Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Charles Parker: Mrs. Obama's Passion - Politics as Usual

My family and I love to watch the hit TV show, “The Biggest Loser.”  However, this week we were a little skeptical as the show prominently featured our nation’s First Lady – Michelle Obama.  I hoped that her appearance wouldn’t be partisan political grandstanding.

I was pleased as I watched the show.  I even smiled a bit.  Mrs. Obama exercised with the contestants and promoted her passion – the “Let’s Move” initiative - that is aimed primarily at arresting childhood obesity.

I mean First Ladies have always had causes and Mrs. Obama should have hers.  But – of course – with the Obamas, it can’t just be about a good cause.  It always has to be about control.

Two stories – one local and one national – confirmed for me that premise.  First, let’s look at the federal story. 

Did you know that to bid for certain government contracts you have to show that you will support “Let’s Move?”  To run a concession stand at a national park, the potential contractors have to “describe how your proposal supports these goals (“Let’s Move”), including measures that will encourage healthy options for food and beverages and active, exercise-oriented recreation…”

I don’t mind anyone encouraging anyone else to eat better (I say that having just finished a Grilled Stuff’d Burrito, I might add).  But to tie it to a federal RFP?  That would be like President Johnson saying you had to plant wild flowers to receive federal highway funds.  Ridiculous and onerous.

Now, on to the local story.  New federal regulations – tied to healthier eating – are requiring Brevard Public Schools to revamp their school lunch menus.  Soon, all meals – not just the federally-funded free and reduced lunches – will be subject to rules about salt and calories and other stuff.  Bottom line - no more tater tots for the tots.

The problem – all of this will cost more.  So, either lunch prices will have to go up (a hidden tax on the middle class) or money will have to be cut somewhere else to balance the budget.  Once again – ridiculous and onerous.

Remember the good old days when we were simply asked to “Just Say No” or readily encouraged to be “Ready to Read.”  Those causes didn’t force us to swallow more government regulations and mandates while lecturing us to eat less.

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