June 22, 2015


Living in a democratic society is supposed to be about choices.  We choose representatives to be our voice in government.  We choose our religion, careers, number of children, hometowns, etc.

The growth of government has meant erosion of those freedoms, though most in power would claim that the rules in place that limit our choices are meant to protect us from harm.  Which, IMHO, detracts from our ability to choose.

I shouldn't feel like a criminal when I purchase tamales from the lovely woman who stops by our office once a month.  I am fully aware that she is preparing her food in a kitchen that is not inspected by the health department, that she has no permit or license to sell her wares.  That she likely has no food safety training or certifications.  But her tamales are delicious.  I am willing to make the choice to accept the risks of eating non-government regulated Mexican food.  I also acknowledge that my tamale lady isn't collecting or paying any sales or income taxes.  And I. Do. Not. Care.  Her immigration status is also suspect, but here she stands, working, making a living, and, as far as I can see, the only people who she might displacing in the work force, are those who perform all of the above regulatory tasks that I mentioned.  Boo hoo.

Last week, the new Agriculture Commissioner for the great state of Texas, Sid Miller, repealed the ban on deep-fryers and soda machines in Texas schools.  His comment being that Texas schools should teach children to make good decisions about their nutrition - he was re-instilling a choice to our schools.  

Unfortunately, the bigger government restricts calories, fat content, and controls the purse strings on lunch money for families who can't pay.  None of these things, coupled with the deep-fryer restriction and soda machine ban, have done anything to curb obesity.  Miller offered an interesting example of how government restrictions don't consider all the circumstances:
"You got a boy that goes to Anson High School — he plays in football, he plays both (offense and defense) — he can't make it on 870 calories. That boy burns 3,500 calories a day," Miller said. "He gets home, he hauls hay and milks cow and moves irrigation pipe. Then there's another child that's not active athletically. They may be into academics or band or some other extracurricular. Eight-hundred-seventy calories may be fine for that kid."
Miller says critics are missing the point that Texas is simply giving schools the option of reinstalling deep fryers if they want starting July 1.He conceded that his decision is mostly symbolic and that few schools might take advantage of the relaxed rules — since the state won't be the one buying new fryers for cash-strapped schools. Like practically all Texas Republicans last year, Miller partly ran on fighting what the GOP candidates call federal overreach.

But he believes fried foods are OK in moderation and says it would be nice to grab a carbonated drink from a vending machine during a basketball game.
Choices and moderation...not a new or foreign concept.

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