Soda: the New Cocaine  

Posted by BEN

A newly proposed tax would pay for health care, and it as a lot of people upset, but I am not sure how they are justifying their objections. I guess this is another case where principle has little or no influence on the strongly-held opinions of some.
Apparently, since soda and other sugary drinks are bad for us, we should tax them in order to discourage consumption and improve the overall health of our country. But the real motive is obvious and even blatant:

The beverage tax is just one of hundreds of ideas that lawmakers are weighing to finance the health-care plans. They're expected to narrow the list in coming weeks.
That is, it's all about money--money and control. Here lies the slippery-slope of government intervention into things like drug prohibition and health care. There no longer exists any consistent precedent for NOT passing such laws. Most have already accepted the notion that government can regulate what substances we can and can't take into our bodies (FDA, drug laws etc.), and with the push for a universal healthcare plan, many are also accepting the premise that government is responsible for our health. One cannot remain consistently opposed to a soda tax and, at the same time, defend anti-drug laws and the like. However, since it is unlikely such laws will be repealed, we can expect many opponents of a soda tax will eventually fall in-line with the program of government regulation of our lives. Thus, we can certainly expect more and more regulation on things we consume simply based on how healthy they are:
Health advocates are floating other so-called sin tax proposals and food regulations as part of the government's health-care overhaul. Mr. Jacobson also plans to propose Tuesday that the government sharply raise taxes on alcohol, move to largely eliminate artificial trans fat from food and move to reduce the sodium content in packaged and restaurant food.
I can only imagine one day someone getting arrested for hiding fried chicken down their pants. Don't get me wrong, I don't drink much soda, I don't drink any alcohol, and I can't remember the last time I ate fried chicken. BUT, outlawing fried chicken is just a hop away from bacon. That creates a problem for me.
What foods do you like that might be illegal or taxed? Would you still buy them on the black market?

This entry was posted on October 18, 2009 at Sunday, October 18, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


New York City is seriously considering a penalty/fine for excessive salt intake. Table salt.

October 18, 2009 at 11:08 PM

The bacon thing would be a serious problem.

Also, if they start charging a 20% tax on hamburgers, I won't survive. Ramen, macaroni and cheese, canned soup, corn dogs all have dubious nutritional value, so they'll get taxed, too. College students won't be able to afford cheap food. They'll be driven deeper into debt and have to go crawling to the government for assistance. It's all part of the plan.

October 19, 2009 at 1:31 PM

Just so long as they don't tax my Mt Dew or Dr. Pepper... I need my crutch.

October 20, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Dew and Dr. P would be first on the list.

October 21, 2009 at 12:35 AM

Narcotic drugs are one thing, because the argument can be made that they can cause you to voluntarily or involuntarily endanger the lives of others (but what about alcohol I know this is a contradiction). But Soda? That’s crazy. It doesn’t/can’t hurt anyone but you.
I guess their reasoning is that fat people drink soda and are expensive to the “system” so they will make them pay for it by taxing their soda.
What I don’t get is that congress doesn’t seem to care at all about how much they spend or what the deficit is, so why even add a stupid insignificant tax at all? They are up to something.

October 21, 2009 at 12:59 PM

It's the same old story and it only illustrates the complete lack of understanding of, belief in, or respect for liberty among members of congress and, by derivation, those who elect them.
As far as drugs go, whether or not they influence you to endanger another is irrelevant. Punish the guilty. Punish those who actually do harm, not just those who may because they are on drugs.
The same goes for the "dealers" of drugs. Punish them for actual crimes, not for engaging in voluntary trade with another person.

October 22, 2009 at 12:28 AM

Right, Ben. But "harm" is a subjective term, so in order to eliminate any confusion arising from the "perceived" harm caused by so much in our society today, it helps to further solidify the principle by defining harm narrowly, as direct violation or injury to the life, liberty, or property of another. As such, for any true crime there will always be a clearly defined victim who has lost some portion of life, liberty, or property. Any crime which does not meet these criteria is a victimless crime, and thus is not a crime at all, as natural law has not been violated, and no other sovereign individual has been deprived of his/her rights. Just like "no blood, no foul", the principle is "no victim, no crime".

October 22, 2009 at 9:55 AM

There simply will no limit to what the government will tax and/or regulate. Once the gate is open the cows are out. No legitimate argument can stop it because there is not limit to "doing good" as it were. Government then becomes our god; the giver of all good and provider of all means. We are slaves indeed. Jeff said it right when he stated that the test must be if it violates life, liberty, or property.

October 22, 2009 at 3:43 PM
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October 30, 2009 at 9:48 AM

Hey, great comment, Jeff. There must be an empirically perceived and measured harm to life, liberty, or property. Natural law can be violated indirectly; however, as Locke would say, until the harm is perceived, the benefit-of-the-doubt must extend towards the greatest ideal of liberty and freedom. This is a matter of semantics, but it's important to see natural law as a universal. We can only enact coercion when justice can associate the violation of natural law to the agent performing direct harm. Natural law can be violated without our having the ability of enforcing justice (because we lack the tools or rational to find direct harm); however, once we can show harm (the direct violation of natural law), justice has full power. Interesting gospel principle, no? Another principle to show the eternal nature of the atonement.

October 30, 2009 at 9:54 AM

so who gets to define when someone has been harmed in respect to life, liberty or property? I don't feel that I am harmed at all by gay marriage for example, but clearly some people do, or they feel that society at large is harmed in some way by gay marriage. In this case, if one can argue that gay marriage harms society, one can much more easily argue that soda harms society. the point is that someone else (by definition) is always going to be deciding what does and does not cause harm to others and we are not often going to like it. I think I should be able to ride in a car without a seatbelt, but I also think that texting while driving should be as illegal as drinking while driving (I have been hit three separate times by drivers on cellphones).

December 8, 2009 at 11:29 AM
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December 8, 2009 at 5:45 PM

You make an interesting point about gays, Geoff. I think you may be interested to read a post I made about a year ago.

Anyway, the issue of gay marriage brings up a host of other issues. Suffice it to say that with California's current form of government (a social democracy rather than a constitutional republic), it makes sense that this debate would happen. In such a system, I would personally argue to define marriage as they have, but please read my posting above. I reread it just now and I think it still says what I want it to.
As far as texting and driving, I would have to disagree with you. I sure think it is stupid, but I see no grounds for making it illegal. If a person hits another while texting, it isn't any different than if it is done while eating a Whopper Jr. In either case, punish the crime, not the habit.

December 8, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Sorry, I was accidentally logged in as Ashley when I first posted the comment.

December 8, 2009 at 5:47 PM

No, I agree that it shouldn't be illegal...I was speaking hyperbolically. Would you allow say, a larger penalty if one wrecks while texting than if not? Just as there is a larger penalty for drunkenly wrecking into someone...?
All the studies are showing appx. 4 times more likely to wreck while texting....alcohol is about 4 times increased risk as well.
This one is personal for me :)
I STILL do not own a cell phone and swear that I will not ever. Also, I have actually been hit three times (once while walking, twice on bicycle) by drivers who were staring at, presumably, "lol r u goin 2 da party l8r?" instead of the road.....
heh heh heh. Is it wrong to want to carry around a brick to throw at those peoples' cars?

December 9, 2009 at 5:48 PM

I read your post on gay marriage. I fully agree that the government should play no role in religious institutions, but I think that discussing that aspect of the story misses the point in the current debate. Whether the government should be able to define marriage or not (and they shouldn't in my opinion) they do so. You have a government sanctioned marriage and the potential benefits that come with that.
My question to you is: what is it about the government licensing gay people to marry do you disagree with? I take it that you don't even want the government to require you to have a license to be married? Ummmm...I am really missing in your argument what it is that you disagree with (other than the obvious religious aspect, which you are not mentioning). Is it that you don't want it to be called a marriage for gays and as long as they get civil unions they should be content? Would you be willing to let gay people call their thing a marriage and you call yours a civil union? I truly don't see where your socio-political ideology got you to a different outcome than I came to. This has got to be a religion thing man! Come on.....really?

December 9, 2009 at 6:02 PM

In the interest of order, maybe we should transfer the discussion to the post on marriage.

December 9, 2009 at 10:31 PM

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