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EDITORIAL: Mayor Bloomberg’s bloat

His wasteful spending is up for a Porker Prize

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At the Regal Potomac Yard 16, a movie theater in Alexandria, a "small" soda weighs a large 32 ounces. Such sodas, enough to quench the thirst of the entire family, may be available at other cinemas across the country, but beginning March 12, they won't be in New York City.

Having tackled the vital issues of our day -- trans fats, salt and Styrofoam take-home containers -- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg successfully led a crusade to banish soda cups larger than 16 ounces at theaters, restaurants and other food-service venues in New York. The New York Post reports that Mayor Busybody's sugary-soda ban will spell the end of two-liter bottles of pop delivered with pizza orders. Pitchers of pop will be forbidden at children's birthday parties at the likes of Chuck E. Cheese. Pause to take a Big Gulp at that one.

Citizens Against Government Waste has tapped Mr. Bloomberg as one of six nominees for its "2012 Porker of the Year" award. Hizzoner's nomination was a recognition of his long jihad against sugar. This is an unusual definition of "waste." Though the cost of a nanny is "not as clear as earmarks or food-stamp fraud," explains Tom Schatz, president of the citizens group, a government nanny's "work" nonetheless "creates costs to taxpayers" in terms of administration and enforcement.

Mr. Bloomberg insists he has the right to regulate the eating and drinking of Americans because governments spend billions on health care. For nanny-state scolds such as Mr. Bloomberg, the concept of being "pro-choice" applies only to abortion.

Among the scientific studies Mr. Bloomberg cites to back up his scolding is one by Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell University. Mr. Wansink complains in an article in Atlantic magazine that his research was misinterpreted and he is concerned that the soda ban "will be a huge setback to fighting obesity" because it "poisons the water for ideas that may have more potential." In fact, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrates that even as obesity levels have risen, calories from sugary beverages are less prevalent in the American diet.

New York City's billionaire mayor faces stiff, bipartisan competition for the 2012 Porker of the Year prize. The other nominees include Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who wants a federal bailout of his state's public-sector pension program, and Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, a Republican who wants to bring back congressional earmarks. Choosing a winner from among these worthies is tough, and the public can help decide; voting is under way at the cagw.org website.

"[Mr. Bloomberg] has a pretty good shot," says spokesman Luke Gelber of the Citizens Against Government Waste. "But I've been surprised in the past." The winner will be announced March 7.

If Mr. Bloomberg wins, he could celebrate with a cold, refreshing Dr Porker -- no, make that a Dr Pepper. He'll just have to keep it to 16 ounces or less, and if he's at the movies, he should sip it really slowly.

The Washington Times

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