The Truth About Salt, Rick Perry and Dana Milbank’s “Fact Checking”

Today, in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank takes on Governor Rick Perry and his new book, Fed Up. Now you would think that in a 200 page book that deals with countless issues – including Perry’s bold but accurate claim that Social Security is bankrupt and that the members of the Supreme Court serve as the “Grand Ayatollah’s” of the Constitution – he might get past one line about how much salt we can put on our food. But, no – THAT is what bothered him.Perry’s book is officially due out next Monday, so we’ll have a more detailed review forthcoming. But let’s take a quick look at this “controversy.”In a litany of complaints about intrusive government, the Governor says the following:


We are fed up with being overtaxed and overregulated. We are tired of being told how much salt we can put on our food, what windows we can buy for our house, what kind of cars we can drive, what kinds of guns we can own, what kind of prayers we are allowed to say and where we can say them, what political speech we are allowed to use to elect candidates, what kind of energy we can use, what kind of food we can grow, what doctor we can see, and countless other restrictions on our right to live as we see fit.

So, Dana Milbank seems bothered because the regulation in question about salt is actually about processed food and not how much salt you “can put on” your food. Really? This from the guy who claimed that Fox News only had one Democrat on for election night coverage, when in reality there were numerous.Milbank points to Politifact’s determination that the allegation that the federal government can tell us how much salt we can put on our food is false. But what Milbank doesn’t note is that even Politifact acknowledges that the FDA sponsored an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report called “Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States,” and that the April 20 report recommends the FDA “expeditiously initiate a process to set a mandatory national standard for the sodium content of foods.”Politifact gets hung up on the fact they are “studying it” and that there isn’t actually someone in our homes telling us how much we can “sprinkle.” Seriously? Has anyone not heard of a turn-of-phrase? Fine – change it to “how much salt we can consume in our foods” and it’s hard to say the federal government is not involved in that process – whether there are regulations in place yet or whether there are just studies. Excuse conservatives for wanting to kill this stupid idea in the cradle.More importantly, excuse me for spending even a waking moment on what Dana Milbank has to say…



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