New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on big sodas in the Big Apple is generating accusations that he is a Nanny Statist. But that’s not quite accurate. A nanny forces others to do things for their own good. Bloomberg is a moral narcissist forcing New Yorkers to do things that make him feel good.
Under his soda ban, street vendors and restaurants would be barred from selling pop in anything over 16-ounce containers on the theory that limiting access to sugary drinks will help combat the city’s obesity and diabetes “epidemics.” No one—not even Bloomberg himself—believes that the ban will actually work, not least because unlimited free refills will remain legal, as will oversized helpings of apple juice and other “natural” beverages with arguably even more sugar. But workability isn’t the point right now. It’s to get the public used to the idea of the government slurping around in your Slurpee, and then to ratchet up. It’s the slippery slope consciously deployed as a policy strategy.
Nor is this Bloomberg’s first foray into minding your own business. He has also cracked down on smoking, salt and trans fats. He has mandated that fast-food joints post calorie counts. He also tried (unsuccessfully) to bar food stamp recipients from buying sodas—one-upping fellow Republicans who want to urine-test welfare recipients to make sure they don’t use their government aid for drugs.
CONTINUED at Reason. Written by Shikha Dalmia.