady has the ability to change the focus on certain things in American culture. Mrs. Obama has become, what many consider to be, a sort of Food Nazi, in her broader plan of "making America healthy." But, there are a lot of factors in why much of America is not healthy, and many types of healthy. Your food intake is just one aspect, and the heavy-regulatory bend of big government liberalism has a direct ability, through the Food and Drug Administration, to be able to reach your homes with their plans. Those PSA's reach your homes. as well, and in addition to physical health, perhaps the First Lady should start a self-respect program.
It is my view that the massive push in our culture for self confidence in our youth neglected to teach them self-respect. I remember watching groups of teenage girls who demanded respect from others while they were morbidly obese. Mrs. Obama could be out there right now, telling youngsters to have respect for themselves and their parents, do as they are told and stay out of trouble, and that in itself would begin a positive change. She also could throw a couple of major hints to Beyonce and the rap industry, to stop treating women as if their only use is sex, but since she's great friends with Beyonce, she won't do that. I think that alone is the major failing of Mrs. Michelle Obama.
A woman with the influence that Michelle has could be using her influence in many different ways that don't necessarily disrupt food manufacturing and shelf prices when the economy is in the ditch. But, like all liberals, she doesn't understand that big government disruption of our food suppliers will result in higher prices, pushing more and more to opt for economical choices over caloric intake.
It's interesting to note that Mrs. Obama really dumbed down the caricature of today's mothers. Her marketing pitch for the food label change was over-the-top, in that she assumed mothers enter the grocery story completely confused and leave defeated. The message is, "Don't worry moms, government is here to help," but the reality is that the government can't stay the hell out of our lives, and all that "help" is smothering us and costing us more of our money.
I disagree with Kathleen Parker that we should "lighten up" on Mrs. Obama. As mothers, we should expect more out of our First Lady than the overuse of the crutch of Big Government.