Jonathan Zimmerman: Soda Tax Foes Reek of TobaccoRoundup: Historians' Take
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history at New York University and lives in Narberth. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory" (Yale University Press). He can be reached at email@example.com.
Taxes won't reduce consumption. They violate Americans' "right to choose." And they put a disproportionate burden on racial minorities.
Those were the claims deployed by the beverage industry to defeat proposed soda taxes in Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011. They also surfaced during the past election season in California, where two cities rejected taxes on sugary soft drinks.
But the forefather of these arguments is the cigarette industry, which used almost exactly the same rhetoric for a half-century to resist taxation and regulation. The cigarette companies were wrong then - just as the soda apologists are wrong now.
Consider Philadelphia's recent good news on smoking, which has plummeted 15 percent since 2008. Smoking rates declined across the country as well. The main reason is - you guessed it - higher taxes on cigarettes....
comments powered by Disqus
- Trump Angled for Soviet Posting In the 1980s
- Places That Are Actually Worth Visiting
- JFK’s last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht
- Bozeman schools prefer kids in class on MLK Day
- Universities across the country are facing up to their past association with slavery
- Historian David Kaiser says the most exciting day of his life was JFK’s election
- Michael Bliss, Historian Who Dispelled Myths of Insulin’s Discovery, Dies at 76
- Jill Lepore: Americans Aren't Just Divided Politically, They're Divided Over History Too
- AHA joins protest of Trump’s plan for drastic cuts to the NEH
- Diane Ravitch says the Democrats paved the way for the education secretary's efforts to privatize our public schools