Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, sang Mary Poppins.
Just a tax on each spoonful of sugar helps the revenue go up, sings Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut Democrat.
Those two will never be confused with each other. Mary Poppins was never part of the food police. But Mrs. DeLauro is.
A penny tax on every spoonful of sugar in beverages will save us from ourselves, according to Mrs. DeLauro's newly filed legislation. Her proposed "SWEET Tax" would be a dime on a can of soda, 16 cents on a 20-ounce beverage. Sports drinks, sweet tea and other drinks would be hit also.
The money would be poured into programs to combat diabetes, tooth decay and similar noble efforts to save us from ourselves. Some estimates say it would be $2 billion a year. The tax would be adjusted upward with inflation.
Mrs. DeLauro and her coalition are thinking of smaller waistlines but they're also thinking too small.
Why stop at sugary sodas? Why stop at liquids? If this is a war on gluttony, why not a solid effort that we can sink our teeth into? They could also tax ice cream, cakes, cookies, pies, pastries and, of course, Twinkies.
Then they could expand the tax from sugar to carbohydrates and finally to fat itself. Potato growers would be hot -- positively baked. The cattlemen would stampede in protest.
To counter all counter-attacks, remember the jobs aspect: Hiring more food police is a major jobs program. This is stimulus. Spoon-ready jobs.
Good progressives must also consider the class-warfare aspects. Several studies show obesity is higher among poor people, but it's politically incorrect to mention this. The disparate class impact screams out for balance; special affirmative action is needed.
Obviously it's unfair that rich people could pay sugar taxes and keep on eating whatever they like. So to assure they don't keep consuming sugar and grow fat, a companion program could require the rich (adjusted gross incomes over $100,000 a year) to run at least five miles a day. Preferably while carrying a big bag of rocks.
Next we could mandate what Japan does: Measure people's waistlines each year and punish those whose bellies are too big. Japan only measures people ages 40 to 75, but America could adjust the target group according to age, income, or tea party affiliation. Presumably Japan exempts sumo wrestlers, so we could exempt Al Gore, his green energy crowd that fattens on taxpayer subsidies, plus the Save the Whales movement. Let them enjoy their corpulence.
The American left is resilient; they didn't quit just because the courts halted the soda size limits promoted by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Their attacks continue on sugar, sodium, transfats and, of course, tobacco. Yet the left struggles with consistency: Their public health efforts won't touch marijuana and they're inconsistent about letting junk foods be purchased with food stamps.
Their we'll-force-you-to-be-healthy philosophy is their proof that Uncle Sam really does love us. It doesn't stop with the proposed "SWEET Tax" on sugary beverages. The love is also demonstrated by the food police now descending on schools at the urging of First Lady Michelle Obama. As she told us in one Obamacare commercial, "We nag you because we love you."
Here's the key: They claim diets must be restricted to control costs because government now pays for most health care. Americans are learning that government-run health care directly leads to loss of personal freedom.