By Nathan Barton
This has been going on for some time. Just a couple of days ago it was in the news again, specifically US News (and World Report) tells us that Pepsi distributors are laying off 80 to 100 workers. It had been known to be coming. One of the city’s largest beverage distributors had said in February that it was cutting 20% of its workforce in March, and one of the big grocery chains will drop 300 jobs. Worse, most of those jobs will probably move OUTSIDE the city to the now-booming stores in the ‘burbs.
So now we see a big-city soda pop tax is both cratering the city budget… and killing jobs.
Two months ago, Philadelphia imposed a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on both sugary and sugar-free beverages to fund schools and parks. So supermarkets are reporting a drop in sales of up to 50% as city shoppers venture into the suburbs. The city expected to generate $7.6 million a month with the tax, but January’s take is only $2.3 million. And this doesn’t include the drop in sales tax revenue on everything else that people bought in supermarkets. If you are going to pay an extra 18 cents on a 12-ounce can of store-brand soda that probably only sells for 3 bucks a 12 pack (that is 25 cents a can), you aren’t going to make ONE trip to a store to buy eggs, milk, bread and soup, then go to another store (probably much further away) to buy soda. So probably for every can of soda that did NOT sell, you probably also lost the 10 cents per dollar sales tax on another 10 bucks in groceries. And lets not even think about going to a convenience store to buy a 24- or 36- or 44-ounce cup of soda, and filling up with 8 gallons of $2.25 fuel – or the two candy bars (another two bucks) and the taxes lost to City Hall from THAT quick trip to Trenton or some suburb. (Of course, the “new” money for the schools and parks is already spent.)
Fortunately, Philly has smart people in office. Mayor Jim Kenney says the tax was a monumental mistake, and he’ll push the city council to repeal it as quickly as possible.
WRONG (sarcasm alert). Dumb as rocks. We were just kidding… He’s blaming business for his predicament.
The New York Daily News crows over his stupidity. The Democrat mayor told the Inquirer he doesn’t think it’s possible for the industry “to be any greedier.” “They are so committed to stopping this tax from spreading to other cities, that they are not only passing the tax they should be paying onto their customer, they are actually willing to threaten working men and women’s jobs rather than marginally reduce their seven-figure bonuses,” Kenney said.
But never fear, the people (stupid shubs that we are) will “get over the sticker shock” and keep right on buying soda to pay the salaries of a couple thousand more parasites – excuse me, pre-school teachers, at $100K per year, probably three times what the per capita income of a denizen (or in-house victim) of the City of Brotherly Love.
Sadly, that may actually be the case. People are willing to put up with an amazing amount of abuse. That is what liberty is all about, though, letting people buy and sell what they want, even if they are stupid about what they buy and sell – provided that they don’t commit aggression against someone else. Sure, maybe some of us drink too many soft drinks, but we aren’t forcing anyone else to do it. And it certainly isn’t a case of second-hand smoke or drunken driving. But the powers-that-be in Philly are just too stupid to see that.
Once more, we have an example of the stupidity of government, and its inability to do anything right. A reminder that it is NOT about caring for people or helping people. It is about the power. In fact, it is more about the power than about the money.
Mama’s Note: So much of this is driven by the power to manipulate the emotions of the taxpayers. It works like this: The people are told that the taxes (so many of them!) are required to fund/save the schools, to give their children a good education… and anyone who is against that is considered a monster of some sort. You wouldn’t want anyone to think you were against education, would you? And so, a good number of otherwise responsible people actually vote for this sort of thing. Again and again! The state of Wyoming just managed to pass a budget, with some cuts to certain departments. But did they cut any of the bloated and obscene spending on “schools?” Not a penny. Our population is shrinking, due to the loss of coal production and the usual boom/bust cycle, but they are eager to build more of the government indoctrination centers they call “schools.” Insane.