The Health Care Trojan Horse: Property Rights Edition

For years I have warned that government-funded health care will be used as a Trojan horse for a nearly infinite body of legislation under the pretext that X [where X = nearly every activity or individual choice] has implications for health care costs.  Here is the latest chapter of this ongoing saga:

New stand-alone fast food restaurants have been banned from setting up shop in South Los Angeles, due to rising health concerns by the city council.

This story also mixes in a good portion of corporate statism as well, as it represents pretty transparent protectionism of current competitors against new entrants:

Perry's new plan bans new so-called "stand alone" fast food restaurants opening within half a mile of existing restaurants.

So McDonald's, who is likely firmly entrenched in the area, is unaffected, but potential new entrants challenging McDonald's are out.

For even further points, one can see another powerful constituency at work.  I suppose commercial real estate developers complained about potential loss of tenants, so this was added:

Such stand-alone establishments are on their own property, but those same restaurants are OK if they're a part of a strip mall, according to the new rules.

Obviously the same food is much more nutritious if served in a leased building rather than on a piece of land the restaurant owns itself.

Read the whole thing, its a great example with a lot of fact-free pronouncements by politicians about market failures.  via Matt Welch


  1. Neolibertarian:

    The strip mall exception might also be a way to be more lenient on Subway, since they primarily open in strip malls and gas stations. Subway has managed to brand itself as healthy, even though its food tends to have much higher carb counts than typical fast food.

  2. Henry Bowman:

    Coyote, you are channeling Rush Limbaugh here.

  3. Orion:

    Nope, no Limbaugh here. Valid at every level. Exempting strip malls for Subway, that is more protectionism for entrenched interests, both developers and restaurants. It is fast food, not nutritious food that is banned isn't it? So a stand alone soup and salad place would be illegal to build? What a crock. What about "Mom & Pop stand alone fast food places? IE, not chains? I guess they are not allowed. What determines what is fast? Ever been to Roy Rogers? I wouldn't say that was fast. Does having one table and a waiter make it "slow" and exempt?

    Regarding processed food-I believe there is a lot of validity and some evidence that processed food as a addictive qualities. These qualities really impinge on the personal choice argument against legislation of junk food. That said, legislation like this is crapola. It does nothing to protect the consumer. Legislation mandating nutrition information and/or requiring study and disclosure of the effects of additives in the food have a much more valid argument than this.