The Conservative media has been completely up in arms over Michael Bloomberg’s latest nanny state attempt to stomp on free markets and your natural right to free trade. This proposed legislation is obviously an example of tyrannical, out of control government where the state assumes the right to micromanage your life.
But that angle has already been covered exhaustively by a large number of media outlets, so that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about a very specific defense of this proposal, made initially by Bloomberg but parroted by leftists lining up in the comments section of blogs to defend his idiotic policy. Bloomberg has claimed “Nobody is taking away any of your rights.” He and his supporters claim that they are not “banning” soda. That you can still drink as much soda as you like, you just have to buy it in multiple containers.
Let me apologize in advance to those of you who actually engage in critical thinking on a regular basis because this is going to seem overwhelmingly obvious to you, but it has to be said because there are Keynesians out there who don’t know any better…
A 48oz cup of soda is NOT the same product as four 12oz cans of soda.
Bloomberg is absolutely banning things and taking away your rights. Specifically, he is banning large sodas, and one large soda is NOT the same product as many small sodas, and I can prove it. Twice.
Thought experiment #1: Imagine you have to walk across the city and you’re very thirsty. You think you’re about thirsty enough to drink 48oz of Pepsi. Which would you rather take with you on your walk? One 48oz cup or four 12oz cans? If you have any preference at all, you just proved Bloomberg is banning a product and taking away your rights.
Thought experiment #2: Go to your local 7-11. Fill up two 16oz cups of soda and proceed to the register. When the clerk attempts to charge you a higher price than you expected, immediately demand that he charge you the same price as you would have paid for one 32oz soda. If he refuses and kicks you out of his store, he just proved that Bloomberg is banning a product and taking away your rights.
The simple fact of the matter is that no bureaucrat can dictate whether products are interchangeable or not. Only the marketplace can. The very fact that 32 and 48 and 64oz cups even exist is proof that they are NOT interchangeable with many smaller cups of soda. This seems like a very minor and pointless argument in the grand scheme of things, but we absolutely cannot allow such economic fallacies to go unchallenged. That’s how society ends up with people thinking that Paul Krugman actually has something of value to say.