Introducing the National Soda Tax

Get this: Rosa DeLauro, the brave and beloved 12-term congresswoman from New Haven, will be introducing a bill in the House of Representatives Wednesday that would require a national tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

And it’s about time. You know the big picture, even if you’ve forgotten the details, so I’m going to spare you the stats about obesity and diabetes that have been reiterated here and elsewhere ad infinitum. (If you want a refresher course, see this.) Suffice it to say that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to obesity and diabetes, and that some form of control is needed. Many sugar-sweetened beverages contain more sugar per bottle than the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit and the Department of Agriculture’s guidelines for sugar. (The Food and Drug Administration has not set standards for sugar consumption.)

The Obama administration made a tiny bit of noise about a soda tax back in 2009, but quickly backed off and has been silent on the subject since. For the last few years, there have been numerous attempts to get a significant (I’d call 10 percent of the price meaningful) tax on soda and other sugary drinks in a variety of cities and states. Berkeley, San Francisco and Illinois all have current initiatives, and, predicts Randy Shaw of the online daily BeyondChron, “Berkeley’s soda tax will pass.”

Read the rest of this column here.

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