One of the reasons conservatives try to conserve the status quo is because they recognize that there may be unintended consequences to change. Conservative policy is based on the modest idea that, up to this point, we have been able to survive (if not thrive) with the systems and procedures we have been using heretofore, so we should preserve them since we can’t be sure something else will in fact be better. This restraint holds countries back from the chaos of a perpetual revolution. I’m not saying it’s the best policy; sometimes it just holds countries back. But it reflects the better part of prudence. And the alternative, leftist progressivism, has proven itself utterly incompetent to foresee even the most basic of consequences. Take Obamacare for example.
The Obamacare mess is a perfect storm of hubris and incompetence. It is almost mesmerizing how disastrous it has been. Any person with a grape for a brain could have predicted, and did predict, that Obamacare would raise insurance costs. How could it not? And we also predicted that it would result in a decrease of full-time employment, as companies scrambled to reduce their costs. The hobbling rollout of the online exchanges was just a freebie—there was no reason that the exchanges had to be so badly implemented. But it was certainly the rotten cherry on top of the curdled icing on top of the moldy cake that was Obamacare.
And here comes another consequence we could have predicted: lawsuits against food companies being drafted by state governments. That’s right. If the state and national governments are going to be paying for your healthcare, they should have a say about everything that contributes to or detracts from your healthiness.
So it makes sense that the civil government should sue companies that make “unhealthy” food. The civil government doesn’t have unlimited funds (Don’t tell the Fed…), and given the obesity epidemic threatening the lives of millions and clogging up our hospitals like the plaque-walled veins of a corpulent couch potato, it’s obvious that the creators of obesity-inducing foods should be held accountable.
The usual conservative response would be: No, hold the individual responsible for what he consumes. But that won’t work here. Since Obamacare makes insurance available to everyone on the public dollar, and doesn’t bar pre-existing conditions, that means the individual can’t be held responsible. He’ll eat his obesity-inducing food at gluttonous rates, and guess what? You will pay the price when he lands in the hospital with a cardiovascular disease.
But let’s say the government does put a “sin tax” (Who says you can’t legislate morality?) on “fattening” foods. What will that do? Raise prices. Think about what lawsuits have done to the tobacco industry. Has it crippled them? Not exactly. They just charge five, six, and seven dollars (and above) for a pack of cigarettes. And the civil government gets a taste. And who pays? You.
Will things be any different when processed foods get restricted and excise taxed and warning labelled and all the rest? No. People will still eat processed foods. Because federal subsidies on Big Agriculture and Big Dairy will still make a Happy Meal cheaper than a healthy meal. But if you throw in a lawsuit and some excise taxes, a Happy Meal gets closer to the same price as a healthy meal. And who pays? You.
So McDonald’s will be forced to lower its standards even further to cut costs, and it will still appeal only to the poorest of people. Rich people will continue to pay for exorbitantly priced organic-free-range-nightmare-hippie-girl food. It’s the middle that will disappear. Even more.
You think income inequality and the disappearing middle class is a capitalist/conservative phenomenon? No. There’s a reason the Obama administration has made income inequality the worst it’s probably ever been. Socialist policies like Obamacare make life harder on the middle class. It keeps money going to the super-rich and the super-poor, but it just robs the middle class blind. This is not rocket science. It’s easy to figure this stuff out if you’re paying attention.