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"We don't believe in empty calories. We believe in hydration."

Honestly, I hadn't given a second thought to Mayor Bloomberg's city-wide ban on large sizes of high-sugar drinks until reading this.  

Now I'm entirely in favor of it.
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47 comments
 
Just cause I don't drink that crap doesn't mean I want government making it illegal for someone else to drink it, or tax it, or any other form of force. How about people with brains just stop pouring this crap down their own throats and stop their kids from doing the same.

I should say, if you drink it like my grandpa did, ever rare Saturday, it's not a bad thing.
 
There's also nothing wrong with drinking it on the odd occasion.
 
I still think Coke is going about this all wrong. They should pull Coca-Cola from the shelves and market just the diet soft drinks (which are in no way impacted by this) and a new "Coke NYC" which is vitamin fortified (and thus not impacted by the law).

The proposal is well-intentioned, half-assed, and stupid.
 
It is another attempt being made by the government to control things that they have no right to... :/
 
Only if they ban milkshakes too :) Because presence of milk doesn't make something with 3.8x calories of soda "healthy"
 
It's a fine line between Nanny State and legitimate regulation. I'm more in favor of a ban on unlimited refills on everything except water, but I can agree with the NYC approach, too. (And I normally lean towards small government.)

There is an issue here, where beverage companies are using a psychological exploit to encourage consumption that has negative physical effects. They gain a benefit (increased sales, gains in economies of scale that make local bottling more efficient, etc) at the expense of the public's health.
 
What if you have a body fat composition of 15% and want a 40oz big gulp, or bacon, or real butter? I just don't need a babysitter.

"Home of the..." coddled.
 
I am not saying I want them to do this, but if they are going to ban certain amounts of soda then they should ban cigarettes first.  Cigarettes are a lot worse for you than soda is XD
 
+Nathan Buth Driving and alcohol, alone or together, are just as bad or worse.
Ban all the things! - or not.
 
+Carey Evans "Better wakefulness" from proteins + mega-load of sugar = hyper-hyper kids :) Doesn't make calories go away though ;) In this case, the primary goal of the law is to get soda lobby to sprinkle more cash. Everyone else will just get a refill :P
 
I'm not buying the libertarian angle here because it isn't a simple case of "you can just choose to drink it or not":

Soda companies, Coke in particular, have spent decades creating an social atmosphere in which the drinking soda multiple times a day appears so "normal" that people don't realize the how distorted that option is. Soda has replaced milk in schools, has tripled in size for a "normal serving" at fast food restaurants, is highly manipulatively priced at those restaurants, is inserted into movies and covers of national magazines, all to create a playing field in which the social perception of the product has been altered to ensure that people won't make a rational choice.

The problem is that most people don't even have a chance of making an informed choice.

But yes, I agree, cigarettes are right up there in having done this form of manipulation too. Ban 'em as well.
 
"I might have a mini Diet Coke while cooking breakfast for my family."

Diet Coke for breakfast? Is it because they discontinued Coca-Cola BlāK?
 
+Mark Lentczner What schools have soda in them?  I worked at my schools cafeteria for a while and the closest thing we had to soda was tea and lemonade XD
 
+Nathan Buth please see, for example: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/113/1/152.fullhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8557195.stm

Throughout the 90s, the problem was widespread and endemic in the US. It was only in the last decade that a combination of outcry and both State and Federal regulation have been able to reduce the amount of soda in schools. However it is still far more prevalent than when I went to school (in the 60s & 70s) when it would have been considered 100% outrageous to have a soda vending machine in a school.
 
That article is the first example I've ever seen of Poe's law for soda.
 
Hey, we could play this game like they do the drug game. Let's just target poor people and tie them up in the courts and milk them with fines and penalties for drinking colas.

Let the squeeze continue.
 
PS: soda in schools is a different issue altogether. It irritates me that corporations use my PUBLIC resources to peddle their crap to my kids. That's a totally different market and situation. Schools shouldn't have soft drink machines in them, not in secondary education facilities.
 
Well, soda in schools isn't wholly unrelated: It is part of the indoctrination of our kids (and that first wave of kids are now in their 30s). So yes, it has no place in schools in my mind - but it was the nefarious seed that now, unfortunately, needs counter-acting.
 
So I think the simple solution to this without imposing the rights of anybody is to simply ban soda from schools... Am I right? XD
 
Mark, I don't need you to unbrainwash me through government regulation, and I'd hope any adult would feel the same. There's all sorts of indoctrination that takes place in schools, not the least of which is this bizarre trust in the almighty state.
 
I think the price of sodas could go up to compensate,
 
+Jason Nunnelley Who do you propose to counteract the unfettered social manipulation practiced by big companies?

And surely I don't think you need to be unbrainwashed - you're clearly thinking about this. But I see plenty of adults walking around slurping giant cups of soda. I don't think those people ever come across anything that even suggests that what they are doing is unhealthy: Certainly advertising and product placement in media only portray such a habit as the normal course of the beautiful and successful.

How do you propose we change that tide?
 
Consider taxing soda (or, better, grams of sugar in drinks): Either people don't change their behavior, in which case it's a remarkably efficient tax and should be used to fund government (especially services for poor people since, like any sales tax, it's regressive). Or people do avoid drinking soda to avoid the tax, in which case people should wind up healthier, without any real obstacle to the "I just wanted a Big Gulp that day" case.
 
Or just leave it as is...   -_-  People can choose to drink or not drink soda...
 
The issue isn't sugar or soda, it's fat. Right? Tax overweight people. Tax people $5 per pound over their goal BMI per month. You can incrementally raise the tax every year or two as many decide to lose the weigh to avoid the tax. It will lighten the load on the healthcare system and the beauty is eventually the skinnies will out number the fatties and we have a new sub-class to tax the living daylights out of.

Of course, this may work out like it did in California regarding fuel taxes. People kept buying more and more efficient cars and the revenue went down. So, they're looking the adopt a new form of taxation.

Better idea yet. Just steal everyone's money and be done with it. They'll have no money and then they can't buy sodas.
 
Any product or activity that causes a negative externality is generally taxed, to compensate for the cost it causes society. Tax on tobacco is a good example. We should have a similar tax on soda and other unhealthy foodstuffs that cause obesity.
 
Martin, we don't tax unwanted pregnancies and they cost far more than fatties.
 
Corporations milking their customers using mind tricks is a very bad thing.

Government trying to micromanage it's citizens' lives is worse.
 
The problem then, is that in today's political climate, restricting the wantonness of corporations is neigh impossible, but focusing on the victims' behavior is tenable.

That all said - the proposal by Bloomberg is to restrict the wantonness of corporations: Their wantonness of bumping "normal" serving size up to 24 or 32 oz.
 
Yeah, I gotta say, I'm pretty liberal, but I'm just not in favor of letting people choose to do something like this of their own volition.

Some competing proposals that do make sense to me:

- Taxes (correlated with projected health damages from drinking said soda amortized over a lifetime of use)
- Restrictions on selling to minors (below the age of 12, can you really tell anything about sugar? How addictive is it really?)
- Some portion of soda ad expenditures must go for the health expenses of sugar.
- Restrictions on the sale of unhealthy substances in government buildings or schools (goes to the minor thing again). Or at least, modulate their sale by requisite health revenue collection.
- Striking any and all subsidies for corn/corn syrup production

Fundamentally though, I don't want to live in a society where another person can tell me, "You can't do that!", when the consequences are (only some of the time) directed at personal harm. Not only is this a personal preference of mine, I also am unconvinced that an institution will be capable of judging what's good for me on this level. 
 
Some of those proposals might make sense, Brandon, but they're not really in scope of a Mayor's power, even mayor of NYC. 
 
I suppose Bloomberg is going to go after all sweets next. Since he's limiting the size of soft drinks maybe he'll limit how many donuts, candy, etc. you can buy too. Can you say slippery slope? I don't see this as the answer. People will just by a second soda.  After they buy them, they can just dump both sodas in a refillable drinking cup. If your at a 7-11 you wont be able to buy a 32 ounce soda, but you will be able to buy a litre of Coke and a 6 pack of Red Bull
 
+Michael Comia I think you're missing the point: Most people won't buy that second soda - because really, no one chooses to drink 32 oz. of soda - you're quite full after 16 oz. - but given 32 oz. in hand, people will drink more.

Also, "he'll limit how many ... you can buy" is false: The proposal doesn't limit how many you can buy, just the side of the container. You may be horrified to know that commerce regulations on the sizes of many consumables, such a bread, have been in place for centuries.
 
The Bloomberg proposal, BTW, doesn't restrict how much soda you can buy or drink. It restricts the sizes that restaurants can sell it. I don't see how this gets translated into "nanny state" or "politicians setting your diet" or "being told I can't do something".

Do you want to drink 32oz. of soda? Buy two.
 
Mark, you could just mandate that sodas be sold in 2oz cups. Why not? If you want 32oz of drink, just buy 16 2oz cups.

The point is, there's a lot of things government should regulate. The size of a soft drink really isn't one of them. And, telling people what size of cup they are allowed to purchase or carry down the street is pretty much a nanny state mentality. You have to honestly think it's your place as a citizen to dictate to me how large a cup I'm allowed to buy or hold.
 
+Jason Nunnelley Why do you think it is okay for the beverage industry to dictate how large a cup?

And the 2oz. argument is just silly.
 
Mark, 2oz is silly just because you dictate it's silly. I often just want 4 or 6 ounces of a drink. Since I often just want 6oz, I could just demand retailers sell me drinks in 6oz servings. I never want to drink 16oz of Coke. That's far too much and as a diabetic, I'm just wasting any more than 4oz or so.

This is where statists and people who believe in personal liberty have a conflict. The guy selling the beverage can choose to sell it in whatever size he wants, and I can choose not to buy it. I'd like 4oz of Coke, actually I'd like that right now. But, if I drink 16oz of Coke I'm going to get a headache. So, I should get government to force Cocal Cola to see me a drink in 4oz servings.

Or, I can tell Coke that's what I'd like and they can choose to ignore or answer my request and I can choose to continue buying their product or not.

You view the beverage industry as the bully. But, the guys you want telling people what size cup they can sell have guns, badges, and find, imprison, or kill people who disagree with them. Well, in NY they often just beat them about the head with a baton. But, you should get the idea.

I would rather live in a society where decisions about the size of cup I buy are made by voluntary decision makers, not a guy with a badge and a gun who threatens me if my cup size doesn't meet his idea of a proper cup size.
 
"The guy selling the beverage can choose to sell it in whatever size he wants" actually - that's not true. Beverage companies dictate the sizes of cups. Didn't you notice that you can't buy a 4oz or 6oz sized drink at a restaurant?

And yes, I'm worried about guys with badges and batons. But I'm equally worried about corporations with marketing budgets.
 
You equate a marketing budget with a gun? No, you consider it less offensive. You prefer a cop walking up to you on the street accosting you because your beverage holder looks too large, "That's not regulation soda cup size citizen!"

You're right, nanny state is an inappropriate term for that path.
 
Everyone in the soda purchase process is participating in a voluntary process. It's not like being caught walking down the wrong street while black, where the a rogue police officer decides to harass some guy because he's the wrong color on the wrong street. That dude didn't opt into that relationship.

More police, more laws, more regulations, less liberty, less choice, less volunteer relationships and more state down dictatorship.

I can't believe I was born in a "free country" where we're honestly debating whether or not a company has a right to sell a 32oz drink. What a joke. My crazy Eurotrash friends were right. America: free to do what you're told.
 
Strictly, everyone living in NYC is also participating in a voluntary process. And cities don't generally enforce ordinances with cops waving guns in people's faces, unlike in the ravings of certain libertarians. There is the threat of violence hiding in the background of most governmental decisions, but there's generally the threat of starvation hiding in the background of most economic decisions, and I think it's approximately equally silly to emphasize that background force when talking about city ordinances.

In this case, do the downsides of city meddling outweigh the likely health benefits? I don't know, and I would generally prefer a tax over an outright ban on large drink sizes, but it is, ultimately, one city, and I'm curious how the experiment comes out.
 
+Jason Nunnelley we don't tax unwanted pregnancies for many reasons. Two that spring to mind: there is no existing cash flow or profit to tax, it's hard to distinguish between a regular and an "unwanted" pregnancy.
 
Martin, you could ask a person's religion when they marry and if it's one that dictates no contraception (Catholics come to mind), you could add an additional fee to the marriage license. You could add an additional fee to diapers. They saturate land fills and indicate future education costs we'll all pay. I did say unwanted, because they are the ones that really drive up public expense, but basically all babies are expensive. We could compromise and just tax babies.

Jeffrey, all black people living in the south are participating in a voluntary system. So, when the government passed racist legislation, they were well within their rights to just pack up and leave. Right?

You either believe in rights or you don't. It's not exactly a "right" to pack your stuff and get the hell out if you don't like us dictating how you should live. Even the Supreme Court has protected sexual choice against similar laws in the south. It was illegal to practice homosexuality or use sex toys until the Supreme Court said those laws violated privacy and personal liberty.

I just don't like your form of democracy, where you and a few other people get together to decide how I should live. Oh, you're going to be nice about it and just fine me or send me a tax bill. That's sweet of you. But, how do you plan to collect that money? My guess is you're willing to put me in prison with child molesters and murderers if I don't submit to your standards. That's not liberty. Be a statist if you like. Just don't call it volunteer or liberty. It's neither.

We can disagree on the finer points of liberal democracy and still be friends. My political viewpoint doesn't require me to force my views on you.
 
Jason, maybe you could develop a little appreciation of scale? Comparing a soda tax to systemic racism just makes you look silly.
 
I've adopted a strict "soda only with alcohol" policy. I've cut my body fat by 5 percentage points, and when I do drink the soda I'm too drunk to care!

I've become convinced that excessive sugar (and things that turn into sugar) is the reason why so many people are fat, but banning 16 ounce drinks seems dumb. People will just get more free refills on their 12 oz drinks.

I think we'd be much better off with a public awareness campaign like what was done for tobacco. "Hey guys, drinking too much soda is going to make you fat and die" might work better than telling people how large their cups are allowed to be.
 
Jeffrey, interpreting the two as equals because I'm showing you the top and bottom of the scale is a little anti-intellectual. The idea is to show you where the mentality takes you. "If you don't like it, just leave!" That's not liberty. That's authoritarian. In your particular statist pursuit, you're not acting racist. You just want to use the government to force someone to drink a smaller cola. And, who can fault you for that? We didn't rise up when your political camp taxed the minority smoker populations. And, after all, you've milked them for tons of tax revenues.

I honestly can't get uptight about the nanny state. It's been around a long time. First your political camp told people they shouldn't drink alcohol. That experiment failed. Then you told farmers they couldn't grow "too much corn," so you fined a farmer for growing corn to feed his chickens. He fought, he lost. Then you told people they couldn't buy milk if it wasn't pasteurized. Now you send FDA agents dressed like storm troopers to keep us all safe from the evils of raw milk.

Tax soda. I don't give a rip really. It's a minority group I don't care about. I don't like soda so it's not going to bother me. And, taxing isn't killing. So, while you're at it tax Catholics (of which I'm also not a member). That isn't going to get me up in arms either. I mean, they do have a lot of babies. And, they definitely drive up all our social expenses. Tax any minority group you like, as much as you like. Just don't pretend it's a volunteer society. It's just statism on a much smaller level. You guys like telling others what to do, just like the puritans who like telling others how to live. I will grant you use economic arguments and not a religious or superstitious justification. It's statism either way.
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