One of the strangest and most controversial proposals to be introduced anywhere in the United States in recent times is the one in which New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has suggested that sugary drinks be limited to a 16-ounce serving at restaurants, sports arenas, and movie theaters. The reason is because soda pop packs on the pounds.
While the sugary drinks will be limited to 16-ounces, the truth is that many fast-food junkies don’t even remember what a 16-ounce container looks like. Many people enjoy drinking a lot of liquid with their meals. Of course, you can buy two or more containers of soda pop instead of one, but that will cost a consumer much more money because – as everyone likely knows – such products cost less per ounce in larger-quantity containers. Not only that, but think how fast these cups are going to be filling up the waste bins.
The questions regarding the proposal are endless. For example, why is Bloomberg picking on soda and other sugary liquid-drinkers and the industries that supply the drinks? Why isn’t he going after other fattening items that the public-at-large loves so much, too?
How about going after ice cream? “Sorry, if you want more than two scoops, ma’am, you’ll have to go to the back of the line and order again.”
Or, the cashier may ask, “A double chocolate milkshake? Hold on. Get on this scale to see if you’re more than 20 pounds overweight. What’s your height so I can check the chart, ma’am?”
Another question crossing the nation’s mind is: Why is it that the man who has been trusted by his constituents to run the largest city in the U.S.A. for three terms so distrusting of the people who gave him the job via elections? One would claim that he was elected to protect their rights and not to strip them away – one gulp at a time.
McDonalds along with Coca-Cola has led the way with objections to the mayor’s proposed ban. The city responded with the fact that McDonalds only had one size of soda when it started out, and that size was 7 ounces. To nix that logic, one could say that McDonalds didn’t have salads when it started out either. The times – they have a-changin’ – for the good and the bad, apparently.
There is absolutely no question that many Americans are tipping the scales a bit too high these days. It’s been reported that being overweight contributes to increased medical costs, diabetes, and heart diseases. Due to these reports, it’s tough to argue against the fact that perhaps something should be done about the availability of fattening items throughout the U.S. However, Bloomberg’s anti-sugary beverage plan is like having a street rumble involving a thousand people in the center of Manhattan in New York City and arresting one person. It doesn’t solve the problem, and it’s totally unfair to the one person.
Mayor Bloomberg – and any other powerful politician who is thinking of introducing such a measure to his elected officials for approval – must be logically fair in the process. Singling out the soda and other sugary drink industries isn’t right.
Just as there are more and more requirements in which food and drink companies have to label the products’ contents, perhaps posting signs to suggest not drinking high-calorie sodas at restaurants and other businesses could be strongly suggested or even required.
The powers-that-be could pass a different kind of ordinance that would require restaurants and other businesses to post signs – in a host of languages – that strongly suggest:
“Drink water instead – It’s the healthier alternative!”
If they want to gather their data and factually warn against the dangers of drinking too much high-in-sugar-content drinks, they can follow in the footsteps that the government has taken in requiring the tobacco industry to post warnings through the years.
If politicians like Bloomberg would logically think their ultimate goals out before they blurt out an unpopular and nonsensical solution to a problem, they would find that their ideas will be more positively received by more people. “Where there’s a will” that is accepted, “there’s a way” that is logical and fair.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.