Nobody thought about taking away your Big Gulp until the government began to pay for everyone's health care.
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. penned a column published in the Wall Street Journal today that makes a very important point about Michael Bloomberg’s move to ban all sweetened drinks sold in containers larger than 16 ounces. For perspective, 16 ounces is nothing more than a pint, or just two measley cups.
Mr. Jenkins writes:
Here is the ultimate justification for the Bloomberg soft-drink ban, not to mention his smoking ban, his transfat ban, and his unsuccessful efforts to enact a soda tax and prohibit buying high-calorie drinks with food stamps: The taxpayer is picking up the bill.
Call it the growing chattelization of the beneficiary class under government health-care programs. Bloombergism is a secular trend. Los Angeles has sought to ban new fast-food shops in neighborhoods disproportionately populated by Medicaid recipients, Utah to increase Medicaid copays for smokers, Arizona to impose a special tax on Medicaid recipients who smoke or are overweight. New York itself, with private money, some of it from Mr. Bloomberg’s own pocket, has also tried the carrot approach, dangling direct payments to encourage beneficiary families to adopt healthier habits.
So perhaps the famous “broccoli” hypothetical during the Supreme Court ObamaCare debate was not so fanciful after all. It flows naturally from the state’s fiscal responsibility for your health that it will try to regulate your behavior, even mandating vegetable consumption.
As Mr. Jenkins points out, Bloomberg’s move is not unusual for him since he is one of our original nanny-staters. It’s clear that he is also influenced to a degree by the passage of ObamaCare, because it places more of a burden for the cost of health care on all levels of government.
What Bloomberg does not realize is that his stupid regulation will only make people fatter, not thinner. Why? Instead of buying one 20 ounce sweetened drink, consumers will now end up buying two 16 ounce sweetened drinks for a total of 32 ounces. In other words, Bloomberg’s fanatical need to control the behavior of others will end up encouraging people to drink even larger servings of sweetened drinks at one sitting than they previously would have.
Can you say moron?