Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who may or may not be coming after your earbuds, has admitted that forcing people to exercise would “probably” be too much even for him.
The New York City mayor, who is implementing a ban on large sugary drinks, fielded a question on a radio talk show this morning from a listener asking him about government-mandated gym memberships,. In reply, Bloomberg admitted that “you have to be practical about what legally you can do and what people will do.” Referring to his ban of sodas larger than 16 ounces, the mayor continued that “The nice thing about the soda thing is it’s really just a suggestion. So, if you want to buy 32 ounces, you just have to carry it back to your seat in two cups. And maybe that would convince you to only take one, but if you want two you can do it.”
According to the mayor, who has been accused of heavy handed intrusions on all sorts of private behavior, added that “I think government’s job … is to give you advice, not to force you do things.”
When it comes to physical exercise, Bloomberg admitted that he’s unwilling — at least for now — to use the power of government to make you go to the gym: “But when it comes to forcing you … the only thing the government can do practically — and I think should do — is education. Exercise is great for you, but how do you convince people to do it? And should you force them to do it? Probably not.”
The mayor is taking some heat for another educational campaign in his city, one that being called a pregnancy shaming campaign. The controversial campaign has been lambasted in some quarters for archaic, guilt-based tactics used to stigmatize young women who are also mothers, even resorting to calling pregnant girls “fat” and questioning their appearance in prom dresses.
Given his “nanny state” track record, do you believe Michael Bloomberg when he says it’s not the proper role for government to force people to exercise? Or are you waiting for the next shoe — or sneaker — to drop?