New York Soda ban sends us down a sticky, slippery, sugary slope

Ambassadors have been murdered, President Obama has surged in swing states following the convention, and the leftist accomplices in the media are helping sink Mitt Romney.

But today, I’m worried about soda.

I don’t drink much soda, but I do enjoy it when I do.

New York City is trying to prevent me from enjoying it, and even more, to prevent businesses from selling it.

By now, you’ve heard about the city’s plan to reduce the size of acceptable containers for soda. Truly, the law is less restrictive than it appears because it only applies to fountain sodas – I can still go to CVS and get a liter of soda if I want to.

On the other hand, that totalitarian move, approved unanimously by the city, is an affront to liberty and has the potential to send us down a slippery slope of anti-free market regulations.

A columnist in Forbes (famous for its libertarian tilt) actually argued that the ban was **gulp** a good idea, based on the premise that obesity is an American epidemic, along with Diabetes and other related illnesses.

There’s no arguing that.

Sincere progressives will argue that if we have fewer people with obesity-related illness, health care costs go down for everyone, so even conservatives should be on board with this soda ban.

Ironically, a soda tax was one of the original ideas to pay for the ObamaCare bill, which also aimed to lower health care costs.

Here’s the major problem: you can’t save someone from himself and the government ought not try.

If you can limit the size of my fountain sodas, is the government going to start outlawing the “supersize” at McDonald’s?

What about king-size candy bars?

Once you start down this path of deciding that people are so incapable of making decisions about what they eat, there’s no telling where it could end.

The Forbes’ writer does have what I consider a reasonable solution, which is to institute a tax on soda. Much like a sin-tax or a luxury tax – he points out New York does have a “mansion tax” for dwellings over $1 million – the tax is an avoidable one. If you don’t like the tax on cigarettes, don’t buy them.

You can still buy cartons of cigarettes, much more dangerous to not only your health but the health of the people around you, but I can’t get a 20 ounce fountain soda?

Normally, I’m against taxes of most sorts, but in this case, I can see an intrinsic good. Furthermore, the money from a soda tax could be used to provide subsidies for healthy food production, organic produce and similar products.

If you don’t like the soda tax, get your sugar and caffeine some other way, or save your pennies. At least then, the people who could better afford soda would also, intuitively, be the people who could better afford health care.

Unfortunately, the tax plan has the same slippery slope argument as the soda ban (and ObamaCare for that matter). If I can tax soda just for being nutritionally bad for us, what else can I tax? Once the government finds something it can tax, it tends to like to find other similar things to tax and then raise taxes on it continually.

Unlike alcohol or cigarettes where the using of that product causes potential harm to the people around you, a soda tax does nothing to aid the well being of the average person and therefore should be avoided.

The problem is our government has decided it knows better than us what is good for us (in many cases they’re right. Soda being a good example), and has decided to take away our ability to make those choices for ourselves even when 60% of people oppose the ban.

Democracy is about following the will of the people, for better or for worse. People want the right to decide and the government has to, by  nature, provide it to them.

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2 thoughts on “New York Soda ban sends us down a sticky, slippery, sugary slope

  1. trokspot says:

    I highly doubt that this will impede your ability to enjoy soda. If anything, it might make your ability to get large quantities of it (in certain venues) slightly more of a nuissance. You can buy more than one and you can still get refills. It just cuts down on the mondo cups that are made way too available (they were probably thinking of the 64+ ounce cups often found).

    I can go with you on some sort of luxury tax as an alternative. But like you point out, that too can be a slippery slope when you go to extremes. (By the way, just about everything can be taken to a ridiculous extreme through slippery slope arguments – something that I think libertarians get way to caught up on.)

    Interesting perspective on the issue.

    • youngright says:

      It’s interesting you mentioned taking arguments to the extreme because to me, this seems like the end of a reductio ad absurdum argument. In other words, “Next, they’re going to be telling us we can’t have soda in a 20 oz cup because it’s ‘bad for us.”

      It’s utterly absurd for the government to regulate in the way it has chosen to, particularly when you consider how unpopular the law is (Democracy is about obeying the will of the people).

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