Drink size a public issue

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says sugary drinks have ballooned over the last 50 years, from 12 ounces to 32 ounces for a large at a typical fast-food restaurant. SPENCER PLATT /Getty Images
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says sugary drinks have ballooned over the last 50 years, from 12 ounces to 32 ounces for a large at a typical fast-food restaurant. SPENCER PLATT /Getty Images
Posted: June 09, 2012

Drink size a public-health issue

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to limit the size of sugary-drink containers in that city has resurrected the age-old debate over the role of the state in protecting the public's health.

In recent years, this debate involved bicycle helmets, car seat belts, tobacco, trans fats, saturated fats in meat and dairy products, and sugar (or, more aptly, high-fructose corn syrup). Public subsidies for tobacco, meat, dairy, and corn production added fuel to the debate.

I would argue that society has a right to regulate activities that impose a heavy burden on the public treasury. The national medical costs to deal with our obesity epidemic, associated with the consumption of meat, dairy, and sugars, are estimated at $190 billion.

Eliminating subsidies for these products, as well as judicious taxation to reduce their use and to recoup public costs, should be supported by health advocates and fiscal conservatives alike.

Benjamin Franklin claimed that nothing is certain except death and taxes. However, death can be deferred substantially by taxing products that make us sick.

Faith Willis, Philadelphia

Our lives are not ours to take

In reading the commentary "A shattered spirit" in Sunday's Currents, I was of the belief that the author leaned toward euthanasia as a solution to long-term pain and suffering. We will never know the reason good people suffer, sometimes agonizingly so. Only the good God in heaven knows, and he doesn't talk much.

Nevertheless, it is my belief that all life is a gift. All of us are here for a reason. The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen noted that life is a gift from above, not a push from below.

Too often in our "me" world we hear it said, "It's my body and I can do whatever I want with it." According to the Judeo-Christian tradition, our bodies are given to us by and for God. Our bodies do not belong to us.

A body is a terrible thing to waste, no matter the present condition.

We should try to give a good example in all things. Once we accept euthanasia as a solution to long-term suffering, there will be a bevy of applications, thereby dimishing the holiness of life.

There is a culture in the Middle Eastern world that would have us believe that death is worth dying, but here in the Western culture, we believe that life is worth living. Always.

Robert Lewis, Malvern

Liberal bias seen in headlines

No one, ever again, can doubt The Inquirer's liberal bias.

Had Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker lost Tuesday's recall election to Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, your front-page headline would have screamed, "Walker defeated in recall vote!" As it was, the page-one lead story that day was about a sludge plant, while Walker's decisive victory was relegated to page 3. Enough said.

Raymond J. O'Brien, Richboro

They can't have it both ways

Some argue that because they pay for public schools they don't use, taxpayers shouldn't mind funding religious schools through vouchers. However, public education is available to all, while private religious schools can be selective in accepting students, may push a sectarian agenda, and are less subject to regulation.

Many vouchers supporters also object to church-affiliated institutions being required to pay for birth-control coverage for employees in the name of religious liberty. They should object to school vouchers for the same reason. Otherwise, the only religious freedom they seek to protect is their own.

Bill Fanshel, Bryn Mawr, wfanshel@hotmail.com

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