Should government be able to stop fast food restaurants from opening?

| January 28 2013
Christopher Cook

Are fast food restaurants providing a service that people want or “preying on communities”?

Maryland’s Prince George’s County has the highest obesity rates in the Washington, D.C. area. Now the county council is considering a bill that would give it zoning authority to keep new fast food eateries out of its jurisdiction.

But is tackling obesity as easy as keeping cheeseburgers and fries out of people’s hands?

The author of the bill, Karen Toles, thinks so and tells Reason she’s just trying to hold fast-food restaurants accountable for “preying” on her constituents. The Center for Consumer Freedom’s Justin Wilson says the bill violates the rights of customers and businessmen and argues that “obesity is far more complicated than blaming…one single industry.”

The bill’s worst enemy maybe Prince George’s itself: The county recently loaned $300,000 to a local businessman so he could open up two new Little Caesars pizza restaurants.

The bill is scheduled for a vote later this year.

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