This morning on NPR I heard a story about the proposed soda tax, which essentially, passes the cost on to consumers. Research shows
adults who drink one or more soda a day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese
And so the idea is to tax sodas all to hell to make sure that the fatties cannot afford it and cannot do more damage to their bodies.
Monies generated by the soda tax, about $150 billion in the next 10 years could be spent to make healthy foods more available or on education. The gubment is banking on those dollars to help with the healthcare overhaul on the horizon.
Taxing the consumer doesn't get at the root of the problem. Okay, perhaps it does, but in a roundabout way. Sodas are cheap. They are ubiquitous. Water, essentially free, but costly when bottled, lacks the "value added" of sodas.
Who drinks sodas? It seems that everyone does, children and adults. But I'm more interested in regional and class differences. My theory is that poor people in depressed regions drink sodas because they're cheaper than juice and easier to find. Here are the stats from a recent study done on Californians, but what about the rest of the country?
Sodas are the proletariat drink and the poor will be burdened by these taxes. The burden should be shared by all Americans or none at all. Or, better yet, let's let large corporations shoulder a burden or two. Make Pepsico and CocaCola pay a tax to the government for each gallon of soda they produce. But, make sure that they don't pass the tax on to consumers.
I don't have a horse in this race. I stopped drinking sodas a long time ago. I'd rather drink water, or iced tea. Sodas, even the diet ones that I might guzzle once or twice a year, are so heavy and cloying. They never make me feel refreshed.
But I don't think that soda drinkers should be burdened by added taxes. At some point, if you increase the cost of sodas, then eventually you price yourself out of the market and lose profits.
Another quandary with no simple solution. Sigh.