Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sugary Beverages

I think I speak for the Founding Fathers when I say: Michael Nutter's sugar tax leaves a sour taste

A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but it will cost more to swallow under Mayor Nutter’s proposed tax on sweetened beverages.

Swallow this, Mister Mayor.

Under the plan — toughest of its kind in the country — Philadelphians would pay an extra 2 cents per ounce for all sugar-fueled potables, including soda, ice tea, even chocolate milk!

My fellow citizens, the right to bear syrupy libations without penalty is one of the fundamental building blocks of the Bill of Rights. [SIGNUP]

Think about it. The Boston Tea Party wasn’t just about tea. It was about taxing tea, which as everyone knows tastes disgusting without sugar. And since our Founding Fathers didn’t have access to Sweet ‘N’ Low — it was available only in Mongolia at the time — colonists were actually being taxed for sweetened beverages.

It was un-American then, and it’s un-American now.

The Mayor’s claim that the new tariff will somehow combat obesity is, you should pardon the expression, a pie in the sky. Fat people who drink Coca-Cola by the barrel will do what bargain-seeking consumers of wine and alcohol do … buy it in Jersey.

New Jersey and Coke — Perfect Together.

Philadelphians who do make the switch to artificially sweetened soda may shed some pounds, but in doing so they could face such possible side effects as panic attacks, depression or cancer.

If there’s any logic here, I don’t see it. Let’s say you buy a 12-ounce can of Coke Classic and a package of Butterscotch Krimpets at the Wawa. You’d get taxed on the Coke, but not on the Krimpets, even though the Krimpets have more calories and sugar.

But if you blended the Krimpets in a glass of white milk, would that count as a sweetened beverage? Questions like these will surely give City Council pause. Maybe even a pause that refreshes.

And that is my two cents’ worth.

GAIL SHISTER teaches writing at Penn and is a columnist for Her work appears on The Philly Post every Tuesday and Thursday.