If New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on sugary drinks is enacted, it will give the health department the authority to slap fines on restaurants, movie theaters, food carts and sandwich shops that try to sell sodas larger than 16 ounces. Bad idea? Maybe on the surface -- for those whiners who value basic rights like freedom of consumer choice.
Once I realized that this banhammer proposition was not some tomfoolery by Sacha Baron Cohen, I saw what a smart proposition it really is. Freedom is just another word for something left to lose, and who needs big, plastic tubs of sody pop, anyway?
Here is my list of the top five reasons why the proposed NYC soda ban is a marvelous idea. (This list should probably be banned, too.)
5. Job security for sanitation specialists.
If customers have to buy multiple 16-ounce bottles and cups of soda, they are contributing to the ever-growing pile of disposable plastic and paper, filling the dumps and landfills to the brim, and making it possible to hire more workers to pick up, sort, recycle and dispose of MOAR TRASH! This is a clear worker win.
4. Motivation for juice makers.
Over the years, restaurant glasses of fruit juices -- apple, orange and cranberry -- have been shrinking, while the price stays the same or goes up. Bottles of juice are much more expensive at the grocery store if the juice is actual juice, rather than juice augmented with corn syrup and water. Since many commercially produced fruit juices have just as much -- or more -- sugar content as soda, Bloomberg's proposal will hit them right in the cranberries as well.
Which is not necessarily a negative. It's positively time for juice companies to be market-coerced into providing juices that are not full of added sugar, in the same portions -- or more -- and at the same price -- or less -- as the liquid sugar we are offered now.
3. What's one more eedy-beedy law, anyway?
We have laws to make sure we don't drive too fast, smoke cigarettes indoors, take drugs, hire sex workers, eat too many pesticides (a few are fine) and beat people we don't like into cornmeal mushies. So why is a new law that keeps folks from glutting themselves on Dr. Pepper and Sierra Mist such a surprise? The populace needs rules and regulations so that we can keep ourselves from running the streets, naked, high on meth and smeared with toxic chemicals. Common folks just cannot be trusted to govern themselves properly, so we should all get down on our knees every day, thanking our elected officials for bearing this heavy burden for us.
2. Because this law may spread.
If this ban is successfully implemented in New York, it could move from state to state until it's a nationwide law prohibiting good citizens from purchasing any sugary drink over sixteen ounces, and over fifty calories. Results? Fewer cases of Type II diabetes, fewer obese adults, fewer obese children...and the stock of vitamin water companies will go through the roof, all because this magical, silver bullet of a law.
1. Public -- and private -- awareness.
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Supporters of the proposed ban tootle on about how people need to be aware of how portion sizes in this country have gotten larger, along with all our asses.
This is true.
Twenty-ounce sodas are considered single-serving, standard-size drinks now, and consumers need to understand that fewer ounces of sugary drinks are better for them. If they want more than sixteen ounces, they have to buy two bottles of soda. Or three ...or more...then the shock of seeing the stack of empty soda bottles in front of them will make them realize they need to drink water, eat more green vegetables, get some exercise, and lead healthier, more productive lives.