The Spectacle Blog

Beware the Hot Dog Police!

By on 3.1.10 | 3:50AM

In addition to trying to cut the deficit, reform health care, stop global warming, and fix Washington's broken political culture, President Barack Obama has taken on an even weightier task:  Getting rid of killer hot dogs.  It seems that around a dozen kids choke to death every year eating hot dogs.

The threat--of more government meddling--is real.  Reports the Washington Times:

Believe it or not, the government is about to regulate the shape of hot dogs. Bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are studying how to change the shape of hot dogs to prevent youngsters from choking. As a result, recent headlines have warned about "killer hot dogs" and "Doctors urging for a safer, choke-free hot dog."

Undoubtedly the administration will next turn to killer chicken, killer gum, and former President Jimmy Carter's nemesis, killer rabbits (one of which attempted to bite him while alive rather than choke him after being cooked).

The money the government is likely to spend on this effort would probably save several lives if spent on better health care for needy people.  There's a larger issue at stake, however.  Observes the Times:

Any child's death is tragic, but the government cannot regulate everything and create a risk-free kindergarten utopia. Perhaps bureaucrats will go after bathtubs next. More than 90 children younger than 5 died from drowning in bathtubs in 2006. Forty-three children younger than 10 died riding bicycles. Even in extremely regulated areas, there are many more deaths. In that age group, more than 1,100 died as a result of motor-vehicle accidents that year.

Life involves some risks. If government agencies don't have anything better to do than regulate hot dogs, their budgets should be cut to help them focus on essential duties.

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