As Congress (and allegedly the White House) kick around the idea of a sin tax on sugar-laden beverages of no nutritional value – namely sodas, of course – disinterested observer and Coca Cola CEO Muthar Kent recently made a statement that proves absurd on several levels. Bloomberg.com relays his comments as follows:

Coca-Cola Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent said the idea of a federal tax on soft drinks, under consideration by the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama, is “outrageous.”

“I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink,” Kent said today, responding to an audience question at the Rotary Club of Atlanta. “If it worked, the Soviet Union would still be around."

If there is a lamer or more transparently juvenile way to defend a right-wing argument than by invoking the Soviet Union – which serves as a combination Red Herring, Straw Man, and false dilemma – I don't know what it is. It has surpassed Reductio ad Hitlerum as the favored fallacy of irrelevance given our new "socialist" President and a nation full of people who don't know what socialism is but are quite sure it's going to rape their daughters. But there are some very good reasons why Mr. Kent should tread more lightly than most in bashing centralized planning.

Our government doesn't tell people what to drink – although "suggestions" abound in the form of dietary guidelines and public health campaigns – but it sure as hell has spent the last century telling them what to grow. Namely corn. Metric shitloads of corn. The Federal government pays people to grow corn. It pays people not to grow corn. It pays people to think about growing corn. This is neither debatable nor controversial, having entered the mainstream of political knowledge with the ethanol debate and popular edutainment like the film Food, Inc. or books like Fast Food Nation, Animal Vegetable Miracle, or The Omnivore's Dilemma. Government policy has rewarded farmers (OK, agribuisness) for growing heathen quantities of corn without regard for the market or consequences and has thus engineered the flooding of the planet with mountains of cheap corn.

No person or entity has benefited more from this legislatively-mandated glut of cheap corn than the soft drink industry dominated by Mr. Kent's company. The pro-corn policy (Cornservative policy? Yes, I like that better.) has created an entire industry of chemists and biologists dedicated to finding some way to use all this shit that Congress pays farmers to grow. One of their earliest successes, aided heavily by the legislatively mandated ban on Cuban sugarcane, was corn-based liquid sweeteners. Expensive sugar would have produced expensive soda but cheap corn syrup produces oceans of cheap soda. And to call corn sweeteners "cheap" is an understatement. The market is so saturated that we could feasibly fill Lake Baikal with Karo for about $50.

OK, not quite that cheap. But the point is that the government has spent a century "telling people what to drink." It has been telling them to drink Coke by going to great lengths at public expense to ensure that a two-liter soda is half the price of a half-gallon of orange juice (which, if from concentrate, has corn in it anyway). Maybe Comrade Kent should thank the Politburo for raiding the public till to help his Collective Beverage Farm push its 200 calorie cans of corn syrup on the lard-assed Proletariat with no risk of failure. Raise your Sprite to the Motherland!


  • I stopped drinking Coke 20 years ago when a medical friend illustrated the multitude of adverse effects.
    Mutharfucker Kent is peddling slow-acting poison at top dollar. Coke also steals water resources from anywhere they can, but especially in poor countries.
    Oh and 'he's a communist' is a pathetic response from a turd as well paid as a mutharfucking CEO.

  • Yet this company spends billions in advertising telling people exactly what to drink – Coke….the mind reels.

    Capitalism and the "free market" are the biggest lies around and the fear of the health insurance companies of a gov't option is the proof. There is no competition, just legalized bribery in the form of paid off CongressScum for preferred industries.

    Big Banking, Big Health, Big Oil, Big War – lots of money to buy politicians so they're A-okay. Blackwater murders innocents, give em another contract…

    ACORN on the other hand….no money, no power, no influence = public enemy # 1 – to republicans who fear the minority vote.

    What a stupid, pathetic weak little country the US turns out to be once the cheap window dressing has been pulled away.

  • I saw the most ridiculous commercial last weekend. A woman and her son were carrying groceries from the car into their house. The mom incredulously explained that congress is considering a tax on her family's FOOD! How dare they!? Don't they have any regard for hard-working American families? Tell congress not to tax soda and "fruit drinks."

    Because little Johnny needs that extra boost to keep him energized for his video games. Unbelievable.

  • What Waldo and Sh*tholeUSA said…couldn't say it better. Ameicans have been drinking so much of the muthar koolade, that they've become lazy and stupid…leading to watching faux news and regurgitating talking points.

    Coke's Minute Maid drinks…Let's take some juice (10% maybe) and pour it into the big tub of corn syrup…yummy mutharfuker.

  • Cost Benefit Analysis.

    You make the profit, you pay the costs, Justice Learned Hand (love that name) said that almost a hundred years ago when Coke was still actually using sugar.

    Coke makes lots of money selling corn syrup to people.

    Soda pop is a well demonstrated source of obesity in this country.

    The US taxpayer spends lots of public money treating the medical conditions of obese citizens.

    Mr. Kent, like other "capitalists" in our plutocracy, wants to privatize profits while socializing the costs.

    The government shouldn't tax soda, the government should sue Coke, Pepsi et al. for the entire cost of medical treatment for every obese person on Medicare/Medicaid in this country that is a regular consumer of their products.

    Kent is a Stalinist who wants to tax me to pay for his victim/customers.

  • There is already a sin tax on another poisonous drink (hint: check the site name) — why shouldn't soda be the rare treat gin is, and priced accordingly?

    A two-liter bottle costs what it did 20 years ago. Let addicts and rare-treaters alike pay $5 or more. It can only boost the economy.

  • a half-gallon of orange juice (which, if from concentrate, has corn in it anyway)

    Are you sure about that? "From concentrate" means that water was removed at the source, the concentrate was transported, and water was added back at the destination. It's like what you do with those frozen cans of orange juice and a pitcher, which does not, so far as I understand it, involve corn.

  • displaced capitalist says:

    # Will Says:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 9:09 am

    This is why I drink only distilled water, rain water, and pure grain alcohol.


  • I've got some fun facts for you:

    The total value of all crops grown in the US in 2008 was $165B.

    The total value of all corn was only $753M (0.5%).

    Oh, wait! I got that wrong. That's the value of all corn that humans can eat. Corn grown for grain (including livestock feed and corn derivatives like High Fructose Corn Syrup, maltodextrin and citric acid) was $47.4B (28%).

    Sorry, sorry. I'll be sure to double-check my sources next time.

  • “I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink,”

    And I think it brave that the head of a major corporation such as this would issue such a strong statement on the legalization of drugs, and removing of many others from prescriptions where laws restrict or forbid their ingestion, ie the government telling people what not to take.

    Oh, wait, he was talking just about a few cents tax on a product his company makes? Nevermind then.

  • But – but – Ed – government handouts don't count when they're to the rich and powerful!

    Years ago, I saw a short news special with footage of the CEO of Coca-Cola addressing an auditorium of shareholders and the like. He was wildly applauded for saying his goal was to make Coke more popular than water.

    Also, this thread makes me think of Precious Bodily Fluids.

  • Commies ended up unable to tell their populaces what to eat; starting from the mid-Eighties onward, there wasn't much left to eat anyway.

    I went to school under the Commies, up to my early high-school years. Starting in 6th grade, we had special lessons on 'rational nutrition,' to inculcate in our young, tender minds — or brainwash, if you're a regular reader of the NRO — bland truths that the health-conscious in America struggle to dispense to the overweight, to little avail: eat more fish and less beef; balance your diet between carbs, protein, and fats; nuts are better than bacon; lower your sugar intake; milk is good for you; don't sit on your ass all day; get 8 hours of sleep a night, etc.

    (The one exception was fiber — nobody told us to have enough of it back then. Maybe it's because the Eastern Bloc hadn't realized the importance of keeping one's pooper on a regular schedule. Or maybe the gub'mint just wanted us to crap less, thus easing the strain on the national toilet-paper industry and freeing resources to build socialism sooner.)

  • Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel… that Coca-Cola machine. I want you to shoot the lock off it. There may be some change in there.

    Colonel "Bat" Guano: That's private property.

    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel! Can you possibly imagine what is going to happen to you, your frame, outlook, way of life, and everything, when they learn that you have obstructed a telephone call to the President of the United States? Can you imagine? Shoot it off! Shoot! With a gun! That's what the bullets are for, you twit!

    Colonel "Bat" Guano: Okay. I'm gonna get your money for ya. But if you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's gonna happen to you?

    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: What?

    Colonel "Bat" Guano: You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.

  • Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel! Colonel, I must know what you think has been going on here!
    Colonel "Bat" Guano: You wanna know what I think?
    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Yes!
    Colonel "Bat" Guano: I think you're some kind of deviated prevert. I think General Ripper found out about your preversion, and that you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts. Now MOVE!

  • Open the doors to sugar imports, end sugar subsidies then tax food for their sugar content. …

    Hmm damnit, gotta research this.

  • "From-concentrate almost always has added sugar, which in American-speak means it has corn syrup." err.. no. I have never seen "from concentrate" with added sugar on 100% juice from concentrate. if you are drinking "punch" or "drink" or "swill" then you get maybe 10-20% juice but if its 100% it aint got no corn in it.

    besides the bacteria that live in our gut and on our skin and in our systems…. CORN appears to be the most successful organism in the evolutionary race to supremacy. It has billions of humans slaving away to reproduce it all over the world at the expense of birds, mammals, fish, insects, other plants and just about everything else except soybeans and cows.

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