Like I said a few weeks ago, this was always the goal of the otherwise dumb soda regs. A restriction on portion sizes makes no sense when it’s limited to one kind of beverage and a select few types of vendors except as a way to inure the public to more draconian regulations down the line. Ban big sodas now, let people get used to it, and then if/when the city’s obesity rate dips — for whatever reason(s) — flog the hell out of those statistics as proof that dietary nannyism works and should be pursued more aggressively. No surprise, then, that the city health board might be thinking about bold new frontiers in keeping you from stuffing your face.
What is surprising is that they’re doing it so soon. This strategy depends on going very slowly at first so that initial worries about a slippery slope will ease. Instead, sounds like they’re ready to turn this into a slippery water slide. Bad move:
“The popcorn isn’t a whole lot better than the soda,” said Bruce Vladeck, a senior adviser at Nexera Consulting and one of the mayor’s appointees to the 11-member board.
The board yesterday agreed to put Bloomberg’s big-soda ban up for a public hearing July 24, but also talked about the merits of limiting other high-calorie treats.
A large tub of movie-theater popcorn has up to 1,650 calories.
“There are certainly milkshakes and milk-coffee beverages that have monstrous amounts of calories . . . and I’m not so sure what the rationale is not to include those,” said member Dr. Joel Forman, a pediatrics professor at Mount Sinai.
The rationale for skipping milkshakes — for now — is, I guess, that there’s some nutritional benefit to milk-based drinks whereas soda is pure crapola. But of course, it’s not the milk that’s doing the heavy caloric lifting in the average latte syrup bomb, it’s the sugar. Why not drop a portion-size restriction on Starbucks too and let customers supplement their lost milk with a cup out of the carton at home? (Why not just ban the sugar and syrup altogether?) Answer: Because the well-educated diet-minded liberals who sneer at soda consumption kind of enjoy their morning mochaccinos, and if the state starts coming after that now, then Bloomberg might have a real backlash on his hands. Paternalism’s for the rubes, not for the overclass.
The good news is that even in deep blue NYC, 51 percent oppose the soda ban. The bad news is that the future looks grim. Note the spread among age groups when New Yorkers were asked whether they support the ban or not:
Some of that may be due to older residents having grown up drinking soda as a staple whereas younger adults had more options at the supermarket, but that doesn’t explain all of it. As you’re about to see, there’s a similar spread on the broader question of whether “government should be getting involved in people’s eating and drinking habits to fight obesity”:
You’ve got a clear majority overall in support for that one overall despite strong opposition from seniors (libertarian grandmas!), which makes me wonder if part of the reason New Yorkers don’t like the soda ban is because it doesn’t go far enough. In any case, the fact that young adults are more gung-ho than other groups for this sort of meddling cretinism proves how effective the left’s messengers can be when they seize on some new health problem and hammer and hammer and hammer at it. New Yorkers have been listening to Bloomberg and his liberal allies in the media whine about obesity for years; go figure that kids who grew up here listening to it would start to bend because of it. Bear all of this in mind when the Supreme Court’s ruling on ObamaCare drops in a week or two, as we’ll be hearing again about how paranoid those wingnuts are to worry about Congress passing some sort of “broccoli mandate.”