Rich Tucker

Children learn a lot in school. Maybe more than we intend to teach them. CNN recently reported: “One Chicago public school is telling students they can either eat cafeteria food or ‘go hungry.’” No homemade lunches will be allowed without a medical excuse.

The goal is to make certain children eat well. But that needs to be a parent’s job, not a school bureaucrat’s job. This school is teaching kids that they aren’t capable -- and that their parents aren’t capable -- of making sensible decisions about something as fundamental as what they eat.

Of course, there are plenty of other examples of government meddling in our lives. Consider anti-smoking laws that prevent people from sampling the wares in cigar stores.

Trans fat laws that limit the foods chefs may prepare.

And food labeling laws, which don’t even seem to work. “According to Jennifer Andrews, director of marketing for Red Robin International in Colorado, the introduction of labels in Montgomery County and elsewhere has had ‘almost no impact to the menu mix that we’re aware of,’” the Washington Post reports. Customers order the bacon cheeseburger even though they’re told it has 1,000 calories.

Then there are building regulations, which influence where and how we live.

Manhattan is an expensive place to live. You don’t have to be a Harvard professor to understand that local government policies are driving those costs up. Still, it’s nice to see one who’s eager to explain how the law of supply and demand works.

“New York slowed its construction of skyscrapers after 1933, and its regulations became ever more complex,” writes Edward Glaeser in The Atlantic. “The resulting 420-page code replaced a simple classification of space—business, residential, unrestricted—with a dizzying number of different districts, each of which permitted only a narrow range of activities. There were 13 types of residential district, 12 types of manufacturing district, and no fewer than 41 types of commercial district.”

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for