Hands Off My Dollar Meal

Cross-posted from State House Call.

By John LaPlante

Two researchers, one at the University of Chicago and the other at the Centers for Disease Control, have cranked out the numbers and have concluded that Americans are getting fatter because … fast food workers don’t make enough money. According to David O. Meltzer and Zhuo Chen, “Real minimum wage decreases can explain 10% of the change in BMI since 1970.

Paul Kersey, who works for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, knows a few things about weight gains and losses, having recently shed some 30 pounds. Kersey thinks that the implication of Meltzer and Chen’s paper–raise the minimum wage–is wrong: “if there’s a public health problem that can be addressed with the sort of top-down, one-size-fits-all approach that is typical for government, obesity is not it.” For one thing, healthy food as well as transfat-laden food will go up in price.

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