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  • The Ban on Big Drinks: New York Supersizes the Nanny State

    Yesterday’s proposal by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to limit sugary drinks in the Big Apple left a sour taste in the mouths of Americans nationwide.

    Criticism spanned the political spectrum, as consumers expressed outrage over the plan to ban sweetened beverages in cups or containers larger than 16 ounces. Even comedy newscaster Jon Stewart—hardly known as an anti-regulation ideologue—took a shot, noting that the proposed ban “combines the draconian government overreach people love with the probable lack of results they expect.”

    Stewart is right. We can only hope that the idea fizzles out like a day-old bottle of Coke.

    The ban, meant to reduce obesity among New Yorkers, would apply to restaurants and delis, movie theaters, stadiums, and even street vendors. On the forbidden list would be all drinks in a container exceeding 16 ounces that contains sugar, unless it is 70 percent or more fruit juice or milk. The plan will be put before the city’s Board of Health for approval, bypassing the city council.

    The plan has so many flaws it is hard to know where to begin. Even putting aside the questionable science—the connection between soda and obesity is far from clear—the plan is unlikely to have the trimming effect on Big Apple waistlines that the mayor seeks.

    Customers at fast-food restaurants, for instance, could easily circumvent the limits with free refills (unless the city also caps the number of trips to the dispenser). More broadly, even if consumers’ soda intake is reduced, what’s to keep them from getting their sugar fix elsewhere, perhaps using the money saved on sodas to buy a candy bar or two?

    It’s the regulatory equivalent of squeezing a balloon. Restricting one poor nutrition option doesn’t mean the alternatives chosen will not be equally poor—especially if people are as ignorant or apathetic about their own health as the mayor seems to believe.

    Contempt for consumers is, in fact, at the heart of this proposal. It has a distinct smell of elitism about it. It is built on the fundamental assumption that the Great Unwashed who drink carbonated beverages can’t be entrusted with their own health. These poor unfortunates should not be allowed to waste their money on Mountain Dew; they should be spending it on vanilla lattes as their betters do.

    One commentator observed that “it’s notable that a 24-ounce McDonald’s Coke (with 81g of sugar) would be banned, but the much pricier 24-ounce Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Frappucino (with 87g of sugar) would likely not, due to its milk content.”

    Of course, the restrictions are hardly likely to expand beyond the currently proposed definitions. If sodas are to be restricted, why not fruit juices, which are also high in sugar? The idea isn’t far fetched. Anti-obesity advocate Barry Popkin, for instance, urges that consumers eat whole fruits instead of juices.

    It’s hard to see where this will all end. As the editors of the Los Angeles Times suggest, the “next logical step would be to require restaurants to serve vegetables with every food order, or to require every New Yorker to join a health club, or to ban ice cream.”

    Such worries sound fanciful today, dismissed as the product of overactive regulatory imaginations. But the same could be said of banning big sodas just a few years ago.

    Americans are right to be outraged at Bloomberg’s proposal. The message they should send to him and other would-be regulatory nannies: Put a lid on it.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    25 Responses to The Ban on Big Drinks: New York Supersizes the Nanny State

    1. spike says:

      Really need to follow the money here. how much tax revenue does the state receive for two 16 ounce drinks versus one 32 ounce drink?

    2. Bobbie says:

      Nobody but GOVERNMENT IS COMPLAINING, MR. BLOOMBERG! How dare you! I'd rather DEAL with my choices like I do regardless of your insults, regarding my own consequences than killed by yours! Now give us our right to our control of our own lives and the health care we ensue that your demeaning ignorance and the like minded, has no right to and stay out of our business! You only live your own life, Mr. Bloomberg. Keep yourself and the like, out of ours!

      I thought you were a believer in God? Why are you lowering yourself to ungodly men and their cruel inhumanities?? YOU ARE UNTRUSTWORTHY AND DEMOTE HUMAN MENTALITY!

    3. O2BMe says:

      How much control should a government have? Should they ban bread? A hotdog with no bun, Oh I forgot they will probably ban the hotdog also as not healthy and good for us There goes the hamburger and french fries too. Maybe they can force all people weighing over a certain weight to have laparoscopic surgery.

    4. Stirling says:

      Bloomberg will just be creating a "Black Market" for everything these "Nanny Staters" decide is bad for us. It happend with prohibition, until the people got fed up with the mess it created, and it is happening now with stuff like Lightbulbs, Ammunition, Guns, and whatever else it being threatened by an out of control regeim.

      People by their nature want to be free and the more "control" that is forced on people the more they resent it. Bloomberg claims it's because of Obesity, but it still robs us of a basic freedom of choice.

    5. Bob says:

      To ban anything is saying to the people two things. 1.) that you are to stupid to do for yourself. 2.) you will do as your told like the child you are. However what the presumed powers that be do not understand is that without the voters " US" their punk butts have nothing. So all that this Bloomberg mutt has done is to create a haven for boiling strife. The funny part is he did this while stuffing his face full of FATTY ASS DOUGHNUTS. Hypocrisy is one thing but that is just asinine. I see a potential recall in the near future!

    6. King of the Road says:

      I've got a question on the supersixed drinks. If Doomberg outlaws 32 oz drinks and one can only purchase 16 oz drinks but the establishment gives free refills how is it gonna accomplish anything except keep the customer going back for free refills

    7. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Why not ban New York?

      • R.Robert Burdick says:

        I did , I moved out of New York In Nov, 1990 To get away from the stupid taxes. Come on people to pennsylvania where taxes are not so much an everything is cheaper ,clothes,food,gas,an a whole lot of things.

    8. AVCurmudgeon says:

      The proposal "has a distinct smell of elitism about it." Gee, ya think? This remark has to qualify for the top 10 Understatements of the Year. Bloomberg knows best. He's mistah mayah, after all.

      I read comments that restricting sugar intake in this way is a "good thing." OK, let's say it is. Since when is it the right and responsibility of any government at any level to tell us what to eat, or how much, or when? "Oh, well, you see, if you use too much sugar and get diabetes or something, then that's a cost to society in the form of health care." And that's the logic. Once you make everything about society, then society gets to stick its nose in everything.

      To quote the late, great Jimmy Durante: "Don't put no constrictions on da people. Leave 'em ta hell alone."

    9. Barbara Bronson Gray says:

      Why can't the Mayor just have the calorie counts printed on the cups as they are on restaurant menus? A good rule of thumb: In matters of health, people should have the benefit of information and the right to make their own decisions.

    10. @J_Rotten says:

      Bloomberg has a long history of nanny state actions related to food and beverages in NY that have had absolutely ZERO impact on the "health" of average New Yorkers. What's more relevant is, while "Rome is burning" and the City, State and country are in the midst of a massive recession with huge (but way under-reported) unemployment, Bloomberg has consistently worried more about what you should eat and drink. It's yet another example of rearranging the deck chairs while the ship is sinking. But, I find it hard to have any sympathy for New Yorkers – they voted for both Bloomberg and Obummer. It's a cautionary tale.

    11. M R says:

      How would they enforce not purchasing 2 – 12 oz drinks? The vendor could even offer 2 for the price of 1!

    12. PBruce says:

      Why not just issue ration cards? If people can't be trusted with dietary decisions, why give them any choice at all?

    13. Bobbie says:

      Axlerod is going to have to share the truth if he has any respect for humanity, to tell us why government is TAKING OVER our lives while Bloomberg has no respect for private businesses to provide what people want with no respect for people to make their own decisions and handle any consequences that might come to be ones' own expense? Like it's suppose to be? Axlerod suggesting "you can't handle the truth?" What disrespecting, condescending fools. We live the truth their ignorance dumps daily! Nannies Bloomberg, Axlerod and government as a whole, trapping us while refusing constitutionality? Mind your oath, keep clear from personal livelihoods that's OUR BUSINESS! PUPPETS! REPEAL obamacare cause no one can take care of anyone but one. You're over doing everything you're unconstitutionally ban from where NO MONEY should be SPENT! …lists of punishments and penalties isn't ANYONE'S idea of good health care! with only those reasons for obamacare…CONTROL!

    14. Guest says:

      There are also people who buy a large drink and share to save money… and in this economy saving even two dollars adds up. Just another attack on our freedom.

    15. Jerry Baker says:

      Someone needs to ask the mayor if plans to fall out all the obese types to conduct a session of the daily dozen each day as well!!!! When this is done show some documentary film segments of Mao's China and Hitler's Germany out doing their daily exercise for the "good of the state."

      It's coming folks …….if the voters of this country remain apathetic to the political process!!!

    16. Lloyd Scallan says:

      This is not about obesity, it's about attacking freedom. It's not about helping "poor" childern to eat (or drink) healthier, it's about control of what a free people will choose. But make no mistake, it's about money! The first reaction was "well someone could by 2 16oz drinks". That's true, but it also means that the tax for the 2 16oz drinks would double. Bloomberg is no fool, but he thinks everyone else is.

    17. Jeanne Stotler says:

      the only time I buy large drinks is when traveling, I buy one and it'll last me about 4 hours, I need to have liquids due to a respitory problem and stopping every hour is not practicle. I also buy diet, if I was in new York I'd buy 2 -16 oz. This is bigger than drinks it is infringment on civil rights, first taking away our religous rights, then one by one eliminating the others until we are a true Marxist society.

    18. Brad S. says:

      The funny thing is, that your body doesn't know whether it is consuming soft drinks, fruit juice, white bread, or any other highly processed carbohydrate. Your body processes them all as sugar/glucose/fructose. Most of that food is of questionable nutritional value and what's next ? Banning bread ? The USDA food pyramid is completely upside down – expecting people to use grains as 70% of their caloric intake. Obviously, this isn't working. Look at the average American. If you really want people to stop being fat, obese and generally unhealthy – incentivize BEING HEALTHY. Don't punish freedom. Imagine if you were offered health plan premiums at 50% off your current price by meeting certain health criteria ? Problems like this would take care of themselves.

    19. OldieButaGoodie says:

      Isn't it dismal how no politician submits a "positive" regulation instead of a restrictive regulation. Doesn't that suggest regulation is a last resort? Why not talk to the community by mass outdoor messaging, through talk-radio sessions, through the enemy – freedom frighters, etc. Positive political messaging is a far more skilled, unique effort to confront the need to regulate a problem versus the bullying manners of our current president. Who knows, our political leaders might learn a new, sincerely, honest way of communicating with each other.

    20. REM says:

      Editorial in June AARP suggests tax on sugar to fight obesity. Editor must like Nanny Bloomberg. REM

    21. Gunsmoke says:

      You MUST buy health insurance…You MAY NOT buy soda in more than a 16 oz cup….We had more freedom under King George. We have traded one tyrant 3 thousand miles away for 3 thousand tyrants one mile away. Time to clean house.

    22. chimom says:

      If people are still fat despite the regulation requiring calories to be listed on menus and signs, what rational person would think reducing the size of a soda is going to make a difference. What about all the incredible calorie and fat laden restaurants such as Chinese? Where is the ban there? Someone should investigate Bloomberg's business dealings to see what is actually behind his discriminatory actions focused against the fast food industry. Could it be a case of the 10,000 calorie vendetta?

    23. Gideon Hill says:

      RE: the “next logical step would be to require…every New Yorker to join a health club."

      Your hyperbole is a little extreme. The government would NEVER be allowed to be so intrusive as to require a private citizen to purchase a given commodity.


      Well, yeah, OK…except for HEALTH Insurance….

      Oh, never mind.

    24. ymhammer says:

      The Government should prohibit the sale of desserts to those who do not finish their vegetables.

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