Thursday, April 12, 2007

Frieden's War

In the past six weeks the offensive against the city's restaurants has taken the form of open warfare. As the NY Post reports this morning, the period since the infamous Taco Bell rat scandal has seen the city shutter 220 local eateries, a move that NYSRA's Chuck Hunt says has cost the industry millions.

This open warfare, however, hides the fact that, for at least a year now, the DOH under Dr. Tom Frieden has initiated a series of anti-business measures- launched under a public health guise. The trans fat ban, which will necessitate the switch to soy bean based oils, has seen the cost of this alternative oil skyrocket by over 50% since the fall, an increase that will be sure to go higher as corn comes into greater demand for use in the manufacture of ethanol.

On top of this the agency's social experiment on calorie posting will cost the city's fast food outlets around $46 million on compliance costs, as these businesses are forced to retrofit their menus and menu boards. These anti-business measures themselves are in addition to the department's cash-crazed enforcement policies that already hit up the locals for close to $30 million dollars a year.

The one measure that could save the restaurants money, and improve the public health- legalizing food waste disposers, was shot down by the city because of concerns with DEP compliance costs (those kinds of compliance costs the bureaucrats comprehend). So we are back to the fact that this administration, and its enablers at the council, have absolutely zero interest in making the neighborhood businesses in the city more efficient and economically productive.

Mike Bloomberg, a man who has created an empire that employs thousands, lacks even a cursory concern for smaller entrepreneurs. We wouldn't expect that elected officials who have never worked in the private sector, and who have never created a single job that the tax payers hadn't ponied up for, would get that these kinds of policies are not good for the city. The mayor, crossing the globe and inveighing against "burdensome regulations" on the financial industry, should know better.