The 'Soda Police' Just Learned A Valuable Lesson About Taxes

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Daniel Mitchell via The Foundation for Economic Education,

I don’t like tax increases, but I like having additional evidence that higher tax rates change behavior. So when my leftist friends “win” by imposing tax hikes, I try to make lemonade out of lemons by pointing out “supply-side” effects.

I’m hoping that if leftists see how tax hikes are “successful” in discouraging things that they think are bad (such as consumers buying sugary soda or foreigners buying property), then maybe they’ll realize it’s not such a good idea to tax – and therefore discourage – things that everyone presumably agrees are desirable (such as work, saving, investment, and entrepreneurship).

Though I sometimes worry that they actually do understand that taxes impact pro-growth behavior and simply don’t care.

But one thing that clearly is true is that they get very worried if tax increases threaten their political viability.

This is why Becket Adams, in a column for the Washington Examiner, is rather amused that Mayor Kenney of Philadelphia has been caught with his hand in the tax cookie jar.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney fought hard to pass a new tax on soda and other sugary drinks. He won, and the 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax is now in place, affecting both merchants and consumers, because that’s how taxes work. Businesses pay the levies, and they offset the cost by charging higher prices. That is as basic as it gets. The only person who doesn’t seem to understand this is Kenney, who is now accusing business owners of extortion. “They’re gouging their own customers,” the mayor said.

Yes, consumers are being extorted and gouged, but the Mayor isn’t actually upset about that.

He’s irked because people are learning that it’s his fault.

Philadelphians are obviously outraged by the skyrocketing cost of things as simple as a soda, which has prompted some businesses to post signs explaining why the drinks are now so damned expensive. Kenney said that this effort by businesses to explain the rising cost is “wrong” and “misleading.” The mayor apparently thought the city council could impose a major new tax on businesses, and that customers somehow wouldn’t be affected.

In other words, it’s probably safe to say that Mayor Kenney has no regrets about the soda tax. He’s just not pleased that he can’t blame merchants for the price increase.

Even the IMF is Skeptical of High Taxes

The International Monetary Fund, by contrast, may actually have learned a real lesson that higher taxes aren’t always a good idea. That bureaucracy is infamous for blindly supporting tax increases, but if we can believe this story from the Wall Street Journal, even those bureaucrats don’t think additional tax hikes in Greece would be a good idea.

IMF officials have said Greece’s economy is already overtaxed. New taxes that came into affect on Jan. 1 are squeezing household incomes further. Economists say even-higher income taxes—in the form of lower tax-free income allowances—could add to a mountain of unpaid taxes. Greeks currently owe the state €94 billion ($99 billion), equivalent to 54% of gross domestic product, and rising, in taxes that they can’t pay.

Here are some stories to illustrate the onerous tax system in Greece, starting with a retired couple that will probably lose their house because of a new property tax.

…the 87-year-old former economist and his 81-year-old wife are unable to repay the property tax imposed on their 70-year old house, a family inheritance. The annual tax is around ‎€33,000, but Mr. Kokkalis’s pension—already cut by half—is €28,000 a year. The couple borrowed money when the tax was imposed, initially as a temporary austerity measure in 2011. But they are already behind on nearly €200,000 of tax payments and can’t borrow more. Mr. Kokkalis says the state is calculating tax based on outdated property prices that have since collapsed, and that if he tried to sell the house now, nobody would be interested. “They impose taxes on an imaginary value,” Mr. Kokkalis says. “This is confiscation.”

I’ve already written about this punitive property tax. The good news is that property taxes generally are transparent, so people know how much they’re paying.

The bad news is that the tax in Greece is far too onerous.

And I’ve also noted that small businesses are being wiped out in Greece as well. The WSJ has a new example.

Tax increases under previous rounds of austerity have put a middle-class lifestyle beyond reach for many. “Our only goal now is survival,” says arts teacher Mimi Bonanou. Until recent years she also made a living as a practicing artist, selling her works in Greece and abroad. But increasingly heavy taxes that self-employed Greeks must pay at the start of each year, based on the state’s often-ambitious forecast of their incomes, have forced her to rely on teaching alone.

All things considered, Greece is a painful example that a country can’t tax its way to prosperity (though some politicians never learned that lesson).

Moreover, it’s nice to have further evidence that even the IMF recognizes that Greece is on the wrong side of the Laffer Curve.

And if a left-leaning bureaucracy is now willing to admit that excessive taxation can lead to less revenue, maybe eventually the Republicans on Capitol Hill will install people at the Joint Committee on Taxation who also understand this elementary insight.

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Takeaction2's picture
Takeaction2 (not verified) Jan 18, 2017 8:51 PM

Tomorrow...Daddy's Home...Make sure the house is clean...

Cynicles's picture

GMO kills

MonSatan makes GMO food and Roundup [glyphosate].

knukles's picture

Way the big Ag/Pharma do GMOs is fucking with God.
I'd strongly suggest Margaret Atwood's trilogy beginning with Oryx and Crake, going through The Day of the Flood and culminating with Madd Addam.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) knukles Jan 18, 2017 9:26 PM

So, liberals would argue that by raising the estate tax (death tax) it is really an effort on their part to prevent people from dying?


nmewn's picture

Yes. And look at this anomaly...


"______ are obviously outraged by the skyrocketing cost of things as simple as a soda, which has prompted some businesses to post signs explaining why the drinks are now so damned expensive. _____said that this effort by businesses to explain the rising cost is “wrong” and “misleading.” The ____ apparently thought the ____ council could impose a major new tax on businesses, and that customers somehow wouldn’t be affected." simply editing out a several words this quote could have been about the idiocy of Maduro & Venezuela or some other authoritarian hellhole.

Fascinating ;-)

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) nmewn Jan 18, 2017 9:57 PM

I don't think the retailers are charging it.

How does the city know what they sold.

I wasn't charged more at small market where I know them and they know me.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Go long SodaStream. Make your own sodas at home.

Son of Loki's picture

One of the three pillars of Democrat platforms is "Tax & Spend." Been like that for decades. I remember seeing a video of LBJ who was running up the deficit with his blood thristy war against the little people in Vietnam. Yet he also handed out Billions in welfare same time calling his policy something like "Guns and Butter."


Democrats spend OPM like there's no tomorrow and Obama and this Mayor of Philly is no diff.

Stainless Steel Rat's picture
Stainless Steel Rat (not verified) Son of Loki Jan 19, 2017 1:48 AM

Oops, monsatan threatened libel.

SafelyGraze's picture

if you double the taxes, you double the revenue

if you triple the taxes, you triple the revenue

and so on

art laffer  

cheka's picture

sodastream = zioskype business.  support them if you want

Creative_Destruct's picture

Simple economic truth: want less of something? Tax it.

Abbie Normal's picture

The tax is charged at the wholesale level so the next shipment to your local retailer will have the added tax.  On a 20-oz bottle, that's an additional $0.30 or about a 15% tax.

NoDebt's picture

Well played, Saint.  Up arrow for having an appropriately warped perspective (that is, near as I can tell, a necessary coping mechanism in today' world).

I think the implication is actually that they don't want you to accumulate any wealth.  Something they'll be happy to prevent you from doing at every turn.  But pass it along to your children?  Just thinking about stuff like that makes most libs faint dead away on the floor.


The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) NoDebt Jan 18, 2017 10:01 PM

Ah, yes.  Sometimes thinking outside the box where others fear to tread has it's moments. LOL

brown_hornet's picture

I'm sure the Saint knows there are only two sure things in this world.

shovelhead's picture

Why let the damn kids inherit THEIR money?

JRobby's picture

When offered the opportunity (through a corrupt legislature) Liberals will shoot themselves in the feet in the middle of the woods every time.

Elco the Constitutionalist's picture
Elco the Constitutionalist (not verified) Cynicles Jan 18, 2017 9:57 PM

At the same time they are removing good(natural) molecules based on crude understanding of physiology/biochemistry such as amygdalin which is needed by the body for the immune system (though poisonous in massive quantities).

GMO is perfectly safe in itself, it is the shit they are adding and taking away that isn't safe.

shovelhead's picture

I like phosphorescent tree-frog DNA in my high-fructose corn syrup.

It gives it a little whang.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) xythras Jan 18, 2017 9:14 PM

Coast to Coast had a great interview a few nights ago with a guy that talked about this. This is the reason I buy organic. Glyphosate is toxic. It will kill you.

erkme73's picture

Not to be too snarky, but so will time...

TruthHunter's picture

Judging from the size of those butts, the cartoon cops were already ambushed.

Sometimes, you can make the world foolproof, but you can never make it idiot proof.


Croesus's picture

I don't pity fatties...they have the power to change.

Give up the processed sugars (and their substitutes), and the pounds fall off.

I also don't pity the libtard left. Philly is a shambles...Dem-controlled for a long time. Funny how they all whine about "Sustainability", yet they can't understand basics about managing money.

knukles's picture

Progressive "Sustainability" means holding office forever.
                       - Johnny Diebold and The Friends of Soros Foundation

New_Meat's picture

probably time for a new "Devil's Dictionary"

overbet's picture

I'm 5'11 and used to weigh 250lbs of pure fat. I sat at a desk trading on a screen for 15 years drinking beer or coke and eating take out food everyday for every meal. No exercise. It took me 5 years, but I now have a 4 pack and pretty much ripped to shreds.

I started my transformation by starving myself and supplementing 2 of my 3 meals a day with veggie juice from the local juice bar and eating one healthy meal a day for dinner. I would jog for an hour when I got up in the morning. I got down to 180 lbs doing this, but I looked like total shit, like I was dying or diseased.

I started studying nutrition and began lifting weights along with the cardio. I started eating 4-6 meals a day and tweaking my macros til I found out what worked best for me. When I started lifting weights I was so weak I couldnt bench press the smith machine with no weight for 10 reps. Now I weight 210 lbs and I can bench press twice my current body weight. 

The thing for me is once I started seeing results and feeling better from the lifestyle change, clean living became addictive.


You are absolutely right aside from a weird hormone problem or your body not producing something it needs like T3, anyone has the power to change if the pain to do so is powerful enough.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) overbet Jan 18, 2017 9:44 PM

Congrats on getting healthy! I have always cooked at home, shopped organic, etc. I still ended up in the hospital. Why? Not enough fiber. My GI surgeon handed me a poster that showed various food items and the fiber content. It was wake up call. I actually considered myself to be fairly educated about nutrition and health. Wrong!

I was clueless about fiber. 30 grams a day. I have been a long-time label reader, about 25 years. Fiber was not on my radar, at all. After having diverticulitis and finding out that two of my doctors had the same problem I went on a search as to why I had not heard about this disease. Processed food removes fiber to make it easier and faster to cook / prepare. Example? Oatmeal. That quick oatmeal has the oat bran removed. Compare the labels for fiber. Taking out the bran reduces the fiber content.

Best foods for fiber? Old fashioned oatmeal that takes 20-minutes. Bob's Red Mill has an award winning oatmeal that takes 20 minutes to cook. Throw in berries, prunes, and your choice of added fiber (oat bran, ground flax) and milk (or nut milk) and you have a breakfast that is amazing! Dry beans are an excellent source of fiber and I usually make green pea / lentil / or 13-bean soup once a week. Dry beans are a great source of fiber and protein!

There are plenty of organic breakfast cereals you can by (Kashi shredded wheat) and my favorite are Qia superfood coconut flakes. I also make my own no-bake fiber bars. You can't be a pig on these because the caloric content is high, but they are rich in both protein and fiber.

1 1/3 cup of quick oats
1/3 cup of ground flax seed (my store sells them in the bulk bins)
1/3 cup of oat bran (bulk food bins)
1/3 cup of psyllium husk (container or bulk food bins)
1 1/3 cup of shredded coconut (I get the finely ground coconut in bulk bins)
1 tsp salt
1/2 of package of semi sweet chocolate chips: I buy organic, 10 ounces

Mix above dry ingredients. Set aside. You can swap ingredients: just make sure you end up with 3 2/3 cup of dry ingredients!

Melt over double boiler (metal mixing bowl over a smaller pan):

1 tbsp. butter (unsalted, organic) ((omit if you don't like butter))
1 cup of organic peanut butter
1/2 cup of organic coconut oil

(I tried this recipe many times and the key part to making it edible was moisture, otherwise this is a dry, cardboard mess!)

stir until melted, remove from heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla (organic)

In another container melt 1/4 cup of organic coconut oil and the other 1/2 of the semisweet chocolate chips until melted. This is the topping.

Mix the dry ingredients with the peanut butter mix. Stir until mixed. Press into 8X8 container (I use a variety of glass containers that have lids) and press down. Pour on the melted chocolate chip mix over the pressed in oatmeal mix. Place in fridge. Cut before the no-bake fiber bars get too hard. (A few hours. If you wait overnight be careful because the bars get very firm).

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids with your fiber / protein bar! Organic. whole milk is my favorite, plenty of protein!

espirit's picture

It's easier then diet.

Move away from there.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) espirit Jan 18, 2017 9:52 PM

I have never had to diet. I have good genes. Counting fiber is not a diet, it is necessary because so much of it has been removed from our food.

That hospital stay cost $150K. Plus two months on IV drugs, every 8 hours, at home, for two months.

I am happy to be alive. What a simple cure: adding fiber to your diet.

I omitted that you can add 1/4 cup of honey or 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the peanut butter mix. It adds sweetness. Optional. The honey is good because it keeps these homemade fiber bars from being cardboard.

espirit's picture

What I meant was, having a healthy lifestyle is also part of a healthy diet.

Per se, honey - oats - PB is a normal diet in the S.E.


Care to visit the Sunshine State? It's Hot!

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) espirit Jan 18, 2017 10:16 PM

I got the basic recipe for those fiber bars from Paleo diet people. Not my thing, I am an omnivore. I will eat almost anything. I am super picky about cooking at home so I can control the ingredients and I know how clean my kitchen is / or not! I have a couple of permanent markers I keep in my kitchen gadget drawer, along with painters tape. Anytime I open a bottle I mark the month / year. For bulk bin items I slap on a piece of painter's tape and label the ingredient / month / year. Same for when I freeze items.

The Sunshine state, meaning Florida? Yikes! OMG! I like to keep my house at 67 degrees. Thank god I have a heat pump!

shovelhead's picture

I get all the fiber I need from pork rinds.

jmack's picture

hmm, 20 minutes?  I only take 2 minutes 30 seconds to nuke my oatmeal in the morning.   will fry up some eggs to mix in with them, or go the cinnamon/honey/blueberry route.  

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) jmack Jan 18, 2017 10:17 PM

Whatever. I don't mind mixing eggs in with grits but oatmeal? Ewwwww.

jmack's picture

hmm, 20 minutes?  I only take 2 minutes 30 seconds to nuke my oatmeal in the morning.   will fry up some eggs to mix in with them, or go the cinnamon/honey/blueberry route.  

Chuck Walla's picture

Welcome to Ol' Ma' Hedges recipe swap and spittin' contest.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Chuck Walla Jan 19, 2017 2:34 AM

When you have to pay the co-pay for a 3-week hospital stay, that is preventable, simply by eating enough fiber, get back to me.

As I said, above, two of my physicians also suffered from diverticulitis.

Why? That is the question. Throw in glyphosate that destroy gut bacteria and you end up with people dying from C-diff and having shit transplants. Think this is a joke? There are people that donate qualified shit samples that can be used to rebuild someone's gut bacteria after being destroyed.

It isn't a joke. But keep on laughing. Why would a GI surgeon, that is a gym rat (2X a day) also suffer from diverticulitis? Answer: it is a western disease. People are busy and just because you are busy does not mean you are healthy.

For those willing to listen I hope my advice, and recipe, saves you a lot of pain.

FWIW: I am scheduled for a colonoscopy as a follow up to this illness. What do they advise? Full salt broth (chicken, beef, vegetable) and Gatorade. If you have had to suffer a Potassium IV (fluids) you will understand how important it is to keep yourself hydrated with potassium / salt / sugar when you are ill. I always have Gatorade on hand, along with chicken bullion, saltines, and a basic noodle soup that only requires hot water. That food is lifesaving. It is cheap, and basic, and had I been better educated I would have been sucking down Gatorade and full-salt bullion like it was going out of town. Live and learn. Yes, I was very ill with diverticulitis and an abcess but once I was unable to eat 2 fluids could have saved me an ambulance ride and convulsions: Gatorade and full-salt bullion. I always keep both on hand now, at all times. Along with saltine crackers and those cup-of-soup instant noodles. I hate having to call 911. That really made my day totally suck. Including the bill.

chiquita's picture

I hope you've read the label on that Gatorade...  Original Gatorade was great, but they've bastardized it so you may be taking in corn syrup and other crap that someone who is trying to stay healthy would never touch.  You might want to shift to something less "processed" that still has the electrolytes you're looking for.  Also C-diff is often introduced by hospitals/doctors over prescribing antibiotics that wipe out the good bacteria in someone's gut.  Just went through this with my nonegenarian mother--she survived it, but she's made of iron.  

Onehundredpercentofnuthin...'s picture

I had the same problem last Easter Sunday. My stomach was hurting, running a high fever. I thought it was my appendix which is the only reason I went to the ER(I hate going to hospitals and doctors). So I was shocked when the ER doctor told me it was diverticulitis and it was from not getting enough fiber. He told me the best way was to use psyllium husks. Works pretty good.

spartina's picture

Grow your own corn. Buy a Wondermill grain mill. The mill is an amazing little machine. Makes the best cornmeal we've ever had from Abenaki flint corn. Can also grind any dried beans etc that are not oily. I shit like a horse when I eat this kind of food. No more diverticular problems.

Son of Loki's picture

That's a plan!


....I'll begin next week.....

StychoKiller's picture

Sorry, but pounds (of fat) don't just fall off, they have to be 'pounded' off with at least an hour of exercise per day!

Akzed's picture

I lost 40lbs by cutting out junk food and starch, and skipping a couple dinners a week if I wasn’t really hungry, maybe a late handful of peanuts as needed. No exercise.


Takeaction2's picture
Takeaction2 (not verified) Takeaction2 Jan 18, 2017 8:53 PM

Your laugh of the day...Milo Crushes...

King Tut's picture
King Tut (not verified) Takeaction2 Jan 18, 2017 9:00 PM

you'll have to hold off on dropping your load until FRIDAY

espirit's picture

Are you playing catcher?

My honeysuckle.