Sugar Tax A Tax On The Poor

Left-wing politicians like Mayor Kenney, and other officials on the City Council, have a Marxist attitude (whether they know it or not) towards the rich. The rich hoard and accumulate their wealth by exploiting us ordinary folks.

It makes sense to be wary when people ask you for money. Does the man on the street asking passerby for money really need a hot meal, or is it to feed some other nasty habit he doesn’t want to disclose? Are you really going to get a date with the random person on Instagram who contacted you and is asking for just a little help so she/he can buy some music on iTunes?


Most of us have common sense and consider these proposals carefully. Which is why it shocks me that people in Philadelphia, known for our savvy and our “no b.s.” attitude, are falling for the tax on sugary beverages, which is the highest in the country, recently imposed by the Kenney administration.


Left-wing politicians like Mayor Kenney, and other officials on the City Council, have a Marxist attitude (whether they know it or not) towards the rich. The rich hoard and accumulate their wealth by exploiting us ordinary folks.


The gap between the rich and the poor is getting increasingly wider. Add to the mix allegedly “systemic” racism, which, we are told, happens no matter how hard we try to correct it and is a pervasive feature of our institutions, and this “income inequality” issue is utterly toxic!

This is the kind of rhetoric we hear ALL THE TIME. We are never told, incidentally, why income inequality is in itself a problem. So, someone makes $35,000 a year, and someone else is a millionaire. What’s the issue?


So, what is the solution proposed? The solution is that the good guys in government, people like Jim Kenney and his many allies on the City Council, will propose a tax on the rich. They will take some of the money from the rich. And then they will distribute it to the poor. The rich will still be rich, and all the struggling exploited masses will get that extra boost they need to rise up the ladder.


In the case of the sugary beverage tax, the plan was to fund free pre-K with the money collected. Getting kids into pre-K would put them on the path towards better educational outcomes in the long run.


There is a fundamental problem with this sort of reasoning, though. If the rich are supposedly exploitative and bad, then what makes people in government any better? If the rich cannot help themselves from hoarding their money and screwing over the “little guy,” why wouldn’t the people running the government do exactly the same thing?


Let’s sharpen the problem. The supposedly evil rich guy actually has to work to get the money he has. Do business-owners have the power to seize your assets against your will? Does a star athlete force people to pay for a ticket to see him? No!! The business-owner has to work very hard to earn his or her money. They have to develop a product that people like, that people will freely buy.

The government, on the other hand, has all the arsenal of the state at its disposal. It has a police force and a tax collection army. It has prisons and courts. If it levies a tax, and you refuse to pay, it can throw you in prison! Taxes are forcibly taken.


Moreover, the government offers NO product in return. When we buy a ticket to see the star athlete, we get a great product in exchange for our money. We can see the athlete hit homeruns, throw touchdown passes, and lead our team to victory. When we rent a hotel room, we expect a clean, luxurious room, or we go somewhere else!! The government, on the other hand, offers no product. And, if we want to avoid it, we can’t—again, it has prison, courts, police.


It simply offers the promise that it will use your money for the public good.


Now, going back to the original situation of a scam. Let’s say some guy you do not know—a complete stranger—calls you on the phone. He says, “Hey, I have a great idea. If you allow me to collect money from every sale of a sugary drink in the city—it’s only 1.5 cents per ounce, after all—I will use it to fund free pre-K for all!! Can I get your signature on a contract that states that, if you fail to cooperate with this tax, I have the power to fine you and if need be throw you in prison?”


Really?!


We need a government to provide basic services and protection, don’t get me wrong. But, we should not be empowering it beyond this mandate.

The sugary beverage tax is ill-conceived policy on its face. If you tax soda, people will buy less.

The funds for pre-K will dry up. And then the city government will ask for MORE of your money!


And notice how the city government never says it will generate more revenue by managing its money better. It can fund free pre-K if there were not so much waste!


A few months ago, it came out that $33 MILLION dollar was MISSING from the city government revenue. https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2018/04/27/33-million-dollars-philadelphia-taxpayer-money-missing/.


And then, after advertising the beverage tax as “for the kids”, we were told that, oh, by the way, it is going to some other “priorities” of other people in the government:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20160614_Drink_tax_proposal_had_some_sweetners.html


Not to mention that adding a tax to sugary beverages will hurt sales of businesses. This is common sense. Businesses provide jobs that help people escape poverty, and avoid drugs and crime. Ask yourself, would you rather have plenty of job opportunities, or the mere promise of free pre-K from city officials? And, by the way, how many of you went to pre-K? I didn’t. Is it really going to set you up for the Ivy League?


It’s a zero-sum game: higher taxes mean less jobs. And higher taxes hit the so-called little guy the hardest. How is the recent immigrant going to set up a new corner store if he has the city government breathing down his neck?


Many people in Philadelphia are immigrants who came to America because the governments of their countries destroyed it. Look at Venezuela. Look at Cuba. Our Founding Fathers fought a war in part over unfair taxation. These great men and women also had to deal with a Sugar Act: https://www.britannica.com/event/Sugar-Act.

We need to get a healthy suspicion of government overreach back in Philadelphia!


Links:

https://www.convenience.org/Media/Daily/2019/Jan/8/6-Philly-Soda-Tax-Causes-Store-Close_Operations


https://newfoodeconomy.org/sugary-drinks-sales-plummet-philadelphia-soda-tax/


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