Freedom of Choice – isn’t that one of the founding principles of this country? I thought it was, that is, until I started seeing some of the needless spending on useless legislation by our elected officials. A lot of time and effort is being spent by this city to legislate the way we eat. I cannot understand how this became a top priority of the Bloomberg Administration but it needs to stop. There are many other things that our mayor should be focusing on within his own administration.

So, let’s talk a little about some of these laws that are being proposed and some that are even getting passed. The first law was the law that banned restaurants and food chains from using trans-fat oils in their cooking. Now on the surface you may say, that’s a great idea, these are heart-attack causing oils that should not be used in food. The only problem is that it is the FDA’s responsibility to regulate food. Why is our local government wasting their time on this needless overstepping of boundaries into our private lives? They don’t belong there and the question becomes how was this able to occur? The answer is that perhaps we should be more vigilant with the actions of our local elected officials and let them know on no uncertain terms that they are setting a precedent that does not bode well for New York City.

The next food legislation to be suggested was the banning of using salt in restaurants. Our very own State Assembly Member, Margaret Markey, is co-sponsoring that bill. When you go out to eat in a restaurant you expect the food to be seasoned and yes the chef will probably use salt. If you have a food restriction, you tell the waiter or waitress your limits. It’s that simple! We do not need a law or the waste of taxpayer money on useless legislation to make the point. There are so many more harmful additives to foods like high fructose corn syrup. This additive is in everything and there are more and more studies that say it is unhealthy and probably just as unnecessary.
So why is this trend growing? For instance, do we really need laws about where you are allowed to smoke outdoors? Even though I am not a smoker, it does seem like overkill. Plus I heard that some legislators are considering placing taxes on “sugary” drinks to discourage folks from buying these “harmful” beverages. Well, that didn’t work for cigarettes so why is it going to work for beverages? More importantly, educating people is the best way to encourage people to take care of themselves, not placing extra taxes on products.

Let’s not forget that it took the government quite a long time to get up to speed on legislating restrictions on the use of phones and texting while driving. There were plenty of facts and evidence to support the banning of this practice early on because it was dangerous and deadly, causing many accidents and needless deaths on the road.

We need to be far more forceful in telling our elected officials to pay attention to the real problems that need their attention. They should be told that we do not believe they should be wasting precious taxpayer monies pursuing these useless laws. If they truly believe that these spices, beverages, and behaviors are dangerous they should use their considerable influence to educate their constituents. Enforcing the laws that require food products to have accurate labels should be a number one priority. They should continue to research and report on the facts about excessive consumption of certain foods.

One of the best things about living in a free society such as ours is our freedom of choice. Implicit in that freedom is that when we vote we can get rid of legislators who waste our precious tax dollars with useless legislation. In short, what it comes down to is that we should allow adults to make adult choices. Remaining free to make choices in our diet, our child’s diet, and our healthcare should be our number one priority and that “freedom” does not require legislation!