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The Proposed Soda Tax: The Poor and Middle Class Pay the Price Essay

Why must the poor and middle class suffer whenever money is needed to fund some programs or fix the deficit? People are stripped to the bone already, what with the Enron scandal and Bernie Madoff making off with millions of citizens savings. Now the poor and middle class people of this great nation are being called upon once again, to give more of the nothing that they already don’t have for a Soda Tax. A tax that health officials and their government counterparts would hope to put an end to high health care cost and obesity in children. There seems to be no limit to the control the government already has over its citizens or is this smoke screen to exert more control over our lives for the things that we as a people enjoy. Surely the government and the powers that be can come up with some other strategy to help with the fiscal crisis than a Soda Tax.

“An 18 percent sales tax on soft drinks and other sugary beverages to help raise $400 million a year to plug a hole in the state budget… “(Krisof). Are there no other means of revenue beside the middle class and the poor? What about the rich and wealthy? When do they come out of their pocket? Only for the special interest groups who lobby their desires. Families are struggling every day to make ends meet. The proposed tax has “cities and counties desperate to find money…” (Leonhardt) to help fund services like education, healthcare, senior programs, daycare centers and recreational facilities. Lest we forget the troubles of the past two years, bailouts of banks and companies that have help raise our debt ceiling to numbers most of us can’t even pronounce. This soda tax would surely hurt “the hard working, low and middle income families” (Leonhardt).

It’s just a get it fixed quick scheme that health officials and politicians need to finance their proposed cuts “ultimately the government needs to raise more money to cover the deficit” (Brownstein). Health officials believe that the Soda Tax would make soda inaccessible to young children. This tax would raise the price of sugary soft drinks that parents sometimes buy their children, what with the higher cost that the local grocer or supermarket would place on the consumer; officials believe this would help to control the weight problem that is seen in so many communities among children. The New England Journal of Medicine believes” a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks will reduce consumption” (Brownstein). What about the parents of these children, have they no moral undertaking in policing what their children consume. I believe that all parents want the best for their children, but can’t afford the best of food and drinks at times.

Pricing for food that is nutritious can be expensive (Stolberg). I will admit that there is a problem with young children being obese. But I think the best use for the money from the Soda Tax would be to fund educational seminars and programs for parents and care givers on proper nutritional foods and drinks. Education is the key to changing the mindset of parents to pick healthier choices for their children. Are we really becoming that totalitarian society that is depicted in George Orwell’s book” 1984” where we go about our daily lives dictated by an unseen government that handles us like robots being programmed what to do, when to do it and how it is to be done. Clearly this Soda Tax is just another attempt for the government to control the masses under the false impression that they really care about your health.

“For the first time there is the appearance of a strong and consistent message coming from the very highest levels of government,” as stated by Dr. Ludwig director of optimal weight for life program” (Stolberg). For decades soda has been pimped to consumers as being tasty, thirst quenching and they’ve even recommended it with certain meals such as Burger King and McDonalds. Now that childhood obesity has “tripled over the last three decades” health officials and politicians are hard presses to take a stand (Stolberg). Sadly that stand will fall on the backs of the low income and middle class families. The debate on whether or not to tax sugary soft drinks is far from over. Funding for programs to combat obesity will have to come from other sources such as fund raising, telethons, state and federal aid.

The median income and low income people of this nation can no longer balance the budgets on their backs, nor should they be coerced through taxation to curb their sweet appetite. Doesn’t that “cross a fundamental line of liberty” for the leaders of this state to impose upon the people? (Saletan). Instead health officials and political leaders should help parents through education to incorporate healthy choices of food, drink and regular exercise to help curb obesity in children. Create programs that will lead to a healthier lifestyle. Let’s get children back to doing the things kids are suppose to be doing, playing sports, swimming, running, jumping that’s the kind of taxing that makes sense.

Works Cited

Brownstein, Joseph;” Public Health Leaders Propose Soda Tax” ABC News/Health (2009). Krisof, Nicholas D. “Taxing Sugary Drinks Will Reduce Obesity” The New York Times (2010). Leonhardt, David; “The Battle Over Taxing Soda” The New York Times (2010). Saletan, William; “ Sweet Surrender: Taxing Soda To Make You Stop Drinking It” Gale Opposing View Points In Contrast” (2010) Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. “Childhood Obesity Battle Taken Up By First Lady” The New York Times (2010).


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