We’ve written before about the political-style smear campaigns aimed at sugar-sweetened beverages and the fact that they are funded by misuse of federal job stimulus dollars. The TV, radio and transit ad campaigns across the country which were funded by taxpayer dollars (which were intended to create and preserve jobs) are yet another example of attacks on safe consumer goods by some city health departments.
Yesterday, Washington Post columnist and ABC commentator George Will wrote about these campaigns as well. Will discusses the millions of taxpayer dollars that went towards advertisements and lobbying efforts: “clearly…spent in violation of the law, which prohibits the use of federal funds to influence in any manner . . . an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation.’”
He continues by asking if such “nutrition activism” is even effective – the quick answer is no:
“Not according to Michael L. Marlow, economics professor at California Polytechnic State University, and Sherzod Abdukadirov of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Writing in Regulation quarterly…they powerfully question the assumptions underlying paternalistic policies such as using taxes to nudge individuals…”