The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is holding its “National Sugary Drinks Summit” this weekend in Washington to figure out how to use the police power of government to compel the sinful masses to pass up their favorite drinks. And as New York’s Nanny-in-Chief wasn’t able to give the keynote speech,, the nags called on their second-favorite mayor — Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter, 0-for-2 on soda tax campaigns in the last three years.
We found Nutter’s Wednesday schedule far more interesting than his utterly predictable speech. The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reports that Nutter was cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of a Philadelphia Shake Shack. For what it’s worth, according to Myfitnesspal.com, a Shake Shack milkshake contains up to four times the calories per ounce — about 50 versus about 12 — of a regular soda. Sure enough, the “frozen fine print” joins the “latte loophole” in the food activist canon.
CSPI wouldn’t even let us in the room to hear the conference, but we did get to read the press reports on Nutter’s speech and the other proceedings. And the proceedings went exactly as one might expect: Attendees heaped praise on Bloomberg’s Prohibitionist impulse, NYC Health Tsar Thomas Farley engaged in doublespeak on personal choice (just like his boss), and Twinkie tax godfather Kelly Brownell called sugar tasty crack.
Nutter’s case of “highly caloric drink for me but not for ye” would be almost as ridiculous as, say, Bloomberg endorsing a proposal to decriminalize possession of drugs with lower civil penalties than selling a 20-ounce soft drink from a food cart. Wait—Bloomberg actually did that. Or, to borrow from Jon Stewart, Bloomberg would make a 20-ounce fountain soda “twice as illegal” as a small quantity of marijuana. (The proposed penalty for simple possession would be one-half the proposed fine for selling a big soda.)
Of course, hypocrisy from Bloomberg is nothing new: Witness Hizzoner’s frequent appearances at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Hizzoner’s habit of noshing on fats he banned, or Bloomberg LP’s reported free-soda-for-employees policy. It’s just par for the course that Nutter is joining in the snobbish fun of bashing the choices of the folks while promoting those of the well-to-do.