Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Two men have no more natural right to exercise any kind of authority over one, than one has to exercise the same authority over two. A man's natural rights are his own, against the whole world; and any infringement of them is equally a crime, whether committed by one man, or by millions; whether committed by one man, calling himself a robber or by millions, calling themselves a government.”     Lysander Spooner

February 14, 2009

Oh, It Was All About Raising Awareness?

by Brad Warbiany

Well, New Yorkers can rest a little easier. The proposed soda tax has been shot down. It’s main proponent, Gov. David Paterson, is taking the defeat in stride:

New York Gov. David Paterson admitted Thursday one of his most talked-about tax proposals, an obesity tax on sugary drinks, is fizzling.

But he said it popped the right question.

In meeting with college students over his budget, Paterson told the young New Yorkers not worry about his soda tax because the Legislature won’t go for it. But he said it has served its purpose of raising awareness of childhood obesity.

I’m glad to hear that the purpose was just to raise awareness… So I guess that means that if it had been enacted by the legislature, he would have vetoed the tax, since his point had already been made?

Hat Tip: QandO

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  1. Efforts for legislation and law suits are often the course of action to call attention to an issue, a successful model is cigarette smoking. But as we get deeper and deeper into the obesity epidemic, can obesity be treated like smoking when there are so many factors that contribute, so many that are personal and so many that are environmental? Many of the students I work with choose soda because it’s cheaper. If we could remove this barrier to healthy food, would kids be more persuaded to choose the heathier option? Perhaps if we supplemented the cost of the healthy options, improved nutrition education, and regulating the amount of money that is allowed to be allocated to advertising directed toward kids. There are many factors and it’s good to see at least some movement in some areas. I look forward to seeing significant solutions to this epidemic in my lifetime. In the meantime, I’ll keep rockin:

    Comment by Jill Jayne, MS, RD — February 15, 2009 @ 2:49 pm
  2. Jill,

    Efforts for legislation are not just a way to “call attention” to an issue. The anti-smoking legislation have gone much farther than simply to call attention to smoking — it’s violated property rights telling businesses what normally legal actions can and cannot be allowed on their premises.

    This is why I suggested, rather sarcastically, that Paterson would have vetoed the legislation had it passed.

    Legislation isn’t about “raising awareness”. It’s about changing policy. Now, you or Gov. Paterson may not have a problem with that — but it’s disingenuous for him to suggest that the goal was to raise awareness.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — February 15, 2009 @ 4:09 pm
  3. Tap water is usually pretty cheap.

    Comment by Akston — February 15, 2009 @ 5:27 pm
  4. The only justification for government action in health epidemics is contagion; people suffering from the disease can infect innocent people they come in contact with.

    No matter how many pounds I gain, I cannot “infect” anyone else with obesity.

    Most people claim that it is a health issue due to the fact that the government picks up the tab for obesity related health conditions. But, in the end, that is a problem caused by government intervention in the medical industry.

    Comment by tarran — February 16, 2009 @ 6:23 am
  5. Jill -

    Legislators have a very, very specific job. Protect the life, liberty, and property of their constituents. That’s it. How we the people choose to live our lives is immaterial to them so long as we don’t threaten others. You want change, you go work for it. Don’t inflict your wishes on everyone through the law.

    People know what they want and how they want to live. One of the things I find objectionable about people like you is that you think your values, living a long, thin, “healthy” life should be everyone’s goal, even if people derive joy from doing other things. As long as I don’t hurt anyone else, or ask anyone else to pay for my lifestyle choices, it is none of your damn business what or how much I eat or exercise. Period.

    Like tarran said, the public health system exists to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. The government is well within its jurisdiction to target diseases like tuberculosis. It’s highly contagious. Obesity is not contagious, therefore it is completely outside the legitimate scope of the public health system. Got that?

    Comment by Quincy — February 16, 2009 @ 11:10 am

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