March 14, 2013 7:09 AM

MIssissippi: Defending the God-given right to dig your grave with your teeth

A bill now on the governor’s desk would bar counties and towns from enacting rules that require calorie counts to be posted, that cap portion sizes, or that keep toys out of kids’ meals. “The Anti-Bloomberg Bill” garnered wide bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature in a state where one in three adults is obese, the highest rate in the nation. The bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican. It was the subject of intense lobbying by groups including the restaurant association, the small business and beverage group, and the chicken farmers’ lobby. Mike Cashion, executive director the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association, says the bill is a direct reaction to Bloomberg-style government intervention in public health.

When I lived in Texas, one of the long-standing jokes was that the unofficial state motto was “Thank God For Mississippi.” The Lone Star State, at or near the bottom when it comes to a goodly number of economic and health-related national rankings, was grateful for Mississippi because it looked very good by comparison. Texas may be a place where being stupid is no hindrance to success in the public sector, but Mississippi is a place that frankly reveres stupid. I have friends who grew up in Mississippi, so I truly mean no disrespect…but it’s hardly to ignore the reality. Mississippi’s like the bratty child who, if you tell them not to do something, will go ahead and do it out of spite, even if it’s to their detriment. As hard as it may seem to believe or even imagine it, Mississippi makes Texas look like the Rhodes Scholar State by comparison.

The Magnolia State’s latest misadventure is deciding that NO WAY are they going to let a do-gooding ninny like Michael Bloomberg give anyone the idea that they can play “food police.” Lawmakers in Mississippi just passed a bill that would prevent any municipality below the state level from regulating the food and beverage industry.

God forbid that municipalities take it upon themselves to take action designed to protect public health….

Can anyone reasonably claim to be shocked by the news that Mississippi is the most obese state in the union?

When government is prohibited from taking actions designed to protect public health, what you end up with is Mississippi, which is quite possibly the unhealthiest state in the country. Obesity already accounts for 21% of national health care spending, which figures to increase as 42% of Americans are projected to be obese by 2030. You’d think government would be allowed to recognize what promises to become the biggest threat to our collective health as this century advances…but what about the health of the food and beverage industry? If Mississippians want to dig their graves with their teeth, shouldn’t the food and beverage industry be allowed to provide the shovels?

Then again, I suppose we should all be grateful to Mississippi’s Republicans for protecting our God-given inalienable right to dig our graves with our teeth. Let’s not forget that the health of the food and beverage industry is a FAR more important consideration than the well-being of Mississippians. And just in case the people of the Magnolia State do forget, their state legislature is going to make certain that no one does anything that might cause Big Food undue harm.

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on March 14, 2013 7:09 AM.

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