- “American Beauty,” jpeg, 2009
I’m all for embattled Governor Paterson’s proposed billion-dollar taxation of sugary drinks: the health problems from obesity cost us all a shit-ton of money, and if a so-called Fat Tax is what we need to discourage people from consuming massive volumes of useless calories, so be it. Of course, freedom-loving US-Americans are already angry about having their sugary drink freedoms curtailed, so they’ll probably be even more pissed about a new wrinkle in the proposal: you see, the proposed tax would be levied based on a “penny per ounce” formula, a measure of the total liquid consumed. This means your powdered drinks—Kool-Aid, assorted “fruit” drinks, Gatorade—would nearly double in price.
“Advocates” for the poor (by which I mean politicians who want to get elected in poorer districts) like Assemblyman Michael Benjamin (D-Bronx), had this to say to the NY Post:
People who are poor or working class tend to drink the powdered stuff because it goes a lot further than bottled or can drinks.
You know what, fuck that. Though true, the above statement begins from the deeply flawed notion that sugary drinks are some kind of right. Well, they’re not: junk food is a vice, and it affects more than just the user. The idea that depriving the mythical “working class” of cheap access to useless calories is just more big, bad government intervention is horseshit. And you know what? This particular government intervention is just trying to correct for the massive government intervention of the last 40 years that has made high-fructose corn syrup the single largest refined food commodity in America—a commodity that has made us the fattest people in the known universe. (And by us, I mean you.)