Pizza is meant to be enjoyed, not overthought. Obamacare encourages overthinking. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)
Pizza is my downfall. When I get a hankering for a slab of cheese and pepperoni, nothing else will do.
I’m under no illusion that pizza is health food. Even though a slice topped with ham and green peppers contains all the major food groups, I understand it doesn’t qualify as a balanced meal. I’m also well aware that if I eat too many meat lover specials, my backside will get as broad as an ax handle.
There are some things, however, I don’t want to know: When the Grim Reaper will come calling, for example, or what my daughters did on prom night, or how many calories the Domino’s guy is delivering.
But a busy-body government is insisting on making me feel guilty about my guilty pleasures. One of the more intrusive of Obamacare’s many attempts to control our behavior is the requirement that fast food chains post the calorie counts for all their menu offerings. The regulation is particularly onerous for pizza joints, which offer an infinite number of topping combinations on the basic pie.
The industry estimates compliance will add $1 billion in new costs, meaning hamburgers, chicken nuggets and pizza will cost more.
And what we’ll be paying for is what we already know: Junk food has a lot of calories. As part of an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, it will make you fat.
If we’ve gotten to the point where we need a regulatory regime to tell us that, then perhaps we are as stupid as the government assumes we are.
The theory behind the regulation, I guess, is that if the hard truth is driven home every time we place an order — “That’ll be $16.99 and 12,000 calories for one medium with everything” — the quantification of just how unhealthy pizza really is will instead turn us to the nearest Whole Foods Market for a bucket of oats.
The authors of this rule must never have had a late night jones for grease, or felt the euphoria of discovering a Hot & Ready sign when faced with a carload of hungry kids and nothing on the stove.
Those are desperate moments, and even a skull and crossbones on our pizza carton won’t shame us into broccoli.
This is one more example of the government using Obamacare as an excuse to reduce the risk and unpredictability that comes when people make their own decisions. Washington is convinced we simple-minded citizens are incapable of acting in their own best interests without the firm hand of a bureaucrat on our shoulders.
So we get dumb — and expensive — mandates that assure we are fully informed of the consequences of dining on fast food.
If posting calorie counts doesn’t work, we’ll get taxes to make our bad choices more painful. Eventually, we’ll have to step on a scale before ordering a burger and fries.
In the end, we’ll still be fat. Making us do a lot of math when we choose our toppings will just get us depressed, which will make us even more hungry for pizza.
The only thing that will get skinnier are our wallets.
Follow Nolan Finley at detroitnews.com/finley, on Twitter at nolanfinleydn, on Facebook at nolanfinleydetnews and watch him at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays on “MiWeek” on Detroit Public TV, Channel 56.