Baylen Linnekin: There's Nothing SWEET About the National Soda Tax

Rep. Rosa DeLauro's SWEET Act would implement an excise tax on soda and other sweetened drinks. Supporters of the measure are difficult to find.


Renee Comet / Wikimedia Commons

Last month, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) proposed the SWEET Act, an excise tax on sweetened beverages. The tax, which has been billed as a national soda tax, would lay a one-cent duty on every teaspoon of sugar in soft drinks and other beverages. The proposal is intended "to curb obesity, diabetes, and the resulting health care costs."

It would add about 50 or 60 cents to the average cost of a six-pack of soda.

Why is this a good idea?

"When a two-liter cola is 99 cents and blueberries are over three dollars, something has gone very wrong," DeLauro told attendees.

For the record, a pint of blueberries contains more than 40g of sugar. That's about as much sugar as you'll find in a pint of soda.

Rep. DeLauro's bill, H.R. 5279, would exclude calorically sweet drinks I can only suspect that DeLauro and her Connecticut constituents enjoy, including soy, rice, or dairy-based milk products, pure fruit and vegetable juices, and alcohol beverages.