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  • Sherman A1 (704 posts)
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    Industry: Philadelphia soda tax killing sales, layoffs loom



    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Some Philadelphia supermarkets and beverage distributors say they’re gearing up for layoffs because the city’s new soda tax has cut beverage sales by 30 percent to 50 percent, worse than the city predicted.

    An owner of six supermarkets tells The Philadelphia Inquirer he expects to cut 300 jobs, and a soft drink distributor predicts a 20 percent workforce reduction.

    City officials expect business to rebound once customers get over sticker shock. They suggest the industry may be engaging in fearmongering to stop the spread of the tax to other cities.

    Mayor Jim Kenney pushed through the 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened and diet beverages to pay for nearly 2,000 pre-kindergarten slots and other programs. He tells the Inquirer he didn’t think it’s possible for the industry “to be any greedier.”

    Enthusiast, northernsouthern, HeartoftheMidwest and 3 othersShlabotnik, arendt, like this
    "Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Great Battle." Philo of Alexandria

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28 replies
    • arendt (1432 posts)
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      1. Good. Its working. Less obesity, less diabetes. n/t

      3oo jobs versus how many cases of diabetes? how many morbidly obese people?

      Treating a few cases of diabetes for one year probably costs the wages of one minimum wage worker.

      That’s a good tradeoff in my book.

      • GZeusH (2207 posts)
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        2. Don't smile so quickly

        How are soda sales the next county over? Across the river in NJ? They didn’t say whether the sales have gone away, or just moved.

        Policy:  The mistaken notion that bossy people have that they can influence other people's behavior through majority rule.
      • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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        9. soda isn't the reason there are a lot of overweight people. try poverty,

        depression, hopelessness.  for starters.

        lets make them jobless too, that ought to help matters.

        the ptb would love to kill all realspace businesses that serve ordinary humans\

        and have us hide in our rooms, ordering shit from amazon and watching the boob tube

    • SurrealAmerican (968 posts)
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      3. Am I the only one here who thinks that …

      … it is beyond pathetic to need to resort to a sales tax to fund early childhood education?

      • Shlabotnik (580 posts)
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        7. Excellent point

        Regressive taxation is support of a cause is what we get nowadays.

        ~ All Good things are Wild and Free ~
        • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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          12. you don't want to pay $20 more every grocery bill? do you hate kiddies?

          no, I hate cheap anti-social rich people.

      • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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        10. no. am i the only one who thinks cheering job and business loss in real space

        is ok if it will ‘help’ fat people lose weight?

        • SurrealAmerican (968 posts)
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          14. There isn't enough information here to know …

          … if this represents a net loss of jobs. The gains in employment in day care and prekindergarten might be more than the losses in beverage distribution.

        • arendt (1432 posts)
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          15. Would you object to the loss of drug dealer jobs too?

          Because all this sugar is addictive. And unhealthy.

          Do you also think that the fight to get rid of tobacco is also an un-economic burden on poor people? In case you hadn’t noticed, the markups on sugar water are obscene. Whenever I eat out, which ain’t often, I drink water. It’s not only healthier, it is cheaper.

          “help fat people lose weight”.

          To minimize the health consequences is pretty fucking dismissive.  Let me frame it for you: a public health campaign to prevent high-blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

          We’re not talking fat shaming. We are talking a substance that ruins peoples’ lives, a substance that is a major contributor to the estimated $250 B/year bill for the medical and workplace costs of metabolic syndrome and diabetes, not to mention depression caused by being obese. (I won’t even go into tooth decay.) Now, I grant you that McD and all the other purveyors of greasy crap are every bit as responsible. But sugary soft drinks can be replaced with diet soft drinks, and very few un-discerning customers would notice. Its an easy fix.

          If that’s too nanny-state for you, tell me where you draw the line in protecting joe sixpack from predatory dealers of addictive products.

          • arendt (1432 posts)
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            18. And, I forgot about the link to Alzheimers (some call it Type 3 Diabetes)

            Here is a story from AAAS from today:

            Sugar’s ‘tipping point’ link to Alzheimer’s disease revealed

            Abnormally high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycaemia, is well-known as a characteristic of diabetes and obesity, but its link to Alzheimer’s disease is less familiar. Diabetes patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to healthy individuals.

            Scientists already knew that glucose and its break-down products can damage proteins in cells via a reaction called glycation but the specific molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer’s was not understood…the team discovered that in the early stages of Alzheimer’s glycation damages an enzyme called MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor) which plays a role in immune response and insulin regulation.

            MIF is involved in the response of brain cells called glia to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease, and the researchers believe that inhibition and reduction of MIF activity caused by glycation could be the ‘tipping point’ in disease progression. It appears that as Alzheimer’s progresses, glycation of these enzymes increases.

            The idea that sugar is harmless is as big of a lie as the claim by tobacco companies that smoking causes no harm.

            • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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              21. hyperglycemia = high blood sugar. it's characteristic of untreated diabetes

              but not of obesity, unless the obese person is an untreated diabetic.

              and you don’t get diabetes from eating sugar.

              • arendt (1432 posts)
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                24. Hyperglycemia is also a biomarker for the onset of diabetes

                Hyperglycemia is part of the constellation of symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

                Metabolic syndrome, sometimes known by other names, is a clustering of at least three of the five following medical conditions (giving a total of 16 possible combinations giving the syndrome):

                abdominal (central) obesity (cf. TOFI)
                elevated blood pressure
                elevated fasting plasma glucose
                high serum triglycerides
                low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels
                Metabolic syndrome is associated with the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.[1][2]

                The main sign of metabolic syndrome is central obesity (also known as visceral, male-pattern or apple-shaped adiposity), overweight with adipose tissue accumulation particularly around the waist and trunk.[4]

                Other signs of metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, decreased fasting serum HDL cholesterol, elevated fasting serum triglyceride level (VLDL triglyceride), impaired fasting glucose, insulin resistance, or prediabetes.

                The most important risk factors are diet (particularly sugar-sweetened beverage consumption),[5] genetics,[6][7][8][9] aging, sedentary behavior[10] or low physical activity,[11][12] disrupted chronobiology/sleep,[13] mood disorders/psychotropic medication use,[14][15] and excessive alcohol use.[16] There is debate regarding whether obesity or insulin resistance is the cause of the metabolic syndrome or if they are consequences of a more far-reaching metabolic derangement.

                For someone who heavily quotes biological science, your conclusions are way too black and white. Not this. Not that.

                Biology is messy. The onset of chronic conditions is messy and multi-factorial, difficult to pin down, even in the age of genomics. Case in point, the consumption of mass quantities of sugar/corn syrup and its relationship to Metabolic Syndrome. Of course one can always point to the consumption of too much grease and fat in the same hideous McDonald’s diet, in order to try to point the finger away from sugar; but that is the classic kind of mercenary misrepresentation that characterizes corporate junk science.

                • Fasttense (1606 posts)
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                  27. Well said.

                  Sugar can kill you. My grandmother died from it.

          • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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            20. i think joe sixpack would be better 'protected' by having work that paid

            his living expenses.  So he could adopt the class markers you find so congenial.

            there’s a huge class bias in all this crap and you can bet your booties its deliberate.

            when the rich smoked more and weighed more than the poor, they still lived longer.

            the Japanese smoke more than americans, and they live longer.  and healthier.


            about 80 – 90% of smokers don’t get lung cancer, and 10-20% of never-smokers do.

            The most significant health marker, through time and space, is relative inequality.  it just doesn’t get the PR that all the markers of economic position do.

            the better to herd the peons into their designated pens.  and keep them distracted.


            • arendt (1432 posts)
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              22. I see. For you, people dying of certain diseases is class war

              Let’s cut all the fencing about science, because it obviously is secondary to your main complaint: that putting a “sin tax” on sugar is class warfare because only low class people drink it.

              First, let me say that I agree with you that living wages would be the best way to solve the problem.

              But, you want me to tug my forelock because I recognize that sugar, like tobacco, causes massive, long-term health problems. I should pillory myself as some kind of limousine liberal. Meanwhile I should ignore the self-reinforcing profits (profits=>ads=>profits…)  the corporations that are pushing the addictive (sugar and caffeine) stuff are making off the backs of the health of the poor. I should be sorry for the bottlers and other entities whose profits for ruining people’s health are being reduced.

              But, given that raising wages requires a wholesale change to our political/economic system – something that has been going the wrong way for 40 years – I don’t see that happening (in a positive way) any time soon.

              In lieu of that, when faced with the massive weight gains and rates of diabetes since the switch from real food to corporate food over the last forty years, most scientists have seen enough data to say we should cut back on the sugar – the same way we did with tobacco. And, you know, despite your lumped-together 90-10 statistics, deaths from lung cancer are down massively, and so are rates of empyhsema.

              Did you object when the science said to get rid of trans-fats? No, because they simply replaced them with something healthier. We could do the same thing with corn-syrup, i.e. sugar-equivalent. (That is another point of confusion. Most soda is sweetened with corn syrup, which has more scientific evidence against it than sugar.) Another question, why don’t people drink diet soda? Are they getting a significant part of their daily calories from soda? That would be horrible, healthwise.

              You want to talk class warfare? I’m sorry, but your pitch for the right to poison yourself with sugar when healthier alternatives are available sounds exactly like the pitch for the right of smokers to spend their meager incomes to kill themselves with cigarettes. It’s straight out of a corporate science-denier playbook – right down to the cartoon villain of the nanny-state liberal.

              Your argument is more of the divisive Identity Politics crap that is killing the Democratic Party. Now, Joe Sixpack has his own IP cult. Isn’t that exactly the argument the IP folks used against Trump’s blue collar supporters?

              When we were a democracy, people agreed with the concept of sin taxes to change behavior. Now that we are a corporate state, sin taxes have become, in the Libertarian lexicon, an interference with the freedom to ignorantly kill yourself for a short term gain.


              Sorry, I said no science, but I gotta respond to this, based on personal experience.

              the Japanese smoke more than americans, and they live longer. and healthier.

              That is fucking genetics. I traveled to Japan for 10 years decades ago. The fundamental toughness of the people then was astonishing. (Can’t speak for the current generation.) They ate practically no fresh vegetables (it is all pickled) or fruit (which is massively expensive), the sarariman (salaryman) drank massively every evening after work, and they did smoke like chimneys. They were very thin and didn’t get much good exercise.

              Today, in Japanese Okinawa, there is one of those welderly clusters where the average age is 85, and many people live to 100.  Japanese genetics should be investigated. To single out tobacco to make an argument by analogy is misleading, based on my personal experience. BTW, one of the Japanese I worked with was transferred to the US. He gained twenty pounds in six months, and couldn’t understand why. I had to point out the calorie counts of fish versus McDonalds. So, even their genetics cannot stop the hideous American diet (burger, fries, coke).

    • Justice (478 posts)
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      4. I wish the jobs were not associated with sales of toxic products. nt

      • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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        11. soda is not a toxic product. get a sense of proportion man

        • arendt (1432 posts)
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          16. They push 64 oz big gulps, and you talk about a sense of proportion?


          When I was a kid (back before electricity), Coke came in six ounce bottles. Now, the standard sized psuedo-estrogen-leaching plastic bottle of corn-syrup sweetened Coke is 20 oz. And, the natural propensity of the bottles to leach is exacerbated by the acidic pH of the soda.

          Nobody needs to drink 64 oz of soda. Plus, if its a cola drink, it is laced with so much phosphorus that continuous consumption in big gulp quantities is the express train to kidney disease.

          Soda is the Fung Wah bus of beverages.  Psuedo-estrogens, toxic levels of phosphorus, plus corn syrup.

          Not toxic my ass.

          • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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            19. dose makes the poison.

            plenty of sodas with no phosphorus (phosphoric acid, actually — that’s where the ‘acidic ph’ comes from)

            but phosphorus is an essential nutrient involved in just about every process in the body, including energy production (adenosine triphosphate ATP).

            plenty of foods with more phosphorus by weight or volume than coke — like those damnable sunflower seeds, for example.  and meat: meat is bad.  and dairy and soy products like tofu.


            Note:  the link shows mg phosphorus per portions of various foodstuffs.  You’ll notice that 12 oz of cola has about 40 mg.  about 1/3 the amount in a cup of noodles.  not a ‘cup-of-noodles’ but a cup of plain cooked noodles.  so two cups of plain noodles = more P than a big gulp.  12 oz soda = about half what’s in a cup of peas.  and yogurt?  forgetaboutit.

            phosphorus doesn’t “cause” kidney disease.  but when you have kidney disease, the body can’t handle phosphorus as well (or a lot of other blood metabolites) and the deranged blood levels of all of the above do further kidney and metabolic damage.

            When you have a report of someone dying from Big Gulps, please post it.  There are actual reports of people dying from say, vitamins, but you wouldn’t call vitamins toxic, would you? Or salt?

            I think the toxicity of big gulps = first world/upper-middle class problem.  and there’s a class bias in who tends to consume big gulps as well, so its a two-fer.  which is why there’s support at the top for taxing pop instead of income  (“it’s so unhealthy!  our kind don’t drink it/eat it”)

            No love lost for coke or warren buffett, who’s made a mint off coke, though.  so let’s tax warren instead of letting him hide his billions in tax-free foundations…?

            oh, no, he’s such a *nice* man……  giving all his money to ‘charity’ (= the gates pledge to use private foundations to tighten the ruling class stranglehold on life and death on this planet)


            • arendt (1432 posts)
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              23. I agree about dose.

              But, that is precisely the point. 64 oz. is simply ridiculous. And, if there is no tax on diet soda (haven’t checked that), then it is not a real hardship, even in terms of caffeine addiction, to switch away from sugar. If the tax is also on diet soda, then it is badly written and should be changed.

              >>> When you have a report of someone dying from Big Gulps, please post it.

              Same weasel-worded BS we used to get from the tobacco industry before the science was rock solid and replicated. Nuf said.

              I think the toxicity of big gulps = first world/upper-middle class problem. and there’s a class bias in who tends to consume big gulps as well, so its a two-fer. which is why there’s support at the top for taxing pop instead of income (“it’s so unhealthy! our kind don’t drink it/eat it”)

              In your mind, then, was getting people to change their behavior about cigarettes was also class warfare? Funny, I don’t recall anyone framing it that way at the time the Surgeon General put the warnings on the cigarette packs. And when smokers got pushed outside to do their smoking, I didn’t hear class warfare charges either. It was just addicts who didn’t have a rhetorical leg to stand on whining about being stigmatized.

              I repeat a question from another response: why don’t they switch to diet soda? Unless you are a soda gourmet, the taste is the same, the caffeine hit is the same, (I think) the price is the same, and given the obesity rates the reduction in calories would help. So, I don’t understand the behavior you are defending, whether or not it is “class warfare”.

    • faultindicator (973 posts)
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      5. The usual suspects in the neighborhood tried to mount their soapboxes for this.

      Unfortunately the expected diatribe came to an abrupt end by saying, Good. It’s about time that they decided to raise taxes on something other than cigarettes, alcohol, and gas. I’d be careful about bitching too much.

      Most of these people don’t understand the concept that the politicians play one group against another.

      A reasonable request: Reduce daily TV viewing time by 1/2 hour starting now. Ask others to do the same, follow through with them, break the media habit. FI - Simple and straight forward, just like this place, solutions without the bullshit.
    • Arctic Dave (1049 posts)
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      6. This article is so full of shit.

      No super market in the world employs 300 people to sell soda.

      Almost the entire soft drink section of any market is run by the vendor with only a few hours dedicated to it by an actual store employee.


      Whiney anti tax horseshit.

      • revbones (68 posts)
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        8. Exactly

        Saying you need a 20% reduction in workforce because of a 1.5 cent tax per ounce of soda is beyond ridiculous.

      • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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        13. the guy quoted owns multiple supermarkets. still, 50 people over soda

        sales per store.  I wonder what percentage of sales pop is?

        • Arctic Dave (1049 posts)
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          25. My wife works in the grocery business

          she laughed when she read this.


          Most large stores have, at most, one hundred people total at a store on shift. Fifty of them are not selling soda.

      • arendt (1432 posts)
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        17. "Almost the entire soft drink section of any market is run by the vendor"

        That has been my experience as well.

        Now, it may be the bottling plant that is taking the economic hit. But, you know, so did the tobacco companies. Another product that kills you slowly while giving you a cheap high.

        • Arctic Dave (1049 posts)
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          26. Exactly.

          This is anti tax BS put out by the manufacturer.

    • Skink (559 posts)
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      28. We need a sugary cereal tax

      I’d start with Sugar smacks. Leads right to heroin.