Michael Bloomberg is a brilliant businessman. This month Forbes ranked him as the 13th richest person on the planet with a fortune of 27 billion dollars. It is a self-made fortune. He made it by selling equipment to Wall Street and then starting a media company. He'd be worth more but he has given away 2.5 billion to charity. One thing he's always been passionate about is healthy eating. Back around 1997 I got the chance to meet him at Bloomberg radio. He had set up a cafeteria in the building which provided free food for everyone! He explained to me that he felt he could get more out of his employees if they ate healthy so he had the cafeteria serve fish and lean meat with veggies and salads and fruits and yogurt baked chips and granola bars. I loved it so much I took a picture of it.
The man is right of course. People who eat healthier tend to stay healthier. And a healthy employee out produces a sick one. He also understands human nature is to go after what tastes best and what is the least expensive. So if people can buy a fast food lunch for 6 bucks the only way to entice them to eat healthy was make it free. Because if grilled fish is sitting next to a cheeseburger most people are grabbing the cheeseburger. But if you have to walk a few blocks and pay for the cheeseburger while the grilled fish is right in front of you and already paid for, suddenly fish sounds awesome. And I guess this has paid dividends for him because all of these years later he still buys all of his employees lunch every day. What a great attitude for a boss.
However it makes a crappy attitude for a Mayor. Mayor Mike saw the effects that poor eating habits were having on his citizens and wanted to help. NYC had a higher than normal amount of heart attacks, so he attacked the problem first with PSA's to encourage healthier choices and then finally in 2008 by passing legislation that outlawed trans fat. NYC was the first city to do that and it's citizens reaped the benefits with a decrease in heart disease. Next was the problem with obesity. Researchers say sodas present 2 problems. First they are loaded with "empty calories". Coke is the most popular. So if you drank a 32 ounce Coke you would take in 400 calories, which isn't bad. But the 108 carbs would be about half of the recomended carb intake for the day. Drink it with a Whopper and large fry and you're all done with carbs for the day...and probably pretty gassy. The second problem, research shows sugary drinks makes people crave more carbs. Well of course! No one wants to dig in to a tofu lettuce wrap after chugging a Dr Pepper! And if you over carb regularly, you'll soon be pricking yourself for blood tests. So soda is the gateway drug to diabetes. Mayor Mike tried to look out for his peeps by forcing them to think about that. He didn't outlaw drinking soda. You could drink a gallon a day in NYC under his proposal. But you'll have to walk up for the refill or go buy another bottle every 16 ounces. This way you don't reason with yourself "I only had 1" if your 1 is 64 ounces. He wants to protect people from themselves. Even this guy.
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But that's the problem. Monday a Judge ruled Bloomberg had overstepped his authority.Mayor Mike said last night that "the judge is totally in error in the way he interpreted the law. I am quite confident that we will ultimately prevail and we will help save New Yorkers lives". Government has the power to outlaw things that are dangerous like trans fat. Government has the power to put warnings on items that are dangerous like cigarettes. But it doesn't have the ability try and save you from your self. This would be like outlawing packs of cigarettes and only selling loosies. When you get done smoking that one you can come back and buy another. It would make it harder to get addicted, but it's outside the power of government. At least in America. And that's a good thing. Mayor Mike's heart is in the right place, trying to protect your heart from you and your fat, but he's wrong. So today I feel bad for Mayor Mike and his best intentions and happy for freedom. And New Yorkers are celebrating the fact that they can still go from zero to diabetic in 64 ounces.