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My Three Cents

16 October 2009

This is an advertisement by the Americans Against Food Taxes in which a presumed mother delivers a monologue regarding the recently suggested tax on soda and certain fruit juice drinks. In the ad the mother asserts, “They say it’s only pennies, but those pennies add up when you’re trying to feed a family.” She’s right. The proposed tax would increase the price of soda, sports drinks and sugary fruit drinks by three cents. Diet sodas would be exempt from the tax.

It seems to me that if she is concerned with her food budget, or more to the point – three cents, she either shouldn’t be buying soda to begin with or she’s already receiving a government food subsidy.  If this mother is “trying to feed a family,” she might consider purchasing more from food isles and less from the sugar based drinks isle.

US Capital

US Capital

In a time when healthcare reform is the paramount issue, I find it hard to believe that anyone would stand in the way of logical legislation meant to fund a system that will keep it’s people well. It’s the standard ‘two birds, one stone’ issue; Tax unhealthy products to deter over-consumption while funding the system responsible for keeping people healthy.  Check out this resource to see how much your state could be making.  In florida, we could generate $927,734,284 to support worthy health related programs.  We’ve been doing it for years: cigarettes, alcohol, and even some consumable food products which are considered luxury items.  We have a history of taxing unhealthy products.

…And unhealthy they are.  Soda has finally replaced white bread as America’s number one source for calories.  On average, Americans now consume their entire daily value of calories from beverages alone and  the average American drinks 60 gallons of soda a year.  That doesn’t sound too terrible, stepping back and looking at the big picture – 60 gallons isn’t much, right?

I suppose that depends on what soda does to your body; Within the first 10 minutes, 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. This is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake, and the only reason you don’t vomit as a result of the overwhelming sweetness is because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor;   Phosphoric acid and, if you’re a soda veteran, an acquired tolerance.

10 Tablespoons of Sugar

10 Tablespoons of Sugar

Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes and your liver begins turning massive amounts of sugar into fat as a result of the burst of insulin.

Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver dumps larger amounts of sugar into your bloodstream.

Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a common event with many drug addictions.

After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a sugar crash.  Energy levels decrease as your body attempts to adjust to the sudden lack of sugar intake.

Soda consumption is the number one cause of obesity among both children and adults in the US.

Soda consumption is the number one cause of obesity among both children and adults in the US.

All of these factors combined spell disaster when consumed on a regular basis and I don’t think it is bold to say that 1.15 gallons a week is consumption on a regular basis.  Statistically, one soda a day increase your risk of diabetes by 85%.  Soda drinkers are at a higher risk for cancer; The federal limit for benzene in drinking water is 5 parts per billion (ppb), researchers have found benzene levels as high as 79 ppb in some soft drinks.  Soda contains a preservative known as sodium benzoate which has been proven to, in some cases, “switch off” vital parts of a persons DNA.  Other soda and sport drink components are high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and caffeine.

It seems clear that something as simple as soda consumption is creating big problems for the health of our nation.  It’s only logical that some of the revenue generated by the purchase of such beverages be spent on a new kind of healthcare system which focuses on disease prevention and lifestyle. I would imagine that the eventual cost of consuming soda will far outweigh the proposed tax.

Picture courtesy of:

Picture courtesy of:

In one final blow on the part of the anti-tax ad, the soda to which she refers is the only item in what looks like an industrial strength plastic bag.  Perhaps she intends to recycle the bag, we can’t be certain.  If this character were a real person, I might suggest she recycle her aluminum and plastic soda containers at the local grocery store to earn back the collected tax – and then some.  Doing so would further increase the health of our nations people as well as the neighborhoods in which we live.  I would hope that even though this fictional mother and I don’t see eye to eye on soda tax, we can agree that plastic and aluminum will sit in ever-growing landfills for 1,100 years or longer.

If you would like to contact your local representative regarding this issue, click here.

  1. 16 October 2009 330

    As a person that drinks a lot of soda, I can tell you a 3¢ tax is hardly going to deter me from drinking soda. So if the tax is being justified as such I’d hardly say it’s justified at all. If the government concern was really aimed towards health there would be stronger regulations on the ingredients you listed, but there doesn’t seem to be.

    It’s funny how it all seems to come back to the same thing, “Capitalism”. Get more money but don’t really fix the problem. Otherwise they couldn’t collect this tax money.

  2. 17 October 2009 120

    Soda, taxes, titles and breeding.

    I find truth in both your opinion and the mothers. However the fact that slaps me dead in the face is that we have know about soda making people fatter for years. For gods sake the facts are right on the nutrition facts, which the government mandated years ago. A politician in the 90’s could not have turned over a bottle to see this?

    So why is it only now the government is addressing the issue, America has been getting fatter for years. Whats the next step, raising taxes on sugary foods like donuts, cakes and cookies. Give that industry a run for its money. Or how about the fact that the state of New York is about to start taxing the production of plastic bags, forcing grocers to charge for a bag. Again, something that could have been prevented years ago when everyone was using this astonishing thing called paper. Oh, thats right beause it was killing all the trees.

    If you want my opinion the only thing that needs to be taxed and controlled in reproduction. Since it seems all this taxing and litigation comes down to one thing, population growth. Of all the things China has done, population control is the only one I can stand behind.

    If this tax is put into place eventually it will fail, if your mind set is similar to that of the tax on tobacco and alcohol then the response to this tax is only going to do one thing. Drive the public to cheaper brands, and or diet sodas. Eventually the money will dry up. On another note ‘Light’ cigarettes are not ‘Light’ any more, they are now ‘blue’. WTF.

    • 17 October 2009 214

      China lifted the ban on the number of children families in Shanghai can have just 3 months ago. They have 1.3 Billion people now but their workforce is, for the most part, becoming to old to work. The lift on the ban for the city of Shanghai is an experiment, if successful more cities may be invited to bear more children.

      Communist rule isn’t cool. lol Unless we’re talking about green energy… they’ve spent the last 5 years tackling that and are a world leader now. Meanwhile, Congress debates every nuance and fails to act altogether.

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