The difference between you and me and the filthy wealthy is simple. We don’t think we can lord over other people by lecturing them non-stop about their personal habits.
Leonardo DiCaprio has a carbon footprint rivaling a Third World country with his lavish jet set lifestyle with more conspicuous consumption than a farm worker driving a 1990 Chevy Suburban ever could dream of having. He also wants to burn off the remnants of a couple hundred dinosaurs to be one of the world’s first space tourists but carps on the masses for not being green enough.
Then there are those who are so ticked off at how the unwashed masses are getting pudgy that they make it their life’s work to penalize everyone that doesn’t have personal trainers, nutritionists, gourmet cooks, physicians, and yoga instructors on their personal staff and aren’t as healthy as they are.
Michael Bloomberg — the billionaire poster child of the holier than thou crowd — has pushed efforts to tax soda and other sugary drinks to financially penalize working stiffs for indulging in Coca-Cola instead of sipping Perrier water
When Mexico imposed a tax of just under 10 percent on sugary drinks, the former New York City mayor and sixth wealthiest man in the United States was so giddy he opened his checkbook to help bankroll a public health campaign in that country depicting sugary drinks as the equivalent of poison to coincide with the roll out of the sin tax.
Mexico, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, has 71 percent of its adult population classified as overweight and 32 percent as obese. Right behind them is the United States at 70 percent overweight and 36.5 percent obese. The filthy rich nanny crowd have decided soda is exclusively to blame and not any of the modern conveniences that they have sold or invested money in to make their fortunes
Mexico, which has the highest per capita consumption of soda on earth at 43 gallons, saw soda drinking drop by 8 percent in the first year of the tax.
This delighted politicians who believe in the nanny state. From the Bay Area to Sacramento as well as the East Coast, they have been pushing similar taxes to penalize soda drinkers in this country that come in second for per capita consumption at 31 gallons.
Pundits that embraced the idea government should punish those who failed to adhere to the same personal habits they embrace practically wore out their keyboards typing how Mexico got it right and the United States was backwards.
They argued draconian sin taxes do indeed whip the unenlightened masses that love to chuck-a-lug a Slurpee or indulge in reckless imbibing of sugar laced beverages into line.
Funny how those folks that took to the Internet to celebrate victory over those whose choice of beverage is a 20-ounce Pepsi — instead of a 16 ounce Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino Blended Beverage — are silent this week after news per capita soda consumption is up big time in Mexico.
The comparison of those two drinks is noteworthy given both have 69 grams or sugar or the same you would consume eating 3.5 Twinkies. Yet no one has ever advanced an idea of a “junk food” or “sugary drink” tax on Starbucks. It might have something to do with the elitists who push sin taxes being addicted to Starbucks and similar sugary concoctions that are also pumped up with caffeine — another ingredient that gets slammed for being in soda but not lattes.
After dropping 8 percent in 2014 sales of Coca-Cola are up 5 percent in Mexico while Pepsi volume has surged 11 percent.
Despite the 10 percent sin tax, Mexico is the bright spot for soda purveyors as many other nations including the United States are registering declines without benefit of a consumption penalty.
And now for the telling part of the Mexico sin tax story. The soda sin tax has generated $2 billion during the past 15 months for Mexico’s government. Since it isn’t doing what it was intended to do since it was justified as a way to lower per capita soda consumption — you would think they would consider dropping the tax. Fat chance as there is actual talk among the backers of nanny state government in Mexico to bump up the tax even more.
Maybe the real addiction we should be worried about is government’s addiction to taxes to fill its ever expanding gut of expenditures that create economic health problems for the working and middle classes.
You’ve got to wonder how Bloomberg, DiCaprio and their pals would react to 10 percent sin taxes on filet mignon, wine that starts at $1,000 a bottle, and empty calorie drinks such as dry martinis.
Oh, that’s right. They’re rich. So let’s make the sin tax hurt them like the sin tax on soda would hurt those that have beer tastes on water-from-the-tap budgets. Maybe we need a $10,000 per sip tax on wine costing $1,000 or more a bottle.
Let’s see how billionaire elitists that want government to penalize the rest of us for not drinking what they do like them apples.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.