Commonwealth Club Forum on Prop E

Hi Aubrey, Starchild, Francoise, and All,

Thank you to Starchild for landing an appearance on behalf of LPSF's position on Proposition E at the Commonwealth Club. As far as I know, this is a first for LPSF!

The way I understand it Scott Wiener will be on the pro side -- a pretty smart guy and true believer who is not at all interested in our principles.

However, I have a question. Aubrey said he understood that Wiener's argument at the Junior League forum was that the consumer will not get sticker shock because the tax will be charged at the cash register, and not show as the price of the sugar-sweetened beverage. But, I thought the tax is on distributors, so how does Wiener's statement make any sense? Also, if that is Wiener's idea, then the objective is not to reduce consumption but increase bureaucratic programs?

Anyway, the proposition itself is not clear to me. Besides the "statistics" the proposition quotes are downright ridiculous anyway. Those foolish statistics are what I concentrated on the website and the African American Democratic Club. But the idea that Aubrey mentioned sounds so much juicier.

Marcy

Marcy,

  I don't believe Supervisor Wiener said the tax will be charged at the register; at least I don't recall him saying that. I recall him saying it will be charged to distributors, and the young woman from the Junior League working on the No on E campaign who presented the opposing argument agreeing. She said the city government had little choice but to use that approach, because they faced limits on their ability to increase sales taxes. I think Wiener was saying that consumers of groceries other than sweetened beverages will not face sticker shock because retailers will pass along the tax on beverage distributors to purchasers of those particular products rather than spreading the costs out by raising prices on products across the board. The woman arguing with him disputed that point, saying retailers would likely make up their higher costs by raising prices of other products. I suspect he actually may be mostly correct on that point, but I'm not sure.

  I'll be looking for other good facts and arguments against the measure in order to be better prepared for the Commonwealth Club event. It is a first for the LPSF as far as I recall, although they've of course had higher-profile libertarians from out of the area as guests, and hopefully will be good visibility for us if they put it on the radio. Naturally I'll try to mention the LPSF and plug our website if I get a chance.

Love & Liberty,
                                ((( starchild )))

Hi Starchild,

Huummmm. Crucial point as far as I can see. How is the proposal going to force grocers to raise the price on sodas, not spread the extra cost over all products? No comparison with the cigarette tax at all!

The statistic I love the most shown right on the proposal is 31.7% of children and adolescents are obese; 17.2% of SF children and adolescents consume two or more glasses of soda or sugary drink per day. So what causes 14.5% to be obese? We are imposing mountains of paperwork for 17.2% of folks? Is more paperwork coming down the pique to cover the 14.5%.

I can't wait to see this program! The LPSF has no monetary skin in this game (unlike the beverage industry), so we are opposed to this abomination because it is an abomination.

Marcy

Marcy,

  Prop. E wouldn't force the retailers to raise the price on sweetened beverages rather than spreading the cost over all products. But I don't want to make that a major point of contention, because Wiener may well be right that most retailers will pass the tax along to purchasers of the products being taxed at the distributor level rather than spreading it among other shoppers. Nor do I think proponents are claiming sodas are the *only* cause of obesity. I'm not even planning to argue at all with claims that sodas are unhealthy and contribute to obesity, because I happen to believe those claims are true, and I expect the Beverage Institute representative will handle that angle anyway. :slight_smile: I do of course take issue with the notion that trying to get people to change unhealthy habits by causing them even more pain is an appropriate way to address the situation. And government has no business engaging in such social engineering anyway.

Love & Liberty,
                                ((( starchild )))

Sounds good to me.

Marcy

Marcy,

   Prop. E wouldn't force the retailers to raise the price on sweetened beverages rather than spreading the cost over all products. But I don't want to make that a major point of contention, because Wiener may well be right that most retailers will pass the tax along to purchasers of the products being taxed at the distributor level rather than spreading it among other shoppers. Nor do I think proponents are claiming sodas are the *only* cause of obesity. I'm not even planning to argue at all with claims that sodas are unhealthy and contribute to obesity, because I happen to believe those claims are true, and I expect the Beverage Institute representative will handle that angle anyway. :slight_smile: I do of course take issue with the notion that trying to get people to change unhealthy habits by causing them even more pain is an appropriate way to address the situation. And government has no business engaging in such social engineering anyway.

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))