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The hotly debated soda tax

(article, Culinate staff)

For a couple of weeks now, there's been buzz building about a national tax on soft drinks, the proceeds of which would be earmarked for health care. 

A New York Times piece on the issue spelled out some of the challenges faced by proponents of such a tax — including the giant soda industry's vehement opposition. Muhtar Kent, the chief executive of Coca-Cola, called the idea "outrageous."

bq.“I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink,” Mr. Kent said, according to a report by Bloomberg News. “It if worked, the Soviet Union would still be around.”

Meanwhile, President Obama has said a tax on soft drinks is worth looking into. Not only would the money raised be significant — some suggest upwards of $15 billion per year — but studies have also touted the beneficial societal effect of such a tax. Says the Times:

bq.A team of prominent doctors, scientists, and policy makers says \[a soda tax\] could be a powerful weapon in efforts to reduce obesity, in the same way that cigarette taxes have helped curb smoking.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is another politician who's looking into a soda tax — at the local level. 

The public poll accompanying the Chronicle article reflects a resounding opposition to such a tax, but what do you think? Over on True/Slant, Kim O'Donnel — yes, from [/columns/tabletalk "Table Talk"] — is asking her readers how they feel about such a tax. Head on over and chime in. Or, just tell us here whether a tax on Mountain Dew makes sense to you.