“We will promote free choice by limiting free choice!”

Posted by: Phineas on March 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm

**Posted by Phineas

If that doesn’t make sense to you, well, it doesn’t to me, either. It apparently makes some sort of sense to LA City Councilman Bernard Parks, however, who helped push through a ban on new fast-food businesses in two districts of south Los Angeles. Why? Well because there are too many fast-food places in that area already (in Parks’ view) and, by limiting the “overabundance,” they’ll encourage more sit-down restaurants with healthier food.

Yeah, that sounds like nanny-stater nonsense to me, too. And it did to the crew at Reason.TV, who went out and shot this short documentary:

Parks’ logic fall apart on several grounds. First, if he wants more sit-down restaurants in those districts, then create the conditions that will encourage them to set up shop. They’re not staying away because there are too many McDonalds; they’re staying away because it’s a low-income area with a high crime rate, so the cost of business is too high for these chains. Improve the local economy, improve public safety, and you’ll find more “nice” places.

Second, what has Parks got against small business? These aren’t all McDonalds and Taco Bell. Many of the small fast-food joints are individual Mom-and-Pop small businesses that provide cheap, quick food at affordable prices to the locals. They also provide jobs for the down-on-their-luck who might not get hired by the chains. By blocking any more small fast-food businesses, Parks and the Council cut off a source of jobs for an area already suffering from at least 14% unemployment.

Finally, the nutrition angle is bunk. As the video shows, the “junk count” at chain sit-down restaurants can be as bad or worse than a fast food place. Conversely, fast-food operations like McDonalds have responded to free-market pressure and customer demand to offer healthier options. City intervention is heavy-handed, unneeded, and counterproductive.

The bottom line is that this is another case of some nannystater thinking he knows your business better than you yourself do.

With Los Angeles facing a fiscal train wreck and a sour economy, perhaps Councilman Parks should spend more time on things like the budget and public pensions reform, and less on what we Angelenos get to eat for lunch.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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7 Responses to ““We will promote free choice by limiting free choice!””


  1. A while back WAPO did an OP-ED on restaurants putting calorie info on their menus. You are correct that sit down restaurants are just as bad. They used Cheesecake Factory as an example of why it was needed.

    Deep Fried Mac & Cheese has something like an entire days worth of calories and fat.

    If someone doesn’t know that Deep Fried Mac & Cheese isn’t healthy for them calorie info isn’t going to help that.

    So I guess this guy would rather they eat this because they can sit down instead of run into mcdonalds and have fewer calories with a big mac.

  2. Great White Rat says:

    Second, what has Parks got against small business?…Many of the small fast-food joints are individual Mom-and-Pop small businesses… They also provide jobs for the down-on-their-luck

    You just answered your own question, Phineas. There’s no government involvement – just free people conducting commerce.

    And providing jobs for the poor without government funding or unions? Are you nuts? You think that’s a good thing?? Why, the next thing you know, some of those down-on-their-luck people might become self-sufficient, and get better jobs, and pay taxes, and join a Tea Party or something!! Maybe even vote for a (shudder) conservative!!

    How do you expect libs to stay in power indefinitely without a growing class of people totally dependent on the government for everything?

    Get with the program, Phineas!! It’s like the great Revolutionary War era hero said, “Give me liberty or give me…nah, on second thought, just give me a whole bunch of government programs.”

  3. ST says:

    Liberals. Sigh. 8-|

  4. Carlos says:

    Government intervention is never about jobs or helping the poor, or anything else except intruding into the social and economic lives of those willing to go out and earn their way in this world.

    Strip away the veneer of the council, and what you will find is communists and/or Nazis, pure and simple.

    Just like in the Bay area.

  5. Glenn Bergen says:

    What doublespeak.. Kind of reminds me of my favorite quote from Vietnam; ” We had to destroy the village in order to save it”.

  6. captaingrumpy says:

    It’s just a case of another black wanting all his life to tell whites what to do.
    There is no such thing as a successful black president…..look at Africa and all the black presidents that kill their own people.

  7. Jim McDonald says:

    I am very willing to bet this guy is getting paid by some of the existing restaurants…