Hysteria or Hypocrisy?

You pick ’em.  The latest example of irrationality (which is a superset of both hysteria and hypocrisy) comes via V the K at GayPatriot.

Recall that the Progressive-Democratic Party that runs Philadelphia passed a massive sugar tax to be levied against soft drinks sold in the city.  Recall, too, the high school economics teaching that if you raise the price of something, demand for that something falls off.  Finally, recall that applying a tax to that something is the same as raising its price.

The [soda] tax is huge, amounting to a 45% to 100% increase in the final consumer cost of typically affected beverage products.

Last week the other shoe dropped.

Two months into the city’s sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors are reporting a 30% to 50% drop in beverage sales and are planning for layoffs.


One of the city’s largest distributors says it will cut 20% of its workforce in March, and an owner of six ShopRite stores in Philadelphia says he expects to shed 300 workers this spring.

“People are seeing sales decline larger than anything they’ve seen up to this point in the city,” said Alex Baloga, vice president of external relations at the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association.


Sources with Teamsters Local 830 say that layoffs are “imminent” and that some workers have seen their take-home pay drop by 50 to 75% because they’re moving less product.

Restaurants are feeling the pinch, too. Josh Kim, owner of Spot Gourmet Burger, says sugary drink sales at his shop have gone down about 10 to 15%.

Naturally, the Progressive-Democrats, unable to confess to their economic illiteracy (I don’t think they’re economically illiterate, either; these are the party of Know Betters; economics is one of the things they Know Better than us petty commoners), are calling the supermarket and distributor management greedy liars.

We have no way of knowing if their sales figures and predicted job losses are anything more than fear-mongering to prevent this from happening in other cities,” said city spokesman Mike Dunn.

“I didn’t think it was possible for the soda industry to be any greedier,” [Philadelphia Mayor Jim] Kenney said in an emailed statement. “… They are so committed to stopping this tax from spreading to other cities, that they are not only passing the tax they should be paying onto their customer, they are actually willing to threaten working men and women’s jobs rather than marginally reduce their seven figure bonuses.”

Go figure.

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