Sunday, December 23, 2007

San Francisco Mayor Proposes "Soda Tax" for Big Retailers

City and Country of San Francisco Nanny State SealSan Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced this week that he is looking into a new tax only on big-box retailers that sell drinks sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup. The tax money windfall would generate revenue to expand an anti-obesity initiative.

According to the mayor, soda is the enemy and a tax will fix the problem:

"A small fee on sweetened beverages is an interesting concept which my administration will be exploring in the coming weeks. Beverages sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup are standing in the way of our efforts to combat obesity.

Interesting concept indeed. To us, this whole things seems a bit fishy or at least San Francisco clam-chowdery.

The tax would only be on "big box" retailers, not all retailers of soda. So soda sold by the small local market doesn't have to pay the tax? Only Wal-mart and Target's sodas are bad for you? And soda served in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf tourist areas, already at high prices, must be healthier than others so they don't cause obesity?

And it's only soda sweetened by corn syrup that deserves a tax. What about other sugars used in soda and other high-caloric foods? They must be OK? Even with the same amount of empty calories? Or are they just next on the mayor's tax plan?

Sugar is sugar. Extra calories are extra calories. We all know the truth, even if we don't want to admit it.

Or, in our quest to be politically correct, to point fingers at the real reason for obesity in America: Lack of self-control by most American's in their diet choices and lifestyle; too much food and not enough exercise.

The answers for weight control remain timeless: eat in moderation; gorge on that Ghirardelli chocolate as an infrequent "San Francisco Treat"; include a variety of foods; and, burn up those extra calories with regular exercise.

This tax idea is all wet. Maybe the mayor should claim the Twinkie defense on this illogical idea to generate more revenue for the city's coffers.

The USDA's Nutrition website is a good start for more information on healthy eating. The FDA's Obesity site is also full of sensible facts about weight loss. And information on HFCS can be found on the HFCS Facts site.

Source: Mayor's Office, City of San Francisco

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