I really wonder sometimes how the people of New York can love Michael Bloomberg so much. I mention this after reading a recent article regarding the mayor’s desire to force food manufacturers to cut back salt content to 1970s levels. According to local politicians, people do not realize just how heavy the salt content is in certain of the foods they eat frequently, such as chicken noodle soup. “Salt, when its high in the diet, increases the blood pressure and high blood pressure is a major factor for heart disease and stroke,” Dr. Sonia Angell of NYC’s Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program proclaims.
Also, drinking Jack Daniels is bad for your liver. Eating copious amounts of chocolate cake can make you fat. Oh, and the sky is blue. What world are these people living in!? New York has already put up a smoking ban and barred trans fats. What comes next? Mandatory weekly exercise? Limits on tv-watching time? Restrictions on angry blog posts (after all, you can get carpal tunnel syndrome)?
I don’t see how any of these bans are Constitutional, or moral for that matter. They merely represent blatant social engineering, and more government intervention in our daily lives. Not to mention that all of these bans inevitably will have unintended consequences. For example, given the cost of replacing salt with something salt-like, businesses will have to use replacements that might be more costly, or present alternative health risks. Also, some companies might stop selling their foods in New York. With less competition for food sales, this will allow existing food suppliers to raise their prices. When you try to tamper with the choices of free people, there are always going to be unforeseen costs, inevitably borne by the consuming public.
There is one other price for all of these ridiculous decrees – given how expensive New York already is, the major job losses from the financial sector (the lifeblood of the states’ finances) and the increasingly interventionist city government, people are going to leave en masse at some point. After all, business can be done almost anywhere today, and with the collapse of Wall Street, I tend to think that over the next twenty years, other cities with lesser tax burdens and restrictions on individual freedoms will attract an increasing number of firms. I’m not saying New York or Wall Street is necessarily dead, but rather that as I can attest to, coming from New Jersey, wealthier individuals are moving out of these areas due to bad government already, and the economic collapse will only speed this exodus. Socialism has been the death knell of many a civilization, let alone a city.