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Monday, January 9, 2012

Next Portland government "behavior change": soda tax

It's being pushed by one of Opie Sten's old lackeys. Of course, this brings Willamette Week out drooling over it. Just what Portland's economy (if you can call it that) needs right now: another tax. After a while, this place could turn just about any thinking adult into a Republican.

Comments (47)

Geez, it just seems as though there is simply no limit as to what will be taxed next. I drink very few sodas, but it is the concept rather than the cost that will keep me oppposed to such balderdash.

How about an end to federal and state corn farm subsides. HFCS is thought to be a leading cause of obesity and diabetes and is found in almost anything edible made in the US.

....but, but, it's for the children!!!(c)

After awhile you run out of Other People's Money.

What's not to like about a small tax on carbonated sugar water, whiich is a huge contributor to public sickness care costs? It's a 100% avoidable, and easily so, tax. If people cut back on the HFCS, great; if not, they at least defray some of the costs that are sinking us (diabetes especially). And there's always the soda club thing, you can buy an adapter off the internets and use a paintball gun co2 bottle to make your own fizzy drinks, refill the bottle for $5 every 50 liters or so.

We should seek more taxes like this, using the revenue to reduce the taxes on wages and other social goods.

Tax bads, not goods!

The tax is regressive - since food (and consumer goods in general) represent a bigger fraction of the income of the 50%, 70%, 99% and lots of other percentages.

So on those grounds alone, it should be opposed by the thinking Democrat.

But there is a rational economic justification for the tax IF soda is actually unhealthy: The cost to society of medical care is increased directly by soda (diabetes, obesity, people going to the emergency room because they feel oogy). The seller's of the stuff should be the ones paying for the true social costs. This is akin to cigarette taxes or pollution penalties.

It would be better to tax the soda companies directly though, if the intent is to correct a market imperfection and allocate costs where they should be.

If it's just a paternalistic attempt at behavior modification then maybe it is kind of dumb.

It goes beyond adding more cost to an already record setting grocery bag expense. This has the odor of manipulation and social engineering by righteous greenies who have determined our soft drinks to be unhealthy. A more genuine approach may have been to propose a law making sugar illegal.

All consumption taxes on ordinary products are regressive, so what? It's not like we've got a progressive state income tax anyway.

Besides, what the hell does a tax on sugar water have to do with food?

And, yes, not allowing Oregon trail cards to be used for sodas is a great idea. Basically, ot cards should be set so that you can only buy the WIC foods anyway, they tend to be the healthiest, high food value items in the stores.

This will turn put just like the locking up of the spray paint and the plastic bag ban. People will just go someplace else without the tax and the hassle to buy their sugar water....in their cars!
It is too and that the city council cannot do something positive that promotes business development, improves the schools, fixes the roads and bridges, solves the gang problems, addresses the problems of corruption in the city's departments, fights crime, improves the parklands, etc etc etc.....

'We should seek more taxes like this, using the revenue to reduce the taxes on wages and other social goods.'

George what are you smoking?

You really think the political d*****bags around here would add this tax and lower other taxes? If that happens get ready, HELL has frozen over.

Also, this has NOTHING to do with the fact that HFCS may be unhealthy and EVERYTHING to do with another way to suck every dime possible out of the taxpayers.

Go ahead Portland..
And watch me do all my grocery shopping in Clackamas after work ..

George - I'll bite for your soda tax, when you accept that alcohol needs to be taxed at 200% in order to pay for the MASSIVE public safety AND health costs related to the impacts of alcohol use and abuse, such as (but hardly limited to):

1. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in babies
2. Domestic Violence
3. Assaults
4. Thefts
5. Murders
6. Drunken Driving
7. Fatalities as a result of DUI
8. Child Neglect
9. Liver damage
10. Rape
11. Children born to rape victims
12. Foster care for victims of child neglect
13. Property damage caused by drunks

What is the impact of soda?

None. Soda, by itself, won't do a damn thing. It might, in conjunction with many other factors, cause health problems, but many people who are otherwise healthy, fit, slim drink pop with no adverse reaction. But that same young, fit, hip, athletic person might chug an alcoholic drink, get behind the wheel of a car, plow into another car killing three innocent victims.

"After a while, this place could turn just about any thinking adult into a Republican."

Well we're already conservatives trying to fight or leave this nanny town, I don't know if I'd go so far as to say Republican however.

Yeah there's nothing more regressive than a ballot initiative.

Regression has to do with impact on poor people. This is regressive.

It's also another way for people like Sam Adams, Earl Blumenauer, and Erik Sten to tell you how to live.

To begin the transformation of becoming a Republican you must first become a Fiscally Conservative Liberal.

In*******credible.

I agree with the larger context of your point. However, that ***t ain't food.

- ISBP

"The tax is regressive - since food (and consumer goods in general) represent a bigger fraction of the income of the 50%, 70%, 99% and lots of other percentages."

This is what you pay to have really cool, elite dictators in charge.
Portland is so hip. Selling house and moving business ASAP.
Just to square for this hip town.

Erik, no problem with what you propose at all. Like I said, figure out what things cause people to shove their costs onto others (smokes and booze being the preeminent examples) and tax the holy hell out of them.

Let's not tax what we want more of (wages, savings), we should tax instead, as much as possible, what we want less of (pollution, health harming things). Not only are those taxes sensible in terms of forcing users to internalize their costs, but they are efficient ... Instead of billions squandered on tax accountants and lawyers, we pay for public services by taxing a few things that are already closely tracked and counted, as far upstream as possible so that costs are allocated across all users, with minimal administrative costs.

Why you'd never know there was a mouse in your soda: http://gizmodo.com/5872498/why-youd-never-know-there-was-a-mouse-in-your-soda

we should tax instead, as much as possible, what we want less of (pollution, health harming things).

Who'd ever have figured George for a nanny?

Sure, let's tax the hell out of "health-harming things". 48% of your electricity comes from coal and natural gas plants. Go for it, George!

Mumbly "health-harming" power plants....

Sure, let's tax the hell out of "health-harming things". 48% of your electricity comes from coal and natural gas plants. Go for it, George!

Well-done natural gas plants aren't all that dangerous. There's always danger when you're playing with huge forces but it doesn't harm very many people, there's really not any nasty chemicals released, just the CO2 mostly.

If someone came up with a dynamic tax that actually took into account externalized costs (or hell, just DEATHS) and tried to level the playing field by taxing coal at a higher rate compared to something safer, you'd not like that? To me that's just enabling/forcing a market to take into account that corporations don't have trouble going to sleep at night because of the bad things they did. Capitalism is a good system. The government needs to tax somebody for something. Why not try to be choosy about how we do that so as to best obviate the shortcomings of our greed-powered moneytrain?

This actually wouldn't be hard to imagine doing. There are deaths-per-terawatt hour numbers out there that have been worked on pretty hard. IBM has a cool visualizer. Nuclear is among the safest, even with the Fukushima disaster counted in. This may come as a surprise but although 15,000+ people just going about their day died from the Tōhoku tsunami and earthquake, 0 have yet to die from the disaster at Fukushima. The high estimates I can find for predicted cancer deaths are on the magnitude of a thousand. I suspect after not too long we'll need to include those who were pushed to death too soon from the stress. Some people are quite concerned and feel helpless.

We kill 30 humans a year in the US just mining coal, and that's a remarkably low number for us historically (and compared to elsewhere). So far, not so bad, but that's nothing compared to folks we hit every year once we actually fire the stuff up. Tens of thousands a year die from coal pollution. And it's not like you get your class action letter in the mail after you come down with cancer mysteriously because one day in 1989 you inhaled the wrong perfectly unlucky particle and the guilty parties have been identified. These costs truly are externalized and we all pay for it, some more than others. Maybe we'll offload some of this to developing nations with some Job Creating port projects as we ever-so-slowly-and-kinda-not-really phase out coal in the US and look to shovel our shit elsewhere. Unfortunately not even solar is safe — too many people fall off customers' roofs while installing the panels.


Soda - who really cares? That ain't food. Parents that keep their kids stocked up with the garbage can cut back or spare some change here and there to help local kids out. I don't care. Some water would be good for you and your kids, else the programs will appreciate the cash infusion. If you're a grown adult buying the stuff for yourself on a regular basis... why? Seriously it really doesn't taste all that great (I've tried them ALL) and you're just going to give yourself insulin resistance and dental carries. Try a few teas until you find one you like. Or beer. At least that's a better return on your hard-earned cash.

What I'd really like to see the money allocated to is getting our water fluoridated. It's a real shame the weird moms around here are convinced it's an evil plot. You can make up for it by using a high-fluoride mouthwash but too many parents don't heed the warning or just get the fluoride-free Listerine crap. Your kids don't need 40-proof liquor to kill off the bugs in their mouths, they need fluoride to stop carries before they start or reverse ones that are still webby. It's among the greatest public health successes this country has ever seen, and everyone here hates it.

George Anonymuncule Seldes:We should seek more taxes like this, using the revenue to reduce the taxes on wages and other social goods.
JK: Yeah, lets use taxes to dictate behavior.

We could get rid of all harmful activities.
And all alleged harmful activities.
And all undesirable activities.
We could get rid of all activities not officially approved.

Welcome to the new world order of George's dictatorship.

Thanks
JK

Lets tax sodas, tobacco tax works so well.
The tobacco program is a low-cost, efficient program that combines price supports with production control. Farmers are not directly subsidized, they are assured a fair market price by the government for their hard work.

* 1999's $8.7 billion emergency agriculture aid package included $328 million to compensate tobacco growers for declining cigarette sales.

If someone came up with a dynamic tax that actually took into account externalized costs (or hell, just DEATHS) and tried to level the playing field by taxing coal at a higher rate compared to something safer, you'd not like that?

This is such a ridiculous argument. How about offsetting that for how many people are kept alive by heating or cooling their homes, or working a job supported in industry dependent on coal fired electrical generation? If you did that calculation you wouldn't tax -- you would pay power companies to burn coal.

If the initiative makes the ballot, soda makers and grocers will spend millions (and millions) to defeat the measure at the polls.

Can't wait until they start taxing everyone of us, man, woman and child for exhaling that deadly CO2; because afterall you/we are exhaling a deadly gas (global warming don't ya know). While we know you really can't stop breathing, at least we can make you pay for the damage that you are doing to the enviroment, the world. You should be ashamed that you are alive.

Sheesh, these people are idiots of a higher degree. Just when you think you've seen the really, really stupid idiots, nope, they keep coming up with the next dumb idea - and this is it (and I don't drink soda at all).

For the posters here that welcome the tax, did you read the WW article and see the comment below that showed non sugar added apple juice and orange juice containing as much sugar as pop, but have more calories? So why do they think that only pop is a cause for obesity and diabetes? How about taxing V8 it contains about 25% sodium? Aren’t the tax pushers also the ones that wanted to replace pop with the juices in school vending machines? There is a definite problem here with the reactionary left, they don’t stop to think, or do research about their involvements. The same personalities would be involved in the Spanish Inquisition of yesteryear. In other words believe our mantra or we will make you believe it.

Basically, ot cards should be set so that you can only buy the WIC foods anyway, they tend to be the healthiest, high food value items in the stores.

Yeah, because we wouldn't want poor people eating meat, right? Or using spices. Or consuming any canned goods. Or - god forbid! - brown eggs.

John Benton- They replaced regular soda with diet soda in my son's school. Now the kids are drinking all the lovely chemicals in the diet drinks rather than that horrible sugar. That's progress!

"Let's not tax what we want more of (wages, savings), we should tax instead, as much as possible, what we want less of (pollution, health harming things)."

Actually, I don't disagree with George, however, govt will always lean towards taxing anything they can. This bozo thinks he wants less soda.

However, govt being govt, explain to me an income tax with that logic.

More control from city hall on the choices and lives of Portland citizens. How about the radical notion of taking social policy out of taxes? SImple flat taxes is what's fairest and allows the most liberty.

(oh, and Oregon Trail cards should not pay for pop. If you're asking other citizens for food money then it should be tightly regulated. Don't like the regulations then find a way to pay your own way in life. Its two different standards People deciding how to spend their own money should be left alone from government in large measure. Oregon Trail card holders (aka welfare recipients) are spending money earned by other citizens and forcibly taken by the government's taxing power and given to them.)

They will eventually go further. I propose a commission like the OLCC to regulate soda. We could have soda stores. Hell, make soda illegal to people under 21.

This is SOOOO SILLY! I wonder if you people are aware that in Nevada we have NO DEPOSITS of any kind on beverages. And sodas are not taxed, just like most foods.
Yet despite having no deposits of any kind on any non-alcoholic drinks the roads are every bit as clean as in Oregon; and the retail cost of sodas and other drinks is much lower as well.
And didn't these soda nazis ever hear of that option called making your own choices instead of having your lifestyle dictated to you?
One last thing, if the dummies that are
proposing this tax don't think there will be a well funded oppostion campaign from the major soda makers and supermarlet chains; they truly are clueless..

I have no problem reducing the amount of money available to government fools by taxing things you hope people will use less of. I also like reducing stability of the tax base because it ties up those same government fools solving the same problem over and over instead of getting into new mischief.

Although if we could just figure out a way to tax pretentious hypocrisy all government funding problems would go away permanently.

Yet despite having no deposits of any kind on any non-alcoholic drinks the roads are every bit as clean as in Oregon [discussing Nevada]

That's not true at all. I was born in Nevada and grew up there. I've made the drive on US 95 between Las Vegas and Reno more times than I can count. I suggest you try it if you haven't. Watch the side of the highway: every square foot of those 450 miles is littered with broken glass, cans, etc. I was amazed when I first came to Oregon at how clean the roadsides were.

Aaron said: "If you're a grown adult buying the stuff for yourself on a regular basis... why? Seriously it really doesn't taste all that great (I've tried them ALL) and you're just going to give yourself insulin resistance and dental carries. Try a few teas until you find one you like. Or beer. At least that's a better return on your hard-earned cash."

Hey, Aaron, I'm going to make sure and run all of my beverage purchases by you from now on because you obviously know what tastes good, right? My Mountain Dew doesn't taste all that great...? I wish you had told me a few years ago!

And, FYI, some people think beer tastes horrible. They also think alcohol leads to more societal problems than soda. I'll have them come run their purchasing decisions by you later this week so you can tell them what *good* people buy. Cool?

Boycat: Actually I did drive US 95 in October and did NOT notice any more litter than I found on Oregon Highway 31 and 97.
Oh - and over the Thanksgiving holiday we traveled on I-5 which was a pigsty with litter from Wilsonville to Salem.

I'm all for it. A good way of letting others finance the government for me — kind of like the lottery.

I eagerly await the new "truth.com" ads talking about the evils of soda pop.

On the deposit thing: I think we've all already learned the importance of recycling, and with the way that can/bottle returns have become so onerous with the perpetually-broken machines, I am all for abolishing the deposit.

As far as the soda tax goes (on top of the deposit), it's just yet another attempt at lunacy from the regime here. Just when you think they can't get any more ridiculous, they exceed it handily.

John Benton wrote: "For the posters here that welcome the tax, did you read the WW article and see the comment below that showed non sugar added apple juice and orange juice containing as much sugar as pop, but have more calories?"

With soda, sugar isn't the villain, it's high fructose corn syrup. The body processes high fructose corn syrup differently than cane or beet sugar, and alters the way metabolic-regulating hormones function. It causes the liver to move more fat into the bloodstream, and tricks your body into eating more and storing more fat. Sugar doesn't do this. High fructose corn syrup is, as a result, suspected as a major cause of the obesity epidemic.

I wouldn't mind the obesity parade if we weren't all paying for it in one way or another and we are -- through disease, death, health costs and subsidies for growers producing the massive amounts of monoculture corn necessary to create HFCS.

More do-gooder posturing by politicians.

NW Portlander:

Chemicals are chemicals; sugar is sugar, what ever you think it is the same process the body uses to metabolize. You have been duped by the uber lefties, would you like to buy a bridge, I will sell you the Hawthorne for five bucks.

Sure lets slap a tax on things we want to discourage.
Selling the idea to voters with grandiose plans of doing good works with the revenue.
Then, a decade or two later find that you have in fact discouraged the activity and your revenue is declining..
Oh what to do ?
Why you raise the tax....
And revenue declines more with each hike..
Until your "Good Works" are in danger of being cut due to lack of funds..
Oh what to do ?
Why you identify a new evil and TAX IT !

Well, we've proved that there is no possible tax that pleases everyone, and social engineering only occurs if you try to be thoughtful and tax things that lead to high externalities, but it's not social engineering to tax capital and currency speculation more lightly than wages, nor is it social engineering to tax capital gains more lightly than wages, or all millions in inherited wealth to be gained with no tax at all, no its only do-goodering when you suggest trying to align taxes to social costs.


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Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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