In Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New York state of mind, taxing foods and controlling ingredients are the way to force—yes, force—everyone to be healthy. His latest cranky proposal is to ban poor people from using food stamps to buy soft drinks. Bloomberg has never been a fan of sugary drinks, but he does seem to enjoy being a colossal hypocrite. The New York Times reported on Friday that Hizzoner’s own company, Bloomberg L.P., offers free sodas to all its employees:
There is also free Coke, Pepsi, orange Fanta, ginger ale and Mountain Dew — exactly the types of drinks Mr. Bloomberg this week said he wanted to prohibit poor New Yorkers from buying with their food stamps.
“We have all the junk in the world up there,” a Bloomberg employee, who declined to be named for fear of upsetting the company, said during an interview outside the offices at 731 Lexington Avenue. “I mean, you can gain 15 pounds in a hurry.”
So Bloomberg, whose health department’s ad campaign disgustingly compares drinking soda to drinking fat, apparently looks the other way as his own company offers so-called “obesogenic” soft drinks to employees.
This isn’t Bloomberg’s first ride on the “do as I say” merry-go-round. His administration recently demanded that food producers “voluntarily” cut back on salt, while Bloomberg himself salts everything from his pizza to his popcorn. City Hall banned trans fats, while the Mayor snacked on trans fatty crackers (which are apparently still his “snack of choice”). And overeating in general? Bloomberg praised the winner of a national eating competition this summer for “eating an amazing 68 dogs … in just 10 minutes.”
To a certain degree, it’s the government’s prerogative to set limits on what people can buy with food stamps. After all, taxpayers are footing the bill. But Bloomberg’s zeal for controlling everyone’s food choices—even those exercised with private money—goes too far.