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Pop tax fizzes up

September 18, 2009

As if somebody shook up a bottle of Nehi and lifted his thumb, spraying goo all over everyone, the idea of a "sin tax" on pop is suddenly all over the place. The TaxProf reports that a bunch of busybody doctors want to tax pop (called "soda" in some remote areas) as an alleged public health measure. Kay Bell is also on the story.

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The Tax Policy Blog says that if we are going to have the government be a busybody for public health, we might as well go whole hog:

Based on these supposed market failures, I'd like to pose this question to the authors: If government had perfect information, would you support a tax on out-of-wedlock sexual behavior? And if we can't do that for administrative purposes, couldn't we impose a significant tax on nightclubs and bars as a second best scenario (kind of like how the authors of this report suggest an imperfect soda tax to fight obesity-related market failures)?

If they go for the sex tax, we know just the man to draft the recordkeeping requirements.

The Tax Update doesn't drink pop. It does enjoy a healthy, sugar-free bottle of water on the road, the way some people drink pop. Many government busybodies think drinking water out of a convenient reclosable bottle bought at Walgreens is the epitome of environmental irresponsibility, and Chicago has slapped us world-destroyers with a 10-cent per bottle tax. Sugar-free or sugar-laden, they find a way to tax it -- for our own good, of course. Which makes it look as though Peter Pappas has it about right:

But let’s not kid ourselves. This isn’t about about health. It’s about finding a politically palatable way to fund state budget shortfalls and Obama’s irresponsible spending sprees.

Indeed.

Update: I Left My Soda Tax in San Francisco.

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Comments

Heck:

Does anyone miss the Marlboro man riding around on television chasing those doggies! Just ban the Soda-pop companies from advertising on television- like they did the tobacco companies! Take all of those ad dollars that Coke, Pepsi and others spend and apply it to reduce the cost of health care reform! Come one, this isn't rocket science?! Does it really matter which pocket that we take the money out of from Coke & Pepsi?!

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