For most of human history, there has been no food pyramid. There has been no USDA or FDA. There has been no government entity that regulates what can be considered food, let alone one that gives “recommended dietary suggestions.” Somehow, our species survived.

Not eating ourselves into extinction. So easy, a caveman could do it!

We have a food pyramid—excuse me, MyPlate—not simply because the government wants us to be healthy – but because the government felt the need to influence what we eat.

The folks over at Fooducate have hit the tip of the iceberg:

“How can the USDA, a government body set up to promote agriculture and sales agricultural commodities be also charged with health recommendations?  There is an inherent conflict of interest in helping farmers sell more corn, soy, and milk and at the same time helping people consume less food.”

The Obama administration has taken this conflict of interest to a new level through lobbyist connections and the First Lady’s special interest in promoting healthy eating.  Personally, I think it’s great that the First Lady is using her prominent position in American society to promote the cause of health, especially children’s health.  It’s a great cause for her to support, as a private citizen.

As usual, things go south when the government gets involved. Remember how they converted the traditional food pyramid into a plate just about a year ago? Take a guess much it cost to convert a pyramid into a plate – or, in layman’s terms, a triangle into a circle. Have you made your guess?

It cost $2.4 million. Over two million dollars for the USDA to complete the equivalent of a 6th-grade home economics assignment.  Over two million dollars to tell us “Fruit, vegetables, good. Sugar, fat, bad.”  Over two million dollars for a dinky little graphic to print out on posters, hang in school cafeterias, and when the next food fight breaks out, some kid will smear government-subsidized chocolate pudding all over it because after over two million dollars just to draw the picture, there never seems to be enough money left over for healthy school lunches.

As the USDA groans into some sort of “action” over the way we eat and Michelle Obama champions diet and exercise, the President is cultivating ties with people who make healthy food expensive.  He has appointed people from the National Farmer’s Union, the National Association of Wheat Growers, and CropLife America to hold positions in his administration. CropLife America is not what it sounds like – it’s a group that advocates for pesticide usage.  Most Obama voters will hear this and choke on their tofu burgers, horrified that their “environmentalist president” broke yet another promise.

It only gets worse. One of Obama’s advisers on immigration, Maria Esteveste, comes to our government straight from United Farm Workers – a union started by Cesar Chavez whose membership is comprised of mainly illegal immigrants. These are people who wouldn’t play by this country’s rules, and they now want us to play by theirs, giving them the artificially high wages they ask for. When we have to pay farm workers high wages – healthy, homegrown food becomes more expensive.

Illegals are allowed to work on our farms, and we have to pay them extra to do so. Guess who isn’t allowed to work on farms? American teenagers. The Department of Labor is making new rules, and they’re harsh:

Under the proposed changes described by the DOL as “far-reaching,” anyone under 16 will be unable to operate or tend any power-driven equipment, including mowers…Similarly, they can’t work in yards, pens or stalls with male horses, pigs, cows or bison older than six months, sows with piglets or cows with calfs; they can’t catch or coop chickens in preparation for slaughter or market, neither can they herd animals in confined spaces or on horseback…The current child labor laws prohibit teens from working 20 feet off the ground or higher; the DOL wants that brought down to 6 feet. Even 17-year-olds who can enlist in the military would not be allowed to work at grain elevators, stockyards or livestock auctions.”

At fifteen, most American kids are legally eligible to get a learner’s permit/license to drive a car with an adult in the passenger seat.  These new rules would make it harder legally to push a lawn mower than legally drive a car. As far as herding livestock?  Watch this bunny do it.  I know, it looks terribly dangerous.  However, if you can get something at PetSmart that herds animals, you ought to be able to get something from a high school that can do the same.  So far, only one congressman has taken a stand against these new rules, and they’re still up for debate.

Who knows when the USDA and the DOL will wise up and stop telling us what to eat and who can farm it.  Of all the people Obama gets to appoint – at least one of them ought to be a real life overalls-wearing, tractor-driving farmer. There’s a novel idea: Make the government actually listen to the people it regulates!  American teenagers should be asking their government why it will gladly send them to war, but will keep them out of farm jobs because they’re “too dangerous.” Anyone who eats food in America and has been subjected to propaganda in various geometric shapes – pyramids, circles, and so on – should be asking the USDA why it’s taken our money to fund glorified geometry. Until this boils over and real change happens – don’t tread on my grocery list, and don’t tread on me.

Angela Morabito :: Georgetown University :: Washington, DC :: @_AngelaMorabito