John Stossel

The Center for Consumer Freedom is running ads saying: "Now that New York has banned cooking oils with trans fat (the same substance as margarine) ... it opens the door to banning so much more! Using the same logic, let's get rid of New York style pizza (seriously, do you need all that cheese?), beef hot dogs (tofu dogs almost taste the same), corned beef (turkey breast is much leaner). ... "

Yes, I know the center's sponsors include restaurants and food companies, but still, it has a good point.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, who died a few weeks ago, would have agreed. He was the author of "

Free to Choose" and "free to choose" sums up Friedman's philosophy. He would have cringed at the banning of trans fats, just as he objected to the earlier banning of products like the sugar substitute called cyclamates.

Over 25 years ago, Friedman wrote, "If we continue on this path, there is no doubt where it will end. If the government has the responsibility of protecting us from dangerous substances, the logic surely calls for prohibiting alcohol and tobacco. . . . Insofar as the government has information not generally available about the merits or demerits of the items we ingest or the activities we engage in, let it give us the information. But let it leave us free to choose what chances we want to take with our own lives."

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate