by Max Brantley
The Republicans love to talk about the "nanny state" — by which they mean government regulation aimed at improving the health and safety of American citizens.
That could be a principled position — to hold a hand up against regulation — except when they stick out the other hand for enormous taxpayer subsidies under legislation rigged for their favored corporate backers.
Earlier this year, the USDA made an attempt to bolster the nutrition guidelines for the federal school lunch program. Under the new guidelines, for instance, school lunches would be limited to one cup of starchy vegetables a week and the ability of schools to count tomato sauce on pizza towards their fruit and vegetables requirement would be scaled back. But House Republicans, in a new spending plan unveiled yesterday, have done away with those changes:The spending bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. The department’s proposed guidelines would have attempted to prevent that.
The changes had been requested by food companies that produce frozen pizzas, the salt industry and potato growers.
Republicans, as ever, invoked the evils of regulation. Think Progress translated the Republican legislation differently:
What they will actually do is ensure that a steady flow of dollars continues toward certain favored food manufacturers, at the expense of children’s health.
Can ketchup be back as a vegetable soon?