Here’s an Idea…Tax Soda!

Once again universal health care rears its ugly head.  Previously, we’ve been primarily concerned with the crummy health care system that will swallow us all when Obama and Congress jam their plans down our throats.  But, there is another side to this program.  How do we pay for it?

Most households first figure out what they can pay for, and then decide what to the spend their money on.  In the White House things are different.  First they figure out what they want to spend money on, then they decide how you will pay for it.  So, for weeks we’ve been hearing things like, well, we need to increase taxes on the rich to pay for health care.  As it has become abundantly clear that a tax increase on the rich couldn’t hope to pay for national health care, Congress is becoming more inventive.

Senate leaders are considering new federal taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to help pay for an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system.

But, ssh, don’t tell anyone.

Senior staff members for some Democratic senators at the center of the effort to craft health-care legislation are weighing the idea behind closed doors, Senate aides said.

Those in favor of the tax on soda cite statistics that purport to show that consuming “sugary” drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes, illness, and, well, the list goes on.  To those folks, a tax on soda is perfect.  Not only will it raise money to pay for universal health care, but it will teach people not to consume soda because it is unhealthy.  But, a closer analysis shows that the claims of these “do-gooders” is, shall we say, somewhat flawed.  The early estimate of the cost of the health care plan is $1.2 trillion, and a three cent tax on a 12 ounce serving of a “sugary” drink will raise only $24 billion over the next four years, unless, of course, people stop drinking soda because it is, well, unhealthy.

Forgetting, for the moment, that it is my decision (not Obama’s, not Congress’s) whether to drink soda or not, does anyone else see the hypocrisy in this?

Posted in


The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.

The website's content and articles were migrated to a new framework in October 2023. You may see [shortcodes in brackets] that do not make any sense. Please ignore that stuff. We may fix it at some point, but we do not have the time now.

You'll also note comments migrated over may have misplaced question marks and missing spaces. All comments were migrated, but trackbacks may not show.

The site is not broken.