I am confused. The fuddy duddy mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg is at it again. In his personal war on obesity in which transfats have been banned from restaurant food and calories have been posted on all menus, he tried to have a tax imposed on sugary drinks. Now he has proposed banning the sale of soft drinks of over 16 ounces in restaurants, fast food eateries, delis and theatres. Of course, there has been the usual reaction from the usual suspects. Those on the left have praised the move as vital to health, those in the industry have criticized it, those on the right have railed against the intrusion into ones personal space. Here are some comments from the news stories.
"I appreciate what he is doing in taking steps to alleviate a problem that is bigger than New York," Queens resident Melissa Friedman, 28, said of the proposed ban. "I think it's good."
Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington D.C.-based consumer group, called Bloomberg's measure a "pioneering proposal" and "a very important step." "It promises to be the most effective way to reduce consumption of a product that causes obesity," he said.
"I think Bloomberg and the New York City Department of Health are acting in the public's best interest, even though some may view it as inappropriate and an invasion of personal choice," said Joy Bauer, a registered dietitian in New York City and nutrition expert for NBC's Today show.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian in New York City, says, "No one needs a soft drink the size of a small swimming pool. I'd like to shake our mayor's hand by taking this bold move. If people continue to supersize — they won't fit into their favorite size."
Without the temptation of large drink, people will have to opt for the smaller portion, said Hershkowitz, a Florida State University student who is interning at US Weekly magazine.
What was missing from everything I read were two obvious questions. The first is does this mean the banning of free refills and two, what prevents the patron from ordering two 16 ounce drinks?
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com