Progressive bullies exploiting the disadvantaged in new Cook County soda tax

The Big Lie of progressives imposing taxes on sugary [1] drinks is "it's for your own good!"  They may natter on about the costs of obesity and the need to hold the presumptively obesogenic drink makers responsible for the social harm they inflict, but the audience for that argument does not stock up on family-size Coke every visit to the supermarket.  The appeal to the victims – the people who have to cough up money – is concern for their health.  They just need the guidance of their betters in order to be healthy.

It's a lie.  It's all about the money.  They are treating the people who work hard to put food on the table and keep the kids happy like chumps.

August 1, Cook County, Illinois implemented a steep tax on sweetened beverages that received national note (including at AT) earlier.  So important was the anticipated revenue to the county that when implementation was held up by a court challenge, it laid off 300 employees.

It is a steep tax:

The tax will hike the price of a 2-liter bottle by 68 cents and a six-pack by 72 cents.

Though often dubbed the "pop tax," the fee, narrowly approved in November 2016 by the Cook County Board, actually applies to hundreds of beverages beyond soft drinks.

The tax is expected to raise $200 million a year for Cook County, which the county needs to keep its books out of the red, according to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.


Translated into progressive victim-speak, this means that a disproportionately young, low-income, and nonwhite group (a victim class trifecta!) is being viciously exploited with unfair taxes.  Upper-income people tend not to drink the artificially sweetened beverages being taxed.

When the tax went into effect Wednesday, there was a lot of coverage, especially in the local media, with the usual stories of cash register confusion and interviews with shoppers.  But in only one long article, and then at the very end, did anyone mention this.  Via DNAinfo:

Drinks bought by families in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program won't be slapped with the additional tax, as it violates federal law.

Where is the concern for Food Stamp recipients' health?  The New York Times seemed concerned a few months ago:

What do households on food stamps buy at the grocery store?

The answer was largely a mystery until now. The United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees the $74 billion food stamp program called SNAP, has published a detailed report that provides a glimpse into the shopping cart of the typical household that receives food stamps.

The findings show that the No. 1 purchases by SNAP households are soft drinks, which accounted for 5 percent of the dollars they spent on food. The category of 'sweetened beverages,' which includes soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks and sweetened teas, accounted for almost 10 percent of the dollars they spent on food. "In this sense, SNAP is a multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidy of the soda industry," said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. "It's pretty shocking."

Exempting the poorest among us from the guidance of progressive elites is outrageous!  They will be left to their own devices, and as everyone who matters knows, they are helpless victims.  And don't forget that to the progressive mind, exempting something from taxation makes it subsidized by tax breaks, which is just the same thing as sending a government check.  So Food Stamp recipients are being doubly subsidized – first, the food stamps, and next the "tax expenditure" exempting them from the soda tax.  That makes the government into a "pusher" of obesity.  Quite clearly, in another generation, reparations will be in order.

Hat tip: Cheryl Jacobs Lewin

[1] In truth, it is high-fructose corn syrup that sweetens most American soft drinks, because U.S. sugar prices are kept artificially high to protect the interests of billionaire sugar growers.  As a result, my local Costco sells imported Mexican Coca-Cola by the case, noting that it is sweetened with pure sugar.

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