GOP: Public Health Is Too Expensive

Posted by | June 5, 2011 18:24 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Like all other Presidents faced with a recalcitrant Congress, President Obama has used the executive branch to put his policies in place.  Like all other such Congresses, the House GOP is trying to use budget riders to stop him.  In this case they are making the dubious argument that initiatives to improve public health, a mere drop in the budget, are too expensive.

On Tuesday, the GOP majority on the House Appropriations Committee approved a 2012 spending plan that directs the Agriculture Department to ditch the first new nutritional standards in 15 years proposed for school breakfasts and lunches. The lawmakers say meals containing more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy will cost an additional $7 billion over five years — money they say the country can ill afford in difficult economic times.

The committee also directed the USDA to scale back participation in an effort to develop voluntary guidelines for companies that market food to children. And it directed the FDA to exempt grocery and convenience stores and other businesses from regulations set to take effect next year requiring that calorie information be displayed.

Fortunately these attempts rarely survive the first draft.  One or two of them might sneak through but the Senate will not include most of them in their budget and President Obama will use veto threats to get rid of some of the others.  Still, the attempt by the House Republicans shows the type of things they would do if they regained control of the executive branch.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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