What's this I hear about our attorney general suggesting a tax on sugary drinks? Well, sugary drinks that he chooses to tax, not sugary drinks in general. He said even his morning drink of choice, orange juice, has sugar in it "but it's natural sugar," he said, so it's an okay drink to drink. No tax will go on it.
Hmm, I'm not a doctor, but I'm guessing sugar is sugar as it relates to causing weight gain and diabetes. I'm not educated and I'm not sure, but, I'm guessing my doc checks my blood and finds it too sugary, he's going to ask me what I eat and drink, and if I tell him I normally drink three or four large glasses of orange juice each morning with the "natural" sugar in it, I'm saying my doc will start, and suggest I might back off to a single small glass a day. Again, I didn't study this stuff, I'm just thinking you can get both fat and diabetes from eating too many oranges, as well as you can from drinking too much soda. But here, I cannot overstate enough that I might be wrong.
One cent tax per one ounce on certain soda, sweetened iced tea, sports drinks, energy drinks, and flavored waters, to dissuade fat poor, and or fat rich people (the attorney general was clear in stating some rich people are fat too - he didn't use all those exact words of course), and folks with diabetes, from buying sodas; yeah, basically that's the deal as I understood it from what I heard on the talk radio program.
He said (he may not have meant some of what I'm retelling, I'm just retelling it filtered through how I understood the information as he gave it) education is key to getting folks to drink less sugary liquid. We drink too much soda, he says, because we're not smart enough to realize it's unhealthy for us. That's a tricky one for my little brain to understand. You gather twenty folks, rich, poor, fat, skinny, bald, republican, democrat, tea partier, a varied lot, into a room, have someone hold up a glass of water in one hand, a glass of soda in the other, and ask which one is healthy and which one isn't, and I wager they all, everyone of them, picks water as healthy and soda as not. But that's just me, again, I may be way, way off on my figuring there.
Now the attorney general did say, though he does get outside a good deal and is quite active, he himself is actually some bit overweight. I wonder, smart as he is, shouldn't he be the perfect weight for his size?
Say I'm dead on on figuring everyone knows soda is healthier then water - that would mean lack of education isn't a main reason we drink too much sugar. Oh boy, if that's correct, then what? Well, then, tax the soda a penny an ounce and people will buy and drink the same amount, because they don't care if it's bad for them, they'll drink it anyway, is what; but the state gets a sweet thirty million it wouldn't without the tax, is also what.
Statistics say, and I don't buy into statistics, but what the hey, lots of you do, attorney generals do, and I'm writing a column, and a column as you readers know are great places to use statistics - statistics say the average American (What the exacting hell is an average American anyway? See that's the thing. If I don't know what an average American is, the point of me knowing what statistics say about the average American is moot, isn't it?) drinks fifty gallons of soda a year. Now some folks don't drink any soda, so assuming some of the folks who don't drink any soda fall under the statistic takers definition of average Americans, which means some other average Americans drink more than fifty gallons of soda each year. I'm just trying to make cents of this deal here and say, fifty gallons multiplied by one hundred and twenty eight ounces (128 ounces in one gallon) is sixty-four hundred ounces. So at one penny more per once of soda at fifty gallons a year, you pay sixty-four bucks more than you pay now for your sugar water. Sixty-four bucks. You, assuming you're an average American, pay sixty-four bucks a year more for your soda if the new tax is levied or sugary drinks. My average American sugary drink addicted friends, do not fret, you can FIND sixty-four bucks a year.
Our attorney general is a nice guy, I know him a little bit. He is as smart as a gimlet is sharp. He's done more great things for our state than I ever will. I'm not challenging his offering to tax the sugar waters, so do not, if you know him, read this and call him and say some buffoonish column writer is hacking away at him personally, or at his policy suggestion, cause I'm not. I am not. I am not making a judgment of our attorney general or his policy ideas at all, I'm totally neutral on the issue at hand. I just have thoughts is all. It's the least I can do.
Now that I'm finished, I'm gonna lay on the couch, peel the wrapper off a Snickers, crack a Dr. Pepper, and watch "Dancing With the Stars," all things I know are bad for me, but all things I'd gladly pay more to do. Whoops, I just accidentally come up with the definition of an average American. Tag, you're it.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO