One of the great parts about being a real grown-up boy, beyond saying up as late as I want (which isn’t that damn late any more) is the ability to eat and drink what I want, when I want. Outside my primary care physician, no one gets to give me crap about what I eat.
As a responsible adult, I like it that way.
Then again, I don’t live in the District of Columbia, which may enact a new 15 cents per ounce tax on sugary drinks, such as sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks. Presumably, the big vat of desert you get at Starbuck’s that also includes seven drops of coffee isn’t part of this utopian plan to end all bad things in the nation’s capital.
The surcharge, which would be directly applied to the cost of the drinks, presumably as opposed to being added at the register. (That way it’s not the city government gouging you, it’s the soda company or the store.) It would add $2 to a twelve-pack of sodas.
The tax’s sponsor, council member Mary Cheh, calls it the Nutrition Equity Bill because…I don’t know exactly. I’m not sure how it’s equitable for people with money to jump in a car and drive to Maryland or Virginia to save money on their fix while people who can’t afford that are stuck paying more.
The goal is to reduce obesity and diabeetus, especially among lower-income neighborhoods, which have higher rates of both.
In council member Cheh’s world, it’s okay to extort money from poor people for drinking soda. Beyond that world, it’s not okay to have a conversation about obesity and diabetes, because of hurt feelings and body shaming. While it’s okay for Meagan Trainor to trash skinny bitches (it’s all about that base) and that’s okay, we all have to say Lizzo’s body is absolutely perfect the way it is and there’s nothing she might need to improve for health purposes.
In summary, there’s no problem that can’t be solved by adding to the city’s tax revenue.
What council member Cheh doesn’t take into account is the law of unintended consequences. People who aren’t inclined to eat veggies and tofu won’t start because you made their Coke fix more expensive. They’ll:
- Figure out a way to get it from Maryland or Virginia, or
- Switch to diet, which has its own host of health issues, or
- Buy it on the newly established Mountain Dew black market, or
- Cut back on the small amount of healthful food they do eat so there’s money for the Cokes.
The money raised by the taxes will fund a program by which the District’s homeless shelters would be required to serve urban camping enthusiasts (the homeless) healthier meals because the only thing standing between them and health is the option of having riced cauliflower at the soup kitchen.
Some of the money will also be used for grants to support nutrition education, cooking lessons, and gardens at shelters and transitional housing.
Meanwhile, the evil capitalist oppressors (that is, taxpayers) will get all sugared up on their vanilla latte mochaccino belt buster while they run to the suburbs for a 19,000 calorie lunch of bacon-wrapped chicken strips fried in lard with a vat of Coke that would cost $12 million if it were served in the District.
Or we could start raising children that could be coached on healthful habits and the understanding that while Krispy Kreme’s are fun once in a while, the Krispy Kreme Diet will make you look like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow man, and raise Wilford Brimley from the grave.