WARNING: California May Contain Excessive Amounts of Government Intervention


Last week, California Democratic Senator William Monning of Carmel introduced SB 1000, a bill that would require any beverage with added sweeteners that contains 75 or more calories for every 12 ounces have a warning label. The label would be eerily similar to the government warnings plastered on tobacco and alcoholic products and would read: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

In California, SB 1000 is not Senator Monning's first attempt at regulating what California citizens can drink. Last year, Senator Monning failed to implement a state tax on sugary drinks. Other lawmakers across the country have also jumped on the anti-sugar consumption bandwagon. A similar bill was introduced last year in Vermont, but has been in committee since April. San Francisco is considering asking voters to approve a soda tax, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg unsuccessfully tried to tax sodas and ban the sale of large sized sugary drinks.

According to Senator Monning, it is “the responsibility of the government” to protect the public health, an “appropriate role for the government to play.”

Major soda companies have voluntarily put calorie counts and additional nutritional information on the front of each bottle for years, but that isn’t enough to “give Californians vital information they need to make healthier choices,” according to Senator Monning.

This push for warning labels is another attempt of the government trying to regulate the American diet by degrading and vilifying certain beverages. In contrast to the Senator's statements, a warning label offers no nutritional information; it simply serves as a scare tactic to promote a social agenda that has little scientific backing. The Tax Foundation hasfound that increasing taxes on soda does not necessarily reduce caloric intake. The dubious connection between soda taxes and obesity further reveals the Senator's fear mongering for what it is; a handful of states have implemented soda taxes, but remain some of the most obese in the country

California already has their hands full with unfended pension liablities that has put the state billions of dollars into debt. Its liabilities include $80 billion to cover teachers' pensions and another $64 billion to pay for state workers' retirement and health care; none of which the state is able to fufill. Instead of attempting to restrict consumer choice, California lawmakers would do well to address their state's deteriorating fiscal health.

TAGS: Regulation, Excise Taxes, issues

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