Banning Soda, Lessons from Wisconsin, & Obama the Pot Smoker (by ReasonTV)
“In the same week that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg was pushing the idea [of banning super-size soft drinks] he also celebrated National Donut Day with the world’s largest box of Entenmann’s donuts that were the size of manhole covers,” says ReasonTV’s Nick Gillespie. “And that’s OK, but God forbid you get that 17-ounce soda.”
Gillespie joins Reason Magazine’s Matt Welch and KFI DJ Kennedy for a wide-ranging discussion of the hypocrisy of the proposed soda ban, the real lessons of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall victory, and the revelation that our drug-fighting commander-in-chief Barack Obama was once a “puff-puff passer.”
About 8 minutes. Shot by Jim Epstein, Meredith Bragg, and Josh Swain, and edited by Epstein.
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Schiff applies Bastiat’s brilliant essay on the “Seen and Unseen” impacts of government spending: for every government-created job there are countless unseen jobs which never come into existence because politicians have taken the necessary capital out of the private sector economy.
Can the government make you lose weight? Officials sure think so.
In May 2012, an HBO documentary and a Washington conference, both named “The Weight of the Nation,” made the case for government intervention in your workout, your workplace and your kid’s lunchbox. They argue that lack of individual willpower is not to blame for obesity, and that it will take a serious government overhaul to shrink waistlines on a national scale.
“It’s an access issue. We live in an obesogenic environment,” says Dr. Lisa Santora, chief medical officer of Southern California’s Beach Cities Health District. President Obama agrees. He has already bundled $15 billion in with his healthcare reform bill, and we’ve seen government programs intervening in nutrition time and time again.
So far, the programs haven’t worked out too well.
“The reasearch shows that we haven’t been very good at trying to, through government, control obesity,” says Cal Poly economics professor Michael Marlow. He says that even when the government realizes that their solutions don’t work, they will only try more aggressive regulations that will further impend on your freedom to choose whatever you want on the menu.
Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. Shot by Paul Detrick, Sharif Matar and Oppenheimer.
About 5.40 minutes.
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In the northernmost reaches of California’s Ventura County, a two-lane rural road called Highway 33 runs into the rugged and mostly undeveloped Transverse Mountain Range. Though it’s mostly raw wilderness, a few businesses catering to adventurous explorers have long existed there, some for more than a century.
But now the local government is shutting those businesses down, one by one, using arcane zoning and building-code laws to get the job done.
“If there isn’t someone complaining, and there isn’t really a serious public health and safety issue, why do they spend so much of their time pursuing these kinds of cases?” asks Lynne Jensen, executive director of the Ventura County Coalition of Labor and Business (COLAB).
Tom Wolf owns the Pine Mountain Inn, a restaurant that’s been serving biker groups and local community organizations since the 1930s. Wolf temporarily had to shut the doors when he suffered a heart attack in 2002, and he was never able to reopen when the county informed him that his property had been rezoned as an “Open Space” back in the 1980s without his knowledge.
“[The county] wanted everybody out of here,” says Wolf. “And they wanted a complete open space with nothing but deer and frogs… and no people.”
No matter how hard Wolf tried to comply with the ever-changing codes, the county just wouldn’t relent, at one time even ordering him to remove a chicken coop that had never actually existed on the property.
Wolf isn’t alone, says Jensen. Several other small businesses along Highway 33 have been hit by multiple county agencies for no apparent reason.
“They had every department hit us with violations to make sure that they shut us down,” says April Hope, who, along with her husband Bob, owns a bed and breakfast called The Wheel, which has existed in the area since the 1890s.
Since the Hopes purchased The Wheel in early 2000, they’ve never been able to open it to the public. While officials from the county supervisor’s office and the planning department refused to speak with ReasonTV for this story, Jensen says that the county is using code enforcement to drive these businesses off the land without compensation.
“This rezoning is really a way to get around eminent domain, because eminent domain means you give up your entire property. And here, you only give up part of your rights,” says Jensen.
Invoking eminent domain to seize private property would not only require the county to compensate landowners, but also to demonstrate that the taking served a “public use.”
“They have been very successful in taking people’s property in a number of different ways without compensation as long as they don’t take ownership of it,” says Jensen.
About 5.30 minutes.
Written and Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Alex Manning, Tracy Oppenheimer, and Weissmueller.
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