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March 23, 2013

Robert Frank: Mixing Freedoms in a 32-Ounce Soda

I have a hard time getting excited about the Big Gulp thing (I live on Coke Zero straight from 2 liter bottles and massive amounts of coffee, take those away and I would get excited), but Robert Frank argues that the "Evidence suggests that the current high volume of soft-drink consumption has generated enormous social costs":
Mixing Freedoms in a 32-Ounce Soda, by Robert Frank, Commentary, NY Times:
To him, it hinges on this question: "Does frequent exposure to supersize sodas really limit parents’ freedom to raise healthy children?" He argues that it does, and asks "How do the benefits of your right to drink tax-free sodas outweigh the substantial costs of defending it?"

Taking as given that there really are "enormous social costs" from soft drinks, I don't buy his argument that the peer effects undermining parental freedom are similar for large soft-drinks and cigarettes.

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