Wednesday, March 13, 2013

1147 Sugar Shock

1147 Sugar Shock

Were it not for a judge acting at almost the last minute, New York City’s landmark big sugary drink ban would have taken effect already.  And we expected instantly noticeable changes.  It wouldn’t have been just a rise in temperature that would have put a spring in peoples’ steps You wouldn’t be able to spot a fat kid on the street even at the time schools open, and the health clubs and gyms would have been abandoned because who would still need them?

Not since Ed Koch banned a ticker tape parade for the Super Bowl-winning Giants in 1986 because they really are from New Jersey has there been a ban of this magnitude proposed in New York.

Although the current mayor is a businessman he has not grasped the effect on business.  People would have bought fewer or smaller soft drinks.  This could cause economic hardship first on the people who sell them.  They, in turn, would reduce the size of their syrup orders which would mean a sharp downturn in the drink manufacturing and wholesale distribution industries.   Then, delivery truck drivers would have fewer deliveries to make and that, in turn, would force some gasoline and diesel pumping stations out of business, which would further drive up the price of fuel.

All those kids taking in less sugar would have suddenly not only lost all that weight, they’d lose their hyperactivity as well, possibly causing a serious downturn in the pharmaceutical, health insurance, psychiatry and -- again -- the trucking business.

An economic disaster right when things were starting to look up.

As mayor, Rudolph Giuliani was a man of boundless energy.  In his first term, he cleaned up wide swaths of dirt, got the squeegee men off the streets, reduced crime, brought turnstile jumpers almost to a halt and turned Times Square into Disneyland Northeast.  

In his second term, he maintained his energy level but ran out of ideas.

But it had to go somewhere, so he declared war on the homeless, drew the wrath of the city’s two million self-identified black people by declaring he could do more for them if their leadership would only stop meddling.  At the time the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center took place, Giuliani was about as popular as a Saturday afternoon pig roast in Boro Park.  It was only when the bodies started flying that he had a place to put all that energy.

But about the sugar rationing... it’s not just soft drinks, it’s coffee, too.   The huge coffees often come with huge amounts of sugar.  The immediate fix is to either use artificial sweeteners in recipes that call for sugar or to make the customer put his own sugar in the drink.  Fine if it’s not fancy coffee.  But when coffee shops make you add your own, uncle Bob’s Double Espresso sweet frappe from Coffee Heaven is going to taste more or less like the version he makes at home. So why would he spend five bucks for the same thing on the street?  Another economic factor to consider.

All this nonsense would have been solved if only the city council had voted to maintain the two term limit for mayor, even though it wouldn’t have helped in the Giuliani years.

Oh, and in a shocking and completely unexpected move the Bloomberg administration plans to appeal the judge’s order.  And the mayor hopes for voluntary cooperation with the spirit of the proposal.  Yeah.  Right.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013

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