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Coke CEO attacks soda tax as a Commie tactic

Posted by on Sep. 16, 2009 at 5:54 PM
  • 2 Replies

Coke CEO attacks soda tax as a Commie tactic

A careful observer of the history of taxation might remind Coca-Cola Co. (KO) chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent that taxes have been used for centuries to create incentives for desired behavior. At a Rotary Club meeting in Atlanta on Monday, Kent employed the alarmist rhetoric reminiscent of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and professional rabblerouser Sarah Palin, calling President Obama's suggestion of a federal tax on soft drinks "outrageous," saying, "I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink. If it worked, the Soviet Union would still be around."But it does work, and the United States is still around. Tariffs (which create incentives to buy U.S.-made goods), "sin taxes" on cigarettes and alcohol, bottle deposits to encourage recycling -- the U.S. is no stranger to this incentive system. We have tax incentives to make charitable donations and to buy a home. It's a rare pundit who would insist that consuming sugary sodas is a good thing for any entity other than a soda company and its shareholders (and perhaps pharmaceutical companies that sell drugs and devices to treat diabetes, heart disease, and other obesity-related conditions.)

The most common argument against soda taxes is the "slippery slope" -- first soda, then sugary snacks, and then they'll come for our Tostitos! -- as espoused by Americans Against Food Taxes (a group funded, of course, by Coke, Pepsi-Cola (PEP), Jack in the Box, and other likeminded food companies). "Families around here are counting pennies to get through this economy," says a sad mom in a TV spot. "So when we hear about another tax, it gets our attention. They say it's only pennies. Well, those pennies add up when you're trying to feed a family."

Naturally, it's left out that any mother seeking to feed her family could probably do so even better were she to leave the "fruit drinks" and sodas out of her shopping cart. No nutritional expert, chef, cafeteria worker, or moderately intelligent second grader actually believes that soda is "food" with any nutritional value. Are you counting pennies? Are you hungry? If you are concerned about how you're going to afford soda, you may not actually have a problem worth writing your congressperson about. And if for families that are, as the press release from Nofoodtaxes.com suggests, "struggling to pay their bills, protect their jobs and keep their homes in a recession," buying soda will not help them do any of these things.

               

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by on Sep. 16, 2009 at 5:54 PM
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SylviaNCali
by Member on Sep. 16, 2009 at 6:03 PM

 I don't like the idea of added taxes. They tax us too much already. If they got rid of the income tax and did sales tax on everything then it would be justifiable. But people getting taxed to death is just not right. When you look at all the taxes that exist, and how more and more were introduced over time, you have to wonder why is it never enough?

mrs_khan07
by Silver Member on Sep. 16, 2009 at 6:35 PM

Ya know, of course I have to question the motives of this guy. Well, not really question it, I know what his motives are. But he has a good point, I hate to say it. I don't like the idea of them trying to control what we buy by adding higher taxes. Let people decide for themselves what is good for them.

Mrs. Khan



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