Government-sponsored safety nets should promote wellness

You can be for freedom.

You can be for smaller government that intrudes less.

You can be for lower taxes.

You can be for most anything, but if you are interested in improving the sagging health of American citizens, get on Michael Bloomberg’s wheel.

Today, as reported in the WSJ, NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bar city residents from using food stamps to buy sugary soft drinks. It turns out that last year (in NYC alone) $135 million in food stamp money was used for the consumption of these obesity-fostering beverages.

Mr Bloomberg is morphing into a real-world public health super-star.  Previously, he was a pioneer in banning smoking in restaurants and bars. They said it could not be done, or that it wouldn’t work.  Well…the nay-sayers were dead wrong.  Now, public smoking bans our commonplace, and, backed by objective data, are accepted as having prevented thousands of heart attacks.  More recently, Mr Bloomberg has championed a ban on the use of inflammatory and artery-toxic trans-fats in city restaurants.  Although trans-fats bans have found traction harder to come by, my guess is that similarly favorable data will be forthcoming.

To the cynics and nay-sayers that feel government should not tell us how to live, I say…

Do not over think this one.

Being against government-spnsored soda consumption is a no-brainer.  Public health should be apolitical.

All can surely agree that an advanced and kind society should have safety nets for those less endowed by nature and nurture. But we should also find common ground on the idea that the safety net shouldn’t be dangerous to those it is supposed to help.  No one is suggesting that soda be banned, rather just not state-supported.

I’m with Mr Bloomberg, strongly.

And being so isn’t mean.

JMM

Disclosure:  I love Coke… An excerpt from the above post that was edited:   “In the heat of the summer, immediately after a hard training ride or life-force-sapping bike race there are few more pleasurable ways to replete the hollowness of glycogen-depletion than an ice-cold Coke.”