Imposing higher taxes on soft drinks is proving to be a universally bad idea. Particularly when portrayed as a so-called "obesity tax." And even more so when some politicians and extreme activists try to compare it with a sin tax, such as smoking.
A new Rasmussen Reports national survey showed that 70 percent of Americans oppose a national tax on all non-diet soft drinks (that would be regular soda.) Only 18 percent supported the idea of an "obesity tax" on regular soda like the one proposed by New York Gov. David Paterson. The results are from a telephone survey of 1,000 adults conducted Jan. 20-21 by respected independent pollster Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. The margin of error is plus/minus 3 percentage points.
Rasmussen certainly isn't alone in his findings. The Report's numbers track with other surveys by Quinnipiac University and Siena College that also show strong opposition to New York’s proposed 18 percent sales tax hike on regular soft drinks.
Bam! There it is! America is speaking up, led by New Yorkers. People don't like the soda tax in New York. They don't like it nationally. And they don't buy the obesity tax excuse for a money grab.
Interestingly, the same Rasmussen Report also showed that while 70 percent of Americans oppose a national tax on soft drinks, nearly the same amount - 62 percent - support a national ban of smoking in public places. Thank goodness for American common sense, which rightfully puts these two products on opposite ends of the spectrum.
And the poll found that only 38 percent of Americans support a complete ban on cell phones while driving - with 58 percent preferring the use of hands-free devices in cars.
So what conclusions can be drawn from this poll's findings?
1. Americans find it ridiculous that in an economy like this, politicians would propose raising taxes on simple products bought and enjoyed by hard-working families. They find the obesity tax "cover" simply lame.
2. Americans find it offensive that government wants to play Nanny and dictate to people what they should consume (beverages) or what products they should use (cell phones).
3. Americans view soft drinks and a killer like smoking in two completely different universes. Bad news for the extremists trying to lump soda pop into a sin tax like tobacco. Good sense triumphs again.
So enough already. Get the message, lawmakers. Lay off the soft drinks and hard-working folks.
Americans are trying to climb out of a tough economic hole. They want lawmakers making that task easier. Not making it harder by adding to their financial burden or telling them how to act.
You listening out there in Massachusetts Gov. Patrick? Arizona lawmakers? New York legislators?
Your constituents seem to be making their views consistently clear across the states.