Political Cynicism 101

Soda Companies Frame Anti-Childhood Obesity Measure As... Impacting SF Rents?

Election years are meat for political wonks: countless reports on position jockeying, candidates spewing tragically butchered sound bites, the occasional Republican defending rape, poverty blinders, and the endless stream of campaign mailers flowing straight into our recycling bin.  And here we are, eight whole months before we hit the polls and make a marginal impact on the direction our country takes, and mailers are already hitting our mailbox.

What fun! This mailer has such promise. Cost of living! Escalating rents!! Evictions!!!! It even depicts City Hall as drenched in the blood of a thousand puppies horrifically mowed down by Google buses.

For the San Francisco political junkie, the heart-pounding excitement felt by opening this mailer can only be matched by a young boy’s discovering of his first crusty porn stash.  Such suspense!  What is City Hall’s plan?…

The fuck is this?  Sure, I like a good cheap soda as much as the next miserable asshole struggling with control issues, but the mental gymnastics you have to go through to make this a cost of living issue is exhausting.  The horrible details, from this past November:

On Monday, three weeks after Supervisor Scott Wiener unveiled a proposal for a 2-cents-per-ounce sugary beverage tax, Supervisor Eric Mar stepped up to a podium to announce his own tax — and standing next to him was Wiener.

Mar, along with supervisors Malia Cohen and John Avalos, has been working on a soda tax proposal with public health advocates for the past year and said Monday they wanted to put the legislation they have been crafting forward. The two proposals, however, are remarkably similar: Both target sugary-drink distributors, both impose a 2-cents per ounce tax, and both would use the estimated $30 million a year for health and nutrition programs to fight diabetes and other health issues associated with sodas, energy drinks and other sugary drinks.

The mailer is put out by “The American Beverage Association, Member of Stop Unfair Beverage Taxes - Coalition For an Affordable City,” which is just an elegant way of saying “Coke” and “Pepsi,” who are rightfully worried about our concern for children’s obesity affecting stock prices San Francisco’s affordability.  And maybe they have a point: if we stop all those 2 cent taxes, anyone who drinks 195,000 ounces of soda a month will suddenly be able to afford a nice two-bedroom.

Comments (20)

And why not:

#yes. I think the ABA is having a meltdown.

I’m confused.  Is this satire intentional or unintentional?  Did the soda lobby accidentally hire writers from The Onion?

Ugh. And you thought $15 burgers bad… wait til you have to pay $9 for a well rum and coke.

The beverage tax is assinine.

Wait, so a mixed drink has a few ounces of soda in it.  Let’s say you’re getting completely ripped off and there is 5 ounces of soda in it… how is a $0.10 tax going to lead to $9 well rum and cokes?

I’m being a bit hyperbolic but… bars pay for their soda in bulk from a distributor. This new tax is unclear where the tax is happening but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the distributor is taxed and passes that on to the bar. Generally speaking, the accounting isn’t specific enough to differentiate between a few cents here or there. For the sake of simplicity, just assume that the cost is doubled at each step in the supply chain. By the time it reaches your mouth it’s going to be a lot more than $0.02 per ounce.

Weiner - we are voting you out next time. Goodbye.

Ian MacKaye - I am pandering to all the monied interests in the area and bankrolling a run for Sacramento right now. Sorry, but you won’t get a chance to vote me out, ‘cause I’m moving up the political ladder bi’atch.

Good! Don’t let the doar hitchu where the good lord splitchu, trick-ass buster.

Wish Weiner and Mar would focus on issues that, I don’t know, kind of matter right now…

“Overall, 74 percent of voters polled said they would support that sort of health-warning system, including 80 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of independents and 64 percent of Republicans.”

“Still, 67 percent of voters said they support a soda tax with proceeds benefiting school-nutrition and physical-activity programs.”


“A twelve-pack could cost $3 more.”

12-pack of beer? Now i’m listneing.

Bars apparently are really really against this too, makes their mixers more expensive

I actually agree with the front side of the flyer. I mean really? We do have skyrocketing rents. We also have local businesses skating on their taxes and not being required to contribute tangibly to the city per the condition of their tax breaks (CPMC, Twitter et. al.), a local community college struggling financially in part because of stipulations and fees placed on it by City Hall, and the list goes on.

Just like in NYC, and almost anywhere this has been proposed, it is a distraction propped up as a state of emergency caliber issue that must be addressed ‘cus the kids.

Seriously PSA the fuck out the health implications of High Fructose Corn Syrup, maybe pass a pointless directive asking to end the federal and state subsidies (IA, NE, IN,KS) that further its cheap availability, and move the fuck on to real pressing issues in this city.

I’m not sure there’s a name for this argument fallacy, but “there are more important things to address” is not an argument. Whether the soda tax a good idea, or a bad one, it’s an idea that should be addressed on its merits, not on whether it’s the most important thing on the docket. The supes can walk and chew gum at the same time.

It really is a tax on the poor.

So are all consumption taxes, from gas, to booze, to cigarettes. The intent is to discourage consumption of the product. My understanding (I’m no statistician) is that it has worked with cigarettes.

Yeah, too bad we passed that law requiring the poor to drink soda.

You think you’re being funny, but only well-healed folks can really afford ‘to do the right thing’ when it comes to foodz. The poor are pushed to McDonalds’ value menu items to get the 1000 calories that would cost $10 at Bi Rite for $2. The result is obesity, disease, and the associated rising health costs.

heeled. heeleded.

If the tax is meaningless and won’t affect anyone’s behavior then why make it specific to soda?  The whole idea behind Pigouvian taxes is to discourage the taxed behavior.