In one of the most laughable failures of a Democrat Party initiative we’ve seen in some time, Cook County in Illinois – the home to Chicago – will repeal its tax on soda this week, bringing this experiment in nanny-statism to an end after only two short months.
According to the Washington Post, the soda tax was doomed to failure from the beginning, when several legal challenges, implementation gaffes, and heated public debate showed why it’s usually a bad idea for the government to go meddling around in the free market without a damn good reason to do so. Cognizant of the growing public pressure to get rid of the tax, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted 15-1 this week to roll back their earlier decision and lift the tax by December.
Critics say the collapse of the Cook County tax is proof the national soda tax movement is losing its momentum.
“It doesn’t matter if you tax tea or sugar,” said Commissioner Richard Boykin, who represents the West Side of Chicago, referencing the run-up to the Revolutionary War. “Eventually people say ‘enough is enough.’”
The question now — for soda tax critics and supporters alike — is whether Cook County’s failed soda tax is a sign of things to come in other jurisdictions. While the battle was ostensibly fought by state and country groups, it’s well-acknowledged on both sides that local soda tax skirmishes are essentially proxy wars between the national soda industry and well-monied public health groups.
Well, we’re not sure we agree with that phrasing, precisely. While it’s true that the soda industry spent a lot of money trying to fight this and similar forms of the tax, that’s to be expected when it’s their product being villainized by greedy liberal Democrats. That doesn’t mean this is a fight simply between doctors and Big Soda. If city councils decided to target energy drinks, chewing gum, candy bars, or red meat, you can be sure that advocates from those industries would be on the front lines of the fight.
The form of the fight isn’t as important as the crux of the issue, which is that Democrats need to stop punishing consumers for their purchases. And they need to stop looking for ways to raise revenue without the consent of the governed.