Is it possible for New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg to be considered both a fascist and a national laughing stock?
Obviously this ban will be opposed by those who think people should be free to make their own choices, including bad ones. That said, we do regulate alcohol and tobacco, so the notion of regulating hazardous (but pleasurable) consumables is not new.
There is evidence that certain foods are quasi-addictive. There is also evidence that sugary soft drinks account for a large portion of the increase in reported sugar consumption in America since 1977 and are a metabolic disaster.
On the other hand, as social science Bloomberg's ban will probably not cut sugar consumption by much so any benefits will be unobservable.
A sugar tax is coming. Maybe even before the carbon dioxide tax.
At the risk of having my conservo-libertarian card shredded yet again let me reprise the closest thing I have to an original thought on this topic:
It would be interesting to hear from Charles Murray, author of "Coming Apart". As I recall, obesity and smoking are inversely correlated with education and income. One might argue that the unifying theme is impulse management and the ability to defer gratification. People who can grasp the long-term benefits of sitting in boring classrooms and saying 'no' to doughnuts may have a general flair for better decision making. Or, maybe fat drunk and stupid is a way to go through life...
The socialization of healthcare costs gives each of us a financial stake in the health choices made by others. The next step is then either more regulation of those choices or less socialization of the health insurace market.
FOR THE INSUFFICIENTLY CONFUSED: TheTimes frontpages the news that exercise may not be a panacea:
Could exercise actually be bad for some healthy people? A well-known group of researchers, including one who helped write the scientific paper justifying national guidelines that promote exercise for all, say the answer may be a qualified yes.
By analyzing data from six rigorous exercise studies involving 1,687 people, the group found that about 10 percent actually got worse on at least one of the measures related to heart disease:blood pressure and levels of insulin, HDL cholesterolortriglycerides. About 7 percent got worse on at least two measures. And the researchers say they do not know why.
The article explains that they are measuring risk factors rather than actual outcomes, so they aren't saying that some of the exercisers keeled over. However:
Some critics have noted that there is no indication that those who had what Dr. Bouchard is calling an adverse response to exercise actually had more heart attacks or other bad health outcomes. But Dr. Bouchard said if people wanted to use changes in risk factors to infer that those who exercise are healthier, they could not then turn around and say there is no evidence of harm when the risk factor changes go in the wrong direction.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Dr. Bouchard said.
Puzzling. I have a hard time believing that ten percent of the population has evolved to just sit by the fire, but who knows?
GRAB THE POM-POMS: Inveterate nanny-stater Ezra Klein tells us "Why New York City’s Big Gulp ban could be a big success". Apparently some studies idicate that smaller portion sizes lead to less consumption. Good to know, but what is missing is a metric we can track to observe the success or failure of the Big Gulp ban.
If, heaven help us, the city can actually track soft drink sales and total consumption does in fact fall, it that a success? Or would we want to also see a fall in observed obesity of New Yorkers?