Soda Tax Fizzles as Support Sours

According to the Chicago Tribune, “The soft drink industry has worked to smother a proposal to tax sugared beverages, a plan advocates said would have reduced obesity and helped finance health care reform.”

“Only months ago, supporters of the soda tax saw it as an idea whose hour was near. The sheer magnitude of the medical cost of obesity added urgency to the issue: Being overweight is so widespread and so closely tied to diabetes, heart disease and other health problems that this generation of young people may be the first in the U.S. to live shorter lives than their parents. But opponents questioned any link between sugary drinks and obesity, and expressed concern about a slippery slope of taxes on other products. Proponents, meanwhile, thought a tax that drove down consumption while raising money for health care seemed like a natural with Democrats controlling Congress. The White House has dismissed the idea, however, even after President Barack Obama had expressed interest last summer. A key congressional committee, though initially seeming receptive, ended up refusing to consider it. Several minority advocacy groups, including some committed to fighting obesity, lined up against the tax after years of receiving financial support from the industry.”