Pizza Is Tearing Our Country and Politics Apart

And GOP is the pizza party, lobbying against a nutritional 'nanny state': Paul Krugman
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2015 12:40 PM CST
A trolley loaded with pizza is wheeled onto the elevator that serves the office of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, on Capitol Hill, Oct. 15, 2013, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – "Pepperoni Turns Partisan" is the name of Paul Krugman's opinion piece in today's New York Times, and that headline leads straight into the point of his article: that the nutrition wars are heating up, and the GOP is the party of "Big Food." To frame the argument: Krugman calls the GOP the "Big Pizza" party, citing a Bloomberg study that shows 88% of political contributions made in the 2012 and 2014 elections from US pizza companies went to GOP candidates and groups (in the case of Pizza Hut, it was 99%). While some are clamoring for the government to help us get healthier, the pizza lobby "portrays itself as the defender of personal choice and personal responsibility. ... We don't need a nanny state telling us what to do"—or eat.

But Krugman deconstructs that argument by insisting no one's actually trying to get rid of pizza: There's just a need for things like better labels (for more "informed" personal choice) and more nutritious school lunches (a situation where adults already make choices for kids). "Personal choice" doesn't entirely apply here anyway, he writes: Obesity affects the country's finances, and those who struggle with weight may also struggle to make the right choice. But he doesn't expect the GOP to warm to his argument. "Health experts may say that we need to change how we eat, pointing to scientific evidence, but the Republican base doesn’t much like experts, science, or evidence," he writes. "Pizza partisanship … sounds like a joke, but it isn't. It is, instead, a case study in the toxic mix of big money, blind ideology, and popular prejudices that is making America ever less governable." Read Krugman's full column.

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