To Coin Money, Establish Post Offices, Declare War, Call Forth the Militia, and … Regulate Snacks?
I love the fact that the United States has 50 states rather than just one. The states differ in their regulations and policies, which means that people can choose to live in the state they prefer. Plus, we can learn about the effects of laws when we compare outcomes across states. These benefits of the 50-state system would disappear if there were only one state, or if all states had to do the same things.
That’s why I’m dismayed by this excerpt from a Reuters article:
The U.S. Agriculture Department would be given the power to regulate all food sold in schools–including vending machine snacks–when Congress renews child nutrition programs, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee said on Tuesday.
Is this the most egregious misuse of regulation I’ve heard of? No. But it doesn’t exactly fall under the enumerated powers, either. And a little regulation leads to a lot, as we can see from the article:
Agriculture Committee work on child nutrition will begin with a draft that gives the USDA the authority to oversee all food in schools, so nutrition programs are not “undermined” by junk food in vending machines, Harkin said at a confirmation hearing for the head of the USDA’s nutrition programs.
So, when the government imposes a regulation in support of some goal, it then has to ensure that nothing else you do conflicts with the goal. We have to oppose these little infringements before they grow and multiply. If you give a mouse a cookie … oh, wait — cookies are unhealthy snacks! Okay, if you give a mouse a carrot …