Sugary Drink Tax Leaving a Sour Taste

I have often thought that those who govern us have lost their minds, and now I am convinced. You may have heard of the sugary drink tax proposed by some government entities, but I honestly never thought something like this would happen in my own back yard.

I have written, on a few occasions, my opinion concerning the excessive government theft (Taxes). A few of which can be found here, here and here.

A tax on “sugary drinks” is something one would only imagine happens in New York or the People’s Socialist Republic of California, but unfortunately it has proven to be an easy and profitable venture, therefore has picked up steam in other communities as well

The sugary beverage tax was adopted in Philadelphia recently and is gaining steam. Since its inception January 1, 2017 this new tax has created (as of the time of this writing) roughly 6 million dollars of additional revenue for the city of Philadelphia, each MONTH!

The liberal agenda will tell you that this is a tax to help people make better decisions regarding their drink choices and ultimately their health.

The informed American will say, Hogwash! This is yet another attack on America’s freedom. Why on earth would anyone believe the government has the best interest of its people when creating this tax?

Let me tell you what this tax is about:

1. It is an insult to every American, regardless of what beverage you choose to drink. This is yet another paper cut of the death of 1,000 cuts slicing into Americans right to personal freedom and liberty.

2. The government of Philadelphia is so strapped for cash, due to its mismanagement of other forms of government theft (i.e. Taxes) that they needed to create one more piece of legislation so they wouldn’t have to do any real work, i.e.tax reform.

3. The government agenda is no longer trying to hide their deception with their sugary drink tax. If the purpose is to tax Americans to force them to make better drink and health choices, why are diet drinks such as Diet Coke and various juices taxed?

Take a look at these data from the Mayor’s Operating Budget, City of Philadelphia 2017. I would suggest reading through this 117 page document, especially if you are a resident of Philadelphia. In fact if I were a resident of Philadelphia, I would want to take a look at some of these line items in detail and uncover what these general balance sheets do not tell.

Here are some interesting points I noticed as I skimmed this document.

  1. Section II, page 2
    1. Observe the Total General Revenue Fund. Notice anything interesting? The change in revenue from 2015 to 2016 is 5.16% and from 2016 to 2017 is 4%. Do you know anyone that has gotten a raise of 9% over the last two years? I do, the Mayor and government agencies of Philadelphia. When my expenses rise, I don’t have the luxury of simply robbing (taxing) people, I have to tighten the belt and sacrifice, I guess Mayor Kenney doesn’t understand this concept, or doesn’t care.
  2. Section II, Page 7
    1. Pension Obligation. An increase of greater than 11% in 2015-2016 and another 3% in 2016 – 2017. This is simply unsustainable and there is no end in sight. This is typical for most government agencies, as they have been robbing Peter to pay Paul and it is now catching up with them. This is not the fault of the pension recipient, but unfortunately, they will be hit the hardest when this system ultimately fails.
  3. Section II, Page 10
    1. Line 19 Sugary Drink Tax. The Mayor is estimating $48 million dollars of revenue for the city from this tax for the calendar year 2017. With a population of just over 1.5 million people, this is an additional tax of $30 per person, just for the right to drink just about anything other than water in the city of Philadelphia, including Diet Coke!
  4. Section II, Page 10
    1. Mayor Salary. This article reports that Mayor Kenney “collects one of the nations top 5 mayoral salaries.” Now we know where this sugary tax is going, pensions and the mayors salary.

The bottom line is that government and career politicians don’t have to lie anymore to get their agenda pushed through to rob us all of our liberty and freedoms. They have simply brainwashed enough people to outweigh those of us left with any common sense.

Historically I had been of the mindset that I am neutral in regards to these social taxes (tobacco, alcohol, lottery) because they do not affect me, but I have now seen the light, these career politicians are getting more bold and determined to push their socialist agenda on us all because they simply do not care, and we as Americans are helpless simply because we keep voting for them.

If anyone is wondering, I do not live in Philadelphia and I do not drink high sugar drinks. I seem to recall another drink tax a few years ago that caused a bit of an uproar as well…think Boston…..tea….

Tired of High Prices at the Pump? Don’t Blame Big Oil.

Are you tired of the ever increasing price we pay at the pump for gas? I know I am. I have certainly enjoyed the slight reprieve over the last year as the big oil companies of the western hemisphere and middle east duked it out.

If you are as bothered as I am about this, don’t blame big oil, at least not totally. As of October 2016, U.S. residents paid approximately 30% in taxes on regular gasoline, and diesel was even higher.

With 2017 upon us, the government ran up the tax rate another 8 cents per gallon in Pennsylvania, who just so happens to have the highest fuel tax rate in the country anyway. In case you were wondering the national average is just over 48 cents a gallon, my fellow Pennsylvanians now pay about 78 cents a gallon simply for the right to buy it.

Where does this money go you ask? Apparently these funds are used for bridge and road repair as well as paying our State Police salaries. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a supporter of our State Troopers, but really? Is the government that strapped for cash that they have to rob the residents simply to pay for police support?

If you have ever been to Pennsylvania, you will likely have noticed that the roads significantly degrade as you cross from any of the bordering states. In fact it is so obvious, I would suggest the government save a little money by not having any of the “Welcome to PA” signs that are placed at our borders, the change in road quality will let you know you crossed long before the sign ever does.

Oh well, if this theft of taxes gives us better roads and bridges then so be it, it’s a small price to pay for these much needed upgrades. At least our turnpike fees are stable, oh yeah, they went up another 8% as well this year….

Maybe the government elites should simply tighten their belt a little as we all have done recently, and stop the pet projects and frivolous spending, it’s really getting old.

 

“Owed” to the Olympics

I have spent a good bit of time over the last few days watching the Olympics, specifically swimming, beach volleyball, track and field and gymnastics. These certainly weren’t my top picks for events, but because I unplugged from cable over 5 years ago, this is the only channel I get on my antenna that covers the Olympics.

I watched Phelps win his last several gold medals and swear again that he is officially retired (we will see, I think he will come back for a few relays in 4 years). I got to see the female version of Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, absolutely blow away her competition on the pool. Young Lily King made a stand on moral character regarding a Russian competitor allowed to compete even though she has been caught cheating with PED’s on several occasions, and back it up with a Gold medal performance against that very same Russian swimmer.

Usaine Bolt, arguably the greatest sprinter in Olympic history, won his 3rd straight gold medal in the 100 meter sprint. The old man (he turns 30 soon) only won by .08 seconds, but honestly it was never really close. As of today Simone Biles has five medals for gymnastics, four of them are gold.

Originally I would have rather been watching the field events (discus, hammer, and shot put), golf, rugby sevens, shooting and wrestling. However, I am not disappointed at all that I was afforded the opportunity to “settle” for Phelps, Ledecky, Lily King, Usaine Bolt and Simone Biles.

As I watched these events, my mind started to wonder, as it often does. I decided to research a few of the questions I had and here is what I found…

How much is a gold medal actually worth?

I guess this depends on how you define worth. The actual value of the medal as a precious metal is surprisingly cheap, with a melt value of less than $600. Apparently they are mostly silver (95%) and then gold plated. The Olympics stopped making solid gold medals around the turn of the 20th century. If they were solid gold they would be worth almost $26,000 (600 grams x $1344 per troy oz.). Incidentally a silver medal is worth about $300 and a bronze is almost worthless, from a melt price value.

If you were to define a gold medals worth by the prize money associated with winning one, well, this is a different story. The US Olympic Committee awards each athlete $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for a bronze medal. The US government will tax each athlete for their prize money and value of their specific medal, based on a “victory tax” anywhere from 15% to 39%. Considering Michael Phelps net worth is about 55 million, he can expect to pay almost $10,000 in taxes for each gold medal he earns. I’m glad someone actually pays these athletes for winning medals, otherwise they would owe 10 grand in victory tax for representing the US. Only in America…..Even the Brits find this awkward.

As a side note Singapore pays each athlete $750,000 for gold and Taiwan pays $640,000 respectively. If Michael Phelps would have defected to Singapore, he would have won just over 17 million dollars in prize money.

Watching 41 year old Uzbekistan gymnast attempt the “vault of death” made me wonder who is the oldest and youngest Olympian to medal in the Olympics.

Oldest: Oscar Schwan won gold in 1912 (shooting) at the age of 64. Even more interesting is the fact that he competed again in the Olympics in 1920 at the age of 72, and qualified for the 1924 Olympics but did not compete.

Youngest: The youngest medalist of the Olympics was Greek gymnast Domitrios Loundras when he was 10 years old and won a silver medal in the team gymnastics event in 1896.

I just hope the government doesn’t find out I won a few trophies in my youth playing sports. Those things could be worth $10 these days. I’m curious what I would owe in back taxes after 30 years, plus penalty!