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Unformatted text preview: Related Economix Blog: The Cost of Fat (May 20, 2009) ECONOMIC SCENE The Battle Over Taxing Soda Change in price of items since 1978 , relative to overall inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The price of carbonated drinks, for example, has fallen 34 percent relative to all other prices. By DAVID LEONHARDT Published: May 18, 2010 WASHINGTON The classic way for lobbyists to defend their clients interest is to insist that they are not actually defending their clients interest. Really, they say, they are just looking out for ordinary Americans. Tobacco lobbyists spent years fighting regulation by claiming to be defending individual freedom, not the profits of tobacco companies. Detroits lobbyists did much the same to push back against seat belt and pollution laws. Wall Street has spent months opposing the financial regulation bill in the name of families and small businesses. The latest example comes from Coca-Cola , PepsiCo and the rest of the soda industry, which is trying to defeat a soda tax now before the District of Columbia Council. The industry has succeeded recently in beating back similar taxes in New York and Philadelphia , and in keeping one out of the federal health overhaul bill. But the Washington Council seems to be seriously considering a penny-per-ounce tax on nondiet sodas, energy drinks and artificial juices. Council members are set to vote on the issue next week. This soda debate is probably going to be around for some time. Cities and counties, desperate to find money to pay for schools and roads, are starting to see a soda tax as a way to raise revenue. The tax also appears to be one of the most promising ways to attack obesity , given the huge role sugary drinks play in the epidemic. Its wrong for the government to stand idle in the face of an epidemic of obesity thats hurting the quality of life and the health of our residents, says Mary Cheh , the Council member who has proposed the tax, when we have policy choices in front of us that can materially affect the problem. RECOMMEND...
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