Friday, May 15, 2009

Bring On the Soda Tax!, More Pelosi Nonesense, Our Worst Law

Welcome to the Club, Sugar Junkies
The trial balloon floated from congress regarding imposing a $0.005/ounce tax on high sugar and high corn syrup drinks has caused quite a stir. The theory went that it could help finance universal
health care (let's be clear, it would pay for only a tiny fraction of the total cost) while at the same time discouraging excess soda consumption which has been linked to a host of health problems, including obesity and diabetes.

Conservatives and the soda lobby were in arms immediately. What right does the government have to tell people how to live? How dare they invade personal health decisions like that?

To all of you in shock that your 16 ounce soda might go up by 8 cents, I say, WELCOME TO THE CLUB!

As I covered in an earlier column, tobacco smokers are the most vilified group in this country (okay, child molesters might be ahead, but not by much!) On a pack of cigarettes, smokers pay a $1.01/pack federal excise tax, or about a 50% tax on the untaxed retail price. In addition, the average state tax is $1.15/pack (it's over $2.50/pack in New Jersey!), meaning smokers on average pay an over 100% tax. The proposed soda tax, by contrast, equates to about a 12% add-on to retail soda prices, about the same rate we tax gasoline.

So, I say, bring it on, but don't stop with soda. How about an excise tax on all corn syrup and sugar? We could pay for a lot of health care and encourage healthier diets. Don't like it? Shouldn't have stood silent while smokers got taxed like crazy.

Does Anyone Understand what Pelosi is Saying?
I was never told about waterboarding! Wait, I was told that it was considered legal by the Bush administration, but not that it might be used! Wait, I was told it might be used, but not that it would be used! Wait, the CIA lied to me! Now, where is that private jet?

Does anybody believe the words coming out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is saying? Could she be more transparent with her backtracking?

It is quite obvious to me that she was complicit in the Bush administration's torture of prisoners. Shame on her.

Time for a change at the top in congress.

The Worst Law in the Land
With a Democratic congress and a Democratic President, Gays in the Military is still the law of the land several months later as we continue to fire soldiers and Arabic translators for no crime other than admitting they are gay.

I realize this issue was a sticking point in former President Bill Clinton's first 100 days, but enough is enough. President Obama should immediately halt all prosecutions of military homosexuals and work to reverse the law with all due haste. I realize, the House would have to stop passing resolutions congratulating the anniversary of the American Dental Association for a day (an actual resolution passed this week), but I think the sacrifice is worth it.

I'd like to see some moral leadership from our President here. Gay members of the military deserve more respect than this. And American deserves better than to have useful resources dismissed.

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