Tax Soda for Jobs!

So, Sunday morning, perusing the New York Leftist Times of course and I stumble across yet another diatribe from some clueless journalist about the large soda ban. This time it’s Robert Frank who seems to be saying that us poor humans are unable to stop ourselves from being directly affected by the (Liberal defined) nasty things in society therefore, we have to regulate those nasty things out of society. Nasty things like freedom of choice, our ability to make informed decisions, you know, liberty.

He says this to begin with “Parents don’t want their children to become obese, or to suffer the grave consequences of diet-induced diabetes. Yet our current social environment encourages heavy consumption of sugary soft drinks, making such outcomes much more likely. So that environment clearly limits parents’ freedom to achieve an eminently laudable goal.”

Um, huh? How exactly is having freedom of choice limiting anything? Mr. Frank apparently thinks us shaved monkey’s cannot help but be under the spell of society and we cannot, being monkeys of course, stop ourselves from making decisions that are deleterious to our (and our children’s) health. Of course, we know who gets to choose which decisions we are allowed and not allowed to make (hint; it’s not you and me).

Now, I do believe that humans, on the whole, are a rather lazy species and that they tend to believe what they are told—if from someone in authority, all the better—but they’ll take any reasonably attractive spokesperson/model/actor in a pinch. Even so, I also believe that we humans are sovereign, singular individuals who have the right to make whatever decisions we deem best as long as those choices do not hurt others or infringe on anyone else’s rights. Apparently Mr. Frank thinks quite the opposite and I dare say so do all the liberal progressive theorists in our society.

Mr. Frank goes on to make a false equivalency when he equates drinking large sodas to smoking cigarettes by writing “Imagine a society like the United States before 1964, where unregulated individual choices produced high percentages of smokers in the population — more than 50 percent among adult men. Not even the staunchest libertarians should deny that their children would be more likely to become smokers in such an environment. Smokers harm not only themselves and those who inhale secondhand smoke but also those who simply want their children to grow up to be nonsmokers. People can urge their children to ignore peer influences, of course, but that’s often a losing battle. No rational deliberation about smoking policies can ignore the fact that smoking harms others in this way.”

But the point is not about direct harm as he points out, but the effect of societal pressure, even if it is the micro-society of a household, that he favors to be legislated. But wait, there’s more!

Mr. Frank then brings into the discussion a suggestion that perhaps we can tax soft drinks and thus curb consumption (with the expected immediate benefits of a suddenly svelte and healthy population) because we all know the effect of taxation on consumption. EEERrrrrkkkk!!! (that was the sound of tires screeching to a halt) except that liberal progressives have said for years, decades actually, that taxes have no effect on consumption and thus no effect on jobs (apparently jobs are tied to people buying things…who knew?).

And then Mr. Frank drops this beautiful little sentence that perfectly encapsulates the total Liberal progressive argument; “The case for reintroducing such a proposal (taxing soda sales) is strong. We have to tax something, after all, and taxing soft drinks would let us reduce taxes now imposed on manifestly useful activities.”
Let me repeat that for my Liberal peeps with their fingers stuck in their ears; “We have to tax something.” What else so perfectly highlights the Liberal agenda? Haaa ha, and he then goes on to say (and I actually spit out some coffee when I read it) “At the federal level, for example, a tax on soda would permit a reduction in the payroll tax, which would encourage businesses to hire more workers.” So apparently taxing soda creates jobs and makes us all healthy.

Awesome, just awesome.

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