When ordinary politicians lie, and the lie blows up in their faces, do they shake their fists to the sky and exclaim, "But it looks so easy when Donald Trump does it!"?
I should call Toni Preckwinkle and ask.
The Cook County soda tax was never about battling obesity or diabetes. Rolled out Aug. 2, the penny-an-ounce tax was met with public outcry stoked by ferocious advertising by the soft drink industry.
The Cook County Board president kept insisting that, rather than a bald cash grab, the tax was instead a basic health measure, like flossing. Your kids are too fat, Preckwinkle told voters, and since you can't keep the little brats from guzzling Mountain Dew, I'm going to help you by picking your pockets.
And to think people objected.
But all those TV commercials, some $5 million worth paid for by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ignored one simple fact, and I wish I had thought to check this a month ago: These taxes don't cut obesity.
Cook County isn't the only fiefdom to attempt this stunt. About five years ago, over in Europe, nanny-state governments made a push to cut obesity. Turns out —who knew? — Europeans are also too fat, just like Americans. So Britain, France and other nations dabbled with jacking up taxes on fats and sugars, closely observed by an army of clipboard-wielding academics.
What did they find?
"The overall impact of a soft drink tax on calorie consumption is likely to be small," concluded "The Effects of A Soft Drink Tax in the UK" published in the May 2015 issue of Health Economics.
To continue reading, click here.