It has been popular among politicians for many years now to levy what they like to call “sin taxes” in order to make us stop doing things that they have decided are bad for us. Public officials have been doing this for so long now, that there are very few “sins” left among us to commit that don’t already come at a premium price.
Confronting this conundrum has forced our political Heroes to find new and ever- more creative ways to develop new tax revenue streams. And.. it has forced them to switch up their sales pitch to John Q. Public from one of railing against “sin” into one of “reinvesting” in our homes, our schools, and – of course – the ever-popular mantra… “it’s for the children”:
“Sugar is a small part of the problem, along with other fatty foods, an unbalanced diet, and a lack of exercise,” he told Food Dive in an email. “Although some sodas are high in calories and have large amounts of sugar, it’s very random to single this out above all other categories and tax it.”
Cities implementing a tax argue it’s necessary to help their communities. Mike Dunn, deputy communications director for Philadelphia, said the city has been plagued by poverty, an inadequate education system and struggling neighborhoods. The city’s soda tax is a way to alleviate these problems.
“The [beverage tax] is imposed on an industry that for decades has profited from lower income communities in a city where one quarter of residents live below the poverty line,” he told Food Dive. “This tax sends some of those profits back into the communities by funding desperately needed programs.”
The pretzel logic of this scheme poorly veils what is really at issue here; people who are already – as the quote suggest- living below the poverty line will be made to pay more money they don’t have for things they can’t afford so that local governments can give them their money back in the form of better education and new – unspecified – programs they don’t have because there’s not enough money to pay for them.
This just doesn’t make any sense on any level.
Allowing a “middle man” to come between you and a good or service rarely – if ever – saves you money or puts money in your pocket. When the “middle man” is a government bureaucrat, those odds drop to just about zero.