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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Soda jerk

If we were to pick the one person most likely to push nanny statism absolutely as far as it can go, I'd probably nominate the mayor of New York:

New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

Dude, my weight is not any of your damn business, OK?

This is really depressing. I need to do something self-indulgently decadent. I know, I'll take a week off and zip out to the West Coast and pig out on some foi gras. Oh, wait. At least that ban is based on a desire to help the poor widdle ducky wuckies instead of a morbid fascination with morbid obesity.

Anyone see the irony of Californians rushing to stuff as much of the pate in their mouths as they can -- force-feeding themselves, as it were -- before the ban goes into effect?


Thu, 05/31/2012 - 10:04am

But your weight is other people's business. The cost of insurance depends on the average health of the persons buying it. If you (along with a significant number of other policy-holders) become heavy enough to increase your need for expensive intervention, such as insulin injections or bypass surgery, that extra expense is charged to everyone else covered by your insurance company.

Furthermore, if a person who lacks insurance gets obese, the resulting health problems are paid for by Medicaid, which our payroll taxes support, or by hospital emergency rooms, which must then raise their rates to those of us who may need hospital care, but do have insurance. No man is an island, economically speaking. It's no coincidence that life insurance companies charge you more if you smoke.

That said, the proposal to ban sugary drinks over a certain size is silly. Fast food joints will simply start offering two-for-one deals on smaller drinks. The proposal has too many loopholes to be effective. I would favor a simple tax on all sugary drinks regardless of where and how they are served. We do the same thing with other "sin taxes," such as those on cigarettes and beer.

Any such tax could be made revenue-neutral by returning the money by way of federal income tax refunds. People wishing to come out ahead would simply choose to consume less soda pop.

And yes, I'm aware of the slippery-slope argument you were preparing to offer. But it's as silly as Rick Santorum arguing that gay marriage would lead to "man on dog." I would oppose a tax on, say, fatty meat. There is simply not yet a scientific consensus on the issue of dietary fat. But a strong consensus has emerged on sugar, jast as with tobacco. Tax 'em, I say.

Tim Zank
Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:51am

His sense of timing is perfect (with the election only 5 months out) helping to demarcate the line between sane people and and our current socialist overlords...Though Bloomie claims to be an "independent" his actions and policies are far more North Korean.... 

Just the kind of help the Obama campaign and all Dem candidates need right now, a stark reminder of how the government is taking over every aspect of our lives...heh heh heh...

Thanks Bloomie!!



Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:29pm

Tim, if our socialist "overlords" had complete control of our lives, as you apparently believe, why are they permitting you to express your opinions? Why, if fact, haven't you just mysteriously disappeared? I'm quite serious about those questions. Those things happened to people under right-wing dictatorships in Latin America on a regular basis. Are you being hidden in someone's attic, like Ann Frank trying to dodge the Nazis? Don't worry, I won't turn you in to the Marxists who control everything.

Fri, 06/01/2012 - 6:37pm

Littlejohn, you misapply John Stuart Mill's Harm Principle. Your insurance premiums and Medicare taxes do not go up because of the actions of obese people.  They go up because society has determined that we have the responsibility to assume the conequences of irresponsible behaviour of others.


Christopher Swing
Sat, 06/02/2012 - 5:45pm

No, Rebecca, your insurance premiums go up because of acturial tables, not because you think "society" has determined we have to be evil socialists.

Christopher Swing
Sat, 06/02/2012 - 5:54pm

And littlejohn, I don't think we'll ever be able to take Tim Zank's paranoia away from him, not as long as he has Fox News and right-wing blogs to to tell him what he wants to hear all day.


Sat, 06/02/2012 - 6:34pm

Well, it would be very nice if actuarial tables were the only factor involved in setting healthcare insurance premiums - but just to be clear, actuaries do not track obesity. If they did, you would find individual policy rates set based upon how fat or skinny you are compared to the world defined through pertinent statistics.  Instead you have to own up to how old you are and what medical conditions we have.

Socialism comes into play when we spread the wealth by charging insurance groups based upon age, medical conditions and claims experience stats.  Claims experience is complex when, for example, coverage choices are expanded or deductibles are eliminated or weird electives like sex change operations are permitted or even required by government decree (such as is the case with Obama's war against the Catholic Church). 

So, as usual Rebecca is correct - and as usual, her wisdom goes over some people's heads.  But she probably reads right-wing blogs, just like Tim and I do. I guess we all need to start reading George Soros' stuff over at ThinkProgress and MediaMatters. Its the only fair thing to do when you consider that some liberals are obviously quite comfortable trolling continuously on libertarian blogs.




Christopher Swing
Sat, 06/02/2012 - 9:46pm

Gadfly, you just said Rebecca was wrong as well, you just re-worded the reason.

And honestly, I don't care what other media you take in, the point is to not just take in media that says what you want to hear.

The fact that you can't address that without making reference to the imaginary Soros Conspiracy you cling to (and some obscure reference to a libertarian blog?) leads me to believe it wouldn't make any difference, anyway. XD