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Thursday, October 27, 2016

There are things the law cannot do.

And if that seems a self-evident observation, well, you may want to think again in light of last week’s headlines out of New York City: It seems the mayor wants to ban the Big Gulp.

Specifically, Michael Bloomberg has announced his intention to pass a law restricting restaurants, movie theaters and sports arenas from selling sugary sodas in sizes larger than 16 fluid ounces. The ban, which would not affect supermarket sales, diet sodas or alcoholic beverages, represents NYC’s attempt to get a handle on the growing American problem of, well, growing Americans.

As the mayor told The New York Times, “Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible.’ New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something.”

He rejected the notion that the New York ban would limit consumer choice, noting that anyone who fears she will die of thirst without 32 ounces of Fanta can simply buy two sodas. The mayor was also dismissive of the argument that the ban encroaches upon people’s rights. As he put it on the “Today” show, “That is not exactly taking away your freedoms. It is not something the Founding Fathers fought for.”

To stand at any busy intersection and watch America go waddling by, drinking a latte and munching a doughnut en route to McDonald’s, is to understand the urgency of the problem that motivates the mayor. To read the statistics on diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure and other obesity-related illnesses is to have that understanding forcefully driven home. And yes, sugary sodas sold in containers that could double as mop buckets are certainly a contributor to that state of affairs. One cannot doubt the mayor’s good intentions.

His good sense, however, is another matter.

He proposes to solve the problem with a law only Big Brother could love. It represents nothing less than the usurpation of personal prerogatives, the enforced substitution of government standards for individual ones, the triumph of the Nanny State.

  • Is this really a role for government? Defense, Education, Sick and Poor, Common goods, free goods, etc etc and ban 32 oz cups?

  • How does Bloomberg’s proposed large soda drink restriction differ from the seat belt law?? Are not individuals, who cannot hurt anyone else but themselves, mandated to wear a seat belt when singly driving a car? Wasn’t the seat belt law forced upon individuals for their own good?
    Just saying…

  • ObozoMustGo

    Someone put a call into hell, QUICKLY. I think it may have frozen over. Leonard Pitts is sounding more and more like a conservative libertarian in this article.

    This is what we conservatives have been saying for years. Government has gone absolutely over the top mad, and this idiot Bloomberg is performing the latest in a long line of assaults on individual liberties that has been going on since Woodrow Wilson. “The belief that human progress can be legislated, that human beings can be perfected if only we write enough laws” is the hallmark of leftist utopian thinking. It’s at the very crux of the DemocRATic party and the radical socialists that run it. To see that a writer on The Memo has acknowleged this is truly stunning! Especially Lenny “I see race in every issue” Pitts.

    Congratulations Lenny! Welcome to the good side. 🙂

    Have a nice and enlightened day, my friend!

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Here’s what I find so odd: Neoconservatives rant and rave about the “Nanny State”. Now, take a good, long look at who is doing all of the behavioral adjustment legislation…neoconservatives who spout all that ranting and raving.

    Bloomberg is a closet conservative. Hence, his ultra control freakitis. Like all conservative bullies, he feels he has the only God-given right to make choices for others whether they approve or not.

    So, when all is said and done, the “Nanny State” promoters are one and the same: bully men of the neoconservative breed.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Billionaire Bloomberg has a few very rich skeletons in his closet. He won’t touch with a 10 foot pole any of his rich boi cronies and in any way infringe on a dime they are filching from taxpayers but he isn’t above doing the wink, wink, nod, nod to these same rich boi cronies by forcing more predatory pricing on consumers.

    Instead of buying one large soda pop, consumers will be forced to spend extra money if they want more than Bloomberg allows. How about we cut off Bloomy’s quota of caviar and foi gras for a few months? Maybe then, he’ll take the hint and MIND HIS OWN business? And boy oh boy does he have an awful lot of his own business to mind.

  • MikeCassidyAHS

    All the political BS aside, nanny state or not, obese people add to
    Everyone’s expenses, one way or another. Weather that’s your private health insurance,
    or some communal health coverage. This issue should be beloved by conservatives,
    it’s ‘SAVING MONEY’. I look at the average size kid in the high school near me, and they would be referred to ‘PORKEYS’ when I went to high school. YEA, the gym teacher picked on them a little more than others, as they should have.
    Mike Cassidy
    Utica, Md.

    • amosnme

      Stupid people add to everyone’s expenses too. You can’t fix stupid.

      • MikeCassidyAHS

        Disqus generic email template
        You’re right, stupid people can’t be fixed. I’ll bet 50% of the people in this country don’t know what district their U S Senator represents, GET MY DRIFT.

  • howa4x

    Anyone that dosen’t think a health care crisis is looming lives in a state called denile. We are already seeing an epidemic of diabetes type II in young children This is a disease they should develop in their 50’s.. These kids will develop heart disease by the time they are 30, and some will have strokes and heart attacks.

    They are our future workforce!! Who will pay these health care costs? How will they be productive if they are chronically ill? What will this do to our economy? Already the Joint Chiefs of staff of our military, no liberal think tank, sees obesity as a threat to our national security. They are already seeing teens too fat to fight. Any thing we can do including a class action lawsuit against all the food producers and purveyors like M’c Donalds for poisioning our population and making us ill, is warranted.

    What Bloomberg is doing is light compared to the problem. We taxed Cigaretts to the point where they are 10,000x more expensive then when I was a kid, and it is helping to get people to quit and more not to start because of the expense. We tax alcohol because of the health issues it causes, and an unhealthy food supply should be no differen. We should stop all subsidys to any food producers that contribute to the problem. There should be a national tax on soda(liquid candy) and other unhealthy foods and those taxes should go to pay for health care costs. 5 federal agencies concerned about this problem asked for legislation to ban direct advertising of unhealthy food to children. The Republicans sided with the food industry against the welfare of our kids. What a suprise! Disney acting for our children, just banned all unhealthy food advertising from it’s network. Seems they really care about our kids, unlike our congress.

    What makes me really laugh is all the conservatives that run around yipping about family values, trying to protect their children from made up threats like homosexuality, and contraception, but sit idly by as they watch their kids be poisioned by an industry that puts profits before the health of their children. This is not the Nanny State, we are in a crisis.

    If you don’t think this is child abuse, Think again. When you knowingly fail to protect them from harm. What do you think that’s called? Tea Party- stop protecting industry and start protecting our kids!
    Parents: Don’t chase Phantom threats deal with the real ones in front of your face

    • Wait a minute…If parents can not control the eating habits of their children in a sensible way, why should the government do it? If you want to protect your children, do not BUY them fast foods, do not allow them to have huge gulp containers of soda, do not overindulge them in their nutritional wants! It is NOT up to the government to make those decisions, it is up to the people that conceived and are rearing the children!
      Foods are, and always have been available that are not valuable to the body in any way,it is not a new thing. Disney is a private corporation that is taking the right step in alerting parents that they need to confirm and follow up on dietary habits of your children.
      Red meat can cause clogging of the arteries, so should the government ban sales of large amounts to anyone? How about sugar? How about any substance that is known to cause health problems or obesity?
      STOP making the government accountable for your responsibility as a parent. Teach your children the benefits of good nutrition and teach them that THEY will have a choice as an adult to maintain a healthy lifestyle for their own benefit, Not that it is forbidden or measured by our government what they can and can not eat.
      There are many “bad” things in this world, teach your children well and do not depend on the government to protect and guide them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a cheeseburger, there is something wrong with eating 6 of them at once. Do not ask our leaders to ban cheeseburgers because your child may eat 6 of them at one sitting.That is YOUR job!

      • howa4x

        I agree that parents are responsible. I raised 3 and we fed them healthy food, not processed. We also involved them in competitive swimming so they are all lean and muscular. Most parents don’t. They let their kids eat way too much sugar, because parents have become lazy.
        In NJ the govenor banned all surgary snacks from school lunches. That is government getting involved in right way. If you want to ask the question why should government do it then ask why should we arrest drug dealers who sell to kids?Why is one form of harm acceptable and the other not. With your logic then it would be up to parents to educate their kids about drug use and leave the government out of it. Then make drug use legal, and a parental responsibility. Now you may say that is an extreme case,but its not. Street drugs do harm to childern, we all know that so why should we have one expectation of government to prevent harm for one thing and not the other. We all know that the food supply is causing harm to our children but , it’s not an individual issue since we will all share the costs of that harm each time we have to pay for an insurance premium. Insurance companies spread the risk over a large population and the cost to us is based on that. We all complain about rising health care costs and how it’s becoming un affordable, well we pay for the uninsured through our tax dollars. so if the uninsured in your state all allowed to create obese children then you will pay for them. A leg amputation of a diabetic costs $175,000., how about open heart surgery, do you know what that costs? Is that fair? Do you want to pay more and more for healthcare because some of the parents are not concerned about the welfare of children?If as you say government has no role in this then its up to you to pay escalating costs. Hospital costs can’t be controlled if people are in need of this kind of care
        Another expectation of government is to remove children from a dangerous home enviornment. So we remove them from a physical danger, for the welfare of the child but not when the parents are slowly killing them them. why not?
        Government has a role to protect people. If an adult wants to eat themselves into an early grave so what if any is governments concern, nothing really it’s an adult.
        In that same situation what is the responsibility of government if a group of corporations are slowly killing our kids? Should they intervene or parctice social Darwinism?

      • hubydoll166

        It all come down to the parent and the habits their children pick up from them. I do believe that parets should be held to account for having a 300 pound 10 year old., That is neglect pure and simple. Maybe bloomberg should pursue holding parents to criminal neglect instead. It would be hard to be against that..his law or proposal goes too far but understand the premise of this. Its going to kill our country but taking away choice is a no no. I do like the legalization or pot tho..yippee!!! I agree with you Regina..

      • Ndysay

        Red meat doesn’t cause clogging. Read Gary Taubes “Why We Get Fat”. This may be the best reason for not allowing government to create laws singling out one food or another as bad. We may all end up obese because the only healthy food is illegal.

        As long as Nutrition is not Science and based on Scientific evidence we can only make the problem worse by passing laws that support our own misinformation. Check out Dr Peter Attia’s blog on nutrition.

  • It most definitely is something our founding fathers fought for! Not, of course, the right to buy and drink a big gulp of soda because there was no such thing then…but the right to possess the freedom to make choices of a personal nature. Not only for the consumer, but for the manufacturers, distributors and tradespeople that develop and market products that are legally defined as fit for human consumption. Maybe they want to outlaw the 16 ounce prime rib as being a potential heart attack food.
    Do they think people are so stupid and mindless they can not monitor their consumption without government intervention?
    Cigarettes are sold everyday and hundreds of people smoke. Maybe they should step in and allow only one pack a day to be purchased by any individual.
    Sorry, but this is a nation of excess in many ways and if our leaders want to step in and change that, start with the excessive spending of the government, the flaunting of wealth and waste when so many are in desperate need, training programs that are voluntary to teach those that desire to learn about nutrition and health instead of taking away choices.

    • johninPCFL

      Yes, people have demonstrated that they are stupid and mindless and WILL NOT monitor their consumption, but nevertheless, government intervention is an over-reach.

      Most of the blimps now get free medical care at the local ER, paid or by the local property owners. Perhaps a better response would be to give us owners a break and set the sales tax rate to charge more for more volume (as opposed to the discount now granted for the tubs of sugar) as a pre-payment for the costs that are demonstrably produced later.

    • Ndysay

      Are people who are addicted to drugs capable of controlling their intake?

      There is evidence that the consumption of sugar provides a high no less intense or habit forming than cigarettes or heroin.

      Not that I favor outlawing super size.

      I always buy the super size because I end up paying less per ounce. Something a rich mayor probably never has to consider. Of course I drink Diet Pepsi.

  • amosnme

    What an idiot. You can’t buy a 40 oz drink, but you can buy two twenty oz drinks, three sixteen oz drinks, a six pack of twelve or sixteen oz drinks, and so on. Did you ever take math, Bloomburg? The teacher was right—-you will use math every day of your life……if you use your head. What would your next step be—-measure how much people pee so it can be estimated how much they drank? Stop trying to take rights away—the US is already starting to feel like a police state.

    • johninPCFL

      The deterrent when buying more units is that the units cost more individually, i.e. you get a price break per ounce when buying the tub versus the pint. Buying a bunch of individual pints costs far more than buying the tub.

  • so whats next lets see oh ya you can only take a crap between 12 and 1 pm , you cant have a doughnut, the problem isn’t large drinks and over indulgent, what they need to realize is alot is caused by metabolism and the body of each individual. if republicans had their way we are all going to look like Ethiopian children in the USA. healthy easting is done by the parents of children sometimes people will by large because they share with others. this guy has fell of the mitt looney bin truck hang on NEW YORK they are coming for your food next

  • ernie13x

    The U.S. is projected to have a 50% obese rate in the next 20 yrs. If people could govern their own habits, our government wouldn’t need to step in. We’re one of the fattest societies in the world and now our next generation has a serious problem with juvenile obesity. It would seem we need someone to step in and save us from ourselves. I applaud this proposal.

  • Mem

    Limited Government intrusion is what the founding fathers fought for. It seems to me state and local governments are to be feared much more than the Feds.

  • This IS NOT an intrusion by the Nanny State, it’s an intrusion by the BIG DADDY STATE!

  • hsmith6490

    lets come up with better incentives than to leglslate how much we should eat or drink.While i admit the way we eat and drink is harming the biggest problem is we are so busy that fast food has become a way of life.there are more important thing the govermant needs to address than this like getting my back to work figuring out how to bring back maufactoring jobs so there are more jobs for the middle class

  • While banning super size sodas not one single was mentioned
    wherein all Phosphoric acid in those sodas has the ability to
    reomove enamel on your teeth, Here it comes folks the image
    fat and also toothless.

  • hubydoll166

    Bloomberg approached this wrong..totally wrong..hold parents to account with criminal neglect for being 400 pounds and having 300 pound 10 year old children..thats the way to approach it without trampling on rights..come on bloomberg..where is your think tank?

  • hubydoll166

    If bloomberg does this with soda then mcdonalds and other garbage food industries are going to be held to higher standards..the only way fast food is competative is because they have to lower food standards to get food cheaper (if you want to call it food) pretty soon all fast food will contain very little to no actual food in it. This is whats going on with hamberger and “pink slime”, you have to put less and less food product in it to get it cheaper and be competative. We should at the very least be suspicious of what we are eating when we get it cheap..if people knew what they were eating then would it make a difference? Its amazing what corporations will do and sell to the public for profits..this world is going backwards in fever pitch..its really bad when the food that is sold to us contains only partial amounts of what they call it….to answer the question, bloomberg is and cant do that..its wrong and not american…hold the parents accountable for neglect because it is neglect!

  • greghilbert

    Our obesity epidemic has enormous negative consequences to the obese and public at large. Unfortunately Bloomberg’s well-intended gesture does more harm than good, by strengthening reaction to government intervention in matters of personal choice, while intervening only to the degree of nuisance and without measurable gain.

    To prove the point, consider the injection of rightwing sloganeering in this post ( ie “He proposes to solve the problem with a law only Big Brother could love. It represents nothing less than the usurpation of personal prerogatives, the enforced substitution of government standards for individual ones, the triumph of the Nanny State.”).

    The contention is mindless, even if Bloomberg’s regulation is silly.

    I would prefer to see prolonged public debate over sweeping intervention proposals, as for example a mandatory staged-reduction in maximum sugar content over an extended period of time, analogous to what was done to reduce vehicle emissions and increase miles per gallon, or the imposition of taxes and warning labels analogous to those on cigarettes. The facts of the crisis need ventilation, and so do the pros and cons of possible means to mitigate against them.

  • Why is it that Teapublicans tout fewer government regulations…unless it has to do with our bodies? What’s next? They are in our kitchens and restaurants and bedrooms. Will they follow us in the grocery stores and make sure we put the Teapublican-approved foods and drinks in our carts? Can we regulate their consumption of sumptuous food and $300 bottles of wine? (Although Paul Ryan might not like that.) Some say our healthcare costs are going up due to people’s habits. Well, I have news for you. Smokers pay more and we’re moving to those who are obese paying more. This is much more “fair” than big-brothering what I want to eat or drink. If I was a fast-food restaurant, I’d still offer the super=size…just serve the 32 oz. drinks in two 16 oz. cups. Stupid laws that can’t be enforced should not be passed. Stay out of my house, Teapublicans!