Here are the claims:
- Americans drink 35 gallons/year of non-diet soda.
- America's obesity epidemic can be traced to soda.
- Obesity costs the public via higher health care spending.
- Soda is "too cheap" because corn subsidies make High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) cheaper.
- New York's budget deficit makes it desirable to find new revenue sources.
So the libertarian argument that people should be allowed to do what they want (1 and 2) is weakened by (3), and taxes (5) are better than a ban (marijuana anyone?) because they still allow people to consume at a higher cost. Is (4) a valid reason to raise taxes on soda? Not really -- it would be better to end subsidies and allow sugar into the US at world prices -- but, as Ben Ho would say, some people think that one stupid idea deserves another...
Bottom Line: If soda is bad for you like cigarettes are bad for you, then tax it.
hattip to DW