With the ringing in of the new year, many cities and states in the republic enacted new laws that became effective on January 1, 2017. Some of the new laws are based on sound common sense while others are restrictive of individual liberty and freedom, basically sanctioning an individual for an activity government has no authority to regulate. The most ridiculous and outrageous of these new laws was enacted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the State of California.
If you live in Philadelphia or are planning a visit, you might want to allocate some extra “cents” to cover the new “sugar tax” on sugary soda. The tax on the sugary sodas amount to one and one-half cents per ounce, equating to 24 cents of sugar tax on a 16-ounce soda. While the industry is challenging the law, the stance they take, according to Susan Nelly of the American Beverage Association, is the tax will hit hardest those who can least afford to pay it. Don’t think that switching to an artificial sweetened soda alternative will allow an individual to skirt the tax — it won’t. What is excluded from the tax is milk, baby formula, drinks that are more than 50 percent fruit juice or vegetable juice, and beverages, such as coffee, where the consumer adds their own sweetener.
These extra taxes on food items are intended on coercing an individual toward more “healthy” alternatives according to some while others claims it is to raise revenue for various programs, including a tax-credit program for business selling healthy alternatives. This “nanny state” interference supposedly is to help “reduce the regressive toll of soda related disease.” Is “soda related diseases” more rampant than “pastry related diseases?” What exactly is defined or identified as a “soda related disease?” And, what about pre-sweetened hot cocoa mix and pre-sweetened powdered drink mixes? It isn’t soda so doesn’t fit the health explanation of “reducing soda related diseases.”
First of all, a “sugary soda” (Pepsi label and Twist label used for information) contains approximately 150 to 220 calories per serving — usually 8 to 16 ounces. In comparison, a Little Debbie Banana Roll has 260 calories per serving, which is one roll. Where is the extra sugar tax on sugary snack foods? Is the consumption of sugary treats and pastry less harmful? What about sugary breakfast cereal and breakfast drinks? Does the premise for taxing just sugary soda lies in the thinking that more people drink those than consume sugary snack foods, sugary breakfast cereal and breakfast drinks? But, it isn’t just sugary soda that is being taxed. Remember, the exclusions are milk, baby formula, drinks containing more than 50 percent fruit or vegetable juice, and beverages where the consumer adds their own sweetener.
But, more importantly, where is the governmental authority to regulate what an individual consumes through implementation of a punitive tax? This is exactly what this tax is all about — punishment. But, no one can definitively declare why the tax is implemented as health advocates say it is to reduce “soda related diseases” (that no one has identified specifically, if there is such a thing other than PKU tested for in infancy) while government officials claim it is to raise additional revenue. Regardless of the reason, the tax is a punitive one sanctioned against one segment of the population (those who consume soda and sugary drinks) and one segment of the food industry (those who produce the products) to fund programs all individuals in the city will have access and benefit — improved parks, recreation centers, and libraries; pre-kindergarten programs; and, community schools.
While true that no health expert ever favors a sugary drink over a more healthy choice, the point is that these “experts” and liberals are using government to punish those who drink a sugary soda or drink in the form of a tax. What comes next — a tax on high salt or sodium content foods to reduce “sodium/salt related diseases?” Once that road is taken, it opens the door for future punitive taxes on foods consumed targeting more and more individuals. The question still remains — what gives government the “right” or authority to influence what you eat or drink through punitive taxes amounting to coercion?
Maybe the city could implement a tax on “oils and butter” that contribute to “circulatory related diseases” as well. For if you are going to target one perceived problem, why not target all others? In fact, why not give tax credits to those individuals who have gym memberships and exercise regularly? It becomes a slippery slope that leads to more and more regulation upon an individual’s liberty and freedom.
While Philadelphia city council member puff their chest in pride at punishing individuals who consume “sugary soda” by implementation of a punitive tax, individuals can get around that tax by refusing to purchase those items in the city, opting to buy in the unincorporated county instead. Moreover, if one has to go to the unincorporated county to satisfy their desire for a “sugary soda,” why not just purchase all other food items needed as well?
Philadelphia isn’t the only area to face some ridiculous laws in the 2017 new year. The State of California has legislated the selling of AR-15 style firearms with removable magazines or ammunition clips as illegal, meaning a ban on these types of firearms. Owners in possession of a firearm of this nature fitting the legislative description will be required to register the firearm. Clearly, this is a violation of the Second Amendment of the Constitution for the united States of America.
In the land of fruits, nuts and flakes, the “wisdom” of the legislators has to revolve around the fallacy that gun control laws work. One only has to look at Chicago, Illinois, to see those laws do not work. Criminals do not obey laws. And, law-abiding citizen owners of these types of firearms who refuse to register them per the new legislation will become criminals. And, how does this State propose to target Mexican drug cartel gang members who are residents to ensure “registration” of these types of firearms? The answer is they have no proposal since the law is not intended to target criminals but law abiding citizens in preparation for gun confiscation. Registration tends to precede confiscation because government has to know where the weapons are before it can commandeer them.
Another good example of failed gun control occurred in the continent nation of Australia. The law resulted in only a 20% compliance rate and a demand for the “forbidden” firearms creating a firearm black market. Criminals have had little difficulty obtaining “illegal” firearms, including automatic weapons. The result has been an 83% increase in firearms offences in certain areas of Australia. As a result of the government action, the continent nation now has an organized crime network dealing in firearms and other goods government tries to keep out of the hands of the public. And, these organized crime groups have established international connections to supply guns to willing buyers. Australia’s current situation regarding gun control sounds similar to the failed prohibition against alcoholic beverages in the united States during the early part of the twentieth century.
While California has started with the AR-15 style weapons ban and registration, how long will it take the legislature to target pump action shotguns, repeating rifles, and other semi-automatic weapons? Again, once the travel down that road begins, it inevitably continues at a faster pace. Once the State knows where all the firearms are through registration and banning, confiscation is sure to follow, leaving firearms in the hands of criminals and creating criminals out of the percentage of the State population that refuses to comply. And, there will be individuals who will not comply because of their support of freedom, liberty, individual God-given rights and the US Constitution.
Despite the acts of the State legislature violating the individual God-given rights of the people to keep and bear arms, recognized and protected by the Second Amendment, the State government of California continues forward along its liberal, progressive, interventionist style of interference, sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong to limit the rights and freedoms of citizens while doing nothing to curb criminals. In the meantime, many California cities operate as sanctuary cities for illegal alien invaders, some of whom belong to dangerous Mexican drug cartels that use semi-automatic, as well as automatic weapons. As US citizen residents of the State of California are abandoned in favor of illegal alien invaders, liberal Democratic supporters of the State government may find their allegiance misspent when it is they who experience problems stemming from folly.
Good luck to those patriots in the City of Brotherly Love, home of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and those patriots in California. You will need it.