Thursday, December 1, 2011

Do You Want Free Will With That?

Two big thumbs up to executives at McDonald's this morning for stymieing the City of San Francisco's efforts to limit consumer choice and basically telling people how to live their lives.  Starting today it is illegal for restaurants in the City By the Bay to include a "free" toy with children's meals.  The City Council approved the ordinance earlier this year on the argument that toys in Happy Meals force children to drive themselves to Mickey D's and purchase--with their own money--food that is detrimental to their health.

McDonald's had already tried to make the Happy Meal healthier in response to threats from the Food Police--replacing the fries with apple slices and the soda with milk.  But that still wasn't good enough.  The apples weren't organic and it was dairy milk--not soy milk-so the public's "health" was still at risk.

In response to the new law, McDonald's is now "selling" Happy Meal toys for 10-cents--with all proceeds from the sale of those toys going to the Ronald McDonald House in San Francisco.  What an unbelievable marketing coup!  Continuing to provide a product consumers want--and allowing them to benefit a fine charitable effort as well!  The only way it could get better is if the menu boards now included a big notice that "free" toys are no longer available "due to the efforts of over-reaching liberal lawmakers who think they know what is better for your kids than you, their parents."

As you might expect, those over-reaching liberal lawmakers are not taking McDonald's business decision well.  The city's Health Department Director calls the decision "a win for obesity and diabetes."  He also promises to "improve the regulation."  I take that to mean that another ordinance is on the way to just flat out ban restaurants from selling toys, period.

Could I make some suggestions to the San Francisco City Council?  Instead of expending so much energy and effort on trying to limit free enterprise--why not try getting kids to expend more energy and effort in their everyday lives?  Why not have kids spend less time writing essays on how global warming makes them sad and give them more time on the playground for recess and phy ed?  And when they are out there--why not let them play games that actually encourage running around and burning off some calories--like "tag", dodgeball, football or basketball?  Yes, these are games that have winners and losers--and those that don't win might have their self-esteem "bruised"--but it sure beats the increasingly sedentary lifestyles promoted by the internet and video game systems at home.

Or maybe those lawmakers could hold people responsible for the decisions they make.  I know this is a foreign concept to liberals--personal accounatability--it's just easier to take away any and all options they deem "non-beneificial" to their utopian society.  For instance, you could allow health insurance companies to charge more to cover those who are obese and out of shape.  That would send a very clear message to consumers--if you exercise your free will to make poor lifestyle choices--you will be held accountable by paying more than those who mix in a few fruits and veggies every meal.  I'm guessing the whining from the backseat of the car about getting a Happy Meal won't be so annoying when Mom or Dad think about the extra couple hundred bucks a month it could cost them insure Junior.

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