We can all agree that global terrorism, income inequality, and climate change are pretty hot topics for this year’s presidential debate. But there is just one issue we’ve apparently missed in our hopes of building a better America – soda.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are currently debating on quite a hefty soda tax proposed in Philadelphia.
According to the NY Post, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney called for a three-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks last month, adding 36 cents to the price of a single can of Coke. Mayor Kenney, a Democrat, believes that the revenue raised from the tax will hit $400 million within the next five years, reports the Daily Caller.
Despite her promises to refrain from raising taxes on the middle class, Clinton was supportive of the tax, telling an audience in Philadelphia that it would be a great way to reduce childhood obesity and fund universal pre-K.
“It starts early with working with families, working with kids, building up community resources — I’m very supportive of the mayor’s proposal to tax soda to get universal preschool for kids,” she said at an event in the city, according to CNN. “I mean, we need universal pre-school. And if that’s a way to do it, that’s how we should do it,” Clinton said.
Sanders fired back at Clinton, claiming that the tax would hinder poorer families.
“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, it should be the people on top who see an increase in their taxes, not low-income and working people,” Sanders said. “Frankly, I am very surprised that Secretary Clinton would support this regressive tax after pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. This proposal clearly violates her pledge. A tax on soda and juice drinks would disproportionately increase taxes on low-income families in Philadelphia.”
Of course, the Bern’s remarks drew fire from Kenney and other Clinton supporters, including Clinton’s 2008 campaign spokesman, Howard Wolfson.
“First gun manufacturers. Now soda industry. Sanders should stop siding with corporations that hurt our kids,” Wolfson wrote on Twitter.
First Bernie sides with gun manufacturers. Now sides with soda industry. Both put kids at risk. https://t.co/EE3ujpjI2B— howard wolfson (@howiewolf) April 22, 2016
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg also voiced his opinion, Tweeting “Great to see @HillaryClinton on the right side in the fight against childhood obesity.”
In 2010, Bloomberg tried to pass a penny-per-ounce tax on soda and failed.
“Today, I’m urging Albany to take one simple step to avert this crisis: Setting a penny-per-ounce tax on heavily sweetened sodas and beverages, and dedicating the revenue to education and Medicaid,” Bloomberg said in a weekly radio address delivered on Sunday, March 7, 2010. “An extra 12 cents on a can of soda would raise nearly $1 billion, allowing us to keep community health services open and teachers in the classroom. And, at the same time, it would help us fight a major problem plaguing our children: obesity.”
Mayor Kenney also put Sanders on blast, claiming critics of his plan were hurting minority children.
“I’m disappointed Sen. Sanders would ignore the interests of thousands of low-income – predominately minority children – and side with greedy beverage corporations who have spent millions in advertising for decades to target low income minority communities,” Kenney said.
[Photo from Pixabay]