Archived Story

NY soda rule not so sweet

Published 9:27am Friday, September 14, 2012

Daily Herald editorial

While we’re no particular fans of either lawsuits or sugary drinks, we are rooting for the softdrink industry in its fight against a new New York City rule that forbids the sale of sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces. The rule, which the city imposed as part of an effort to fight obesity, is a ridiculous extension of government into matters that ought to be left to individual choice.

At its roots, New York’s anti-obesity fight is based on the idea that most people aren’t smart enough to figure out for themselves what they should eat and drink — and that, conversely, the government knows best. That view is the opposite of almost everything Americans like to think that they believe. It’s also a dangerous argument because it is a small leap to the next step: No sweetened beverages at all, or no coffee or no football or no … well, no anything that health officials think might be dangerous.

The whole thing makes a mockery of the contention that this is the “land of the free.”

It is true that New York’s anti-sweetener measure is carefully aimed at businesses as opposed to the end users. In that way, the government evades charges that it is telling people how to live their lives. But the intent is obvious: A handful of smarter-than-thou folks at city hall have decided that they know best how 7 million people should live their lives. Makes us glad we don’t live in New York — and hopeful that city’s diet rules won’t spread.

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