Soda tax not so sweet

By Rachael Renz
October 8, 2009

Shannon Keough

If you haven’t already heard the angry cries throughout our nation that our government is causing, let me fill you in. President Barack Obama wants universal health care for our country. This health care plan doesn’t grow on trees, but in fact grows in our wallets. This exquisite universal health care plan has a cost that is estimated at over $1 trillion.

All I can do is picture the Senate and the President thinking of ways to get the American people to pay for such expenses. Why not make our citizens pay a sin tax? Great idea!

But, that isn’t the way our government solves our problems. The Senate Finance Committee thrives on fixing financial problems, one in particular being health care. The committee has calculated that for each 12-ounce drink that is purchased, the purchaser would be charged a tax of three cents.

The only drinks that are going to be taxed are beverages that include sugar, such as sodas and energy drinks. So if you buy a Coca-Cola then you can be expected to pay the extra tax but, if you purchase a Diet Coke you can keep your three pennies!

I feel as though I shouldn’t have to pay a sin tax for a health care program that I do not agree with. Yes, I am aware that it is only three cents per 12-ounce soda but I personally am not willing to spare my money.

Say, for example, that I have a few of my friends and family over for the Monday night football game and I want to provide drinks for my guests. After purchasing my soft drinks, the three cent tax of each drink eventually adds up.

The only part of this plan that I can agree with is that it will benefit people with health issues. The American Chemical Society conducted a research study which showed that soft drinks are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, which contributes to diabetes.

Studies show that this plan will raise about $1.5 billion while simultaneously improving our nation’s health. A spokesperson who represents the American Beverage Association said in a public statement that “the tax would hit poor Americans hardest and would not lower consumption.”

But shouldn’t we have the right to decide what we want to put into our body? I’ll be the first one to tell you that I know people who act ridiculous without soda. You know, the ones who wake up and want soda immediately or go to McDonald’s several times a day to get their favorite sugary drink.

Although I do understand the importance of America’s health problems, I don’t see why everyone should be punished.

Yes, it may taste good, but it’s ruining your body!.It’s perfectly acceptable to drink a can of soda but not several times a day. I firmly believe that people should take responsibility for their actions and not blame it on the unhealthy foods that they are consuming. Yes, the sodas you are consuming contribute to your health issues but you are the one who is deciding to drink them.

I live in America. There are thousands of things out there that are horrible for the human body, but we still do them. People still smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, eat fast food and pollute the earth’s air. Cigarettes are taxed in an outrageous amount and, while the rate of smoking has decreased, people still smoke religiously.

If someone wants to harm their body by excessively drinking a sugar-packed drink then let them do it, and if I want to enjoy a nice sugary cherry Coca-Cola then so be it. In the long run I’d much rather save the money I would be spending on a tax that will pay for universal health care and donate it to a charity.

So, thanks President Obama, the Senate and all of the other associations and programs that are “looking out for us,” but, no thanks.

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Rachael Renz

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