Walter E. Williams

Americans salute the results of the anti-tobacco campaign that brought successful multibillion-dollar suits against tobacco companies and levied steep tobacco taxes. In some jurisdictions, such as New York City, taxes have led to the tripling of cigarette prices, not to mention the creation of black markets. I'm wondering whether my fellow Americans would like the food Nazi campaign to produce the same outcome. In other words, how would we like taxes that create $10 hamburgers, $5 cans of beer and $12 for a pound of Oreo cookies?

Maybe as an alternative to taxes, there might be a call for laws similar to what's called the Dram Shop Act in some states, which prohibits the sale of alcohol to intoxicated persons. Applied to food, that law might ban the sale of hamburgers and fries to a fat person, or a mandate that scales be placed in front of cash registers where a customer is weighed prior to a sale.

Instead of hamburgers and fries, an overweight customer is offered a tasty salad, instead. Instead of suing Nabisco to stop children from eating Oreos, we might have a law requiring proof of age prior to purchase. We could use endangering minors law to exact stiff penalties against parents who gave Oreos to their children.

The anti-obesity movement is simply another step down the road to serfdom and, what's worse, Americans are voluntarily assisting the nation's tyrants.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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