Beyond The Beltway

Beyond Meat's Lessons for Government

Eating veggie burgers was always the equivalent of biting into a soggy styrofoam sammich. However, we are now seeing meat alternatives that are actually pretty darn good. Carl’s Jr. has the new Beyond Famous Star (it IS delicious), Del Taco is now serving Beyond Tacos (again, very good!) and Burger King is locally testing the Impossible Whopper (which we haven’t tried). Whether or not you are grimacing reading this, and everyone can choose their own diet based on health and environmental reasons, it’s these new technological breakthroughs of plant-based alternatives that serve as a good reminder of the difference between free-market and big government solutions and how they should be implemented.

Our national divide, no matter the issue, can often be reduced down to a philosophical debate regarding the scope, size, and power of government. Most Conservatives agree there is a need to reduce incredibly expensive programs created by centralized politicians and bureaucrats who would not likely be impacted. Instead, any policy should first be implemented locally, which these restaurants did with the curious new meat alternatives. That way it can best serve those it was designed to impact, as opposed to a one size fits all national cudgel.

Private markets who answer to stakeholders are showing us how it’s done.

John Tamny (Author of The End of Work and Editor at Real Clear Markets) writes how the limited test of Burger Kings new plant-based Impossible Whopper provides progressives a good example of how to implement policy nationwide.

John writes:

Let local governments try policy ideas for the same reason that Burger King is rolling out the Impossible Whopper in one city: the future is uncertain, as are the results of experiments. If testing is local, we won’t nationalize the failures.

For politicians to take John’s advice, they must first admit modern history is filled with programs grown from the seed of ‘good intentions’ which can and often did boomerang.

  • Imagine if Obamacare was limited to a 2-year test in certain cities, instead of crashing the entire system overnight, causing millions to lose their Doctor’s and seeing their premiums and deductibles skyrocket.
  • Imagine a ‘Great Society’ program being tested locally where before the massive entitlement was implemented, fatherless homes within black communities averaged in the low 20 percent range. Five decades later we see the number in the mid 70 percent range.
  • Imagine if Common Core was tried in several school districts to determine its impact before millions of students were placed into what most agree is now a dismal failure.

This doesn’t suggest States don’t also overreach. Bad state policies can cause as much economic damage as federal which is demonstrated in far-Left states like New York, California, and Illinois where middle-class citizens are choosing between moving to neighboring states or lowering their quality of life. Cities or counties can always first determine the viability of new zoning laws, business regulations, and taxes impacting those who can least afford increased costs of energy and food. Yet, the government’s reliance on academic studies and white papers theorizing the consequence and cost of intended new laws are often wrong.

If our cities and states are to be laboratory experiments which could either benefit or hurt those who live under new policies and laws, shouldn’t federal and state government follow the example of Burger King and think locally before nationally?

After all, the government also has shareholders to whom it must answer.

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