Friday, October 8, 2010

The Demon Sugar

So NYC mayor Bloomberg wants to remove soft drinks from the list of acceptable foods that you can buy with food stamps. Really?

I have many conflicting sentiments about this. First, government telling you what to eat or drink seems like a really bad idea, but we do have warnings on cigarettes and alcohol. However cigs and booze are considered adult-only consumptives. You have to be eighteen and twenty-one years of age, respectively, to legally purchase them. Do we need to make soft drinks age restrictive for purchasing as well?

Second, if they are banned from the food stamp program, then what sugar laden beverage would buyers choose? Fruit juice? So-called juice beverages? There will be a replacement that will not help reduce obesity. Mark my words.

Third, how much more liberty are people willing to give up? Do we need to have people give up choices because they are poor or impoverished?

Fourth, this is a government subsidy program. The government does have the right to set requirements for being part of the program. Is it right that the government asks people to give up choices to be part of a subsidy program? Do they require dietary behavior modification for inclusion now? What behavioral modification would be next, religious modification? Sexual behavior modification? Consumer spending behavior modification? How does getting someone to give up their legal rights, protected in the United States Constitution, align with the government's duty to protect the United States Constitution?

I don't have any concrete answers, but I do have plenty of questions to consider. Maybe we need to be encouraging people to be responsible with their exercise of their rights rather than holding them hostage in an all or nothing negotiation?

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