Sunday, October 27, 2013

False health alerts

20th Century US History is full of instances where the federal government whipped the public into a frenzy about some potential health threat and, of course, made itself the solution to the supposed problem.  Actually, it's a pretty standard government power move: announce some sort of threat to the public, declare it an emergency, and on that basis, restrict, regulate, and tax us as a means to stopping the threat.  For an analysis of five recent "phoney public health scares", read this article from Ronald Bailey at Reason.org.  Here's a slice of the first fake scare:
1. Americans should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, in order to reduce everybody's risk of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure.  You hear this one all the time. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. A June 2013 report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest asserted, "Immediately reducing average sodium consumption levels to between 2,200 mg to 1,500 mg per day would save about 700,000 to 1.2 million lives over 10 years." These nutrition nannies have been urging the U.S. government to lower the upper limit of daily recommended sodium intake to just two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt.
It's one of the mechanisms by which government agencies and bureaucrats try to justify their existence and to keep the taxpayer money flowing into their coffers.