On the final episode of the BBC series The Men Who Made Us Thin last night we learned about the fierce opposition to a proposed tax of eight per cent on sugary soft drinks. Opposition that was lead by the multi-million pound soft drinks industry that stood to lose out if such a tax was passed.
In much the same way that soft drinks giants pour sugar into their disgusting products, they poured millions into the US cities daring to suggest a tiny tax on overly-sugared drinks. America has this highly admirable system of referendums for states wishing to raise or change taxes. Admirable but only up to a point for what kind of taxpayer ever votes in favour of higher or new taxes?
So needless to say the votes were defeated in every city that tried to bring in the tax. Even an attempt to limit the size of buckets in which these vile drinks are served was defeated in New York.
And what was the argument used over and over in this “debate” – which was, by the way, nothing of the kind. It was black propaganda, pure and simple. This tax is regressive and will hit the poorest the hardest. They will be forced to pay more for their sugar-filled drinks, was the rhetoric used.
No option but to buy sugary colas?
Really? You mean poor people have no option but to buy teeth-rotting obesity-causing sugar-filled soft drinks?
We never had soft drinks when I was growing up – hardly anyone did. Certainly not as a regular part of the family shop. Perhaps very occasionally we’d have a coke but, oh boy, was it a treat!
Since when did soft drinks become a necessary part of a weekly family shop? They aren’t and if it takes taxes to stop the poor from pouring them down their throats then bring it on.
We tax alcohol after all and an excess of sugary soft drinks does as much harm and in much the same way as alcohol, ie it causes fatty tissue to build up around the liver and eventually impede its function.
Still to be fair to the soft drinks industry, the alcohol lobby is just as anxious to ensure its empty-calorie products remain cheap so they can pushed onto the poor.
Multi nationals pushing evil substances have no desire to help the poor. They just want them to keep on buying their sugar-filled water products so shareholders can go on making a handsome profit. And it seems governments are equally as determined to ensure they can carry on peddling product. Governments that think shareholder interests are more important than protecting citizens from harm.
Just say no!
Wouldn’t it be great if consumers, rich and poor, realised they are being sold something that is rotten, evil and entirely unnecessary and stopped buying these disgusting drinks? At least alcohol gets you drunk; all coke does is screw your liver and mess horribly with your blood sugar levels.
Have a great weekend. See you next week.