The move by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to impose limitations on the size of sugar –based beverages permitted for sale in New York City (a 16-ounce limit) is outrageous. It is an intrusion into the lives of the people he represents, as well as the lives of nearly 50 million visitors he will welcome this year alone.
People with even a smidgen of common sense and an appreciation for personal liberties will object to the ban on principle alone. But add to that the real world ramifications of imposing such a ban, and you have a mandate that will be ridiculously difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. Just one example: What if I operate a self serve fountain dispenser, which pours both sugar laden and diet drinks (diet drinks are not subject to the ban). How is that to be dealt with? Am I in violation as a business owner if I give a customer a 22-ounce cup under the premise that they are going to pour a diet soft drink, and instead, they pour a sugar-based drink?
Given his personal wealth (ranked #12 in the nation), it would not surprise me if the honorable Mayor hasn’t poured a soft drink for himself in decades; if that is the case, I can somewhat understand his personal ignorance. Regardless, he must be surrounded by staffers and bureaucrats who do not have the courage to point out the obvious flaws in the proposal. I could go on and on with the impracticalities across all formats of restaurant service, and the ridiculous contradictions that are contained within the proposal (an exemption for milk shakes?).
I appreciate and, to a certain degree, respect the spirit of what Mayor Bloomberg is trying to accomplish. But his tactic is ill conceived, and represents an intrusion into the lives of all Americans. It is the antithesis of what we really need in this country: the protection of individual liberties and personal choice.
In closing, I leave you with a melody, sung to the tune of New York, New York. It is dedicated to all those who embrace freedom of choice:
Start spreading the news I’m leaving today I want no part of it New York, New York
These sugar based drinks They’re longing to stay Right through the very heart of it New York, New York
I want to wake up in a city That hasn’t lost its mind And find I'm able to sell, A forty ounce drink
My little town brews, They’re melting away I’m gonna make a brand new start of it In Baltimore
If I can take my business there, I'll take it anywhere It's up to you New York, New York
New York, New York I want to wake up in that city Where legislation creeps And find the guest king of the hill Top of the list Head of the heap A number one…..
These little drink blues They must go away Hope the voters make a brand new start of it Right there in old New York
And you better bet baby If they can do this to us there, they can do it just about anywhere Come on, come through New York, New York