Mayor Bloomberg and the role of government

One of our first topics of discussion will be the purpose and role of government.  Here’s Mayor Bloomberg of New York, discussing his philosophy, which is sometimes at odds with those who believe in a less active role for government:

8 responses to “Mayor Bloomberg and the role of government”

  1. Dan1 says :

    Mayor Bloomberg brings up an interesting point, that government is in place to give the citizens longer, healthier lives. I agree with him when he says that it is government obligation to tell the people what is in their best interests, medically and scientifically. With that said, I don’t think that banning huge soft drinks with too much sugar would stop people from getting two smaller drinks. Educating the people on the health affects of these drinks would be more effective. At the end of the day, the citizens have to live their own lives. They won’t always have Mayor Bloomberg at their side to make choices for them.

  2. eddiemeyercord4 says :

    Bloomberg states that government’s “purpose” is to “improve the health and longevity of its citizens”, going on to cite how things like lowered crime rates, and improved regulation of traffic have increased the average lifespan of New Yorkers. However, both of these improvements are caused by public goods (the service of the NYPD, etc.) that the government is expected to provide, because they would not be produced by the free market. This is not the case with large sugary drinks, however, which I think is why the proposed ban has become such a contentious issue. While it is noble for Bloomberg to champion the issue of obesity, his views may not reflect those of Americans who have chosen regardless of health issues to purchase large sugary drinks through the free-market system. Although it may be the right thing to do in Bloomberg’s mind, I think the government’s purpose should be to act on the behalf of the people, which may not be the case with this issue. It also brings up the question, do Americans have the right to be obese and unhealthy?

  3. Chad4 says :

    I disagree with Mr. Bloomberg’s opinion on the role of government. I don’t believe it is the job of the government to force its people to follow laws they believe are at the best interest of a person’s health. It is the job of that person to determine what is best for their health. Do not get me wrong, the government must do all it can to inform its people of health risks such as, trans fat, smoking, sugary drinks, etc., but it cannot force its people to avoid such items merely because its at odds with the government’s opinion. The underlying force in the American free enterprise system is that the Americans can choose what they buy and consume. In a July Wall Street Journal article, the owner of Honest Ade Teas describes how Mr. Bloomberg’s ban on drinks more than 16 oz. hurts his company over a mere .9 oz. The owner goes in detail about how his company produces drinks in a standard bottle, 16.9 oz, and how the new law that Mr. Bloomberg wants to impose would cost him to lose money because his company produces a slightly larger beverage. However, Mr. Bloomberg did not stop with his attacks on sugary drinks. He declared that New York City hospitals could no longer supply baby formula to its patients because the government deemed that breast feeding was a necessary development in a child’s life. This is where Mr. Bloomberg is fundamentally wrong. If he wants to make information available to mothers that breast feeding is better for their children, that is the government’s right, but to restrict a mother’s use of a perfectly legal product is absurd. I also find it hard to believe that imposing such laws even limits a consumers intake of such foods. If a person wants a drink larger than 16 oz., he can merely go across the river to Jersey City and buy as many drinks as he wants. There is no purpose to put such laws in place. I hope Mr. Bloomberg stops restricting the food consumption of his people.

  4. Kunaal7 says :

    Mayor Bloomberg has a valid point that moderation should be suggested(not enforced). He clearly states that the role government does not play an integral role in regulating what consumers should and should not consume. Mayor Bloomberg mentions that Pepsi and Coca-Cola do do in fact show the disclaimer on the caloric counts, sugar intake and other adverse effects of their product. This means that it is the consumers choice on whether or not to buy those soft drinks. Additionally, when Mayor Bloomberg references the role of the government and smoking, while he says that it is not good to smoke, even in moderation, Bloomberg explains that it is not the right of the government to tell the public on whether or not to smoke. On all cigarette packs, the manufacturers are required to notify the buyer of the adverse health effects. Mayor Bloomberg has the right idea of government intervention.

  5. Emily1 says :

    I believe what Mayor Bloomberg said is somewhat contradictory. I agree with his idea that government should play a roll in providing people with longer, healthier lives. But I don’t believe that the government has a right to make the lifestyle choice for the people of America. If someone wants to smoke, or drink a large soft drink, that is their choice. But I believe the government should provide and continue to provide healthier lifestyle OPTIONS, not requirements for the people. For instance, not limiting the size of soft drink cups (because people that desire more soda will just buy two cups), but providing other beverages aside from sugary soda. The government intervention should be informative (sugar content, carbs, calories to show what you are consuming) and providing choices for Americans, but not requiring them to choose them.

  6. natek7 says :

    I believe that Mayor Bloomberg is right, that the government is in place to improve the health and longevity of it’s people. In many ways the government is already doing this. From simple ideas such as having police and a military to regulating the environment to prevent future health problems.

  7. robhrabchak4 says :

    As Mayor Bloomberg points out, the government already plays a large role in improving the health and longevity of it’s citizens. I don’t think that it is appropriate for the government to go about doing this by enacting barriers between you and potentially harmful products, but that is not what the government is doing in this instance. Here we see a ban on the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16oz in some places (you can still buy as much soda as you’d like at the grocery store). This also doesn’t prevent you from continuously buying 8oz sodas. In my view, this acts a deterrent from harming yourself, and is not a preventive measure. One of the purposes of government is to look out for our collective best interests, and subtly deterring people from drinking unhealthy amounts of sugar benefits all of us, the same way that eliminating smoking advertisements helped contribute to limiting the number of smokers.

  8. Ellen7 says :

    I strongly support the fact that people like Mayor Bloomberg are really honing in on the obesity problem in America. I think that when people think of politics, their minds don’t go straight to problems like the consumption of large sugary drinks or the fact that the obesity rate in America is becoming one of the larger and faster-growing problems. I’m happy to see it becoming a much more mainline topic. However, I do not think that banning certain sizes of products is going to have a large enough impact. Banning the products all together (like they recently have with Oreos containing trans fat) would be much more effective, but this is clearly not realistic. Education is really the only way to try to improve the decisions people make. In communities like PDS, where kids all go through mandatory health classes and are privileged enough to have professional nutritionists speak and healthy food available, there is at least knowledge to base decisions of what to consume off of. Not that people who are informed make healthy decisions 100% of the time, but at least they are aware. It is people who are unaware of the health risks etc. of consuming products such as large sugary drinks that are at a disadvantage. I also agree that “At the end of the day, the citizens have to live their own lives. They won’t always have Mayor Bloomberg at their side to make choices for them.” Awareness simply needs to be spread before people like Mayor Bloomberg make the decisions for people. Then maybe, things like these large sugary drinks and huge portions at fast food restaurants will start to shrink and return to their old, much smaller sizes simply because there is less demand for them, not because they were taken away.

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