Overgovernment: Big Soda Edition
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again. A frequent cause of overgovernment, the King of the Nanny Staters now wants to ban sugary sodas over 18 oz from restaurants and movie theaters:
If Mayor Bloomberg gets his way, and it looks like he will, large sodas and other sugary drinks will be a thing of the past, at least at restaurants, movie theaters, cafes, and stadiums across the five boroughs.
Under the mayor’s proposed plan, drinks at these locations would not be over 16 ounces. If businesses break the rule, they’ll be hit with a $200 fine.
Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, said the measure is a new way to fight obesity. He estimates that over 60 percent of New Yorkers are overweight.
The backlash from businesses was swift and strong. McDonald’s said the ban is misguided. The New York City Beverage Association said the Department of Health has an unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks. Robert Bookman, an attorney for NYC Restaurants, predicted that a legal challenge is on its way.
“It is clearly outside the scope of the Department of Health’s legal authority to pass something like this,” Bookman said. “And I have no doubt that it will be found in violation of the commerce clause of the United States Constitution.”
There are several issues one can take with this, with the obvious being the unconstitutional assault on individual liberty. But other issues include 1) the wrongful attempt to turn a personal and indivudual health issues into a “public health epidemic,” 2) the practical stupidity of limiting the size of containers as a way to reduce consumption when people can simply use two containers, and 3) the inconsistency of banning one sugary item, but ignoring and even celebrating the availability of countless other unhealthy foods (not that we should be giving His Nanniness any ideas on what to ban next).
George Scoville also makes a good point about the inherent gutlessness behind Bloomberg’s nannyism:
If Politicians Really Cared about Obesity…
…they would just outlaw being fat. …The quick and easy solution to the obesity epidemic would be to threaten people with imprisonment for being fat… BMI too high? Five years for you! Maybe we can throw people into the hole and put them on a bread and water diet until they slim down!
…Bloomberg doesn’t have the guts to be this kind of tyrant, so along with his campaigns against salt, trans-fats, and smoking, he’s taking incremental steps . . . to preserve his own job. People, after all, tend to notice a little less when the policy change isn’t so sweeping. Otherwise, Bloomberg would find himself unemployed and out of politics.
“We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things, we’re simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup.”