One Way Restaurants Can Fight Child Obesity

In the study, items on the children’s menu were considered healthy if they met the “Kids Livewell” criteria. Before the menu change, 3 percent of all entrees ordered from the kids’ menu were healthy ones, and French fries accounted for 57 percent of side dishes. (My children, truth be told, were doing nothing to improve these depressing statistics.)

In April 2012, the Silver Diner introduced more healthy options and highlighted them on the menu. Kids could still choose fries and other traditional options, but the menu was now designed to encourage healthier ones.

from Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag

Warning: You Still Need to Stress About Stress

Differences in life expectancy by education and income areincreasing. And while differential trends in smoking and other habits partly explain the lifespan gap, it’s mostly a puzzle. I suspect that a major factor is stress — that prolonged exposure to stress has risen more among families of moderate income than it has among those of high income, and that the stress is literally killing people.

from Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag

Some Crimes Can Be Forgotten

The U.S. is supposed to be a nation of second chances, but for the 70 million Americans with a criminal record, we’re not doing such a great job. Even among those whose crimes were nonviolent and committed long ago, too many still bear a scarlet letter. So it’s encouraging to see many states now moving to expunge or seal the records of nonviolent crimes that aren’t repeated.

The stigma from a drug or other offense, even one committed in young adulthood, can linger for decades. In one recent experiment, job applicants randomly assigned a criminal record were half as likely as other applicants to get an offer of employment or even an interview request.

from Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag

Democrats Attack a Pillar of Obamacare

A push now under way in Congress to defer or repeal the so-called Cadillac tax is the biggest legislative threat the Affordable Care Act has faced in the past five years. And, weirdly, the lawmakers to blame are Democrats.

The health legislation was built on three pillars: It was to expand insurance coverage to more Americans, have at least a neutral effect on the U.S. deficit, and contain health-care costs. These are mutually reinforcing; knock down one pillar and the others may tumble also. An effort to expand coverage without containing costs and improving value, for example, could overwhelm the health system and ultimately undermine the expansion. Lowering payments to health-care providers is less painful if those providers have more insured patients.

from Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag

It’s Not About Sentencing. Police Need to Make More Arrests.

In preparing for a White House conference this week, I’ve reviewed the recent data on the fight against crime. And it’s depressing. For example, the share of violent crimes in the U.S. for which arrests are made is shockingly low — less than half in 2014, the FBI reports. For burglaries, the share was only 14 percent.

That, in turn, points to the great flaw in how we’ve gone about fighting crime: We’ve relied too much on longer prison sentences for those convicted.

from Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag

Nobody Wants to Be a Politician Now

Young people are disaffected with the political process and lack any interest in running for office, a new book by Jennifer Lawless of American University and Richard Fox of Loyola Marymount University demonstrates. Yet the book itself perhaps unintentionally underscores one of the key reasons why: We know too much about our politicians.

from Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag