New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not been shy about using the force of government to promote his public health initiatives when it comes to banning sodas that he feels are too big, smoking, fatty foods, bottle feeding infants, guns and Styrofoam. But asked whether government should also force people to exercise, even the mayor with totalitarian tendencies says it’s a bad idea.
“Well, you have to be practical about what legally you can do and what people will do,” Bloomberg said during a radio appearance. “The nice thing about the soda thing is it’s really just a suggestion. So, if you want to buy 32 ounces, you just have to carry it back to your seat in two cups. And maybe that would convince you to only take one, but if you want two you can do it. I think government’s job… is to give you advice, not to force you do things.”
Not surprisingly, Bloomberg did go on to note that he does support government force being applied to encourage certain behaviors.
“Although there are some things we try and force you to do,” he continued. “If there’s asbestos in the classroom or your office building, we force you out. If you want to drink and drive, we try and stop you — although sometimes not as successfully as you’d like.
“I think so
me of these other things — calorie counts we’ve done in chain restaurants so you can see what you’re eating — [are OK]. But when it comes to forcing you, the only thing the government can do practically — and I think should do — is education. Exercise is great for you, but how do you convince people to do it? And should you force them to do it? Probably not.”
A New York State judge slapped down nanny Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks on Monday.
The court declared that the city is “enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations” because the rule is “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences” and
are too difficult to enforce “even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole.”
To that point, coffee giant Starbucks announced recently that it would not got out of its way to enforce the large cup ban.
“Because customers can make so many choices in their beverages, we feel that most of the beverages fall outside of the ban,” said Starbucks spokeswoman Linda Mills.
Bloomberg, who had health inspectors armed with portion measuring cups to check for compliance at the ready, has vowed to appeal the judge’s decision.