Soda Taxes

The Truth About Seattle's Proposed Soda Tax and its Ilk

It's one of a growing number of misguided anti-soda laws around the country.


CC/Public Domain

Seattle lawmakers are expected to vote early next week on a citywide soda tax that would add more than $2.50 to the cost of a twelve-pack of soda. The tax would undoubtedly drive consumers—at least those Seattle residents with cars and Costco memberships, including me—to buy more groceries in the city's suburbs.

But Seattle's proposed tax is just one cog in the larger misguided, ongoing campaign against soda by lawmakers in this country.

After years of defeats, supporters of soda taxes have scored several recent victories and are increasingly on the attack.

"There's an awful lot of things that governments could do, but they will only do it and devote money into it if the public demands it," former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this week in comments on his self-funded anti-soda agenda. "So increasing awareness among the public of what problems they and their children face is a very big deal."

That quote's worth a moment of parsing. In the first sentence, Bloomberg is acknowledging the public is not demanding soda taxes. Rather, he is. In the second sentence, Bloomberg is suggesting American families will only know what problems they and their children are facing if a billionaire like him points these problems out to them and ensures their local government taxes them to make those problems somehow vanish through taxation.

But most consumers are smarter than that. Voters in Santa Fe, N.M., for example, overwhelmingly rejected a paternalistic soda tax there last month.

Back to Seattle, where I spoke out against the proposed tax in a local NPR appearance in March. (I've also written on the topic here countless times.)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who proposed the city's tax earlier this year, later expanded it to include diet sodas, which he characterized as a way of, er, fighting white privilege. The mayor's actions came after a racial-equity analysis revealed what most people know already: the soda tax would disproportionately target African American and Latino consumers, who are more likely to drink full-calorie sweetened drinks than are white consumers, who are more likely to drink no- or low-calorie sweetened drinks.

"The changes were recommendations that emerged when staff from the mayor's office and the office of Councilmember Tim Burgess studied disparate impacts the tax could have on people with low incomes and on people of color, according to Murray," the Seattle Times reported.

"The mayor says he decided to include diet drinks to make the tax more fair, because numbers show more wealthy white people drink diet soda, while minorities drink regular soda," reported MyNorthwest.

Despite his efforts, the city council rejected Mayor Murray's proposal to expand the soda tax to include diet drinks, and is expected to vote on the measure next week. Two city council members voted against the bill because "they couldn't support a tax that would disproportionately burden low-income people and people of color."

Could Mayor Murray veto the bill for the same reason? He should, even if it's unlikely.

If the bill were to become law, an interesting angle to any potential lawsuit might be the racially disparate impact of the tax. Who might sue to overturn a soda tax in the city? Opponents of Seattle's proposed soda tax include the Martin Luther King County Labor Council, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and a coalition known as Keep Seattle Livable for All.

Seattle's best-known soda company also opposes the tax.

"I think it targets one industry unnecessarily so," said Jennifer Cue of Jones Soda, a national craft-soda maker based (at least for now) in Seattle.

Cue is right. But there are other very good reasons to oppose soda taxes. For example, some city council members in Seattle are already worried that a tax this high could be repealed by voters.

In Philadelphia, where the city's soda tax still faces a strong court challenge, recent reports show revenue raised by the tax may fall millions of dollars short of estimates.

And then there's the issue of whether soda taxes can or will make anyone any healthier. My longtime skepticism seems justified. When Seattle officials recently asked other cities with soda taxes if they'd seen any impact, those cities answered in unison: nope.

"City officials from Philadelphia and Berkeley, Calif., told Seattle City Council members that they have yet to see any lasting effects from the soda taxes that have been enacted," Seattle station KIRO reported last month.

If soda taxes are a bad idea—and they are—then do those who want to cut soda consumption have any good ideas?

Not exactly. Across the country in Howard County, Md., a public/private partnership that aimed to reduce soda consumption may have succeeded in doing so. But that's no reason to suggest the campaign is a success or is replicable, as I discussed in April on the Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies and a Howard County resident, had an excellent op-ed recently on the county's anti-soda campaign. Olson writes that while some elements of the scheme may have been good—maybe not the part where smiley Millennials "wander public parks" in search of soda drinkers to nudge playfully with anti-soda microagressions—overall it "sowed divisiveness, put government resources to improper purpose, and rested on a premise of frank paternalism."

"Local soda taxes are an unpopular idea around much of the country and run into the problem of border-hopping evasion," Olson told me by email this week.

Given that, Olson thinks the Howard County model may supplant taxes going forward.

"So look for more interest in the Howard County model, which deploys simultaneous multi-channel messaging, micro-legislation, and community organizing with the aim of steering public opinion to stigmatize 'bad' beverages and the businesses that offer them."

What Howard County did may not be as bad as what Berkeley and Philadelphia have done, and what Seattle may do. But it's still paternalistic. And paternalism in any form must be opposed.

NEXT: The Indestructible Idea of the Basic Income

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  1. “Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who proposed the city’s tax earlier this year, later expanded it to include diet sodas, which he characterized as a way of, er, fighting white privilege.”

    Diet sodas are like a gateway drug.

    1. “..he characterized as a way of, er, fighting white privilege.” If that really is his intent then why not tax all those sugary Starbuck’s drinks and why not tax sugar in packets or bulk?

      1. Why? Principals > principles. The Mayor’s not gonna stick it to a Seattle-based outfit, nor is he willing to walk his own talk.

        1. The mayor is too busy sticking it to young teen runaway boys.

      2. Because people who buy Starbuck’s vote for him.

      3. The espresso tax was proposed. That shit got voted down HARD. Which makes sense, as coffee is a drink for discerning elites. Soda is for filthy mud fucking peasants, crowing our streets.

        1. How exactly does one fuck mud?

          Asking for a friend.

    2. Gateway to what? Paying homeless teen boys to fuck? The mayor might know a little about that……..

    3. The chemicals & artificial crap in diet soda make them maybe even more unhealthy than regular soda….These poisons slow metabolism & many people actually can gain weight from them!

      1. There’s no scientific evidence to support this.

        1. I agree with you about the lack of evidence for what he spouts. HOWEVER, there is at least 1 reputable study (that may have been replicated/expanded since done about 7 years ago) that shows drinking a beverage with artificial sweeteners will not spike insulin at the time of consumption, but will increase post-prandial insulin release at the next meal. Such an increase in insulin would certainly add likelihood of weight gain for most people and especially those with Type II diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

          That said, soda taxes are ridiculous and you can have my diet sodas when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers.

          1. Oh, there are several studies that show that. But that doesn’t support the statement that they are “maybe even more unhealthy than regular soda.” They’re unquestionably more healthy than sugary soda.

            They also don’t directly lead to weight gain. One still has to stuff one’s face in order for that to happen.

  2. Sugar is a poison just as unhealthy as tobacco. You know what else is unhealthy? Not minding your own damn business. Unfortunately, not minding your own damn business isn’t as painfully unhealthy as being a smug self-righteous condescending asshole who feels perfectly free to gad about telling other people how to live their own lives should be. Yet. I’ve got a feeling that’s changing though, I know a lot of people who are getting fed up with defending themselves and are ready to start fighting back. They’re done asking to be left alone, done trying to persuade people that being left alone is a reasonable request, done arguing with people who have no intention of listening to arguments or pleadings or persuasion. You keep poking the bear after the bear has made it plain he doesn’t like being poked and you’re not going to get much sympathy for your whining and crying about being unexpectedly and unfairly attacked by a bear.

    1. Bravo! A government that takes an intrusive interest in what you eat or drink is going to take an intrusive interest in who you bed, what you worship, and what you say. It’s only a matter of time.

      In every age and place there have been self-selected elites who firmly believed that they were put upon Earth by Divine Providence to tell the rest of us how to live. From time to time there have been examples of such that didn’t do too badly. They have been the exception, not the rule. On the whole, the progress of human civilization can be measure by the degree to which the common peasant can tell these buttinskies to go climb a tree, and make it stick.

    2. Sugar is a poison just as unhealthy as tobacco.

      Umm no. Your body wants you to consume sugar and converts other substances to sugar when you consume them. It is not a poison.

      In excess, and combined with low exercise, there can be problems, but nothing comparable to what long-term tobacco use does to you.

      1. I’m guessing he meant refined sugar. A lot of people don’t process refined sugar very well.

        1. I’m guessing he meant refined sugar. A lot of people don’t process refined sugar very well.

          I think he meant more metaphorically, in the ‘even water will kill you in sufficient doses’ sense.

          I don’t care who you are and what kind of metabolic dysfunction you have a pound of refined sugar won’t kill you or at least won’t kill you in any way different than a pound of ‘raw’ sugar (or equivalent dose of complex starch) would be a-okay and, conversely, regardless of any metabolic exceptionalism, consuming a pound of tobacco or nicotine in similar fashion will pretty decidedly do you in.

    3. Sugar is a poison…

      I spent the last few years building up an immunity to sugar.

      1. Much like Iocane powder?

    4. If the government were really interested in getting people to treat themselves better – i.e., by watching what they eat and drink – they’d let them KEEP their tax money and remove the medical care safety net. That is, if you get diabetes, have joint problems from being overweight, high blood pressure, or other complications – you die. Which means, you either wise up – or you serve as a warning for someone else.

      How does this improve overall health? By making people responsible for their own health care. Currently, the mentality is that if you get sick, there’s a magic pill, government paid health insurance, free medical care – and everything gets fixed – by someone else.

      But make people realize that if they don’t make the effort to care for themselves – they’ll die. Unpleasantly. Painfully. Yeccch!

      Meanwhile, people who DO take care of themselves would get to keep more of the money they make – and NOT spend it on taxes to subsidize the idiots among them.

      1. That’s all well and good if humans were robots. But we’re not. We are irrational beings. Consequences don’t have as big an impact as they should. Look at all the smokers out there. If there was a 99% chance you would die in 5 years by smoking, there would still be people who take up smoking. We’re dumb.

        The threat of possible death in some distant period of time will have very little impact on behaviors. Know how I know this? Because there ISN’T a magic pill. And people are mostly aware of the risks. But they still do it anyway. And soda, like cigarettes, will remain popular. Nobody is under the illusion that it is good for you. In fact, soda is probably viewed by the general population as more unhealthy than it really is. Especially diet soda, where the majority of americans are afraid of “chemicals” they can’t pronounce.

    5. Sugar is not a poison. Nor is salt. A large part of human biochemistry runs on sucrose and sodium.

  3. Libertarian Moment!!

    With the internet, it is easy to fool yourself into thinking that the ideas of freedom are taking hold. But if you are old enough, just harken back to the days of your youth. Remember when “show me your papers” was a ubiquitous way for film and TV to show the evils of totalitarian societies? Everyone knew that could never happen here, so it was an excellent shorthand.

    “National ID card” was a trump card in debates. Any discussion of nation-wide registries, ID cards or individual requirements was easily defeated by invoking the specter of a national ID.

    Remember when “being on the dole” was something to be avoided at all cost? Remember when most people would turn down any handout, no matter how needed it was, because “we don’t take charity”? People had a sense of pride about that. For many years prime time TV shows lectured us that there was no shame in taking a handout. Getting people to accept government charity was a national project.

    The debate about “freedom” has moved so far from freedom that it is hard to remember where we are standing. One generation ago we were standing against Nazi and Soviet totalitarians, and we knew what freedom was. Now we have both feet firmly planted in the all-encompassing state and we argue over how much control the state should have… a lot, or a whole lot.

    And we call it a “libertarian moment”… Even the hard-left of the 60’s would have punched you in the face if you proposed a soda tax.

    1. Yes. Read today’s column by Dana Milbank. One has a right to be fed by the government. Some GOP congressman from Nebraska stammers all over himself and can’t come up with an answer why food stamps should be cut or why it isn’t the duty of armed agents to take your money to provide food to those who can’t, for whatever reason, provide for themselves.

      1. You stand around and do nothing while armed agents take your money, expecting some asshole from Nebraska of all places, to defend your interests? The hard-left of the 60s would have punched you in the your cowardly face.

    2. You’re way off even if you consider just the USA since the 1960s. In the 1960s we had:

      the draft, during & even between shooting wars

      municipal, state, and federal censorship of pornography (all porn being presumptively obscene)

      simple possession of pot as a felony in many states

      a monopoly on telephonic & telegraphic communication service

      trucking, train, & airline carteliz’n; rates were fixed

      even fucking hitchhiking illegal in many states

      fireworks illegal in states where most lived, “shall issue” firearms carry permitting in very few

      home schooling illegal or not clearly legal in most states

      a ban on ownership of gold

      the Fairness Doctrine in broadcast content

      much stricter licensing of wireless communication of all kinds, including on ownership

      more state liquor monopolies than now

      casinos allowed only in (parts of) Nevada; most states didn’t even allow themselves (let alone anyone else) to run lotteries

      charter schools & public school choice almost unheard of

      higher federal income tax rates than now

      usury controls

      no midwifery in almost any states, no physicians’ assistants, no nurse practitioners, etc.; you needed to be a full MD, DDS, chiropractor, DO, or DPM

      We’re freer now in so many more ways than when I was a child, I forget how many.

      1. Fair points. Although fireworks have been nerfed since my childhood. Used to be, a kid could lose fingers playing with legal fireworks. I know. One of my neighbors blew of 3 of his. You could also easily obtain a few sticks of dynamite to blow up stumps. Not sure that was a good idea, but you could do it.

        The liquor thing goes back to my grandparent’s era. Before that, you could buy you liquor from Bob down at the end of the road. Grandma was one of the prohibitionists, apparently. Wouldn’t even allow medicine that contains alcohol in her house. Unfortunately, she died before I was old enough to ask about it.

        And pot was legal in their day. As was heroin.

        Of course, doctors were mostly quacks. So regulation and regulatory capture was probably inevitable.

        Still, the attitudes of people have definitely softened as to government regulation of their personal lives, even as our notion that porn and sex should be under the supervision of “the man” has melted away.

        1. “fireworks have been nerfed since my childhood.”

          My late father was the adopted son of a Methodist Minister. To his dying day, he despised the buttinskis who banned fireworks just as he was getting old enough to be out on his own. See, the Minister’s son wasn’t supposed to do dangerous stuff like play with fireworks (that was most his mother; she was a ‘what will people think’ worrier).

          “Grandma was one of the prohibitionists, apparently. Wouldn’t even allow medicine that contains alcohol in her house. Unfortunately, she died before I was old enough to ask about it.”

          Back before the good parts of the feminist movement, women of all classes suffered a great deal from men who drank too goddamned much. Most of the push for Prohibition was Feminist. They had reason, but it STILL was a lousy idea.

          “And pot was legal in their day. As was heroin.”

          And interestingly, the major social problem was alcohol. Even in “dry” states.

          “Of course, doctors were mostly quacks.”

          And now is different?

          1. I remember a classmate who lost several finger of one hand from holding a firecracker “too long”. And I can remember M-80s when they weren’t little firecrackers stuffed in a blg cardboard tube, but some serious BOOM power. We used to put them under tin cans – and they’d launch the can a good 40 feet in the air.

            Most of what government does is to enhance its own power – not to help people.

        2. My grandmother was a moonshiner. She bought her sugar in 50 pound bags.

          The big difference was that we were free range kids without ever hearing that term. The day was measured in miles traveled ant not hours.

      2. I remembered more from the 1960s:

        lots more state or municipal Sunday-closing laws for retail biz than now

        no food or drug exemption from city & state sales taxes, let alone clothing exemptions

        federal ban on home brewing

        no exception for urgent mail to postal monopoly

        still-enforced laws against homosexual behavior

        1. I agree pretty much with your list of improvements, and I’d add a few more improvements since I was a kid:

          – no CAB to impose price controls on airlines
          – air freight, rail, and trucking deregulation, which led to UPS and Fedex, and ultimately Amazon
          – no wage and price controls
          – no arbitrary limitations on oil imports and exports
          – no Jim Crow laws that prohibit voluntary exchange

          Unfortunately, for every improvement I could name an impairment to liberty that pisses me off.

          – Air ports are now effectively a police state. It was only a few years ago that I traveled on my boss’s ticket to a client’s office when an emergency prevented him from traveling. No IDs required to check in and board an airplane. I’m old enough to remember when days before x-ray machines and metal detectors.
          – No passport required to travel to Canada and Mexico.
          – An American could easily open a foreign bank account.
          – No 800,000% marginal income tax rates.
          – High school kids could drive to school with a shotgun in their trunk if they wanted to go dove hunting after school. Hell, they could even have it in the pickup’s gun rack.
          – You could obtain chemicals and labware for your own chemistry lab, and make your own recreational explosives.
          – No low-flow shower head mandates.
          – No CAFE standards.
          – the list goes on and on

    3. Yeah I remember those days. Back then if somebody whined about someone’s bad but victimless behavior or habits the standard response was “hey it’s a free country”. I haven’t heard that phrase in a long time. The spectacle of politicians imposing a money grab while claiming a selfless interest in public health, complete with hand ringing about white privilege, would have been met with derisive laughter.

    4. Dude. A few one-party governments in statist liberal strongholds, where they don’t really have to worry about the voters much, are enacting these laws. It’s not like the people are clamoring for them.

    5. “National ID card” was a trump card in debates. Any discussion of nation-wide registries, ID cards or individual requirements was easily defeated by invoking the specter of a national ID.

      You are right that many federal politicians try to misuse the issue of a “national ID card” to sneak in federal databases, but the two are unrelated.

      A “national ID card” does not require a “national register”, it can be handled completely by local registrars. In fact, we already have such a system, the standard birth certificate; have registrars issue that credit card sized and with better security and no other changes and you’re done.

  4. “The mayor says he decided to include diet drinks to make the tax more fair, because numbers show more wealthy white people drink diet soda, while minorities drink regular soda,” reported MyNorthwest.

    Perhaps the mayor of Chicago could charge more white people with murder to make up for all the gangsters of color who commit most murders. The SEC could charge more people of color with securities fraud and insider trading to make up for all the white criminals on Wall St.

    1. Perhaps the mayor of Chicago could charge more white people with murder to make up for all the gangsters of color who commit most murders. The SEC could charge more people of color with securities fraud and insider trading to make up for all the white criminals on Wall St.

      Fuck off slaver.

    2. Perhaps the mayor of Chicago could charge more white people with murder to make up for all the gangsters of color who commit most murders. The SEC could charge more people of color with securities fraud and insider trading to make up for all the white criminals on Wall St.

      Pretty good on the racism but still haven’t hit the Goldilocks-style detachment from reality; the privileged aren’t being taxed for taking the same action, they’re being taxed for taking a perceived loop-hole action presumably afforded to them disparately that they may or may not be taking advantage of disparately.

      The mayor of Chicago could fine more white people with not completing and updating their handgun registrations in a timely manner because inner city minority criminals commit guns with crimes. The SEC could assess greater security fees from all the racial minority investors to offset the costs incurred from insider trading prosecution.

  5. I thought Libertarians supported sales taxes. They are voluntary, after all. Nobody is forced to buy pop, nobody is forced to make it.

    1. Nobody thinks you have an IQ in two digits.

      1. Fine. If you prefer to paying taxes voluntarily rather than being coerced into paying them, you can be sure you are in agreement with others.

        1. All taxes are, at base, coercive. Any tax money is money the State is going to misuse, more likely than not. And vice taxes are based on the dubious assumption that the State knows what is best for everybody, which history demonstrates to be bullshit of a fairly fetid order.

          1. “All taxes are, at base, coercive.”

            True, but you don’t have to pay all taxes. These taxes on pop can be avoided simply by resisting urge to buy a pop. All it takes is a little self discipline, which is murder for a child, I agree, but shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for an adult.

            1. Doesn’t change the core facts; The State has no business trying to coerce me into “correct” behavior that doesn’t immediately harm some other person. The State has no business collecting more money; they waste most of what they get now.

              1. “Doesn’t change the core facts; ”

                Nobody is coercing you to buy pop. It’s your own decision.

                1. By taxing pop, the government is applying pressure to me to drink something else. Not their goddamned business. Or, they are lying about wanting people to drink less pop and are simply taxing it because they think they can get away with it.

                  Mind you, the government also has no goddamned business levying extra taxes on cigarettes, booze, or (where applicable) marijuana. Or, should we have an attack of common sense regarding sex workers, on sex-for-hire.

                  The government should be heavily restricted on what taxes it may lay, on where it may spend money, and on what debts it may undertake.

                  Pity we aren’t going to see that kind of government in my lifetime.

                  1. “The government should be heavily restricted on what taxes it may lay”

                    You mean you want a government to govern the government? Whose gonna govern them?

                    “Not their goddamned business.”

                    Most of your fellow citizens disagree. They don’t seem to have any problem at all with your government targeting ‘sinful products’ with extra heavy taxation. Libertarians have the luxury to avoid the tax if they wish by numerous measures, not buying pop, making their own, buying it in another country, etc.

            2. You could make the same argument about any taxes. You don’t HAVE to pay property taxes either. You always have the choice to live in your car.

              The point isn’t about what you’re willing to live without. The point is that the state is inserting itself in the free association between two people.

    2. Jim Lewis used to refer to such as “elective” taxes, but not “voluntary”. That’s why he was for tariffs & duties as the main means of federal revenue, because you could always choose to buy domestic goods. People’s choice to buy goods subject to such taxes could also be seen as a meter on their support of the unit of gov’t laying them.

      I don’t agree, but he had a point. Still he’d never go so far as to call them voluntary.

      1. “Still he’d never go so far as to call them voluntary.”

        Whether or not you pay these taxes is entirely up to you. If you don’t want to pay them, there are other choices, like buying nothing at all, or buying water, or buying pop in another county or country. Whenever Libertarians acknowledge the need for taxation, the sales tax generally receives good notices, precisely because of its voluntary nature, I’d always assumed. Yet you, the author and my dear Sevo seem to disagree. You prefer more coercion when it comes to taxation, or is it something else?

        1. By your logic all taxes are voluntary. With income taxes I can choose not to earn any income. Or I can choose to go to prison rather than pay it.

          What’s disagreeable about soda taxes to libertarians is that it’s not a general sales tax on most goods designed for a necessary evil (raise revenue to fund legitimate government functions), but is designed solely to change behavior that affects no one but those who are taxed.

          1. “With income taxes I can choose not to earn any income.”

            Best choice. Income taxes are for suckers and schlubs. It’s far better to live off investments.

            I take your point about the design to change behaviour, and you’re undoubtedly correct there to some degree. (I think raising money is just as important to the tax implementers.) You believe, I guess, that all consumer products have an equal moral valence. A bottle baby formula deserves to be treated the same as a pack of marlboroughs. Non Libertarians have trouble with this. Some products to them are inherently sinful, unhealthy, unwholesome, frivolous or downright dangerous. Things like cigarettes and alcohol are not only taxed higher, but children are forbidden by law to consume or even purchase them.

            1. You hit the nail on the head as to the difference between libertarians and others. Libertarians treat adults as being capable of acting responsibly on their personal preferences. Non-libertarians treat adults as children.

              1. “Non-libertarians treat adults as children.”

                I think that accounts for their lack of popularity, in the long run. Adults are increasingly infantilized, as their preference for such sugary confections as pop indicates.

        2. If it’s of any help, libertarians are wrong about advocating sales taxes too. It’s hypocrisy. Or, more realistically, it’s just a concession.

    3. All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. There’s a difference between supporting (as I do) broad-based consumption taxes and highly-targeted sin taxes. Caveat: if you can demonstrate some real external net unavoidable cost of an activity (and weepy fears about thermogeddon have not even come CLOSE) then a case can be made for selectively raising taxes on some items, i.e. Coase or Pigou.

      1. “There’s a difference between supporting (as I do) broad-based consumption taxes and highly-targeted sin taxes.”

        Equal rights for consumer products like pop.

        1. Better yet? Let elected officials and regulators, with the assistance of lobbyists and crony capitalists, pick and choose which products to tax and which products not to tax. What could possibly go wrong?

          1. You want to elect a Libertarian to office, nobody is stopping you.

    4. Sales taxes are better than income taxes.

      But no taxes are better than sales taxes.

    5. By that logic, pretty much all taxes are voluntary. Nobody needs to earn an income either.

      1. “Nobody needs to earn an income either.”

        Income is for suckers. I keep telling everyone. You want to avoid a lot of unnecessary taxes, make your living off your investments.

        1. Your investments are taxed also; just go on the dole.

          1. You wanna lower taxes, then earn your living from your investments.

    6. I thought Libertarians supported sales taxes.

      That’s only one of many things about which you are obviously confused.

      1. If you prefer income taxes to sales taxes, now’s the time to make your case.

        1. Neither form of taxation is very good. But I prefer income to sales tax because it’s more progressive. Since the current state of the government is to reward, facilitate, and even subsidize wealth and the wealthy, then progressive taxes make more sense to libertarians. Although most Reason subscribers don’t see it that way. But that’s ok, no one said libertarians can’t be a varied group.

    7. Libertarians oppose all taxes. But if we have taxes, they should be as low as possible and should apply as equally as possible, not target specific industries or specific products.

      1. Or specific people. I want to see a single income tax rate for all, with one income amount cutoff below which it doesn’t apply.

        “Progressive” taxes merely punish success.

        There should be no inheritance taxes. I’ve been to plenty of farm auctions where the land and everything was being sold off due to the insanely high assessments valuing the land as though it was all going to be covered in expensive housing the next day.

        No sales tax on any kind of food, no matter how deluxe and luxurious it may be. No sales taxes on any medications. No sales taxes on any sort of clothing, no matter how much it costs or what it’s made of. No sales taxes on labor and services where there is no transfer of material goods. No sales taxes on wholesale items, just one time at the initial retail sale of new items.

        Sales taxes should only be levied on NEW goods. For example, sales tax on a NEW car and forever after, no matter where it goes or to or through whom it is sold, further transfers of it should not be taxed. No weaseling around it by calling such tax a “use fee” or “transfer fee” or “processing the registration and title fee”.

        Aside from food, medicine, clothing, pre-retail sales, and secondhand material goods, stick a sales tax on all other new material goods without exceptions.

        There can’t be any more equal and fair taxation than this, other than no taxation at all.

        1. “Progressive” taxes merely punish success.

          This would be true in a free society. But under a government for the wealthy by the wealthy, in which the vast majority of expenditures and infrastructure (and application of force) go directly toward supporting the elite, progressive taxes just assign the cost where it belongs.

  6. “the soda tax would disproportionately target African American and Latino consumers, who are more likely to drink full-calorie sweetened drinks than are white consumers” White man’s burden.

  7. They can tax soda all they want. I don’t bake very much. But they better not raise taxes on pop. Hint: flyover country won the last election.

  8. How about a tax on 2,000 calorie starbucks crap, to fight leftist privilege?

    1. How about a 100% across-the-board tax on all Seattle coffee shop sales.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that whites favor decaf, sugarfree triple mocha almond frappaccinos whereas minorities favor the full-caf, full-sugar variety.

      No decaf, sugarfree privilege!

  9. Hit the people with money for the tax. A Starbucks Latte tax would be far more productive. I can just hear the screams of anguish now.

    1. I would be amazed too. Well except maybe for Google stockholders.

  10. The city council will pass this unanimously.

    1. Passed 7-1

  11. The mayor’s actions came after a racial-equity analysis revealed what most people know already: the soda tax would disproportionately target African American and Latino consumers

    Just like how the income tax disproportionately targets Caucasian-American consumers? I assume the mayor will begin taxing welfare benefits in the interest of either an equitable distribution of the tax burden or more importantly, avoiding sounding like a hypocritical piece of human detritus.

  12. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who proposed the city’s tax earlier this year, later expanded it to include diet sodas, which he characterized as a way of, er, fighting white privilege.

    Given that the point of a soda tax is to encourage people to switch from sugary drinks to sugar-free alternatives, it makes no sense to impose the same tax on the most obvious substitute, sugar-free sodas.

    1. No, that’s only the campaign rhetoric. The real reason is to raise revenue and virtue signal. Only legislation signed by Donald Trump is considered to be consistent with whatever idiotic things said on the campaign trail.

    2. This is true. But Philadelphia did exactly that. Their “sugary drink tax” applies to drinks with no sugar in them. Brilliant!

  13. excess of sugar consumption is a social issue when the obese diabetics or so (like me) are a burden for the social security, tax the f*ck sugary drinks and drive that money to the Health Dept.

    1. Then why not a calorie tax? Soda’s calorie content is small compared to most foods. And it has no fat, cholesterol, and is low sodium.

      There’s no causal link between soda and diabetes or heart disease. Only correlative.

    2. That’s not where the money is going. It’s going for education, so they say.

  14. I assume Starbucks mega-calorie mega-fat content mega-caffeinated drinks are exempt from the tax? I wonder why?

  15. Jones Soda also said they left Canada in 2000 because it was not business-friendly.

    Now they are regretting moving from there.

  16. A soda tax is coming to Cook County Illinois as of July 1, 2017 but will ‘ONLY’ add $1.44 to each 12 can package. ‘ONLY’ 1 cent per ounce. Seattle’s tax must be about two cents per ounce. Still I predict this will drive more shoppers out of Cook Cty since sales taxes are lower in nearby Indiana, Dupage and Will counties, etc. and so are gas taxes. If one buys in bulk , one could probably save $50-$100 per trip.

  17. “Smiling microaggression” against soda pop drinkers is a messier version of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

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