« Bloomberg, Sugar, and Obesity—Posner | Main | Why are Americans More Religious than Western Europeans? Becker »

06/18/2012

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Terry Bennett

Once again, I agree with Dr. Becker. This particular intrusion upon market freedom is unwarranted and ill-conceived. Not even close. The Quakers say, "Do not presume to know what is best for someone else, lest you find someone else presumes to know what is best for you." If I were seeking dietary advice, Mayor Bloomberg would not pop into my head as a primary resource. His totalitarian arrogance deserves the late night ridicule it has received, in spades.

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One martini at "Maloney and Porcelli" in NYC has almost as many calories (350) as a 26 oz soda (380), and I can guarantee that the cracklin' pork shank in the same gin joint has more calories than a 6-piece McNuggets. What will Nanny Bloomberg regulate next?

NEH

Really? Then perhaps we ought to shut down the ATF, DEA, and FDA (think of the cost savings). Remember, every American has the "Right of Free Access" to any product. Whether it be Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Illicit Drugs of all types, Food and Drug products that are detrimental to the Health and
Well being of the public.

Boy, I wish we could still purchase, Original Recipe Coke laced with cocaine, Laudanum, Original recipe Rootbeer that used sassafrass oils as a flavoring and known carcinogen, homemade "Pop-Skull" guaranteed to drive one mad or blind, and other adulterated Food, Drug Products or other products that are known too be hazardous to life and health.

Yep, the world would be a Utopia if there were no controls over any products and the "Free Market" reigned supreme...

Christina

I also agree with Dr. Becker. If people want to drink sugary drinks, they should be allowed to. If people want to know more about what they put in their bodies there are tons of ways to find out. The information is out there, you just have to go looking for it. That being said, I think people know that MCD and soda is bad for you. But if they are more concerned with short term happiness than with long term longevity.
The way mayor Bloomberg is going about trying to limit sugary drinks is not very effective for the reasons Dr. Becker mentioned. I think that people should be rewarded for good behavior (eating healthy, exercising, etc) instead of punishing bad behavior. In the long run, I think this strategy would be much more effective. Or the government spcould just left taxes on bad food :) of course, this would really be an overstepping of the governments boundaries.

TANSTAAFL

Becker is right. Posner correctly notes that personal consumption choices may impose negative externalities on others, but neglects to acknowledge that such reasoning underpins Marxism and its various ideological offshoots that rest on the premise that governments know better what to do than individuals exercising free will. Even more to the point, until the emergence of large national governments committed to pervasive regulation of hitherto private activity, and coercive wealth redistribution to that end, there was no practical way for persons with supposedly unhealthy habits to impose the resultant negative externalities on their neighbors. Rather, persons with unhealthy habits died sooner, on the average, than their clean living neighbors, who may have briefly mourned but otherwise were unaffected.

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NEH

affl, Anarchism again as the solution to all our problems? Like any Contract, especially the Social Compact, in order to get something one has to give something. Otherwise, Life becomes nasty, brutish and short. Such was the underlying rational for the creation of the State, Society and Civilization.

Btw, how about a little "Pop-Skull" or better yet some un-pastuerized
milk flavored with a little White Snake Root. Or how about some fresh Beef Burgers direct from herds affected by Mad Cow disease...

TANSTAAFL

NEH, have you been reading Alinsky again? To my knowledge I've never advocated anarchism on this blog or any other occasion.

More to the point you raise, rather than complain about "Pop-Skull" or "White Snake Root" or "fresh Beef Burgers direct from herds affected by Mad Cow disease," why don't you consider the damage to the human mind caused by adherence to the Democratic Party agenda?

Put simply, to all appearances, you would sacrifice individual liberty for the sake of stealing wealth from people who earn it and redistributing it to the lazy. QED

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NEH

affl, The facts are the facts jack, just as history is history. Unless of course, one is trying to muddy the waters by the use of revisionism or other techniques to advance an ideologically biased agenda. That in the end will result in an "Aristocracy", "Oligarcy" or Plutocracy coming to the fore by driving the Nation into Anarchy.

As for the issue of "Liberty", remember, "Liberty is not License".
A principle fully articulated in Anglo-American Law and the Constitution...

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Gordon Longhouse

Becker's point around US sub-prime mortgages is well taken: they were far more toxic to lenders than they were to borrowers.

Mortgages in the US are extremely risky instruments for lenders because the lender does not simply lend money secured by property, it also agrees to accept the property in lieu of the loan.

This is economically identical to the lender granting a put option over the property to the borrower with a strike price equal to the value of the loan. Where the property is acquired without down payment this means that the put option as at the money.

Such an option ought to be very expensive and this expense ought to have been reflected in the interest rate on the loan. It wasn't and so the promoters of these products and those who financed them were doomed.

The borrowers had to suffer the trauma of being thrown out of the house, but in a financial sense they were much better off than the lenders. Politically speaking it is impermissible to say so.

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