Thursday, 07 June 2012 04:55

Bloomberg’s Soda Ban: Do as I Say, Not as I Do

Written by 

Ah, the hypocrisy of the Left. Former Vice President Al Gore travels the world in a private jet to lecture everyone else on reducing carbon emissions. First Lady Michelle Obama tells people to eat veggies while she and her husband consume burgers, fries, cheesesteaks, and ice cream. And New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, trying to ban super-sized sodas on the theory that doing so will curb obesity, gives away free soda in unlimited quantities to employees of his media conglomerate, Bloomberg L.P.

“We have all the junk in the world up there,” a Bloomberg employee told the New York Times in 2010. “I mean, you can gain 15 pounds in a hurry.”

Bloomberg then was merely seeking to prohibit the use of food stamps to purchase sugary drinks, but the Times reported that in addition to a variety of healthful snacks, “there is also free Coke, Pepsi, orange Fanta, ginger ale and Mountain Dew” available in the sixth-floor pantry of Bloomberg Towers.

The situation apparently has not changed in the last two years. According to Fox News, those same free snacks and sodas are still available to all Bloomberg L.P. employees even as the company’s founder and majority owner is calling for a ban on the sale of sugary drinks exceeding 16 ounces.

Bloomberg’s spokesman, Stu Loeser, told Fox News that there’s no conflict between the Mayor’s proposal and his company’s policy since the cups at Bloomberg Towers hold only 12 ounces. “Nothing we’re proposing will stop New Yorkers from drinking more than 16 ounces of sugary drinks, just not in one container,” Loeser said.

That, of course, just goes to show how pointless Bloomberg’s proposal is. Other than slightly inconveniencing folks in the Big Apple, it will do little to nothing to reduce their soda intake.

The Mayor’s soda ban, after all, is riddled with loopholes. First, it prevents the sale only of containers of sugary drinks exceeding 16 ounces; it does not prevent one from purchasing multiple 16-ounce containers or going back to a soda fountain for refills. Second, it exempts diet soda and beverages that are at least 70 percent juice or 50 percent milk or milk substitute — meaning a Starbucks Frappuccino, which can run as high as 340 calories per 16 ounces (there are about 200 calories in a pint of Coca-Cola), can still be sold. Third, it does not cover drinks sold at many supermarkets and convenience stores, so the 7-11 Double Gulp (64 ounces) and extra-large Slurpee (44 ounces) are safe.

Bloomberg’s nanny-state proposal, then, is clearly not about reducing soda consumption. Instead, like most such proposals, it is about showing that the person in charge is “doing something” about the hot-button issue du jour. And like many government edicts, it is meant to apply only to the “little people,” not those issuing the orders from on high.

“[Bloomberg] is known for negotiating voluntary reductions in salt by food companies, and putting salt on his own saltine crackers; for fighting rising obesity among his constituents, and for serving comfort food like grilled hot dogs and ice cream sundaes at his town house,” the Times observed in 2010, adding that the Mayor also permits sugary soft drinks to be served at the official Mayor’s residence, Gracie Mansion, where Bloomberg holds events but does not live.

Thus, while Bloomberg and his employees and guests consume Cokes to their hearts' content, everyone else seeking a 17th ounce of soda must beg Hizzoner, “Please, sir, may I have some more?”

Please Log In To Comment
Log in