Michelle Obama has embarked upon a well-documented campaign to tackle childhood obesity in America. As with similar social initiatives, it begins with the noblest of intentions only to morph into another big government program funded by new taxes aimed at behavior modification.
I won’t dispute that obesity is a problem in this country, nor that children are better off living healthy, active lives. What I do find troubling is the Task Force on Childhood Obesity's report calling for, among other things, a study of the impact of higher food taxes on obesity:
The task force also sees a potential pocketbook approach to keep people from buying unhealthy foods. It calls for analyzing the effect of imposing state and local sales taxes on less healthy products.
This is becoming an unwelcome refrain within the Obama Administration. The stimulus package signed into law in February contained hundreds of millions of dollars in spending to expressly advocated for tax increases. It's also an established trend for left-of-center causes like the Campaign for Tobacoo Free Kids: Start with a good purpose, but slowly evolve into a platform for command-and-control economic policies.
I can agree that underage smoking and childhood obesity are problematic and should be curtailed. But government intervention into our lives, via high taxes and excessive regulation, is certainly not the answer. Rather than allowing people to make their own choices with regards to diet and exercise, the First Lady’s anti-obesity effort seems to be predicated on a reliable staple of the liberal playbook: government coercion.