I showed my wife the picture and she just laughed. It was a picture from a supermarket in Seattle, showing the cost of a 36 pack of Dr. Pepper. Since she does the shopping at our house, I knew it would say more to her than it did me. The package was marked at $17.55. I scrolled over to the package of Gatorade marked at $26.33. She about swallowed her tongue.
“What is going on out there?” she asked. I zoomed in to show her the details on the price tag. The Dr. Pepper was originally priced at just $9.99, with a $7.56 “City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Recovery Fee” added to it. The Gatorade was originally priced at $15.99, with a $10.34 “City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Recovery Fee” added to it. In case you’re wondering, a “Sweetened Beverage Recovery Fee” is a fancy way of saying “tax.”
“Democrats are what’s going on out there,” I said as I walked away.
I wasn’t trying to be flippant or overly partisan, but it is what it is. And the Democrat Party has to bear the embarrassing weight of the stupid policies they implement. And there’s no question who implemented this one.
Seattle has nine members on their City Council. Eight of them are Democrats, and one calls herself a socialist. The Mayor is also a Democrat. The population of Seattle is overwhelmingly Democrat. In 2016, 84% of the city voted for Hillary Clinton, with Donald Trump barely carrying just 8%.
And this law is prototypical nanny-state liberalism in action. Just listen to those who implemented it:
“I’m just very excited,” said Jim Krieger, who is on the committee for Seattle Healthy Kids Coalition and is the executive director of Health Food America.
“The hope is consumption of the unhealthy product -- which causes heart disease, diabetes -- will go down, the sugary drinks to go down, and we fully expect that to be the case,” Krieger said. The other purpose is tax dollars.
Once again, rather than trusting people to make their own decisions, nanny-staters on the left seek to use the power of government compulsion to force people into choices they see as best for them. Of course, these will be the same voices who will scoff at the notion of using laws to promote other healthier lifestyles.
For instance, ask these Seattle Democrats their view on prohibition. Notice that this beverage tax actually excludes alcoholic drinks. Do we need to compare the health consequences of alcohol dependence with Coca-Cola? And do you suppose that Seattle’s first openly lesbian Mayor that supports this new tax would endorse a city-wide ban on sodomy given its extraordinarily deadly health effects? Or would she deem that an unjustifiable attempt to legislate morality, infringing on personal rights of expression?
Funny how that works, isn’t it?
And as with all of these nanny-state laws, there are the unintended consequences. Consider that Seattle is also the city that just increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour. So simply think this through logically:
What kinds of places typically hire minimum wage, entry level employees? Fast food joints and small restaurants. And on what product do those places typically make their largest profit margin? Sugary beverages like Coke and Pepsi products.
So the genius Seattle city government has just passed a tax that will discourage purchase of an item that provides the profit margins needed by restaurants and fast food establishments in order to pay their now drastically more expensive minimum wage employees. Meaning you can expect to see either layoffs, or at the very least, far fewer entry-level job seekers finding work in Seattle.
There’s never anything quite as damaging as good intentions. And Seattle seems full of them.