Subsidy packages to corn growers have been sweet in recent years, with an average of about $5 billion annually since 1995. That keeps corn syrup, the key ingredient in soda, cheap. Meanwhile, Congress is desperate for cash to pay for health care reform. A 3 cent tax per 12 ounces of soda would generate $24 billion over four years.
Senior Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward did a little basic math and found an interesting coincidence: The expected revenue from a soda tax and the expected subsidies to corn farmers come to almost the same amount. Looking for $5 billion a year? Kill the subsidies.