Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This guy wants to give Texas schools the "freedom and liberty" to ignore nutrition science and obesity

"This guy" is the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, a Tea Party Conservative and staunch advocate of "freedom" and "liberty."  He wants Texas schools to be able to choose whether or not they want to allow deep fat fryers back into schools.  And he wants restrictions on sodas removed.  And he wants to double the number of days that schools are allowed to sell junk food for school fundraisers.  

He believes that it is a local jurisdiction's prerogative to decide what is healthy or not.  Because of course the functioning of the human body varies from locality to locality, right?  Why should we listen to nutrition science, when all we really need to know about health can be found in the treatises of Hayek and the party platforms of the Tea Party?  Of course, most schools don't give students the "freedom" and "liberty" to not go to school, nor is there generally other options for food, but really, why should we be concerned about making all the kids of Texas a captive audience for Mr. Miller's fried fare?

Perhaps the one consolation one can take is that this is really more political stunt than serious policy proposal.  Because of the federal regulations on school food, there's little chance that such proposals would produce reimbursable meals.  Most sensible adult Americans don't think that fried food and sodas are good for kids, even though they eat such things themselves (as do I).  But school food is different; it's a teaching tool, too.  And, on the financial side, even the Tea Party wouldn't want to do without the many millions of dollars that subsidize actually healthy school meals.  But it got Mr. Miller in the news.  And here I am to helping to spread the word about how principled he's trying to be.  You're welcome, Sid.