New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio may not agree with his predecessor on economic and fiscal policies, but he’s a big fan of the big soda ban. Last month he announced he will appeal the ruling striking down the ban, because, you know, he thinks he knows better than the people of NYC how much soda they should drink.
He eats pizza with a fork, but I can’t tell how big those sodas are. Oh wait, are those pitchers I see on the table? I think pitchers are more than 16 ounces.
The former NYC health commissioner published a piece in The Atlantic arguing that the ban of big cups isn’t a ban at all, and even said that it would increase choices.
The portion cap rule isn’t a ban, and it isn’t about restricting freedom or choice. It’s simply a regulation on the size of containers, not on the amount people drink. Under the rule, people could still buy and drink as many ounces of soda as they want. Restaurants could even sell as many ounces as they want, bundling 16-ounce cups if they cared to.
The rule actually would increase choices on the healthy end of the range, because right now in some New York City movie theaters, the smallest size container of sugary drink is 32 ounces (a quart). People can always buy two portions, but are unable to buy a half of one.
Hmm. Say a 16 ounce soda costs $1.00, and a 32 ounce soda costs $1.89. Is it a better deal to buy two for $2.00 or one for $1.89? Okay, so we would have to quadruple those prices for movie theaters. But I’m sure movie theater managers would be happy to offer 16 ounce cups of soda if it meant the larger cups weren’t going to be banned!
Anyway, there’s a US Court of Appeals hearing tomorrow. So some judges will decide whether New York City’s residents and visitors are allowed to buy soda in large cups, or pitchers.