It Takes a Village...Of Idiots!

June 9, 2005 

Even Hillary Clinton realized that, “No government can love a child, and no policy can substitute for a family's care.”  Yet, that is exactly what many elected officials are trying to do in state governments across country.  With real problems drifting unaddressed, many elected state officials are playing political Mommies.  Just where is it constitutionally mandated that politicians are empowered to usurp individual liberties and make lifestyle decisions...including, but not limited to what non-alcoholic beverages your children will, and will not, be allowed to drink? 

Connecticut, sometimes known as The Land of Steady Habits, has developed a steady habit of enacting a patchwork of inconsistent, and often conflicting, legislation.  A gentle soul might attribute this to “good intentions”...if the legislation wasn’t so idiotic that it could only make sense to the mentally challenged.  That is, of course, until you realize that what politicians call legislation is, in reality, often the personal whim of a legislator seeking a bit of media attention. 

A short time ago, Connecticut was facing a $1.2 billion budget deficit.  Somehow, with a reelection year looming, the Governor found a $700 million dollar surplus in the last fiscal year.  So, doing what all good politicians do, the leaders of Connecticut decided to increase spending by 8.7% in the coming fiscal year “mostly to spend the current fiscal year's projected $702 million surplus”.  That leaves “deficits...projected to be about $150 million in 2006 and $300 million in 2007”.  Oh yeah...they also raised business and estate taxes.  What the Federal government gives back in one hand, the state government steals away with the other. 

In an interesting sidebar, George David, chairman and chief executive of United Technologies Corporation, recently had the audacity to point out that “UTC has boosted its market value nine-fold during the past dozen years while maintaining essentially the name number of employees...By contrast, state government has boosted its employment by 24 percent during the same period, to about 54,000 - even as the state's population has only grown by about 2 percent.”  Do you really want state government making your decisions? 

But...with budgetary chaos; almost daily murders in the major cities; a failed manufacturing base; a patchwork of business unfriendly taxes; failing educational systems and a growing reputation as the most politically corrupt state in the nation, what is the high-profile issue that captured the media’s attention in the waning days of this legislative session?  Would you believe a debate of crisis proportions concerning a ban on the sale of soft drinks in public schools? 

With the passage of Public Act No. 05-117, AN ACT CONCERNING SCHOOL NUTRITION, the Connecticut state Senate stepped into Mommy’s shoes and did it none too intelligently.  This is one of those seemingly “good intention” pieces of legislation...until you realize that it is another instance of government stealing your individual freedom to make personal choices and it is based on illusion. 

Cutting through the chaff, the heart of the Act mandates that, “...each local and regional board of education shall permit at schools under its jurisdiction the sale of only the following beverages to students...: (1) Water, (2) milk, including, but not limited to, chocolate milk, soy milk, rice milk and other similar dairy or nondairy milk, (3) one hundred per cent fruit juice or vegetable juice or a combination of such juices, (4) beverages that contain only water and fruit juice and have no added natural or artificial sweeteners....”  In plain English, liberals don’t want your children drinking soda. 

Considering that the prevention of childhood obesity was the justification used by Senate liberals to pass this Act, it might be interesting (for a change) to look at the facts of beverage-based caloric intake. 

From public records and USDA-based manufacturer’s disclosure, we find the following FACTS about the relative caloric content of beverages (per cup): 

1.       Chocolate milk........................226 calories.

2.       Unsweetened grape juice.......154 calories.

3.       Unsweetened orange juice.....122 calories.

4.       Rice milk.................................120 calories.

5.       Unsweetened apple juice.......117 calories.

6.       Cola........................................104 calories.

7.       Ginger ale................................80 calories.

8.       Coca Cola C2..........................45 calories.

As Shakespeare said, “Much ado about nothing” because...” That which we call a rose by any other word would” still make you fat.   

The Act’s sponsor, Democratic State Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams, triumphantly announced that “The evidence is in, and junk food and poor nutritional choices contribute to childhood obesity....”  But what he forgot to mention was the slight oversight that, when it comes to obesity, sugar is sugar is sugar and calories are calories are calories.  Maybe you’ll feel better about getting your children fat on fruit juice, but they’ll still be fat. 

The only message that this Act sends is that the public can be sold a bunch of bull and convinced that unhealthy choices are indeed healthy. 

As Dr. Joseph Mercola points out that, “What most parents may not realize is that fruit juice has about eight full teaspoons of sugar. This sugar is from a fruit sugar called fructose, which can be every bit as dangerous as regular table sugar since it will also cause a major increase in insulin levels.”  So leave it to the liberals to keep parents from ever realizing that. 

In a non sequitur, Lucy Nolan of the advocacy group End Hunger Connecticut assures the public that “This bill makes significant progress towards prevention of what is quickly becoming a public health epidemic: childhood obesity and overweight.”   Even though this Act will not do a thing to reduce childhood obesity (and might even compound the problem by encouraging an uninformed public to consume more high caloric fruit juice), at least her interest group got some media attention.  And in the end, that’s what it is all about. 

With the liberals in lather about leading “the way” on this “important health issue”, Republican House minority leader Robert Ward was honest enough to tell the voters that “I don't want to lead the way in being the nanny state.”  But that didn’t stop the Democrats from ramming the Act to passage.  After all, what would liberal Democrats be good for if they couldn’t rob you of your liberty for “your” best interests...even if it is never in your best interests.

 

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