aPOPcalypse Upon Us: The Country’s First Soda-Pop Tax

According to various new reports, Philadelphia passed the country’s first soda-pop tax – 1.5 cents per ounce, which will be used to fund educational and other projects.

It wouldn’t have been hard to predict that this was coming. The amount of food-related bans and taxes have long foreshadowed the coming APOPcalypse. We’ve seen things like:

  • New York City banning trans-fat.
  • San Francisco banning toys in happy meals.
  • Schools banning vending machines and cupcakes.

The lawmaker pushing the Philadelphia pop tax says that it’s not about health, but about prioritizing community, or something nefarious like that.

But let’s be honest. It isn’t about health. It’s about being in control of health (all the while flexing those big government muscles that politicians love to exercise.) It’s another demonization of corporate culture, this one the massive soda drink industry. It’s almost like when an industry becomes too successful, government must do something to punish them even though they haven’t broken any laws. This tax is only being put on sugary drinks because sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and aspartame — yes, it also covers diet drinks — are the new evils in town, and since people have no self control, governments are then allowed to create measures to either make people behave a certain way or be punished for the personal choices they make — choices which do not affect others. It’s a good thing we have such wise leaders who can tell us when we aren’t being responsible.

Let’s face it. Sugary drinks cause obesity. It has nothing to do with the person who willingly buys a super-gigantic 64oz Big Gulp and drinks it in one sitting. Poor Joe-video-gamer will now have to pay 96 cents more for a gut full of sugar. Pop, and its high-fructose corn syrup, might as well be classified as poison and if you put it close enough to your body, it may cause swelling around your mid-section. Whether ingested or not.

Or wait, does human action actually matter? Are we responsible for our own fate? Do we affect our own health by what we choose to put in our bodies?

Of course, we do, but government wants to regulate it, and trust me, it won’t stop at soda-pop.

I like politicians who, like they did a while back in Pennsylvania, got rid of the mandatory helmet law for experienced motorcycle drivers. It’s not that I have a financial stake in an anti-helmet lobbying firm, it’s just that I believe people should be allowed to make their own choices, as long as it doesn’t affect the immediate health or well-being of another. Even stupid choices. Even idiotic choices. Heck, politicians do it all the time. Why can’t we?

Smoking bans in restaurants. Brilliant!

Banning cupcakes at a school party. Stupid.

Requiring kids to wear seat belts. Right on!

Banning large size drinks. Stupid.

Taxing soda. Stupid and unfair.

If it is truly a tax to help the community, then share it equally across the spectrum. Spinach and bean sprouts want a part of the action.

If not, just call it for what it is: a tax on a person’s choice of what they want to eat or drink if it deviates from the “prescribed way.”

And this is only the beginning. Look out.

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