ShareThis Page

Another soda tax: Philadelphia ignorance

| Saturday, May 14, 2016, 9:00 p.m.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney cannot be any more of an economics ignoramus. He suggests that a proposed city tax on sugary drinks will hit beverage makers, not consumers.

“Let me make this very clear. My proposed sugary beverage tax is a corporate tax — plain and simple,” Mr. Kenney wrote for The Huffington Post. Why, it would be “immoral and completely hypocritical” for big business to pass the tax along to customers, he said.

More's the pity that Philly's leftist mayor isn't grounded in reality: A study by University of California researchers found that up to 70 percent of the soda tax in Berkeley, Calif., is passed along to consumers.

Kenney's tax proposal is projected to add $2.16 to the cost of a six-pack of pop. That's incentive enough for mobile Philly shoppers to buy their soft drinks in nearby New Jersey. So, who'll get tapped the deepest? Most likely low-income residents.

Among beneficiaries of the estimated $400 million in new revenue will be the city's pre-school cheerleaders. Never mind that the benefits of universal pre-school are, at best, mixed, according to a study by the American Enterprise Institute. (Kids in pre-K programs show no significant gains by third grade compared with their non-preschool peers).

But whether it's a tax on soda — or just about anything else — a liberal and his “logic” tend to fizzle like flat soda.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.