Monday, March 29, 2010

Sugary Regression Analysis

New York State and New York City's health commissioners have an Op-ed in yesterday's NY Daily News about their pet soda tax initiative-and given the prospect for its passage, the piece should serve as an epitaph. But there was one line of argumentation that really tickled our logical fancy, and that was their claim that the tax wasn't regressive,

Here's the side splitting rap: "The argument that the tax is regressive also doesn't hold water because a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is one that no one ever has to pay. Sugary beverages are not essentials in the grocery cart alongside the milk, eggs, bread, vegetables and fruit that are not taxed. Just choose more of the many beverages that don't contain sugar, such as low-fat milk and water, and you won't spend more on beverages."

So, even though the poor choose to drink more soda, and as a result there is a disparate impact on them, the tax on their choice of beverage isn't regressive if they simply choose something else to drink. According to this illogic, then, the only regressive tax possible would be one on goods that are absolutely essential (according to the health czars) for one to consume. What elitism!

People choose to drink soda and the health czars want to tax this choice so they drink something else-not only is this regressive, but it also is a direct assault on people's choices-and the hundreds of thousands of low income New Yorkers who drink soda but are not obese. Unable to convince the folks to make what they believe are better choices, the health fascists now want to penalize their cloudy thinking.

With national health care on the immediate agenda, we can expect that this mindset-so entrenched in the nanny state mentality- to be institutionalized in statute after statute. Now that the health of all Americans is being paid for with public funds and under the guidance of federal bureaucrats,mandating behavior will become an essential feature of all health policy; with the concomitant loss of freedom to the bureaucratic demiurge