There must be some kind of principle on the Left that any possible justification for a new tax, no matter how flimsy, is justified.Soda taxes have been rising in popularity nationwide – and consistently failed. Philadelphia became the first city to pass a soda tax in summer of last year – which immediately led to a 30-50 percent drop in soda sales, resulting in hundreds of job losses. One of the city’s largest distributors laid off 20 percent of their workforce. Obviously, the drop in sales the tax caused, combined with the resulting unemployment, will be a net drag on the city in terms of lost tax revenue and new unemployment benefits that need to be paid out (while they initially planned on raising revenue from such a tax).
If a soda tax can’t be justified for doing what taxes are designed to do –raise revenue — how can it be justified? Well if you’re a liberal, on the basis of white privilege…or something.According to Heat Street, the mayor of Seattle has altered the rules of his proposed soda tax — which would fund education for minorities–to include diet drinks because affluent white people tend to consume them more.
Mayor Ed Murray of the staunchly liberal Seattle city originally proposed the soda tax during his state of the city address in February. Under his initial plan, distributors of sugary drinks would have to pay 2 cents per ounce.
The Mayor claimed the tax would bring $16 million in revenue that would be spent on education programs aimed at reducing disparities between the city’s white students and students of color.But the mayor has updated the plan after the staff of the mayor’s office told him that the tax would actually disproportionately fall on poor minorities, who have higher rates of soda consumption than white residents
Murray changed the bill, lowering the levy to 1.75 cents per ounce and included diet drinks because they are favored by affluent white city residents, despite the fact that most diet drinks have no calories and therefore don’t contribute to obesity.
According to Reason, taxing diet drinks has become “an issue of equality” to the mayor because they more likely to be consumed by “upper middle class white people” and therefore must be taxed as a way to fight “white privileged institutionalized racism.”For a point of reference, Phily’s failed soda tax was only 1.5 cents per ounce, lower than Seattle’s proposed tax. Assuming the tax is just as “successful” as Philly’s, it’ll result in hundreds, if not thousands, of Seattle’s citizens being put out of work.
On the other hand, maybe it’ll disproportionately put privileged white workers put out of work, which obviously Murray can live with.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]