The city of San Jose is threatening to enact legislation preventing fast-food restaurants from locating near schools in inner-city neighborhoods. This policy may appear compassionate or health conscious, but it decreases entry-level jobs for black and Hispanic youths in neighborhoods with few employment options. It will also decrease needed sales and income tax receipts for city coffers.
Fast-food restaurants provide entry-level job training and supplement incomes for poor families in their own communities. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health, commented about New York’s fast-food ban: “I think it’s an absurd solution, not just from the point of individual choice. It just wouldn’t work. If you love fast food and you’re fat, you’d just go to another neighborhood; and you probably wouldn’t jog there, you’d probably take a cab.”
Parents, schools, and churches should finds ways to monitor and re-direct kids’ eating habits, without government plans that depress city revenues while eliminating local jobs for at-risk inner-city youths.
Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislation manager at The Heartland Institute.