Tag: mcdonalds

California Wants to Regulate Options for Kids’ Drinks

By James Sweet III | United States

A new bill in California would require restaurants to give children one of two initial options for drinks when ordering a meal: milk or water. Senate Bill 1192 has already passed the California State Assembly. If Governor Jerry Brown signs it, it would become the first law of its kind.

In Section 114379.20 of Chapter 12.8, it is stated that “a restaurant that sells a children’s meal shall make the default beverage offered with the children’s meal” either water or milk. However, it does not necessarily have to be plain water. The bill does allow some variations, including seltzer and flavored water.

The bill “does not prohibit a restaurant’s ability to sell, or a customer’s ability to purchase, an alternative beverage instead of the default beverage offered with the children’s meal, if requested by the purchaser of the children’s meal.” This is quite interesting, as it allows the parents to order whatever they want for their children if they are fine with letting their child drink something that’s not water or milk. It attempts to address situations in which parents allow children too many unhealthy drinks. Despite this, it does not take any firm action in this direction, as parents can easily circumvent this.

The bill defines a restaurant as “a retail food establishment that prepares, serves, and vends food directly to the consumer.” Since fast food restaurants are included in this definition, it is important to note that chains like McDonald’s already serve healthy beverages with their kid’s meals. For example, they serve Happy Meals® with organic juice or milk. Sit down restaurants, on the other hand, often do not include drinks with meals, so the bill largely does not affect them. Thus, the main target is fast food chains that do not serve healthy drinks by default.

One can only wonder if this bill will be effective in cutting down on obesity and diseases like diabetes. McDonald’s and other companies are currently taking all of the actions that the bill proposes. So, if signed, it appears that it will make few noticeable changes, but cement into law some decisions the market is already making.

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It’s 2018. Why are so many American People Starving?

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

In the modern era, it is difficult to deny that Americans live in a culture of waste. In fact, people do not actually eat most of the food Americans grow. Out of all of the crops that American farmers produce, humans only use a mere 27% for their food. What’s more is the fact that of that 27%, Americans throw away 40% of it.

Wasted Food, but People Starving

So, running the numbers, what does that look like? Combining those two statistics gives a grand total of 16.2%. In other words, we have, without any technological improvements at all, the capability to feed a great deal of people – far more than we do today. Of course, we currently use the rest for bio-fuels such as ethanol, and for feed for farm animals, such as cattle. And, to recall, about 11%, or one ninth, we throw away.

It is inevitable that people will waste some food, and that we will give some of it to animals. Despite this, it also is evident that there are people starving and things society can do about it. As mentioned above, nearly 15% of Americans face a form of food insecurity. Though not all of those with food insecurity are starving, it frankly is trivial. A free society should not tolerate any levels of food insecurity, especially when a portion of those people are truly starving.

Eliminating Waste

Though the sheer number of people starving is an abhorrent statistic, it is not one without a number of identifiable causes and solutions. One of the first, without a doubt, is eliminating waste. If Americans reduced their food waste by only 15%, there would be enough food saved to feed an additional 25 million people.

By splitting this in two, the food could feed 50 million people half of their daily nutritional needs. This would serve as a very useful supplement to those who cannot afford all of the food they need. In fact, it would be enough to give half of the daily food requirements to every American who struggles to put food on the table, plus an extra million. There does not have to be any number of people starving. Those with adequate (and 40% extra) need to be more conscientious.

15% is not a difficult figure to reach. For all of this talk about cutting wasteful spending, why not start in the most important place? Americans could spend 40% less on food, or even better, donate the 40% they aren’t going to eat to a food pantry. In either situation, with just 15% compliance, America could see massive reductions in, if not elimination of, hunger. It isn’t that hard. Someone’s health, or even someone’s life, may depend on it. Make the right decision, America.

The Great McMyth

The prevalence of fast food over supermarket food in lower income communities also perpetuates hunger. Fast food restaurants have a reputation for being cheap meal options, but in reality, this is only true when comparing it to other full service restaurants. In comparison to real food options, fast food is horribly expensive. A McDonald’s Dollar Menu, for example, claims to be a highly affordable way of eating. However, it actually offers nothing for more than 390 calories. So, to satsify the caloric needs of an adult, (2000 and 2500), one would need to spend $5 or $6 a day. This would also entail eating nothing but McDoubles, which obviously is not a healthy way to eat.

Does this sound cheap? Perhaps upon first look, sure, but not on further examination. A family of four would need to spend around $22 a day, or $660 a month, to eat absolutely nothing but the cheapest fast food option available. Multiplying this number by twelve leads to an annual food budget, at the absolute bare minimum (and likely much higher, with fast food choices only) of $7920. Yes, that’s right. A little bit under $8000 a year, which is almost a third of the federal poverty line ($25,100 for a family of four). Families living well below the poverty line may be surrendering half of their income to fast food.

A Better Way

Hope, though, is not lost, for supermarket foods are considerably more affordable, especially for the poor. Looking at some basic staple foods, it appears that each dollar can stretch to many more calories. At a local WalMart, a 16 ounce container of Jif brand peanut butter costs $2.50. That jar contains 14 servings of 190 calories each, for a total of 2,660. All natural, non-GMO wheat bread sells for $1.47 per loaf, and has 1,650 calories. The same store offers five pounds of whole wheat pasta for a mere $7.40. At 8,450 calories, this box, cooked alfredo-style with grated cheese and butter, which also are very cheap, speaking in terms of calorie per dollar, could feed the entire family for dinner for several nights.

Deserts, with One “S”

Though the double “s” counterpart is far more attractive, food deserts are sadly a major issue in America today. A food desert is an area in which people, usually low income, do not have access to affordable, healthy food. Specifically, it means that a large number of low income people live at least 1 mile from a grocery store or supermarket. In rural areas, the area expands to 10 miles.

Currently, 23.5% of Americans live in a food desert. Many of the poor do not have any means of getting beyond this radius to buy the right foods. Instead, they are nearly forced by situation to go to one of many available fast food options, which means that there are people starving that are going to be spending a lot more than they have in order to get back a lot less than they need.

Thankfully, things are looking up for those in food deserts in recent years. In Boston, for example, a food market bus is now serving healthy food to those in food deserts. Moreover, Geisinger, a private healthcare company, provides food to diabetics in food deserts, claiming that the proper food is a type of essential medicine for those with unstable blood sugar. Uber and Lyft also now provide more affordable ways of getting to grocery stores for those without a vehicle.

The Fight Begins with the Individual

However, despite recent improvements, the fight is not over until there are no more people starving. As with many critical issues, one person can truly make a difference.

By spreading this message, by aiding those in food deserts, by donating food, rather than wasting, each of us can make a noticeable change in the world. It’s time to do the right thing for those with little.

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Drug Prohibition is Not the Government’s Responsibility

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Drug prohibition is the attempt to do the impossible through the mechanism of violence. Drug prohibition is The attempt to quell the vices passions of man do the iron fist of the state. The Tyranny of the drug war has Ruined millions of lives, torn apart families, destroyed communities, built the largest prison population in human history, and in the process, cost taxpayers billions.

Despite its inefficiencies and impossibilities, those factors are not the underlying problem of drug prohibition. As it’s supporters will say “Are just going to legalize violent crime because it’s impossible to fully stop?”

No, the main problem with the drug war is the total immorality of it. A great hypocrisy of the state is that what would be done by individuals or by the private sector that would be seen as immoral when done by the government or the public sector is seen as not only justified but fully moral. Drug prohibition is a prime example of this phenomenon. Given some critical thought, anybody can see that the war on drugs is unapologetically immoral.

The entire war on drugs is based on the assumption that we do not own our bodies, and we are not directly responsible for the consequences of our actions. The very nature of the drug war assumes that we need some politician or bureaucrat to write a law telling us what we can and can’t put in our bodies.

If you ask any person on the street if they own themselves, and the consequences of their actions, 99% will say yes. So why is it that most people support drug prohibition? Why is it that people will like acknowledge self ownership and direct responsibility for self action, yet believe that there should be a strong centralized government around to throw people in a cage that make risky decisions?

Another pure moral hypocrisy of drug prohibition is the underlying mechanism of enforcement. If you ask any individual on the street if initiating violence is a moral means to achieve in end, most people will say of course not. Yet again most people support drug prohibition which uses this underlying mechanism, the initiation of violence.

A sovereign individual using the substance of his or her choice, regardless of its Unfavorability, is not hurting anybody else. Now of course if that person goes out and Hurts another individual or steals another individual’s property, that person has now initiated force and has become a different story. But the action of simply using a substance is a peaceable action, and attempting to forcefully stop that by enforcement of the law is an initiation of violence and morally unacceptable.

Imagine if such action was engaged upon in the private sector. Imagine if some individual or company went around and started arresting people and throwing them in cages for eating at McDonald’s. Better yet, these people were saying it is for the benefit of the people they are arresting because McDonald’s is extremely unhealthy.

What if they started arresting McDonald’s employees for distributing unhealthy food and locking them in human cages for decades on end and claiming it was for the betterment of society. Would this be morally acceptable? Only if carried out by the state Because it’s okay for only it’s employees to use violence I guess.

People must stop believing that use of force when carried out by the state is absolutely any different than when carried out by private individuals or groups. The drug war is just one area, be it a large one, that this problem plagues the opinions of the population.

An Anarchist Society is a Better Society

Austin Anderholt | USA

Whenever I try to convince someone that taxation (and therefore government) is theft, I find the process is quite easy: I explain to them how a group of people with bigger guns than everyone else call themselves “The Government” demand that you pay them a certain amount of money that you never agreed upon, or else they will threaten to lock you in a cage. The debate may last a few minutes or even hours, but I eventually can convince most people that government is bad and that taxation is theft. At this point, almost every single person says the same exact thing: “But without government, who would build the roads?” Sometimes they ask how other government projects would be handled, but for some reason, most people seem to inquire about roads first. Nonetheless, people are amazed that one could hold the opinion that people shouldn’t be allowed to lock you in a cage if you don’t pay them the money that they demand. They treat anarchism like a bad word. They assume that a stateless society would be like some sort of Hollywood movie they’ve seen, and this view is completely false.
To the masses that have spent their lives on the highly addictive sedative that we call “The Government”, it may seem crazy that people could build roads and complete other tasks without someone pointing a gun at them and stealing from them. There’s a great political comic here, that shows people standing in a breadline in the Soviet Union, starving away. One of them says, “In Capitalist countries, the government doesn’t hand them any bread!” The people in that comic couldn’t possibly imagine a successful world where bread is distributed through capitalism and a voluntary society. This is very similar to the blindness that the current public has about things that the government does. For example, on the issue of Net Neutrality: Net Neutrality didn’t even exist until 2015. Do you remember a time where you had to pay money to big scary corporations to access all websites on the internet before 2015? Me neither, but the drug of government is so powerful that it’s victims start to assume that “If we don’t have someone controlling how we live, the greedy corporations will make it too expensive to pay for anything!” This is entirely false. Companies have to cater to the individual, or else they will fail. If I owned McDonalds, and I started charging a million dollars per hamburger, everyone would stop buying from me, and my company would fail. This is common sense; if companies want to be on top, they have to compete with each other for the lowest prices and best goods/services, in order to ensure that they’ll get repeat customers. No company would ever charge a huge toll for roads or internet or any other good or service you can think of, or else another company could just sell it for a cheaper price, and therefore get more business. Companies must cater to the customer to survive, and the idea of these “greedy corporations” is just plain false.
That being said, have you ever driven on a private road before? I’m sure you have. Did you have to pay a greedy corporation a huge toll to drive on it? Probably not. In fact, many toll roads are government roads. So, how would roads work? In one scenario, you have businesses competing for the cheapest road prices. Many of them might implement different policies, such as, “Our roads are safer because we don’t allow drunk driving” or, “Our roads are cheaper because we only make you pay one small price forever!” This would make roads extremely efficient, and it has worked in the past: The first American railroad was privately owned and built. Let’s say you were really afraid of these non-existent greedy corporations, and you didn’t want them owning your roads. You could crowdfund for monetary donations to build a road that you let everyone go on for free. It would be like taxation, but completely voluntary and with a significant lack of cages.
With that in mind, privatization would help everyone a great deal. Prices would shoot down for things like healthcare, education, and whatnot. Currently, we live in a system where the government has a forced monopolies on those items, and they can demand any amount of money they want for it. Due to this, they can be wasteful and inefficient, but private companies wouldn’t have that option. However, let’s say there’s a family that’s struggling to get by in a stateless economy, and they can’t afford these items. There are tons of huge private charities that are fighting to end things such as hunger and to give free checkups, showers, meals, etc. to people who are in need. Once taxation stops existing, and people’s paychecks aren’t being slashed in half, can you imagine how increasingly generous people would be in donating to these huge causes? Private charity for people in need would skyrocket!
In conclusion, a stateless society would thrive. As we’ve seen through times like the prohibition, public school, and the Middle East, government intervention almost indefinitely makes things worse. Private companies and charities will do much more good than anything currently being accomplished. A voluntary society is a better society!