New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s large soda ban has received a lot of media coverage since he first proposed it as a step in his anti-obesity campaign. If only this thirst for health could be considered a sweet victory for all.
Seth Goldman, an entrepreneur in the health drink market, asks Bloomberg in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal to re-consider his proposal. As soon as government begins to meddle, “we [producers] quickly find ourselves considering scenarios that are not based on market realities or consumer needs.”
The ban will affect the size of products that Goldman’s company, Honest Tea, can provide. Because companies like Honest Tea serve a niche market, it will be much more expensive to adjust to the government’s arbitrary limits on size than it would be for a larger company.
Put simply, these demands of government force producers to ignore the demands of the market. Meanwhile, if individuals cannot make decisions for themselves, where is the threshold for “too much” government intervention? Is there any limit on this curve of government control?
There doesn’t seem to be a facet of human life left sacred and untouchable to liberal government, because it has no inherently limiting principle. If obesity or health is something the American people do not take seriously enough, it is the government’s job to step in and mandate that we care. Or if it cannot mandate intent, it will at least prevent us from choosing “incorrectly.”
If the American public cannot be left to choose their soda size, the question then arises: What is worse than a 16-ounce, 200-plus calorie drink? Turns out lots of things are, actually (watch out, popcorn, you’re next).
This New York initiative is not just about soda, and it is not just an agenda being promoted by Bloomberg. In a highly publicized and revealing sound bite, Bloomberg defended his actions as the government “simply forcing you to understand that you have to make [a] conscious decision” for health. These health initiatives are necessary only if you believe that “government knows best” and that Americans are unable to make the most basic life decisions themselves.
Aren’t we lucky to have a government that cares?
Renee Davis is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm.