Mayor Bloomberg must be bored. The city of New York must not be giving him enough to do.
I’m here to help.
Perhaps the Mayor isn’t aware that the city is running a $4.1 billion deficit and that the state’s fiscal situation is catastrophic. How about the fact that American financial power has shifted from New York to Washington and that industry is leaving New York in droves–relocating to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. There are other major issues he might focus on like the city’s struggling educational system (which Bloomberg now controls) or how about the looming show trial for Al Qaeda set to begin this year which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and put the city in a security standstill for weeks or months.
These are the issues that matter to New Yorkers. But what issue has Mayor Bloomberg focused on at the beginning of his third term? Salt. That’s right. Salt.
Similar to the Mayor’s crusade against high-calorie food and transfat, the Mayor has now targeted salt content in food. This week, the New York City health department released guidelines to cut back on the amount of sodium used in restaurants and packaged foods in order to reduce the amount of salt by 25 percent over the next five years.
And Mayor Bloomberg has some pretty lofty opinions of this new policy. When asked by reporters about his salt crusade, the mayor compared salt to asbestos and smoking:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg got defensive when reporters questioned him Monday about the new crackdown on salt. “If we know there’s asbestos in a school room what do you expect us to do? Say it’s not our business? I don’t think so. The same thing is true with food and smoking and a lot of things,” Bloomberg said. “Salt and asbestos, clearly both are bad for you.”
Well, yes, asbestos and smoking are bad for you. We know that. But the difference is that asbestos and smoking are never good for you whereas salt has very good qualities. In fact, humans require salt in their diets.
There are so many foods that have been deemed “unhealthy” by the medical community-red meat, wine, coffee, high-fat cheese, cream, oils, certain kinds of fish, white flour, sugar. The list is endless and not always consistent (a few years ago eggs topped the list but now eggs are considered fine). Does Mayor Bloomberg really think it’s the government’s role to regulate people’s dinner plates?
Also, Mayor Bloomberg clearly doesn’t care that this policy might be bad for the food industry nationwide. A coalition of businesses and consumers recently lashed out at Bloomberg saying: “Since manufacturers would have to change their entire food product line for New York City because of this unwarranted attack on salt, Bloomberg is affecting food policy for the entire country.”
One gets the sense that as a boy Bloomberg dreamed of one day being a dietitian. It’s not too late, Mr. Mayor. Follow your dreams. Step down from that job you clearly don’t like and get that dietitian certification.
Because you clearly prefer governing people’s food intake over the city of New York.