Taxes

Dear Politicians: Stop Taxing Us to Death

Philadelphia's soda tax is the latest example of government run amok.

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Soda will cost you more in Philadelphia, Seattle, Boulder, Colorado, and a bunch of California cities because politicians in those places voted to tax it.

The social engineers claim soda taxes will "reduce obesity," "lower diabetes rates," "reduce medical costs," etc. But the politicians' main goal is to bring in money.

Philadelphia city council members applauded wildly when their tax passed.

But store owner Melvin Robinson says, "It's a bad tax." Robinson, who runs Bruno's Pizza, says the soda tax punishes his business.

His customers quickly agreed. One I interviewed for my new YouTube/Facebook/Twitter video angrily said, "Who should pay $3 for a drink that they used to get for 99 cents?"

Now, instead of buying soda at Bruno's, she buys from a store in the next town. That's easy to do because Bruno's is located right on an outer edge of Philadelphia. Customers just cross the street to save money.

Do the politicians ever think about that?

"(The tax) is for what we feel is a good reason," Philadelphia City Councilman William Greenlee told me.

I thought he would talk about saving people from obesity. That would still be obnoxious and intrusive, but Greenlee gave another, simpler reason.

"We need the money. Nothing else that we could come up with could raise that kind of funding."

But the tax hasn't brought in as much money as they expected. Soda sales are down by more than 50 percent. That happens when people can escape taxes by crossing a street.

Or by buying other, even less healthy things. Taxes often have unintended side effects. Although soda sales are down in Philadelphia, liquor sales are up.

That surprised Greenlee. "I don't know about that," he laughed, "'cause we have a liquor tax, too!"

Another problem: Soda taxes are regressive. They hurt poor people most. Even Bernie Sanders campaigned against Philly's soda tax, shouting, "You don't have to fund child care on the backs of the poorest people in this city!"

"I didn't know Bernie opposed it!" Greenlee replied. "But remember, we're raising enough money to put 2,700 kids in pre-K."

That was the city's justification for the new tax. Activists said thousands of kids would attend "high quality" preschool.
?I doubt that the schools are "high quality." Government work rarely is. It is expensive, certainly—Philly spends more than $6,000 per child; Catholic schools charge less than $5,000.

Greenlee laughed at that, too, replying, "Priests and nuns don't work for that much money."

Politicians love taxes on unhealthy things, and so do the media. Both applauded when Denmark taxed fatty food a few years ago.

Today Show host Matt Lauer was thrilled. "Buy food that has a certain level of fat, they charge you extra! Do we like that?" His panel did. They clapped gleefully.

But Danes behaved a lot like Melvin Robinson's customers do. They crossed a border to avoid paying more. Denmark quickly repealed its fat tax.

But Philadelphia isn't repealing its taxes. People there already pay 44 different ones, including a nearly 4 percent city income tax.

I said to Greenlee, "How can the city government not have enough money? They should be rolling in it!"

"But there's a lot to do!" he replied.

Politicians do love spending other people's money. Philadelphia gave $4 million of its new soda tax funds to the Office of Arts and Culture. That bureaucracy spent the money on things like "hip-hop dance…to teach youth empowerment and social issues."

"Like we need that!" shouted Robinson, sarcastically. "People are trying to live!"

Then he added, politicians should "stop stealing."

I don't think they're stealing, but city council members make $121,000 a year, three times Philadelphia's median income. The mayor makes $218,000. That's not unique to Philadelphia. Politicians routinely make much more than people they allegedly serve.

"Citizens should make more money," Greenlee said.

They should.

Of course, they'd make more if politicians didn't tax them to death.

NEXT: Court to Cops: Shoot First and Think Later

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  1. Government is GOd, and taxes are the sacrifice we make to keep it happy so it doesn’t kill us.

  2. At the constitutional convention, perhaps we could add a bit about “the aggregate of all taxes, at all levels of government shall not exceed eight percent of the average GDP in the prior 5 years”?

    1. Maybe, but I would rather give each person more than one vote, based on the amount of tax paid the previous period.

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  4. Tax politicians. Make them pay for their own pestiforous habits.

    1. pes?tif?er?ous
      pe?stif?r?s/Submit
      adjectiveliterary
      harboring infection and disease.
      “the pestiferous area around the prison”
      humorous
      constituting a pest or nuisance; annoying.
      “that pestiferous nephew of yours”

      Thanks for adding to my vocabulary: “That pestiferous _________ of yours!” Gonna use that.

  5. What a fucktard. What else might be undesirable, and taxable?

    1. GUNS! LET’S TAX THE GUNS [more than we already do]!

      1. The real reason politicians are hesitant to ban guns. The federal taxes on full-autos alone is above $30 million.

  6. $5000 for preschool? Does this really exist?

    I live in the North East and my kids were in private daycare from the time they were 6 months old – at a cost of $1000/month per child.

    There was not much childcare less than that – and forget Priests and Nuns – they didn’t do that work at any price.

    Articles like this make Libertarians seem disconnected from the real world.

    1. $6000/child? Assuming that’s an annual cost, that’s $500/month. Average of four weeks, five days a week, that’s $500/20 days, or $25 a day.

      Unless that $6000/$5000 value is something other then annual, that doesn’t actually sound all that expensive to me. There’s a reason some folks find it cheaper to quit their job to mind the children until they’re old enough for elementary.

  7. We need the money. Nothing else that we could come up with could raise that kind of funding.

    An honest crook?

    Ever consider doing less?

  8. “We need the money. Nothing else that we could come up with could raise that kind of funding.”

    The sneering contempt these assholes have for ordinary people makes me sick. You’d think after a few decades of propping up pubsec union workers’ lavish benefits on the backs of smokers and gamblers that voters would be skeptical of this bullshit by now.

    1. “”The sneering contempt these assholes have for ordinary people makes me sick.”‘

      The real reason Hillary lost.

      1. Bitter clinging, deplorable, backward looking, wife instructing bumpkins!

  9. Government is one of the biggest examples of greed. People who hate greed should not like governments.

    The new NYS budget allows a $2.75 “surcharge fee” on cabs and Uber, ect to go to the MTA. Funny that $2.75 is the cost of a ride on the subway. So basically the MTA will be allowed to charge people who are not riding the subway, the fare of riding the subway.

    Charging people who are not using your service the same as people that use the service is pretty damn greedy.

    1. How dare you! Greed is wanting to keep your own money! That’s why rich people are greedy! Wanting to take money from someone else isn’t greed, it’s altruism! They have good intentions!

    2. btw, the fee applies to NYC when cars for higher are below a certain street. I want to say 90th street.

      They are calling it a form of congestion pricing.

    3. Meanwhile the average subway worker makes double the city average and the Second Avenue Subway was built with six times the amount of labor than was acutally necessary – most of whom stood around doing nothing the entire time. Oh man, it’s good not to be one of the little people.

    4. Meanwhile the average subway worker makes double the city average and the Second Avenue Subway was built with six times the amount of labor than was acutally necessary – most of whom stood around doing nothing the entire time. Oh man, it’s good not to be one of the little people.

      1. “Oh man, it’s good not to be one of the little people.”

        Hey what are you talking about? The politicians said they’ll help us little people! I voted for the one who made a pinky promise with me.

    5. Oooooh, wait a couple of years. If this works then the next step is to charge the *actual, un-subsidized cost* of a subway trip on each Uber.

      Then if that works, the next step is to set a revenue target (doesn’t matter what, as long as its more than the MTA actually makes now) and charge Uber enough to meet that target – ‘to counter the passengers lost to ridesharing’.

      1. Huge ass salaries and benefits while running empty buses and trains – its the progressive dream job.

  10. It’s just a tax on the poors. Gotta pay for government’s legitimate functions somehow!

    1. I doubt you’ll find a libertarian who supports government-run daycare, er, I mean pre-K.

    2. Well Tony if that’s the way you want to look at it…

    3. Daycare is a legitimate government function since when?

      Hell, *education* is a legitimate government function since when?

  11. Re: “Taxes often have unintended side effects.”

    “People respond to incentives,” the authors of “Superfreakonomics” write, “although not necessarily in ways that are predictable or manifest. Therefore, one of the most powerful laws in the universe is the law of unintended consequences.”

    The best politicians — and the best leaders — are able to see the most unintended consequences.

  12. Soda is bad for people and bad for the planet. We should tax the heck out of them!

    Most sodas are sold as single-serve beverages which are consumed in a matter of minutes and them tossed into the landfill or the ocean, where they destroy the planet. The soda companies should be collecting a tax or a deposit, and the funds should be used to recycle, clean up the ocean and mitigate damage caused by all that packaging. Sodas are also bad for people’s health, with proven links to obesity and diabetes. So as a matter of public policy, I don’t have a problem with taxing soda. If it hurts soda sales, that would be a good outcome for the health of people and our planet.

    I also don’t buy the argument that a soda tax disproportionately hurts the poor. A poor person should not be spending their limited funds on sodas, as they are a terrible bang for the caloric buck.

    1. Who died and made you dad?

      Fuck off telling people what they should spend money on.

  13. I just signed in
    give time to check out

  14. You might want to consider NOT milking the public cow by constantly rebuilding your beach house with public funds.

  15. You might consider not milking the Public cow by not constantly rebuilding your beach fouse with public funds,

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