Is Soda Tax Just Another Tax on the Poor?

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The soda tax is a concept that’s been around for quite a few years now. It’s sometimes known as a “sin tax” because it is designed to discourage the purchase of soda. When people drink too many sugary drinks, it can lead to countless healthcare problems.

As such, some cities and states have tried to invoke a soda tax so that people are discouraged from buying soda. After all, if you don’t like the tax, don’t buy the drink.

The concept is to reduce health care costs in the city or state that may be spiraling out of control

There’s just one problem. Liberals don’t think that the soda tax is fair. They believe that it is just another tax on the poor.

In Philadelphia, the soda tax hasn’t done much. In Portland, it’s been going great.

Every city is different.

They’re making the headlines all over again because Vermont’s legislature is setting up a commission to study whether an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would make an impact – and if levying such a tax would be profitable for the state.

Also, John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania and the Lt. governor is a huge proponent of the soda excise taxes.

Fetterman once wrote a column in Philly Magazine that “anyone who would label the soda tax regressive doesn’t understand poverty, and has likely never had to overcome those kinds of policies personally.”

There are Democrats who would disagree with Fetterman – including the always outspoken Bernie Sanders. The Vermont Democrat believes that the soda excise tax is regressive rather than progressive. He believes that “it will be increasing taxes on low income and working people.”

Fetterman holds his ground. Anyone who wants to label the soda excise tax as regressive is likely being influenced by the soda industry.

The soda excise tax has the potential to make money for a city while also potentially reducing healthcare problems.

It’s simple. If you decide that you want to drink soda (instead of water, juice, or another beverage), you pay the tax. Otherwise, you choose a different beverage and avoid the tax altogether.

That’s not the way that Sanders views it. In 2016, he argued with both Fetterman and Hillary Clinton that “You don’t have to fund childcare on the backs of the poorest people in this city. That’s a regressive way to raise funds.”

Sanders believes that the excise taxes force people with low and middle incomes to part with a greater share of their income. That’s not true, though. They could stop drinking soda as a way to avoid the tax.

This concept is no different than tobacco taxes. People who don’t want to pay the added taxes on a pack of cigarettes have a choice. They can stop smoking. And there are even state-funded programs that provide free cessation tools.

Fetterman can’t figure out why Sanders is struggling with this concept. “You don’t have to have a Ph.D. to understand that if the price of a non-essential product goes up, those with limited income are most likely to avoid it.”

It’s fun to watch as the entire Democratic Party self-implodes over something as simple as a soda excise tax. Everyone has a very strong opinion about this.

The CDC has made it clear that people who consume too many added sugars will encounter health problems. Soda is one of the most abundantly consumed items in America with added sugars. If we want to reduce the health epidemic, we have to make it harder for people to consume all of those added sugars.

Perhaps Sanders is so upset about this regressive policy because his pockets are being lined by funding from the soda industry…