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Government Knows Better

This wasn’t intended to be my next post, but it sufficiently pissed me off than I can’t resist.

If you have a look at this link, you’ll see that New York City is proposing a ban on “sugary drinks” being sold in sizes over 16 oz, to include iced tea and presumably things like Gatorade. The reason given is the latest “mother knows best” reason for restricting free choice, obesity.

I’m sorry, but I don’t understand a few things:

1. How is this the purview of the government? It will not prevent people from drinking as much soda as they like, first because many places offer free refills (and making that illegal would almost certainly be ignored) and second because people will just go elsewhere to buy what they want, depriving NYC not only of tax revenue but also pushing jobs out of the city, as demand for larger sizes will in large part likely just shift.*

2. Do they think people won’t just order more than one of something? The fact that McDonalds hamburgers are fairly small just makes fat people and hungry people order more of them to sate their appetite. Why the hell would anyone imagine it will be different with Coke?

3. What can’t the government do? If they can regulate size, surely they may regulate quantity as well, which is one solution to the issue above. If they can regulate that why can’t abortion be regulated? “No, I’m sorry, you can only have one abortion a year and six sodas. It’s commerce you see and a matter of public interest.” I don’t have an issue with legalized abortion as long as I’m not forced to pay for them, if people are buying their own sodas, I don’t care how much they are drinking.

4.Fuck you Bloomberg.

*I don’t mean to say that the movement of jobs out of the city is a bad thing, only that the city is doing things that are making certain jobs cheaper and more useful elsewhere. It’s not unlike increasing the minimum wage and the power of unions to extort business, then complaining HP or AT&T is sending jobs to India. Sorry, but why would I hire you when I can hire 10 people for the same money elsewhere?

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2012/05/31 at 19:24

    Restrictions don’t always result in terrible things. NYC forced food sellers of a certain size to put calorie info and whatnot on their products. Fast food sales went up. That could be for other reasons, including the recession, but it didn’t seem to hurt in the least.

    Abortions are legal due to privacy reasons. That would seem to trump commerce, just as my right to not have soldiers stay in my home trumps the fact that my house is built from many out-of-state materials. (You are welcome to set up your tend in the backyard provided you continue to provide me home made beer.)

    All that said, I’m not for this ban. I like seeing restaurants being forced to tell people what’s in their shit, but I don’t see the point in micromanaging portion sizes. It isn’t that people will get around stuff by ordering double (though they may), but rather that the companies will get around it in their own way. What stops McDonald’s from offering buy one 16oz cup, get an 8oz cup free, or some other combination of sizes? Nothing.

  2. 2012/05/31 at 19:54

    Anyway, I think this is more a ploy to bring attention to an issue than to actually put any policy into action. Some group proposed McDonald’s retire Ronald McDonald awhile ago. They know it won’t happen (unless he becomes commercially useless like the Burger King King), but they did manage to shine a spotlight on things.

  3. 2012/06/01 at 13:28

    I don’t honestly see very much difference between ones medical choices and ones food choices with regard to the privacy that one should be due in making those choices.

    Personally, I have no doubt that they are going to impose this ban, and there doesn’t seem to be any scientific facts underlying it. It’s one thing, even if it’s an egregious restriction of freedom, to propose a tyrannical plan with some scientific backing. It’s another to do it just because it sounds good or to call attention to something.

    Both are unacceptable, but at least there is a minimal amount of sense behind one.

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