Nanny State

It's a Nutter Idea, and It Just Might Not Work


Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is pushing a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, which would be the highest such levy in the country. The Philadelphia Inquirer says it's a way to "treat the city's weight and wallet problems…with the same remedy." You could also say it's a way to take people's hard-earned money while simultaneously meddling in their personal choices, but politically that might be less appealing. Nutter's proposed tax is 35 times the state's beer tax, 10 times as heavy as Chicago's soda tax, and twice the rate advocated by anti-fat crusader Kelly Brownell, who is overjoyed at the thought of forcing poor people to forsake their favorite beverages. If implemented as intended, Nutter's tax would raise the price of a can of Coke by 32 cents and the price of a two-liter bottle by $1.35. But there is some question whether consumers actually would see those price hikes, since the levy would be collected as a "business-privilege tax" rather than a sales tax to avoid the need for approval from the state legislature. Retailers might decide to compensate by raising prices across the board instead of focusing the burden on politically incorrect beverages.

More on soda taxes here.

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  1. Bloat government not bellies.

  2. “Retailers might decide to compensate by raising prices across the board instead of focusing the burden on politically incorrect beverages.”

    Or they could stop selling sweet beverages altogether.

    1. Exactly. If companies raise prices accross the board, any company that sells only diet drinks will put them out of business.

      The trans-fat tax is next. An extra 10 cents for each trans-bond in the molecule.

  3. His name is Nutter? This is like something out of unsubtle satire.

    1. Oy! That bloke’s a nutter!

  4. Apparently there is a rule, somewhere, that no one can be elected to any office in this country unless they’re an economic illiterate.

    1. That is correct. No one in power is smart, they just rule you like little bitches BECAUSE they are so dumb.

      1. Gimmick accounts make me sleepy.

        1. Maybe this guy belongs on the list of real life examples?

          1. Sorry wrong response, this layout is messy.

  5. This was my idea. So was an outright ban. If we can’t convince people to do what is best for their health, we still have a moral obligation to keep them safe. I’d prefer a ban, but a 2 cents per ounce tax is a start.

    1. Awesome. Good for you.

      I’m looking forward to the video game ban myself. I spent about seven hours last night playing Okami, and I totally blame the government for not ridding me of the vile things.

      At least the Soda tax will reduce my incentive to stay up later than is healthy for me.

        1. Click on Scott Stein below. Alice belongs to him.

          1. Nuts

        2. “Not wanting help is the clearest possible indication that in fact you need it.”

          Just tell Alice that you badly need help and she’ll leave you alone.

    2. Dear casework alice pitney;

      Generally, I abhor ad hominem attacks because the serve no purpose in a rational debate. But there is only one rational response to your position. Go fuck yourself!

  6. “You could also say it’s a way to take people’s hard-earned money while simultaneously meddling in their personal choices, but politically that might be less appealing.”

    Well said. This is paternalistic nonsense at it’s worst. I detest sin taxes.

  7. The graphic exposes the true danger to America’s future, the death of the 12oz soda bottle.

    1. Harder to get the 20 ouncers all the way up your ass?

  8. This is being covered locally and argued for by the mayor mostly in terms of revenue (rather than health or obesity, though those are mentioned, of course). It and a new household fee for trash pick-up are touted as the answers to Philadelphia’s budget troubles and the way to avoid cutting services.

    1. It and a new household fee for trash pick-up

      Guess they want to encourage littering.

  9. Shouldn’t that be:

    twice the rate advocated by fat anti-fat crusader Kelly Brownell?

    1. I was expecting a skinny chick, a la MeMe Roth. At least she has the decency to be an amusingly crazy (and thin) anti-fat douchebag.

      1. As a fat dude named Kelly, though, at least I know he knows what suffering is.

        1. It’s Kelly!

        2. As a fat anti-fat crusader named Kelly, he deserves his suffering. His salty ham tears are so buttery and sweet…

  10. Philadelphia has had a Nutter as mayor for many years now……..

  11. Better a Nutter than a Fluffer-Nutter.

  12. Up next, a tax on Tastykakes, cheese steaks, soft pretzels, scrapple and obnoxious (is there any other kind) Iggles fans.

    1. If they really need money bad, they could auction off the Eagles’ Super Bowl trophies.

    2. I love Scrapple. Those bastards are not touching my scrapple. They will have to wrench it from my poor bloated diabetic corpse.

  13. If they are going to tax sugar, shouldn’t the tax be on sugar, not on the size of the beverage? Taxing size would sort of penalize lightly-sweetened drinks like Vitamin Water.

    1. We need to tax the pussies even more. Drinking watered down kool-aid is not a moral good.

      1. Fuck you. VW Energy is all the caffeine and half the calories of Mt. Dew. You’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead, jittery hands….

        1. This tax is a good start, but we need to make it more complicated. Perhaps send a big tax rebate from a portion of the tax revenue to all the bigger companies producing soft drinks before 1980. This will effectiveley set a cap on the untaxed sugar drinks and reward some long time political friends, while also doing the older companies a favor by establishing new barriers to entry to protect us from dog-eat-dog competition.

          1. We could even allow the rebates to be traded on a market. If people don’t like this we can bring in Ron Bailey to argue for the straight tax again…nobody could be so unreasonable as to disagree with the libertarian backed tax.

            1. Nice attempt at trolling CO, but you’ve crossed the line from plausible to parody and back to plausible again. You’re rantings are so insane that you come off as a plausible lefty nutter rather than a satirical act and a troll. Just look at the replies: people think you’re for real!

          2. I love how competition is always “dog-eat-dog”.

            I mean, fuck, look at the way Smart Water and Vitamin Water are going at it. Rainbow colors splattered everywhere! You think one of them might take down Snapple? It’s vicious …. just vicious!

            1. Sure the economist purist will argue it is for the long term benefit of the consumer, but in the short term many many families are really hurt by all this economic disruption. This market failure is a good reason to bring in government to help fix the problems.

              1. Real economist know that identifying and publicizing market failures is the best place to start your serious research.

              2. I know man. I can never decide between Focus and Revive.
                Someone should make the choice for me.

    2. Well if the government would stop subsidizing corn and making it artificially cheap, that would help decrease the use or corn syrup which is in almost everything these days. Not only does it prolong shelf life and make food taste sweeter, it is so (artificially) cheap that food processors often use it as a cheap filler, in place of real food.

  14. Next up: Orgasm and laughter taxes.

    1. With a $5 surcharge if you experience both simultaneously.

      1. Tax thingy?

    2. I see a growth opportunity for the companies that run the red-light cameras.

  15. I have a great idea for republicans/democrats. They should propose decreasing the gas tax from a national average of 30 cents per gallon down to only 25 cents per liter. This will be a win/win.

    1. Orwell would like to have a word with you.

  16. In other news:

    Bootleg Cola sales skyrocket on a corner near you!

    1. Good idea! Buy unsweetened drinks and add your own sugar.

      1. I think I see Zarex behind this proposal.

  17. In other news:

    All supermarkets and gas station minimarts in Philadelphia close, costing city thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue!

    Supermarkets and gas station minimarts just outside the city boom!

    Women, Minorities Worst Affected.

    1. I’ve had this same argument with DC commuter tax fetishists.

      Really, my job and my company don’t bring any economic benefit to your fair city? Don’t I already pay my share of the hundreds of millions of $$$ you get from the Feds every year? And now I’m supposed to pay a pothole tax on top of that?

      How about if we just take all those nice companies doing business in the city and relocate them to the ‘burbs. Let see how it goes for you.

  18. Eat less. Exercise more.

    It’s also a formula for good guvmint.

    1. Word. I think it’s key for people to find an exercise they enjoy or a way they enjoy exercising. Can’t legislate that, though, can ye?

      1. I wish I could find that Bloom County strip online somewhere.

        googling….found it!

      2. Sadly, my exercise choices are limited.

  19. I have never felt compelled to own a gun. I am beginning to reconsider.

  20. The Philadelphia Inquirer says it’s a way to “treat the city’s weight and wallet problems…

    Why not have the police chase people down the street and steal their wallets?

    1. Even better, they could chase fat people.

      Maybe we could sell hunting licenses for fat people. That would probably bring in LOTS of revenue.

      1. It’s not like they can run all that fast or for very long. Easy prey.

        1. You can only hunt with Nerf. Takes weeks to finally beat them to death.

    2. You haven’t seen our cops. As per Rockwell/Paul newsletters, most of the local fauna can run far faster than the fatass LEOs.

      1. I could tell you were a racist by just looking at you.

    3. “”The Philadelphia Inquirer says it’s a way to “treat the city’s weight and wallet problems…””

      Yeah, the city’s wallet problem, not the citizenry’s. Nutter needs money to spend.

  21. This is paternalistic nonsense at it’s worst. I detest sin taxes.

    Waitaminnit! Who’s spoofing MaunderingNannyGoat, and what have you done with him?

    (I suggest chaining him to an anvil and throwing him down a well.)

    1. C’mon, even though we all disagree with MNG on certain issues, he’s far from a DNC lion-tower (hard o). Not even Tony tows the DNC lion on every issue.

  22. I’m glad I make my own root beer.

    Oh crap… I better not say that too loud or they’ll ban that too.

    1. I forsee a time when my house get raided and the fat-police confiscate multiple kegs of home-made root beer while leaving all the dry red wine in the carboys on the shelf above.

      1. I’m still fearful that some day a SWAT team is going to bust through my garage when I’m brewing on the mistaken belief that I’m cooking up meth. And since my dog is usually out in the garage with me, well, that would be especially bad news for him.

        1. I work in a basement room with no windows . . . . just sayin’

          1. You know, fightin’ in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. Number one being, you’re fightin’ in a basement!

            1. You’re a Basterd!

        2. I’ve decided I need to get another dog – you know. Time the jackboots spend peeing themselves and trying to sort out which dog to shoot is time I will put to good use, I assure you.

        3. Get an RV, drive it out to the nearest desert. Worked for Walt (well, kinda).

  23. I don’t understand the hatred directed toward Mayor Nutter here. Obesity is a major problem among children and this is a brave step towards reversing a frightening trend. The only losers are big corporations and pushers of heart attacks and diabetes. And even yesterday there was a post here showing that taxes on products that reduce the health of our society work!

    1. Troll: FAIL

      1. Living in an echo chamber doesn’t make the truth go away!

          1. I am afraid to argue with anyone, what if they are fake? Will I look foolish(er)? What about the fucking rugrats that post here? Isn’t there something we could do to protect them from this nonsense.

            Think of the rugrats, the fucking rugrats!!

    2. The only losers are people who want to be able to drink whatever the fuck they want without totalitarian fuckwits like you reaching in their wallet. Go fuck yourself.

      1. No man is an island, though the ones that get especially fat from sugary drinks might float.

        1. Who keeps farting?

  24. I propose a 105% tax on all public servants.

  25. If implemented as intended, Nutter’s tax would raise the price of a can of Coke by 24 32 cents . .

  26. treat the city’s weight and wallet problems…with the same remedy.

    Note that the “weight problem” is that of the citizens, while the “wallet problem” is that of the government. Personally I think the problem that needs to be solved is the reverse — we need to trim the government’s fat, not citizens’ wallets.

  27. But there is some question whether consumers actually would see those price hikes, since the levy would be collected as a “business-privilege tax” rather than a sales tax to avoid the need for approval from the state legislature.

    Good to see that Pittsburgh isn’t the only municipality trying to abuse the “privilege tax” loophole in PA’s revenue statutes. A few months ago our beloved mayor tried to install a 2% tuition tax on students at Pittsburgh universities, disguised as a “student privilege tax”.

    1. This happened right after I started going back to school, after years of paying the worker privilege tax. I am so privileged I don’t even know it.

      Oh yeah, still paying an extra percent sales tax for the stadiums. 7% bitches yeaah, go buccos!

  28. If implemented as intended, Nutter’s tax would raise the price of a can of Coke by 32 cents and the price of a two-liter bottle by $1.35

    That’s ridiculously high considering I’ve bought store brand 2 liters for as littles as 94 cents (after deposit).

    That’s equivalent to a 143% sales tax.

    1. I buy store brand 2 liters for $.79 – occasionally, 2/ $1. but it has Splenda, so I don’t think it would qualify for the tax.

  29. They should be encouraging obesity so that these people die off sooner, avoiding their medicare and social security payments. The tax should be on all those healthy people that keep using up government services well into their 90’s.

    1. There’s actually some evidence that obese people, like smokers, actually save society money in the long run because they die sooner and tend to die more quickly, e.g. die of a heart attack or stroke in their 60s or 70s, as opposed to wasting away from Alzheimer’s or Parkinsons at 85 or 90 or 95.

  30. I can’t wait to hear what Joey Vento has to say about this one.

  31. So… I’m not gonna win any popularity contests around here for saying this, but here I go:

    Unless you are anarchists, you must approve of some level of taxation. Since some level of taxation is unavoidable, we might as well tax that which has negative externalities and is not necessary. The alternative is taxing labour, which has positive externalities and is necessary.

    Now I very much doubt that Nutter intends to use the extra revenue to lower taxes on labour, but I’m just saying that excise taxes on soda is not necessarily a bad idea.

    1. Yes, it is a bad idea.

  32. Great post with excellent ideas. So grateful to your sharing which encourage us in business!

  33. Nutter has to balance the city’s mess of a budget. He can either increase revenue or cut spending. Every proposed spending cut meets with huge public outrage (e.g., closing libraries, public pools). The trash & soda taxes are unpopular options but not nearly as much as spending cuts. I’m sure if anyone has creative ways of increasing revenue without taxation, I’m sure the Mayor would love to hear them.

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