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OpenMarket: Michelle Minton

  • Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda to Show the "Evils" of Private Alcohol Sales

    November 21, 2013
    As if there wasn’t enough money in politics, now government agencies are using taxpayer dollars—our dollars—in an attempt to influence state policy. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded The Public Health Institute’s Alcohol Research Group almost $650,000 a year for five years to research the effects that alcohol privatization in Washington State has had on prices and alcohol-related harms. At first glance, it may seem like a perfectly appropriate research topic for the NIH to support, but the details make one wonder whether the motives for such research are scientific curiosity or pure politics.

    The organization that received the grant and its scientists have a long history of...
  • FDA Trans-Fat Ban Sets Stage to Target Sugar, Salt, and More

    November 8, 2013
    On November 7, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  announced plans to change its classification of trans-fatty acids and remove the designation "Generally Recognized As Safe." If enacted, this change would result in a de facto ban of synthetic trans fats. In practice, this means food manufacturers would need to prove to the agency the use of trans fats would not have any adverse health effects before products containing them could enter commerce.

    The de facto ban on trans fat’s GRAS status signals a sea change in the agency’s approach to food-safety regulation. Historically, the FDA has banned only additives and products that could be acutely dangerous to public health. FDA attempts to limit other ingredients, such as salt and sugar, have met public backlash, but it’s unlikely many will step up to defend trans...
  • CEI Study Supports Tax Cuts for Beer

    October 31, 2013
    If you’ve read Lauren French’s Politico article on the two beer tax reduction bills currently under consideration in Congress, you might think that the Competitive Enterprise Institute views the bills as a threat to federal revenue, Brewers: Tax cuts good for what ales us (October 30, 2013). Let me set the record straight: as we state in our paper BEER and Small BREW Can Be Good for Youwe believe that in the short term the BEER Act, which reduces the federal excise tax for beer producers big and small, will be a boon to the nation’s economy, but that the ideal course of...
  • Alcohol Crimes Decline in Washington After Liquor Sales Privatization

    October 24, 2013
    liquorIn the lead up to Washington State voters approving privatization of liquor sales in the state, opponents claimed—as they always do—that the increased availability and lower prices would undoubtedly result in increased rates of crime, alcohol-related auto accidents, and greater numbers of minors having access to alcohol. The number of outlets in the state has soared (consumers can now buy liquor at more than 1,600 retailers compared to 329 state-run and rural contract stores before) and while there were some reports that liquor thefts might have increased, according to the Washington State Patrol, most alcohol-related...
  • Is Katy Perry Causing Childhood Obesity?

    October 22, 2013
    katy-perry-roarNo, of course not! However, a coalition of health advocates seems to be making that assertion when they sent her a letter this week asking that she relinquish her sponsorship of Pepsi because, they insist, its deviously effective marketing of soda to children is a cause of childhood obesity.

    Never mind that childhood obesity rates are declining around the nation among all socioeconomic levels, the cause of obesity is not and never has been advertising. Additionally, the solution to...
  • Loosened Laws in New Jersey Result in Brewery Boom

    October 18, 2013
    Only a year after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law that would allow breweries in the garden state to sell beer on their premises, the Garden State has experienced a growth spurt in its craft beer scene.

    Bills S-641 and A-1277, which were signed into law in September 2012, make a number of changes for both microbreweries and brewpubs that enthusiasts had hoped would put the state in a better position to compete with its neighbors. New Jersey is ranked as the 34th state in the nation for craft beer production, while Pennsylvania takes the number two spot, New York is sixth, and Delaware is 16th.

    Unsurprising for those of us who study of free market economics, the relaxed laws have spurred growth. ...
  • Bloomberg’s Soda Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

    July 30, 2013
    Today, an appeals court ruled that New York City’s Board of Health overstepped its authority when, at the behest of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it attempted to limit the size of sodas sold at city establishments.

    According to the four-judge panel, which came to a unanimous decision, the Board of Health took action that should have been left to the legislature and also found that the rules were “clearly political or economic considerations, rather than health concerns.”

    The proposed ban would prevent restaurants, movie theaters, street carts, and corner stores (any business inspected by the board of health) from serving sugar-sweetened drinks in servings larger than 16 fluid ounces. Mayor Bloomberg’s justification was predicated on the fact that obesity causes increased costs to the public...
  • Bad Science: CDC Forced to Reverse its Recommendations on Salt

    July 17, 2013
    Mother may know best, but Uncle Sam certainly doesn’t.

    In 1977, the federal government put a warning label on saccharine, claiming it caused cancer. It took only 20 years to to admit this was wrong. Then there's the so-called Healthy Food Pyramid created by the USDA to advise Americans on the composition of a supposedly healthy diet. Although many still follow the recommendations of the food pyramid, it has since been questioned by researchers and nutritionist and even cited as a potential factor in America's skyrocketing rate of obesity. Now we have another...
  • D.C. Council Passes New Rules: Food Trucks Are Here to Stay

    June 19, 2013
    After four years, the Council of the District of Columbia finally passed rules to regulate the burgeoning mobile food industry that seem to please all sides. Restaurant owners were hoping the new dining option would be a flash in the pan, but it seems the new rules and the food trucks are here to stay.
  • Pennsylvania's Liquor Privatization Plan Forgot about the Beer

    June 5, 2013
    Beer wholesalers are testifying yesterday morning in the Pennsylvania Senate, expressing their opposition to the proposed plans to privatize the state-run liquor store system. As John McGinley, vice president of Wilson-McGinley Inc. in Pittsburgh noted, “The beer industry is private. We don't need to privatize an already private business.”

    He is right, the beer market in Pennsylvania is private, but that doesn't mean it's free and certainly doesn't mean it couldn’t be improved. Currently, Pennsylvanians wanting to buy beer have few choices. In most parts of the state they have two options; either buy a six-pack at high cost from a bar or buy a full case from a distributor shop. And for brewers wishing to get their beer into those bars or shops, unless they are based in Pennsylvania...


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