Michael Bloomberg’s so-called “soda ban,” under which New Yorkers cannot legally obtain a sugary soda larger than 16 fluid ounces in a restaurant, has drawn nation-wide ridicule.
These are the same people, conservatives have noted, who are outraged when a third party is concerned about aborting the unborn baby in a woman’s uterus– but somehow, seem to have no qualms about regulating how much sugar you gulp down your esophagus.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Mika Brzezinski wholeheartedly embraced the measure, while sipping on what appeared to be a large Starbucks that– while at this time falls outside the jurisdiction of Bloomberg’s edicts– still gave off a “good for me but not for thee” vibe, in the words of Mediaite.
Now, a Daily Beast contributor is approaching the issue from a wholly different perspective: embracing it “wholeheartedly,” while arguing that it may not go far enough.
Michael Tomasky writes:
There’s only one way to say something like this, and it’s loud and proud and without apology: I wholeheartedly support Mike Bloomberg’s war on sugar. It’s unassailable as policy. Refined sugar is without question the worst foodstuff in the world for human health, and high-fructose corn syrup is little better. We are a fat country getting fatter and fatter, and these mountains of refined sugar that people ingest are a big part of the reason. The costs to the health-care system are enormous, so the public interest here is ridiculously obvious. Obesity is a killer. Are we to do nothing, in the name of the “liberty” that entitles millions of people to kill themselves however they please, whatever their diabetes treatments costs their insurers? We have this “liberty” business completely backward in this country, and if Bloomberg can start rebalancing individual freedom and the public good, God bless him, I say.
Of course, change [in Americans’ weight] occurred nowhere else as it did at the movies. I recall the looks I used to get from those confused youngsters behind the counter when they asked me, roughly, “Wouldn’t you like to get a tub of popcorn three times larger for an extra 25 cents?” and I barked, “No, definitely not! And don’t even ask about the soda.” They were a symbol of that age of grotesquerie and excess, those 40-ounce sodas, every bit as much as gas-guzzling SUVs. And they’re indefensible. Completely empty calories. At least potato chips have potatoes. Snickers has nuts. But soda pop has refined sugar. Or corn syrup. There is nothing useful about them. And they have helped to create a crisis. [Emphasis added]
And it is well-documented that the administration never wants to let a good crisis “go to waste.” Moreover, perhaps Tomasky wouldn’t be so concerned about the cost of an unknown New Yorker’s medical treatment, if the government hadn’t interjected itself into the industry?
Tomasky continues by declaring that “this talk of ‘freedom’ is absurd,” since Americans will still be able to buy the sodas elsewhere, or order multiple drinks if they feel “they will perish unless they have 32 ounces of Mountain Dew Code Red,” before ironically advocating:
Are bacon-cheeseburgers next? As a practical matter, no. Sodas are an easy target because there is nothing, nothing, nutritionally redeeming about them. But might there come a day when the New York City Department of Health mandates that burgers be limited to, say, four ounces? Indeed there might. And why not? Eight- and ten-ounce burgers are sick things.
We have a health crisis in this country. A country with half of its adults living in a condition of obesity is a sick country, quite literally, spending probably not billions but trillions on the associated illnesses and maladies. Under such conditions, the state has every right to take action on behalf of the common good…
One day, if the country comes to its senses, we’ll reverse the obesity trend and, just as we now chuckle at the prevalence of smoking on Mad Men, we’ll say, “Can you believe people used to peddle this treacle in 64-ounce doses?” We will not only have done something about obesity. We’ll have won an important victory over Libertarianism Gone Wild, a far bigger threat to society than even Sunkist Orange. [Emphasis added]
Is it any wonder that people are leaving New York in record numbers?