Nearly one year ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed banning the sale of soft drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York City. Not only has that unpopular move since been overturned by the New York State Supreme Court, but it has quickly become a metaphor for the colossal government overreach that Americans have come to despise. In case you missed it, we wanted to flag a thought-provoking op-ed that recently ran on Forbes.com that further explores the symbolism of the New York City soda ban. Here’s an excerpt:
Since New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced the 20-ounce soda ban last fall, the controversy has garnered national attention. But, this is just the latest example of his attempt to expand the “nanny state” that has become New York City. Emboldened by his mayoral powers, Bloomberg has decided to methodically push his idea of good living by regulatory fiat—a grand social engineering project that presumes he knows what is best for each of us. From banning smoking and large soft drinks to regulating sodium and trans fats, if he thinks it is bad for you, it simply has to go.
It would be different if he was simply offering thoughtful advice. But instead he desires to exercise government control over the decision-making rights of consumers because apparently we cannot be trusted to make our own lifestyle choices. The good news is that—unlike many abroad who are still forced to live under authoritarian states and dictatorships—we have a judicial system in the United States that generally attempts to hold the rights of individuals above the extremes of government power.
We agree with the author and New Yorkers – who strongly opposed the ban – that if we want to get serious about obesity, we need to stop looking to laws and regulations and instead focus on education. What we eat and drink is our choice and does not require government control or oversight. Where does it end?