The concept of a soda tax has been floating around for a while. The idea is to tax sugary drinks in order to help reduce demand and also foot the bill for obesity related disease treatment down the road. The penny per ounce tax will supposedly reduce consumption by a few percent and raise billions of dollars over the next decade.
Proponents claim that, just like tobacco taxes helped reduce demand for cigarettes, so will a tax on sugary drinks. Opponents claims that such a tax is unfair because there’s not one single cause for obesity. Why not tax butter and potato chips as well?
Even though there’s currently no pending legislation at the federal or state level in the US, the beverage industry is taking no chances, according to USA Today.
The American Beverage Association has begun a $2 million ad campaign to oppose a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, depicting it as a tax on “simple pleasures.”
Last month, the group joined forces with the National Restaurant Association and the Grocery Manufacturers Association to launch Americans Against Food Taxes, a coalition of 110 state and local groups.
We don’t like soft drinks in the American diet. We wish people would consume less because soft drinks have no nutritional value and contribute to obesity.
But more taxes for Americans suck. We don’t like the government reaching in to our wallets. Here’s a better idea.
What you need to know:
Tax the manufacturers.
You read it right. Why not tax beverage manufacturers for every fluid oz of liquid candy they sell. They make huge profit margins on what is basically tap water and cheap corn syrup with a few artificial flavorings. So instead of Mr Smith and Mrs Jones contributing from their pocketbooks, the mega corporations like Coca Cola and PepsiCo should shell out the cash.
But these companies will immediately raise their prices won’t they?
Not necessarily. And even if they do, it will be different because then the manufacturers become the villains, not the government. And they wouldn’t want to tarnish their brand. Remember, these corporations make boatloads of money, with huge profit margins. Their shareholders revel while we the consumers end up paying the medical bills 10, 20 or 30 years down the road. It’s time for them to pay the true cost of the products they make.
If this sounds too crazy, look at other manufacturing industries where polluting companies pay huge (ok, not huge enough) fines each time they violate poisonous gas emissions standards, for example. And what are all these sub-nutritional products if not a sort of poisonous emission? OK, maybe that’s taking it too far, but you get the point.
Bottom line: Instead of consumers, manufacturers that are responsible for creating foods that lead to poor nutrition and health should be made to pay to clean up the mess they are creating.
What to do at the supermarket:
You can save a lot of money irregardless of the tax by just switching to tap water. It’s healthier and will save a family of four over $500 a year.
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