Nanny state charging ahead

March 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A terrifying op ed in the NY Daily News by a Marion Nestle:

Barring any late legal surprises, Mayor Bloomberg’s 16-ounce cap on sugary sodas goes into effect on Tuesday, March 12. After that, restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and food carts will not be permitted to sell extra-large portions of sugar-packed drinks.

Stay calm. This does not signal the end of democracy in America. This is not the gone out of control.

Actually is is the precise definition of nanny state out of control.

If we want Americans to be healthy, we are going to have to take actions like this – and many more – and do so soon. It’s long past time to tax sugar soda, crack down further on what gets sold in our schools, tackle abusive marketing practices, demand a redesign of labels – and extend the soda cap, no matter how controversial it may seem. This must be the beginning, not the end, of efforts toward a healthier America.

Be scared, be very scared

I’m amazed she doesn’t just advocate making soda drinks illegal.

The soda size cap is a nudge in that direction. You will still be able to drink all the soda, and down all the sugar, that you want. The cap on soda size makes it just a tiny bit harder for you to do so.

That “tiny bit harder” is its point. If you have to order two sodas instead of one, maybe you won’t. If you have to add sugar to your coffee drink yourself, maybe you will only add one or two teaspoons instead of the 10 or more someone else put in there for you.

Oh, so she also wants it to be illegal to sell coffee with sugar in it?

So-called “nanny-state” measures – like bans on driving while drunk, smoking in public places and, now, selling absurdly large sugary drinks – help to level the playing field. Such measures are about giving everyone an equal opportunity to live a safer and healthier life.

Again, she can’t see any difference between measures about preventing harm to others (killing people while drink driving, passive smoking effects) and measures to control how people live their own lives.

Fix the price differential. A 7.5-ounce can of soda costs twice as much per ounce as a two-liter bottle, and you can’t buy just one; it comes in an 8-pack. Price determines sales. If a 16-ounce soda costs a dollar, a 32-ounce soda should cost two dollars.

They should also abolish large chocolate bars being not the same price per kg as small chocolate bars. In fact let’s just regulate all food pricing. No volume discounts for any food except broccoli.

Actions like these will evoke ferocious opposition from the soda industry, and it will spare no expense to make sure such things never happen. We would surely hear more and more howls of “nanny-state” from those who insist Bloomberg has led us to the brink of a public health police state. Polls say that many New Yorkers oppose the 16-ounce cap and would oppose measures like this, too.

But I can’t tell whether the opposition comes from genuine concern about limits on personal choice or because soda companies have spent millions of dollars to protect their interests and gin up histrionic, misinformed opposition.

That’s easy. Its is genuine concern about personal choice – something that the author seems to regard as having no weight at all.

Hat Tip: Eric Crampton

UPDATE: Great news. A Judge has invalidated the ban on large soda drinks. The NY Post reports:

“[The city] is enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations,” New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling ruled.

The judge said Bloomberg and the Board of Health overstepped their bounds, to enforce rules that should be established by the legislative bodies.

“The rule would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it,” Tingling wrote. “Such an evisceration has the potential to be more troubling than sugar sweetened drinks.”

“It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds, and the loopholes inherent in the rule, including but not limited to no limitations on refills, defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose of the rule,” Tingling wrote.

The regulations are “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences,” the judge wrote.

A defeat for the nanny statists. But they will try again and again.

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64 Responses to “Nanny state charging ahead”

  1. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Also from the United States of Condemnation

    1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It’s Time For A National Conversation

    The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice. It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. In America.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2013/03/11/1-6-billion-rounds-of-ammo-for-homeland-security-its-time-for-a-national-conversation/

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  2. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Taking aspertame out of soft drinks would be headed in the right direction

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  3. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    The same nanny-statists are among us:

    University of Otago Associate Professor Nick Wilson, the study’s lead author, said while the research showed it was possible to have a low-salt diet by making the right choices, it would be easier to achieve if Government restricted the amount of salt in everyday products.

    “It could do this by regulating down the maximum level of salt permitted in commercially produced foods, particularly in bread, processed meats and sauces,” he said.

    “A tax on junk food would also help as such food is usually high in salt as well as sugar and saturated fat. The money from such a tax could then fund healthy school lunches and help pay for better health services for diseases caused by high salt – especially.

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  4. gump (1,615 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why being obese isn’t enough of a disincentive to the people who drink sugary soft-drinks.

    Do they not understand cause and effect?

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  5. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    You might think this is off topic but I do not agree.

    I am just confounded Mr. Farrar by your inconsistent approach.

    Here it is nanny statism for New York city to try and ban certain foods and drinks, yet when big government is used to force millions to accept a trendy propaganda based redefinition of traditional marriage, a redefinition they are deeply opposed to, it’s not the same kind of political over-reach?

    I think it is.

    I have consistently advocated for small powerless government, and I am therefore opposed to both of these events on the basis that they are acts by an over-reaching government with far too much power to interfere in people’s everyday lives.

    [DPF: I am entirely consistent. You are not being forced to accept gay marriage. It will not be compulsory.

    The state should not force people to have smaller soda drinks and the state should not ban same sex couples from the ability to get married. Entirely consistent]

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  6. gump (1,615 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter

    Your argument makes no sense.

    Placing caps on sugary soft-drinks *removes* rights that are currently available to consumers.

    Extending the definition of marriage *grants* rights to couples who currently don’t have them.

    Can you not see the difference?

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  7. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    If we are talking consistency here Gump, what about your goodself who just the other day proclaimed loudly that debating something with Redbaiter was like wrestling with a pig?

    Yet here you are today, as you were yesterday, trying once again to engage in debate.

    Sorry. I’m ready to disagree or agree with many commenters here, but I won’t waste my time with an inconsistent and hypocritical coward who says one thing one day, (to save his useless arse) and the very next day shows he has no personal conviction backing that statement whatsoever.

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  8. dave_c_ (217 comments) says:

    Gump 10:13am

    No doubt if you do sky diving or rock climbing, you may well be incensed if some minority group advocated placing a restriction on your presonal choice of activity – their argument – you may well end up costing the tax payer gazillions of dollars should you ever have an accident. and worse still government implemented this regulation/prohibition on personal choice !

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  9. Fletch (6,240 comments) says:

    Yup, good news, but it looks like Bloomberg is going to appeal.
    Tweeted from the NYC Mayors Office –

    We plan to appeal the sugary drinks decision as soon as possible, and we are confident the measure will ultimately be upheld.

    They reckon he will probably roll out more comprehensive regulations.

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  10. gump (1,615 comments) says:

    @dave_c_

    I’m pretty sure that the Goverment currently collects ACC levies from Sky Diving and Rock Climbing commercial operators (to cover the cost of accidents that are incurred).

    Having said that, amateur rugby causes more accidents than both of those activities.

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  11. wat dabney (3,755 comments) says:

    gump,

    Stop catching Redbaiter out in his blatent contradictions. It’s not good for his blood pressure, and it’s like shooting fish in a barrel anyway.

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  12. tvb (4,315 comments) says:

    I hope a ban succeeds on sugary drinks or at least a pretty hefty excise tax on sugar.

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  13. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    “Stop catching Redbaiter out in his blatent (sic) contradictions. ”

    There is no contradiction.

    See?

    Anyone can do smug and complacent assertions.

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  14. JMS (317 comments) says:

    Redbaiter,

    how about getting big government out of the business of regulating sugary drinks AND out of the business of regulating marriage?

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  15. wat dabney (3,755 comments) says:

    Anyone can do smug and complacent assertions.

    You are being too modest.

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  16. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    Are you suggesting that all that needs to be done to underpin any over-reach by government is assert that it is a matter of a “right”?

    Well then let’s call everything we want government to do a “rights” based issue and they’re free to do it.

    Even when there’s no real basis for such a “right” but the misconception is underpinned by a heavy and wide-ranging propaganda campaign which convinces many that there is.

    I can’t help you if you can’t see the logic trap in that approach, or in the mistake of giving government unlimited power to act if the issue is perceived as a matter of a “right”.

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  17. redeye (638 comments) says:

    What next? They’ll want to ban people from growing a weed, crushing it up and smoking it. Bloody interfering bastards.

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  18. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    DPF,

    Actually is is the precise definition of nanny state out of control…

    Be scared, be very scared…

    I’m amazed she doesn’t just advocate making soda drinks illegal…

    Nanny state out of control? Please… While disagreeable, this is an exceptionally trivial proposal. Compare that to the vast numbers of American citizens currently in prison for non-violent drug offences and then have another whinge about “nanny state out of control”.

    Regulations on cup size, cigarette packet advertising and alcohol price (all of which do not prohibit one from engaging in such demonized activities) are “nanny state out of control”. But incarcerating large numbers of people for non-violent drug offences… not a problem. In fact if any politician dare speak up about this absurdity please do us a favour and go stand in the corner of irrelevance along with the likes of Ron Paul and Don Brash.

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  19. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    If Government just got out of the business of healthcare, where it has no place being, then this all becomes moot. If you are just paying for your own care and risk then who cares if your neighbour skydives or guzzles sugar by the bucketful…? All this sort of drama is due to overstepping Government buggering about in peoples lives.

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  20. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    More inconsistency from Mr. Farrar- Kiwiblog Feb 19th 2013

    In terms of the main decision to implement plain packaging, if legal, my views are:

    It is desirable and appropriate for the Government to take measures to reduce smoking rates, considering the cost to the health system of smoking, and the devastation to families by early premature deaths. Various policies have lowered the smoking rate massively over recent times.

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  21. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (2,300) Says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Here it is nanny statism for New York city to try and ban certain foods and drinks, yet when big government is used to force millions to accept a trendy propaganda based redefinition of traditional marriage, a redefinition they are deeply opposed to, it’s not the same kind of political over-reach?

    I think it is.

    I have consistently advocated for small powerless government, and I am therefore opposed to both of these events on the basis that they are acts by an over-reaching government with far too much power to interfere in people’s everyday lives.

    How does gay marriage interfere in your life? What awful things must you endure if it is passed into law? What counseling might you require to cope with the everyday struggles of living in a world with gay marriage? Would you be interested in joining a group of like minded individuals in order to share your pain and to await God’s vengeful judgment that will surely follow this travesty of legislative “overreach”?

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  22. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    I have consistently advocated for small powerless government, and I am therefore opposed to both of these events on the basis that they are acts by an over-reaching government with far too much power to interfere in people’s everyday lives.

    Redbaiter, if marriage was uniformly available to all consenting adults and the government was about to ban it for same-sex couples, what would be your position on the proposed legislative change?

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  23. kowtow (8,153 comments) says:

    I knew the New York thing would attract nanny criticism.

    However if you supprt plain packaging,then you’re a nannier as well .

    Goose gander.

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  24. ChardonnayGuy (1,197 comments) says:

    I’ve never understood the libertarian ‘nanny state’ anathema. Surely heeding public health messages is a prudent thing to do on cost/benefit grounds, and actually saves public health revenue? Therefore, it is quite consistent with limited government and centre-right principles.

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  25. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    “How does gay marriage interfere in your life?”

    I do not like worthless politicians redefining our traditions, especially through corrupt and devious and duplicitous processes.

    Just as I do not like them telling me I cannot smoke or drink.

    “What awful things must you endure if it is passed into law? ”

    The grotesque sight of two queers in a fatuous pretence to marriage that in reality just mocks that fine tradition.

    BTW Weihana, there are other threads debating the redefinition of marriage.

    Here my point was why is it not OK for the government to define what we can drink but OK for them to change the definition of marriage. Why would you support one and not the other when they are both examples of too powerful government exceeding its role?

    Maybe you could address that question rather than blather on with hackneyed and weak attempts to dehumanise someone who does not suffer the same as you from abject mental slavery to progressivism.

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  26. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    The Scorned (466) Says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 10:50 am

    If Government just got out of the business of healthcare, where it has no place being, then this all becomes moot. If you are just paying for your own care and risk then who cares if your neighbour skydives or guzzles sugar by the bucketful…? All this sort of drama is due to overstepping Government buggering about in peoples lives.

    Because regardless of whether or not your neighbour has insurance, if they require emergency treatment they will get it and if they cannot pay the cost then that cost will be passed onto you. One of the many reasons why Americans pay three times as much for healthcare than we do.

    And sorry but having to walk up to the machine to refill your drink is hardly an onerous interference in your life. Stupid perhaps, but not onerous.

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  27. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    “Redbaiter, if marriage was uniformly available to all consenting adults and the government was about to ban it for same-sex couples, what would be your position on the proposed legislative change?”

    Ryan- what would be your position on gravity if suddenly the earth stopped spinning?

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  28. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    I’ve never understood the libertarian ‘nanny state’ anathema. Surely heeding public health messages is a prudent thing to do on cost/benefit grounds, and actually saves public health revenue? Therefore, it is quite consistent with limited government and centre-right principles.

    ChardonnayGuy,

    Sure, once you take that first step that health should be socialised, everyone suddenly has a stake in how healthy each other are, which justifies the interference. But small-governmenters don’t take that first step.

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  29. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    “Redbaiter, if marriage was uniformly available to all consenting adults and the government was about to ban it for same-sex couples, what would be your position on the proposed legislative change?”

    Ryann- what would be your position on gravity if suddenly the earth stopped spinning?

    The… floor?

    Do you see my point, though? Surely if legal marriage was universally available and suddenly the government proposed to decide which adults gets to marry and which don’t, you’d see that as state interference with people going about their lives.

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  30. Griff (7,262 comments) says:

    Nanny state
    more branches of enforcement for more interference in my life

    Psychoactive Substances Bill

    The Authority may appoint enforcement officers to enforce this Act.

    (2) A person appointed as an enforcement officer may be—

    (a) a person appointed by name; or

    (b) the holder for the time being of a particular position.

    (3) A person appointed under subsection (1) is not by virtue of that appointment alone—

    (a) an officer or employee of the Public Service; or

    (b) a person to whom the State Sector Act 1988 or the Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956 applies.

    With police like powers
    Warrantless power to enter and search
    Power to demand information
    Arrest
    Forfeiture

    Nanny state is ok as long as you are a nanny

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  31. greenjacket (451 comments) says:

    So let’s get this right:
    Governments in the EU and the US provide massive subsidies to protect domestic sugar production (corn/beet) – so taxpayers pay to ensure huge quantities of sugar is produced.
    And then those same governments bring in policies to keep sugar consumption down.

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  32. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    “Do you see my point, though?”

    Of course I see your point, but its a hypothetical that assumes one situation is right and the other wrong, when the real issue is whether government has the power to alter timeless traditions because it suddenly becomes inhabited by people who want to do that. (Kevin Hague is list and Wall is not much better.)

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  33. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    Of course I see your point, but its a hypothetical that assumes one situation is right and the other wrong, when the real issue is whether government has the power to alter timeless traditions because it suddenly becomes inhabited by people who want to do that. (Kevin Hague is list and Wall is not much better.)

    I don’t think their motivations are relevant if we’re examining the question of whether or not the government should act one way or another by first principles like “it should stay out of our business”. By that token, the government should stay out of traditions entirely, and if it’s involved in a tradition, it should get out of it.

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  34. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    Conservatism is the only government system that is an antidote to tyranny, and the basic principles that are that antidote have not been conserved. That is why we are where we are today, because traditions that preserved liberty have been destroyed by Progressives posing as Conservatives. (John Key, David Cameron, George Bush for just a few more recent examples) You don’t want it in respect of drinks and cigarettes, but you want it in respect of marriage.

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  35. JMS (317 comments) says:

    Redbaiter,

    still don’t know why you want big government involved in defining traditions (eg.marriage) at all.
    You usually claim to favour small government.

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  36. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (2,302) Says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I do not like worthless politicians redefining our traditions, especially through corrupt and devious and duplicitous processes.

    That does not explain how YOUR life is interfered with.

    The grotesque sight of two queers in a fatuous pretence to marriage that in reality just mocks that fine tradition.

    If it is grotesque then don’t look. I fail to see how a “grotesque sight” (in your subjective opinion) is a violation of your rights. If the “queers” along with government wish to mock (your characterization) something you hold dear I fail to see how that constitutes an interference with your life. Rather it appears you simply wish to impose your tastes on everyone else. Frankly the thought of you copulating, reproducing or being in a relationship with anyone is grotesque and a horrible thought. But such is my respect for your freedom that I would never suggest this as a basis for imposing my preferences upon you or those demented enough to choose to be with such an idiotic and spiteful person. Unfortunate that you cannot extend that same courtesy to others.

    BTW Weihana, there are other threads debating the redefinition of marriage.

    You brought it up.

    Here my point was why is it not OK for the government to define what we can drink but OK for them to change the definition of marriage.

    Defining cup size, as stupid as that is, does not define what you can drink.

    Maybe you could address that question rather than blather on with hackneyed and weak attempts to dehumanise someone who does not sufer from your same slavery to progressivism.

    You do not need my help to dehumanise yourself.

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  37. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    Ryan >Sure, once you take that first step that health should be socialised, everyone suddenly has a stake in how healthy each other are,…But small-governmenters don’t take that first step.

    Sounds a bit like the Hitchhiker’s Guide… “and they all then die from a disease spread by poor people who couldn’t afford health care”.
    Apart from compassion, everyone does have a self-interested stake in how healthy other people are.

    Which doesn’t justify bans on soda.

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  38. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    “Apart from compassion, everyone does have a self-interested stake in how healthy other people are.”

    Yes but like all statists, you see big government as the only path forward on this. When it is not, and it is the wrong path, for as soon as you give government responsibility for your health you give up every freedom.

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  39. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    No one on here knows what Aspertame is in soft drinks ?

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  40. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    “You usually claim to favour small government.”

    That is why I do not support extreme left big government progressives like Louisa Wall and Kevin Hague, both self professed statists and proud of it.

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  41. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    If the trade-off was chemo or heart surgery I couldn’t afford myself, I’d probably not be that bothered at losing some minor freedoms that were no big deal anyway.
    But I never said anything about giving up freedoms at all.
    I DID say I don’t think they should be banning soda.

    And I’m not sure that thinking the state has to pick up the pieces the private sector won’t touch makes me a ‘statist’. More of a pragmatist.

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  42. Lance (2,620 comments) says:

    @hinamanu
    No body cares.

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  43. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    @hinamanu
    No body cares.

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  44. JMS (317 comments) says:

    hinamanu,

    a bit off topic I know: I’m not a fussy eater/drinker, but I can’t stand the taste of Aspartame.
    We’ve been hearing about new artificial sweeteners (which are supposed to taste more sugar like) for years, but that crap still seems to be the mainstay.

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  45. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    @hinamanu

    It’s either bad for you or perfectly safe. Take your pick and either avoid it or don’t sweat it.

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  46. Ed Snack (1,833 comments) says:

    Ryan, there’s no inequality in marriage at all, everyone has exactly the same rights in marriage, this equality naming thing is just propaganda, can’t you recognize that at least ? Do you want to legislate that anyone can have a gay relationship, because that’s exactly the same as you and everyone else peddling the line about equality.

    And on another topic, I see that David brings up the old “ban public smoking because of “passive smoking” effects”. The evidence that passive smoking causes harm except in a small subset of vulnerable persons (babies in closed environments for example) is very, very limited. Cigarette smoke may be unpleasant if you wish to claim it so, but harmful, I think you would struggle to find good evidence for that if one reviews the literature on the whole. Certainly one can cherry pick the studies, the anti-smoking advocates have been for years, but the best meat-studies don’t show much affect, and for solid epidemiological evidence one does need significant results; studies showing, say, a 30% rise in problem A should not been seen, in isolation, as significant for example.

    And the same goes for salt in food. It is a long standing piece of propaganda by various earnest but non-scientific people to demonize salt. Most normal persons can tolerate quite significant amounts of salt in their diet without any adverse effect. Small sub-sets of people can benefit from low salt, but equally there are sub-sets who are damaged by low salt diets. Studies on, for example, blood pressure, show once one excludes the specific subsets of people with metabolic defects around salt, that low salt diets have a negligible impact on blood pressure.

    It is worth noticing that the advocates of these interventions are often the same people (or in the same school of thought) as those who were responsible for the various “food pyramid” dietary advice. The heavy carbohydrate emphasis in all the earlier (and some still) of these were responsible for much of the epidemic of Diabetes and obesity, something which these activists steadfastly refuse to either acknowledge or apologize for.

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  47. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    Ryan, there’s no inequality in marriage at all, everyone has exactly the same rights in marriage, this equality naming thing is just propaganda, can’t you recognize that at least ? Do you want to legislate that anyone can have a gay relationship, because that’s exactly the same as you and everyone else peddling the line about equality.

    It’s the government making a value judgement that is none of its business, and imposing it on everyone. Legally recognising same-sex marriage would remove this unwarranted imposition. So would getting the government out of marriage entirely.

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  48. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    And I’m not sure that thinking the state has to pick up the pieces the private sector won’t touch makes me a ‘statist’.

    What is it then that makes you think Healthcare is something the private sector won’t touch? When it Switzerland for example it is practically all private sector? I suggest that you think such an absurd idea is symptomatic of a mind that is deeply immersed in statism.

    As most NZers are, given that any alternatives that might exist are constantly concealed from their awareness by self interested politicians and a politically corrupt mainstream media.

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  49. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    >What is it then that makes you think Healthcare is something the private sector won’t touch?

    I don’t know how it works in Switzerland.
    But “it is practically all private sector” – means it isn’t ALL private sector. Which means the state plays some role.

    >What is it then that makes you think Healthcare is something the private sector won’t touch?

    If I were an insurance provider and someone came to me and said they had arthritis and smoked 50 a day and had a family history of heart disease, I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole.
    But if they keeled over in the high street next day, either everyone would step over them, or someone would have to take them for medical care they couldn’t pay for.
    In the US, which is what this thread is about (soda ban proposed in the US), that’s the state.

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  50. kowtow (8,153 comments) says:

    greenjacket @1117

    Yep.
    Don’t expect anything rational,sensible or logical from our elitist rulers anymore.

    The EU is a great example . And people are finally waking up. Thank God.

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  51. lazza (380 comments) says:

    Quote re sugar ban … “That’s easy. Its is genuine concern about personal choice – something that the author seems to regard as having NO WEIGHT at all.”

    Freudian slip? for the rotund/obese New Yorkers?

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  52. Redbaiter (8,274 comments) says:

    “If I were an insurance provider and someone came to me and said they had arthritis and smoked 50 a day and had a family history of heart disease, I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole.”

    But you will force me to do so.

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  53. OneTrack (2,970 comments) says:

    “I’m amazed she doesn’t just advocate making soda drinks illegal.”

    That is next year’s project.

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  54. Ryan Sproull (7,093 comments) says:

    “If I were an insurance provider and someone came to me and said they had arthritis and smoked 50 a day and had a family history of heart disease, I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole.”

    But you will force me to do so.

    Zing!

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  55. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    “The Scorned, since when is gay marriage a “human right”?”

    Since species Man arrived on this rock as a social thinking being.

    “Short answer: it isn’t. Just because you feel like doing something doesn’t make it a “right”. In fact the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled last year that same-sex marriage is NOT a human right.”

    Its not up to a court…or a vote for that matter.The right of gays to marry is contained in the inalienable human rights to life ,liberty and pursuit of happiness. As gay marriage does not violate these same rights for anyone else then it is not the business of the law and no-one else has the right to forcible deny it.Dislike it if you want…thats YOUR right….but thats all the right you have….put the gun away…be in held by government or God.

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  56. Ed Snack (1,833 comments) says:

    Ryan, almost equivalent. I’d be perfectly happy with getting the government out of it, leaving everyone to recognize or not if someone claims that they are “married”. But that would probably be unlikely to gain approval without additional legislation to then force people to recognize such arrangements to avoid “discrimination”.

    Marriage pre-dates government, it seems to be prevalent in even the least modernized hunter-gatherer societies suggesting that it has been present in human societies for thousands of years. What forced the recognition, was it taxation, or state religions where the roles of religion and the state overlapped ? As such marriage is something that evolved and human culture co-evolved with it. In the end all that same sex “marriage” will do is force a name change, we’ll need to find something else to call what is now seen (apparently) as that outdated and oppressive institution of hetero-sexual marriage. Unless of course we force instead the change that such a marriage is in fact no different to any other “marriage” and that children and families really have no part in it.

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  57. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    Oh dear, they say fools rush in … but I can’t resist the temptation to enter the fray.
    I just don’t see that this is an issue that should be determined on idealogical grounds. Perhaps I have arrived at this conclusion through being very middle aged, surrounded by scientists (to misquote – I was the dim one and therefore put to the law), conscientious about doing my homework and been privileged to have helped in a very small way some of those doing great things to try to ward off the diabetes tidal wave.
    Having only recently discovered Eric Crampton and found some of his published work very persuasive, I regret to say that my personal view is that if the public authorities don’t take the lead on what is (from my perspective) undeniably a public health issue – then we will all be the poorer for it. As the ultimate insurer of the public health system, the taxpayer has little choice but to seek to change behaviours that will end up costing the health system a huge amount if not arrested (and quickly). Being caught in some sort of fundamentalist eddy based on the mis-use of arguments about denying freedom of choice is a losing argument here. The science is compelling and to suggests otherwise must discredit those who claim otherwise.
    And just so I can get all of my biases out on the table, I also note that I routinely growl at people who ride without helmets (or lights at night) – not just because its a bad example to the impressionable and/or the terminally bewildered but because helmets save lives and calls on the taxpayer. It might be paternalistic to say that – but that’s the benefit of riding and falling off bikes for 45+ years. A sort of micro version of doing ones homework.
    The health data is little different – and having glanced quickly at the New York judgment (only round #1 of a heavyweight contest) I suggest that all the good mayor did was footfault on implementation. This first judgment will help him get it right in the long term. All power to him – this is one area where NZ could (and should) be thought leaders.

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  58. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (2,309) Says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    What is it then that makes you think Healthcare is something the private sector won’t touch? When it Switzerland for example it is practically all private sector? I suggest that you think such an absurd idea is symptomatic of a mind that is deeply immersed in statism.


    Swiss are required to purchase basic health insurance, which covers a range of treatments detailed in the Federal Act. It is therefore the same throughout the country and avoids double standards in healthcare. Insurers are required to offer this basic insurance to everyone, regardless of age or medical condition. They are not allowed to make a profit off this basic insurance, but can on supplemental plans.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Switzerland

    I think it’s worth clarifying exactly what Redbaiter considers a private healthcare market. Presumably Redbaiter welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act. :)

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  59. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Ed Snack (787) Says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Ryan, almost equivalent. I’d be perfectly happy with getting the government out of it, leaving everyone to recognize or not if someone claims that they are “married”.

    How can you get the government out of it? In the event of the relationship ending who decides what happens to the children? Who decides what happens to property? Marriage at the end of the day is a contractual relationship and the government has a legitimate role in enforcing contracts and resolving disputes. Standardizing definitions therefore appears a legitimate and appropriate way to govern this type of contract. Moreover, the government’s involvement in such is a legitimate function and does not amount to “interference” in our private relationships.

    Marriage pre-dates government, it seems to be prevalent in even the least modernized hunter-gatherer societies suggesting that it has been present in human societies for thousands of years.

    Marriage predates government? Government exists as long as human society exists. If a society exists, even a primitive hunter gatherer society, then it is governed according to some sort of standards (even if it is just the village elders making decisions on a case by case basis).

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  60. Ed Snack (1,833 comments) says:

    Weihana, I’d dispute that Hunter-gatherer tribes have anything like a government. They regulate their lives and have hierarchical structures of various sorts, but not government as we would generally class it. Government as a separate structure arose with settled agricultural societies, before that there was, I suggest, something more similar to culture, custom, and habit. Even your example “village elders” presupposes a settled society.

    Private contracts can exist, still do but are little used. Excluding pax romana and the application of roman law in the empire, international law didn’t arise until governments saw a way to use it to gain revenue. International trade existed outside of any government structure for many hundreds of years, which is a good example of private contracts.

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  61. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Ed Snack,

    I agree that our concept of government has changed over time, but by the same token so has “marriage”. It is no more fixed in stone than is the evolving concept of government and political control. If primitive forms of social control in primitive tribes does not constitute “government” then so too it can be argued that such primitive forms of monogamous relationships do not constitute “marriage” as it is understood today.

    The defining feature of “marriage” in my view is social recognition. It is a social structure and thus recognition by the tribe/community/nation etc. is central to its significance. The fact that a ceremony traditionally accompanies a marriage is more evidence of its social importance as opposed to its personal significance between the parties involved. This social recognition has evolved from customary forms of recognition to formal standards prescribed by law.

    Therefore the idea that marriage “predates” government is wrong in my view. They are cultural practices that have evolved together as instruments of social order and control.

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  62. Hair Removal Specialist (80 comments) says:

    Such b.s. I think the solution is for coke to sell a sugar free product (with no alternative sweeteners either) and have retailers selling small packs of sugar conveniently next to the coke.

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  63. Hair Removal Specialist (80 comments) says:

    Auckland commercial lawyer – granted excess sugar has negative health effects. Remove sugar from the equation and health costs for excess sugar related diseases goes away. But, and that is a big BUT, even without sugar people will still get sick and die and require healthcare (unless people become immortal because they do not consume sugar). Banning or restricting shit does sweet f. all. In fact, if people live longer, the taxpayer is probably worse off. So I think you are effectively advocating the taking away or restriction of a current freedom (sugar) to save costs that will just be taken up by other costs – in other words, you are just advocating taking away a freedom for no good reason.

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  64. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    Having just discovered Eric Crampton (thanks DPF) and none a little more homework, I find the logic chasm he exposes with the concept of ‘fat taxes’ quite compelling. However, the difficulty remains that if a large and growing slice of the population, particularly the young who often don’t have a vote on what they are served for meals, are going to be sidelined and suffer poor health that impairs not only their education but also their contribution to the workforce – then a circuit breaker is required. By contrast, a healthier (dare I say happier in this forum?) better educated population won’t contribute to the health data in the way we are already seeing – and the tidal wave is yet to hit us. Better thought leadership, and not carping about the problems without posing workable solutions (my take on the Otago-based ‘risks initiative’ launched a few days ago), than sitting on our hands and watching the inevitable train wreck in the name of purity of idealogy. This approach seems to me to have resulted in the Tea Party types making their brand unelectable – simply because they tarnish anything labelled as coming from the right as single-minded zealotry. Life (and especially business) is never that black and white. Shades of grey, supported by the sort of rigorous cost/benefit analysis advocated by Crampton seem better placed to generate lasting solutions.

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