We saw an ad on the TV this morning warning about a tax on soda pop. What was that? Then we turn to the New York Times, which carried an article about a proposed tax on sugary soft drinks. The one cent an ounce levy some favor would not only raise money for health care (nearly $15 billion a year), it could also reduce some of the excess weight too many Americans are lugging around. The soda industry is aghast at the idea and so the companies are running advertisements warning Washington, D.C. to stay away from our Big Gulps.
The tax would apply to soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks — anything with sugar or corn syrup. (Diet drinks would be exempt.) The proposal follows a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine released this week finding that a beverage tax would lower consumption of sugary drinks enough to lead to a small weight loss among many sugar-guzzling Americans. Under the one cent an ounce proposal, a 12-can box of soda selling today for about $3.20 would rise by $1.44.
The Times reports that the “proposed tax faces a formidable hurdle in Congress.” No kidding. The head of Coca-Cola called the proposed tax “outrageous.” “I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink,” The Coke CEO said. “It if worked, the Soviet Union would still be around.”