Soda Tax Just For Show, According To GOP Senator

On Monday, Senator Baucus and Senator Grassley released a paper outlining possible sources of revenue to pay for health care reform. Among the several proposals was the idea of imposing new “lifestyle taxes.” One possible “lifestyle tax” would be a new excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Some in the media have dubbed this the “soda tax."

Several news outlets (1, 2, 3, 4) have jumped on the story of a possible “soda tax,” even though there is almost no chance that it will ever be enacted. When Grassley was asked last week if there would be a new tax on soda, he responded with an unequivocal “No.” He explained that the soda tax is only being brought up to “get it shot down early so it doesn't become part of the debate. I don't think it's going to have any legs at all.”

While talk of a “soda tax” might make for good headlines, it is not really news. Its inclusion as one of many possibilities is more about window dressing and less about serious policy debate.

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