Bloomberg is Anti-Choice – The New York Large Soda Ban

I don’t want a Large Farva, I want a GOD DAMNED LITRE O’ COLA!

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got his way this week. They passed a law that banned sugary drinks larger than 16oz in New York City. This applies to restaurants, fast food service, movie theatres, food carts, etc…

I am not a fan of Bloomberg. I find that he’s the kind of Democrat that people hate. The ones that want to tax everything, reduce the choice of people by having the government intervene whenever necessary and I’m incensed by how he overturned term limitations for himself… only to re-institute them before he leaves office. I don’t want this to turn into a political rant (I am an independent, neither Republican nor Democrat), but I find that this ban is simply ridiculous. This won’t stop people with a soda addiction from drinking soda. It will just make them buy MORE 16oz bottles or 12oz cans. It will hurt the consumer in the wallet as well. Instead of going to the movie and buying one large soda to share with your significant other, you’ll end up buying two 16oz ones that will probably still cost the same as one large one… except now you’ll buy TWO.

I would love for this nation to get in shape, but restricting consumer choice through the government is a HORRIBLE idea. If you want to kill yourself with cigarettes, sugar, drugs, more power to you… it should NEVER be the governments decision to limit you. All they’re doing it reducing the single serving size… they don’t limit the quantity of those single serving sizes, so that does NOTHING but increase plastic use and waste. One thing that is unfortunately true in some instances is that what New York does, the country follows… Let’s hope this isn’t the case.

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21 thoughts on “Bloomberg is Anti-Choice – The New York Large Soda Ban

  1. L Eaton says:

    Hi Jared,

    I agree that the decision is problematic. But there is strong insight to what Bloomberg did. You’re right that some who are “Addicts” as you put it–it won’t stop. BUT it has the strong potential to stop many others from over indulging and having to consciously decide to go for the second drink. That is, it’s not going to affect those on the extreme, but it is going to be potentially useful for those in the middle or borderline areas of obesity–because it brings the issue of decisions and choice into specific consequences.

    The biggest problem we have with food is that we do it mindlessly (and are trained to consume more calories by the food industry). We aren’t really conscious of how much we are eating. Now, I agree that I find it problematic government has stepped in–but you know what’s equally problematic–that without an outside force or some means of making us think about food, we often won’t. Consider what you’ve been doing here–you’ve made a dietary change and in part, because you’re blogging about it–you’re doubly conscious of what you’re doing. Many people have not gotten to a place where they can do they (we can only cognitively load so much at one time and there are often too many other demands on our psyche to do that–you’ve experienced this too when you’ve found yourself cheating by not thinking or overcome by desire to have a good time rather than have to “think” about it as you’ve shared in this blog).

    Bloomberg’s approach is problematic, but the idea that individuals en masse can address this (self-reliance) is equally problematic since it’s unrealistic. Bloomberg at least acknowledges that making people more conscious of their decisions is going to help a lot more people than it is going to hinder.

    And you’re approach is also unclear because you say “This won’t stop people with a soda addiction from drinking soda” and then claim, “If you want to kill yourself with cigarettes, sugar, drugs, more power to you…” These are contradicting statements. Addiction implies an inability of choice or a sharply diminished ability to properly choose. Most people who smoke, over-eat, or do drugs, aren’t doing it out of a sense to “want to kill” themselves, but because there is lack of control. That is, it can’t be an addiction and a choice, can it? Also, the discussion of addiction brings up a valid point. We are not entirely rational beings–if we were, we would en masse do everything that was in our best interests for happy, healthy, long lives. Instead, many of us don’t–we overeat, smoke, drink, etc. That should tell us that the rhetoric of “freedom” is problematic since it’s based on the Enlightenment concept of “rational man.” We’re not rational–so yes, sometimes, we really need some strong prodding to help us course correct.

    Ultimately, Bloomberg is doing something that is not being done on any substantial level in this country–actually doing something about the obesity epidemic. There’s lots of talks…there’s lots of charts…and they rearrange the food-pyramid/square/polygon every year or so, but they aren’t providing people with actual means of enacting change in their lives to produce a healthier society that will actually be “freeing” in a much bigger sense as it allows for less demands on healthcare, less money wasted on unnecessary calories, less time wasted in lines (at the movie theaters or doctors’ office).

    • Jared says:

      The problem is, Soda addiction is a choice. I was ‘addicted’ to soda for years… and then I saw my weight hit 325 and thought “Hmm, maybe I should stop drinking this stuff”. I didn’t go through a physical withdrawl… my weight did though. within 3 months of stopping my soda intake, I dropped 25lbs.

      I fit pretty much into the “Libertarian” train. I think individuals should be left with ALL the choices. Sure, there are charts that show that obesity has increased as the available size of sodas has as well, but the problem is that people are accustomed to drinking that volume now… removing a single serving of big volume doesn’t stop them from consume that amount of volume, just the vessels in which they’re required to consume them.

      Simply removing the option to drink that much soda from one bottle won’t solve the problem, in my opinion. You know what MIGHT? Taxing those larger sodas at a higher rate. As far as I know, he’s already instituted a “Soda tax” and that didn’t do anything to curb intake or obesity either. Maybe make a 20oz soda cost $5… like they do at the movie theatre. I never buy a soda at the theatre… I sneak in a 3L bag of water…

      • L Eaton says:

        Hi Jared,

        But that’s where opinion and research differ. The psychology of buying shows that the tax factor doesn’t work on the consciousness of the buyer (hence why cigarettes still keep selling)…but the psychology of having to buy and carry 2 sodas does…it’s the delayed and extra step that makes people conscious of whether they need or just want and whether they should or shouldn’t. Yes, some “fatsos” are going to order two plates or feel the social pressure to avoid ordering two plates. The social dynamics of food are equally powerful and important in developing healthier eating styles (a piece of your major weight loss has been to make it public).

        it’s not going to solve the entire social problem–but it is going to start a conversation (as we have here!) and start to give us some sense of whether it does or doesn’t work on the gov’t level. Because right now, everything in the private sector has been tried (and failed in an epic way). The private sector has had decades to address and fix this…and they’ve only made it worse.

        As someone else who has lost a lot of weight as a result of conscious food action, I avidly avoid the “I did it; so can everyone else.” This tends to be my biggest gripe with Libertarians–their entire political philosophy is built upon the self-interested rational person–a person that psychology and neuroscience have largely disproved to exist…that is, saying “let them decide for themselves” is akin to saying “let them eat cake”–because it largely ignores the actual socio-economic, cultural, and historical forces that ignore “choice” comes awfully easy to people of privilege (whether of educational, cultural, racial, gender, religious, class, etc ways) but is far from present to those whose exist in different power dynamics within the various systems of power.

      • Jared says:

        One question I always had was… when a 2 litre bottle is $1.75 and a 1 litre is $1.50… what was stopping fatties from buying it? It wasn’t 25c… it was the fact that they didn’t want to be ‘that fat guy guzzling a 2litre.

        There’s certainly a chance this works. There’s another chance you start seeing more New Yorkers guzzling 2 litre bottles or having a bandolier of soda cans.

    • Erin says:

      Yes, I totally agree. What a well written response. I applaud Bloomberg and his guts to say that this needs to stop somewhere.

      • Jared says:

        It doesn’t stop the sale of 2 litre bottles of soda. People will just buy those instead. Consumption rates will go from 20oz single servings to 2 litres.

      • Jared says:

        “Groceries and convenience stores would be exempt, allowing consumers to still stock up on 2-liter bottles at their local supermarket; and the ban would not affect the sale of diet sodas, fruit juices, milk-based drinks or alcoholic beverages.
        This doesn’t mean New Yorkers can’t drink more than 16 ounces of soda at a time. If they so choose, they can get refills — even free refills if the restaurant offers them — or buy two smaller drinks instead of the extra-large one.”

  2. New John says:

    It’s not the gov’t’s JOB to stop people from overeating or to solve the obesity epidemic, L. And the planners’ grand plans to make us all better never actually work the way they want them to work.

    Nice post, Jared.

  3. Debi says:

    Great rant and I’m with you on this topic!! It (limiting serving size on sugary drinks) sure would NOT have brought me any closer to my Primal decision in the end… only poor health and educating myself did that. All that does is kinda what we do to our teens (well, some do)… tell them they can’t have something, then they go out and do it/get it to spite their parents. Ah well… I’m sure all those who seek to limit our choices are ‘trying’ to keep our interests at heart. (I, too, hate politics!! Wish we could start over…)

  4. Jared says:

    I wonder if his next plan will be to reduce the New York City Plate sizes to 9″ plates to keep people from eating too much at restaurants…

    Fatsos will just order 2 entrees. I know I would have.

  5. L Eaton says:

    Except that in the Constitution, it even states “to promote a general welfare” and “to secure…our prosperity”…the fact of the matter is obesity is not just an issue of personal health but of public safety and increase depletion of limited public resources (larger seats or less seats available in public transportation or public spaces…more demands for emergency services due obesity-related illnesses…increase demand on social services…less of a pool for military personnel…ad infinitum)…and the grand plans on all gov’t levels rarely work the way they do…but sitting by and pretending everyone is capable of dealing with it on their own and that it doesn’t have serious social and civil ramifications is kinda like sticking the finger in the dyke…

    • Jared says:

      Here’s my solution: end corn subsidies. Charge soda companies to stop using HFCS and use cane sugar. As a fatso, I was NEVER able to pound a 12oz can of real sugar soda… it fills you up IMMEDIATELY.

      The solution is to reduce the corn intake of this country. HFCS is the problem. Consumers of sugar don’t care if it’s real or HFCS… go after the companies that use HFCS and have them start using real sugar. The product cost goes up, but the consumers will be more satiated.

    • New John says:

      So the “general welfare” is whatever the Powers that Be define it to be? What happens when people you don’t like are running the show, L?

      What if “The Other Side” gets control and decides that premarital sex is harming the “general welfare”? It causes unwanted pregnancies, disrupts lives, causes trouble within families, costs the country because of welfare expenses, means more people to potentially become obese . . . need I go on?

      And “to secure…our prosperity” is the worst deliberate misquoting of the Declaration I have ever seen. That’s plain dishonest. The real quote is “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

      This has nothing to do with the Blessings of Liberty.

      • L Eaton says:

        Hi New John,

        Legally speaking, general welfare is in reference to keeping and sustaining a thriving society. I don’t know what you mean by “people like me”? In response to Jared’s discussion, I’m merely raising points that I think are valid of discussion and consideration. I apologize if engaging in meaningful dialogue makes it sound like I want to run “the show”…I merely want to consider the ways Jared’s ideas may or may not work in their entirety.

        I’m not sure who “The Other Side” is in your premarital sex example…however, largely, historically, it was illegal to have premarital sex in this country (study the history of sex and you’ll find innumerable accounts of laws that said that). However, what is proven to decrease and hinder unwanted pregnancies is the right to birth control in the form of contraceptives (including the morning after pill) which is constitutionally protected along with other measures (such as abortion–which is less protected constitutionally speaking).

        you can’t go on…but again, I’m not sure where you’re going or if you’re making sense that I can follow.

        As for the misquoting–I apologize. I’m dyslexic. I saw prosperity. Posterity though–the argument that I made still holds true. The research bears that the generation being born are increasingly less likely to live longer than our parents are. Since posterity refers to all future generations, then yes, there is still ground for the investment not only of us as individuals “Blessings of liberty to ourselves” but also to “our posterity”–recognizing that we are only as free as we are in that we don’t do detrimental harm to our future generations–which is what appears to be happening with the obesity epidemic.

        Thanks,
        Lance

  6. New John says:

    Sorry. Should have said Constitution, not Declaration. Mea culpa.

  7. New John says:

    “Legally speaking, general welfare is in reference to keeping and sustaining a thriving society.”

    No. It means things which are necessary for the general welfare, as in, “all the people.” Things like national defense and a court system. Everyone needs those.

    But this is all beside the point . . . I hereby retract my opposition. I think giving gov’t this kind of power, the power to make food choices for us, is a great idea.

    I know that some people are addicted to bread and other wheat products. Therefore, because eating too many carbs causes some people to get fat, and this, of course, ineluctably leads to “larger seats or less seats available in public transportation or public spaces…more demands for emergency services due obesity-related illnesses…increase demand on social services…less of a pool for military personnel…ad infinitum)…”, we should ban any servings of bread larger than 3 oz.

    This will properly shape the people in our country to be Better People and thus the U.S. into a Better Place.

    Thanks for converting me, L. Now let’s go talk to The Mayor!

    • New John says:

      Also, the fact that I live already eat low-carb and won’t be much affected by this new law is totally just a coincidence. Seriously.

      I promise I’m not looking at other people, finding something they do that I don’t but which I’d prefer they not do, and then asking the gov’t to force them to live as I do.
      I’m trying to help here people!

      • L Eaton says:

        All I can say again John is–you see what you want, but don’t actually hear anything. I’d like to have a meaningful conversation…you apparently just want to decide that I’m offensive by having conversations to better understand things or tease out nuance. You’d rather everything be simply–yes or no, impairing on rights or not, but not consider that there are no easy answers in a world complex as ours. Good luck, it must be hard being you.

      • New John says:

        What nuance is there in deciding that supporting Bloomberg’s “right to tell us what to eat” is a bad idea? You want to “play nice,” and make platitudes about how “it’s helps in way X or way Y”, but ignore anything which undercuts your theory such as central planning’s history of unintended consequences, principles which allow people to own themselves, the absurd end result of the position you are supporting etc.

        You talk very sweetly, L, but you haven’t offered anything beyond judgements on my (lack of) rhetorical skill, incorrect broad statements (“Legally speaking….”), and “misunderstood” citations of the Constitution.

    • L Eaton says:

      2 points I’d like to make here:

      1. “you can’t go on” — I meant “you can go on.” bad checking on my part.

      2. I’m sorry that your response to engaging in respectful debate is sarcasm and belittlement. I didn’t realize that raising questions and trying to validate and evaluate opinions with proof or at least explaining how one comes to one’s opinions is upsetting enough to you for you to decide to be disregarding and insulting to others. I’ve been trying to engage your points and not attempt to make assumptions about you or assume how you believe the world should be run. While you have your right to free speech, I’m sad that you would use it so poorly as to attack someone that is engaging you in respectful dialogue.

      If you’ve been listening to what I’ve said and how I’ve approach Jared’s post (my very first words: “I agree that the decision is problematic.”), I haven’t said I’m entirely prescribed to the idea. I said I can find value and reason in it, yes. But I’m not married to it. Rather than foster a healthy discussion, you decided to hear what I was saying and decide that I’m in favor of full government control and treated me as such. It’s too bad that you chose to enact your free speech as you did–cause while I’m still not entirely certain what’s right in the situation that Jared presents, my opinion of you has lessened. Good luck to you–your approach on interacting with strangers probably does no justice to the person you actually are, but you’ve chosen to speak and act this way.

      • New John says:

        Yes, I used sarcasm and satire to mock your position supporting the gov’t making food choices for us. I admit it.

        I don’t believe that someone supporting a claim to run my life as they see fit is being respectful, no matter how nicely you say it. Even if you use the best of Shakespearean phraseology tell someone you have a right to run their lives, it doesn’t mean you’ve been respectful.

        “I haven’t said I’m entirely prescribed to the idea. I said I can find value and reason in it, yes. But I’m not married to it.”

        What does it matter if you only support this time but maybe not next time? So you’ll go along with the soda ban but not my bread ban? That one’s too much.

        Do you truly believe that this is as far as they will go? That they’ll stop the next time they decide something is bad for you because this time you disagree?

        Once you cede this power to them, you’ve accepted the principle that this class of regulation is something they are allowed to do.

        Finally, I find your support for people micromanaging others’ lives offensive, but if you want to make public statements to that effect and use your freedom of speech that way, I won’t stop you.

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