New York state Governor David Paterson is introducing a new 15%  “Obesity Tax” on high-calorie soft drinks. Milk, fruit juices, bottled water and “diet” soft drinks will be exempt from the new tax.

When reached for comment, executives from Coca Cola and Pepsi were quoted as saying:

“that son of a bi#ch Paterson! Who the fu*k does he think he is? Does he really want to go to war with us? If he thought The Sopranos were tough, wait until I get my hands on him, I’ll rip him a new as#h@le! bleep… bleep…bleep

They went on like that for about 20 minutes. Eventually, I just gave up on the interview. And they weren’t the only ones losing it:

  • Noted Fat Acceptance guru Kate Harding had a few choice words on her blog.
  • Right wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh claimed to have predicted this 14 years ago. Must have been when he was hooked on the Oxycontin.
  • Kevin Keane, senior VP-public affairs at the American Beverage Association, said the organization has reached out to New York Gov. David Patterson’s office regarding the proposed tax on full-calorie sodas. “It looks like a money grab. [Mr. Patterson] is trying to grab money anywhere he can find it,” Mr. Keane said. “This is a time when the government, just like families, needs to tighten its belt.” Mr. Keane went on to question the validity of an ‘obesity tax‘ on full-calorie soda, given data that show that obesity rates are rising even as soft-drink sales are flat. He also said the soft-drink industry provides the state with plenty of jobs, including union jobs. PepsiCo is based in Purchase, N.Y., and major bottlers are also based in New York.blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah……

Let’s Recap

  • New York state is having trouble balancing it’s budget. No big surprise. Apparently the U.S. has been in recession for a full year now.
  • Governments raise taxes to increase their revenues.
  • Fat people are an easy target…no pun intended
  • New York city and other various levels of government have already enacted legislation in order to curb obesity.
  • Slapping a tax on a product linked to obesity is a no-brainer in the current political, economic and social environment.

But will it work?

  • cornSoft drink companies are heavily subsidized through their use of HFCS as their main ingredient. So what we have here is one level of government taxing a product and another level of government subsidizing it….SMART
  • Soft drinks are cheap!    If a 2 liter bottle of Coke costs $2.00, the new “fat tax” will add 30 cents to the bill. 30 cents!!! Who can’t come up with another 30 cents? Do they really think that this extra expense is going to cause obese New Yorkers to forgo their purchase of a vanilla Coke?   Hmmm, let’s see, buy that bottle of Pepsi or pay the rent. What to do, what to do…

My Conclusion

This tax is designed to bring more money into the state’s near empty coffers. Period.

It is not going to entice anyone to drink less pop.

It will however, make it easier to add new taxes or even slap bans on other forms of junk food. And won’t that really tick off the fat Acceptance crowd.