published Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

No more big gulps?

Somebody save us from good things. Please.

Not really good things, of course: a father's guidance, a fine peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a cloudless summer day on the lake. We'll take all those we can get.

But some good things come with too high a price tag.

Who can blame New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the frustration and concern he feels over America's obesity problem? Who could fault him for seeking ways to help his city's millions of residents slim down?

But what Bloomberg doesn't get is that some prescriptions are worse than the diseases they are designed to cure. Worse still, some prescriptions do not even cure the disease.

In case you hadn't heard -- or thought somebody was pulling your leg -- the mayor has proposed a ban on sugar-sweetened soft drinks of more than 16 ounces at places such as sports arenas, restaurants and movie theaters. The city's Board of Health is expected to pass the ban when it votes in September.

"We've got to do something," Bloomberg told MSNBC.

That "something" is troubling, though, and it appears it may not do much good -- while manufacturing its share of problems. Since Bloomberg proposed his plan, authors of scientific studies he cites as justification say he is misinterpreting them.

"We fear ... that the proposed ban will be a huge setback to fighting obesity for two reasons: 1) unless it succeeds, it will poison the water for better solutions, and 2) it won't succeed," Dr. Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson professor of applied economics at Cornell University, and David Just, associate professor of economics at Cornell, wrote recently on the website for The Atlantic.

Still, would reducing the consumption of high-sugar soft drinks be a good idea in principle? Sure. So would exercising more, getting adequate rest, eating a balanced diet in general and spending less time in front of the television.

But governmentally mandating more healthful habits or prohibiting less healthful ones -- such as large soft drinks -- creates a bigger problem than it even theoretically solves. It chips away at the foundation of a free society. And that foundation is already in trouble in the United States, what with massive federal intrusion in health care and the fiscal and tax threat posed by unchecked spending on entitlements.

A government that can dictate the foods and drinks that businesses may sell -- and the maximum serving sizes in which they may sell them -- is a government that can proscribe vastly more important liberties.

We do not have the option as a nation to protect only the right to vote or the right to worship or to speak your mind. Maintaining the robustness of our most precious freedoms requires us to protect "lesser" freedoms, too. And that includes the freedom to make some bad choices.

Mayor Bloomberg has rarely met a governmental "solution" that he doesn't like, and officials in New York predict that similar soft drink restrictions will sweep the nation.

Here's hoping they're wrong.

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Where is your solution?

But damn, you don't like that the government is dictating the foods and drinks a business may sell? I guess you hate the Pure Food and Drug Act then? Your expansive words certainly seem to indicate so, but perhaps you didn't mean to extend that far?

Also why didn't you quote any explanation from your source as to why it wouldn't succeed?

June 27, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.
conservative said...

Hmm, with food stamps a New Yorker can stuff his face and the faces of his children with high sugar, high fat, and thus high calorie junk food but not a soft drink over 16 ounces.

excerpt from a USDA website listing eligible "food" items : "Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are therefore eligible items"

June 27, 2012 at 7:30 a.m.
Easy123 said...


You argument is terribly weak if you are trying to prove some kind of point against food stamps. Any person on this planet has the option to "stuff his face". Why should people on food stamps be any different?

But honestly, how much food do you think someone can buy with their $90/month worth of food stamps?

June 27, 2012 at 8:54 a.m.

I am confused by the mixed signals Bloomberg is sending. He fights for a womans right to control her own body by being pro abortion and then fights against that same right by telling her she can't have a big gulp. So is he for or against a womans right to treat her body any way she wants?

If he is against things that are bad for you, why is there still an official donut day in his city? How about smoking, alcohol, potato chips, and mechanized transportation? How about food stamps? A tie between food stamps and obesity has been made as well. Why isn't he working to ban food stamps?

June 27, 2012 at 9:41 a.m.
Exusiai said...


Conservative's argument is that If the government wants to regulate "healthy foods" then they should remove the "junk food" from the eligible items on the Food Stamp list.

June 27, 2012 at 10:28 a.m.
Easy123 said...

That's not a reasonable argument. If they can do it to people on food stamps then why not extend it to everyone? You wouldn't want that, would you?

June 27, 2012 at 10:53 a.m.
nucanuck said...

c-man confuses grocery items with restaurant items that aren't eligable for food stamps. One is a Federal government concern, the other is municiple government attempting to restrict unhealthy food.

But can we all agree that high fructose consumption is bad for humans?

June 27, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.
chatt_man said...

The problem with Easy, is he doesn't get the concept of "other people's money", and them having any kind of say at all on how it is spent. But, he time.

Hey Easy, I'm going back to law school to understand how the three branches of Government work. I'm not wanting to study a lot, I have many other social things to do with my time. Could you share some of your grades you work so hard for with me? C'mon buddy, we can both get out of there with C's if you would.

Signed: a mean-spirited, evil hearted conservative that thinks only of himself.

Awe hell, that's what you all think anyway, Easy. You can't understand that conservatives want everyone to be proud of themselves, work if they can, so their sons and daughters see that, and think something of themselves to try to get some people out of this gutter the dems are incubating them in.

June 27, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

The typical programmed response from the right wingers: "Those Marxist liberals are at it again, trying to take away our freedoms!"

You don't mind being groped at airports to keep us "secure," having the pernicious Patriotic Act take away our rights and freedoms for the sake of this overblown never-ending "war on terror," letting the government become Big Brother in the life of every pregnant woman and calling it "pro-life," But you whine about your precious right to drink your diabetes-inducing, teeth-rotting, fat-generating sodas out of a pig's trough instead of a normal-size cup. Nobody is trying to limit how much you can drink. You can still drink ten gallons of the syrupy crap if you want to.

Do you honestly think you are freely making the choice to super-size anyway? You have been conditioned as surely as Pavlov's dogs. There has been much psychology and a lot of money spent on advertising by the fast food industry to make you think it's to your advantage to go for the extra-super-jumbo glutton's portion. You are not only sheep led to the slaughter, you're pigs led to the trough.

June 27, 2012 at 11:44 a.m.
Easy123 said...


You don't get the concept of "taxes". It's not you're money. You have no say as to where it goes. You don't even know where it goes. You aren't going to get out of paying taxes. You aren't going to get a refund if they cut food stamps.

That isn't a fair comparison. It's more like giving blood. You give blood with the expectation that others are doing the same. You help others with the expectation that you would receive the same help if you were in their situation.

Just because you "conservatives" want that, doesn't mean other people can feasibly do it. Some people can't work. Some people can't find a job. Some people just make very little. And all people on food stamps don't live in the "gutter". Everyone can't have a lot of money. America is far to capitalistic for that.

I truly don't care what you think on the matter. I like to look at the positive side of it and you don't. That's the bottom line.

June 27, 2012 at 12:45 p.m.
chatt_man said...

Wrong Easy, a portion of it is my money. The government has no money of its on until it collects it from the tax payers. And the people do have somewhat of a say in how it's spent, by how they vote. The people they vote into offices help determine how it's spent. Damn you post some ignorant, or stupid statements on here.

I give blood too, I understand the concept. I don't mind helping take care of people that can't take care of themselves, or need a little help from time to time. Heck, helping others gives people a good feeling of self worth, and doing something positive for society. If you don't believe that, volunteer for some charities or good causes.

What I don't like is the democratic party creating a dependency class by raising generations of families that don't want to work, but could. All I'm saying is if the people that don't want to work, but could, would work, they would feel better about themselves and their kids would see that and want to do better as well. The people that receive funds and don't really need them, and could work, reduce the monies for the people who truly do need the money.

So, I noticed you totally danced around the grades question. C'mon man, help a fellow out that just kinda wants to hang out in school and let others help get me by.

June 27, 2012 at 1:57 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Your taxes are not yours and you will never get out of paying them unless you die. And you are correct that you can vote the person you want in. But you still have no say so where your tax money goes or how it is spent. Where did your taxes go this year? Please tell me where each dollar went.

Did you vote for your tax dollars to go to any of these things?

The party isn't creating the dependancy. People get complacent. How is it the Democratic parties fault if people choose not to work?

People can't receive food stamps without qualification.

I didn't dance around it. I told you that it wasn't a proper comparison to food stamps or federal aid programs. But I would most definitely tutor someone or help them study. You can't "give" someone else your grades. School doesn't work like that.

Where is your proof of so many people abusing food stamps? Here are some statistics on food stamp recipients:

49% of all participants are children (17 or younger), and 49% of them live in single-parent households.

15% of all participants are elderly (age 60 or over).

20% of all participants are non-elderly disabled people.

The average gross monthly income per food stamp household is $731; The average net income is $336.

Which ones don't really need them? Please let everyone know.

Damn, you're ignorant AND stupid.

June 27, 2012 at 2:09 p.m.
chatt_man said...

You post on this site, and I post on this site. That in itself is enough for everyone to know our level of information and intelligence.

Keep up your postings...for all to see.

June 27, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
conservative said...

It is folly to argue with a fool. However, getting a fool ( a Liberal ) to vent his/her mind will serve a valuable warning to others.

June 27, 2012 at 2:42 p.m.
Leaf said...

As a Democrat (aka Socialist Nazi), I also disagree with Bloomberg's large soft drink ban. It won't make any difference. It's ridiculously paternalistic. What's the point?

June 27, 2012 at 2:57 p.m.

Leaf, stops the false marketing of value. It's pretty simple, the marginal cost of a bigger drink is far less than the profits they get. That's how they upsell. You think that you're getting a great deal when you really don't need or want it. But for only x cents more, you can get twice as much...

Easy123, you're making the wrong argument. The real reason those foods are included on eligible items is because food producing corporations lobby for them to be eligible.

Conservatives will never realize or admit it, but it's their sainted heroes in the "free"market to be blamed.

Chattman, you can have veto power over tax spending when you implement a system that will be available to all. Good luck.

FPSE, this isn't a law against drinking any amount of whatever you want. It's a restriction on commercial activity.

But really, arguing that food stamps causes obesity? Try again. The real cause is poverty and lack of education, combined with subsidized unhealthy food products.

Which came about due to corporate lobby, tyvm. Want to solve the problem? Switch from a individual system to direct fooid provision. MREs do it great.

June 27, 2012 at 6:14 p.m.
chatt_man said...

Bulbs, I have no problem with taxes, as long as they are being spent wisely. You and I just disagree on what "wisely" is.

I stated earlier that there were people that needed our help.

Please expand (as you do that so well) on "a system that will be available to all".

June 27, 2012 at 9:37 p.m.
Rtazmann said...

It's no ones business what a persons' diet is....and besides food stamps will only purchase low end groceries in the food chain...If Bloomberg is going to do that he better be prepared to increase the dollar amount of the stamps..He jacked the price of smokes up,,,Something like that was done here in Tn.. with loose tobacco...naturally not for the same reason. Tn.. wasn't done for health issues...

June 28, 2012 at 12:09 a.m.
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