The ban, to take effect in March, covers restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues, street carts — but not supermarkets.
Bloomberg justifies the ban because Noo Yawk, despite a surplus of anorexic Manhattan fashion models, is fat. If you count Mets fans, really ugly and ill-mannered, too. Yes, a native New Yorker is calling New York fat, ugly and rude.
Nanny York launched the (largely popular) ban on smoking in restaurants. During the course of Bloomberg’s long rule — he was term-limited at two, but he broke that rule, something Frank Rizzo was unable to do here — he shut down streets to cars, multiplied bicycle lanes (not all that popular), banned trans fat in restaurant food (that’s why McDonald’s fries are no longer irresistible) and demanded that restaurant chains post calorie counts next to prices.
That last idea was good because it informs consumers and allows them to make the choice. Banning a 20-ounce cup of soda in a movie theater doesn’t — except they could buy two 16-ounce cups instead. That would cost more, as Bloomberg, a billionaire, admits. Will his next move ban jumbo bags of potato chips?
"It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity," said a spokesman for the New York City Beverage Association.
Bloomberg’s intentions are good, but the sheer silliness of the ban ought to get him laughed out of town. It won’t, because New Yorkers have become obedient, delicate flowers. Sometime next year, will New Yorkers find horrific pictures of rotted teeth and blobs of belly fat on the side of 32-ounce cups? (In case you’re wondering, I drink only diet soda, and never a huge size.)
The ban redlines sugar drinks, but not dairy-based drinks, like milkshakes. Or alcoholic drinks, like the 40-ounce beer big gulp. No giant Pepsi for you, but a double-chocolate shake or a 40? No problem!
The giant soda monstrosities would still be available in supermarkets. Health concerns are important at the movie theater or ballpark but not at the Acme? This is what happens when you slice and dice at the cellular level.
I asked our mayor’s office if Green Genie Nutter wanted a piece of this misguided idea. Nutter’s idea to tax sugar drinks — following Bloomberg’s lead — got euthanized in Council.
"The health commissioner will take a look at this proposal and will focus on whether it could have an impact on obesity," said mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald.
Well, it "could" have an impact on obesity, but so would banning cannolis and cheesesteaks. That would never be contemplated. Or would it? Hard to say in this brave new world of government concern for the "masses."
Obesity is bad and there are a lot of reasons for it. Simply, Americans eat too much and move around too little. We have taken the idea of a consumer society to whalelike levels.
The population with the worst waists are the poor, who know the least about nutrition and buy cheap food, which has more calories, carbs and fat.
A recent Google Consumer Survey revealed that one in three Americans believe obese Americans should be taxed heavier (no pun intended) than healthy-weight people. Is that where we are headed as a nation? It started when smokers were targeted and some people (including me) speculated other subgroups might be next. And that’s where we are headed.
There are other ways to achieve healthy outcomes that government can and should encourage.
I remember when Nancy Reagan’s "Just Say No" to drugs campaign was launched, and ridiculed by the left. It put the weight, appropriately, on the consumer, the citizen. Michelle Obama’s leadership on healthy eating, ridiculed by the right, is also the right approach — encouraging better behavior and eating habits instead of putting government’s heavy foot on our necks.
As long as that is Bloomberg’s idea of America, I Hate New York. n
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