Till now, I've been of the opinion that arguing in favor of raising revenue by taxing unwanted behaviors is little more than a quixotic argument. Good for a blog post, maybe, but nothing beyond that. Then I heard that the prospect of sin taxes was actually emerging in the administration's internal discussions. No decisions have been made, but I was surprised to learn that a soda tax had even been considered. If this NPR/Kaiser poll is correct, however, then the public is significantly more open to these approaches than I'd assumed:
Problematically, the poll question lumps a lot of different policies together. Paying for health care by taxing cigarettes is actually a common strategy. It's how we funded S-CHIP, for one. Taxing soda is rather further from the center of the consensus. But there's no evidence, in this poll at least, that the public instinctually recoils from the idea. Which is not to say that it'll happen soon. But given that it's already been proposed in New York and mentioned in Washington and polled by NPR, I'd say the odds are pretty good that it'll happen sooner or later.
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