Archive for politics

This doesn’t seem like a good idea.

From the Inky (link here):

Philadelphia soft-drink tax proposed
Philadelphia could soon jump to the head of the public health class with new initiatives aimed at pushing residents toward healthier diets.

Earlier this year the city began to enforce new requirements that city restaurants display food labels on menus with information on calories and other information such as fat content. And now – at least under Mayor Nutter’s proposed soft drink tax – the price of unhealthy sugar-sweetened drinks will go up.

That might reduce consumption in a similar manner as cigarette taxes attempt to reduce smoking, particularly among teens. Regardless, the tax would add an estimated $77 million to the city’s coffers.

The mayor’s proposed 2010-2011 city budget includes a 2 cents an ounce tax on all sugar-sweetened drinks from sodas to energy drinks and more. The proposed tax would not be imposed on baby formula and sugar free drinks. But it would mean an extra 40 cents for a 20-once bottle of Coke and 64 cents added to each quart of chocolate milk.

City health commissioner Donald L. Schwarz said $20 million of the estimated tax haul would go toward programs to promote exercise and healthy eating habits, my colleague Jeff Shields reported in today’s paper.

Shields noted that New York, Massachusetts, and California are among seven states considering similar taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks. But Nutter’s proposed tax is double New York’s and far more than Chicago’s 3 percent a drink tax. Chicago, Shields noted, is the only other major city with such a soft-drink tax.

Just last month, the city began phasing in enforcement of its strictest-in-the-nation menu-labeling law that requires restaurant chains to list calories on food tags and menu boards. A similar law will take effect in New Jersey next year, and dozens of such bills are pending around the country, including in Harrisburg.

On April 1, Philadelphia restaurants with individual menus must list calories as well as saturated fats, trans fats, carbohydrates, and sodium for each item offered. Earlier this year, my colleague Don Sapatkin reported that City Council approved the restaurant menu measure in 2008 in response to data that showed the impact of diet related chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

The goal of the law was to make it simpler for people to make healthy eating choices, even when they are enjoying a night out at a restaurant. “It is really hard for people, if they eat out, to know about the sodium content” of a meal, for example, health commissioner Schwarz told Sapatkin in January.

So whether requiring restaurants to tell people how healthy each item on the menu is or a proposed tax on obesity inducing soft drinks, Philadelphia seems to on the leading edge of the push toward better nutrition and perhaps better public health.

Good fucking Christ. You don’t even know how friggin happy I am that I don’t live in the city anymore. Please, Philadelphia city government, keep giving residents less and less reasons to stick around that shithole city. Maybe the next thing you can do is make it illegal to be a Democrat.

Hey, Mayor Nutter, I just figured you were doing everything in your power to drive out the remaining population of the city. You’re certainly attacking the poor a whole hell of a lot, even though there are significant chunks of both poverty stricken and working/lower-middle class populations. (And who tends to wash down a delicious cigarette with some cloyingly sweet HFCSy goodness? Oh, rite, the poor.)

I’m tired and aggravated and so thankful that I’m Delaware County and, therefore, much closer to taxfree shopping. I kept meaning to post about this somewhere, and hoped to give it a little bit more critical treatment, but damnit, I really can’t sleep right now.

So, sorry, but right now? Ya get whatcha get.

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About agorism

In light of the Joe Stack IRS plane flying tomfoolery, I wound up stumbling across information on agorism. Now, to me, it seems like a bunch of over-intellectualized jargon that boils down to a very basic concept:

Buy less shit out of stores.

Maybe I’ve oversimplified it, but there is something in that concept that really resonates with me. I love the punk rock. I love the music, the message, and the DIY ethos behind it, and that’s what I like about agorism. I might be a registered libertarian, but I’m not down with the messages of “buy more shit, support big business, for it can do no wrong” that – unfortunately – permeate too much of the dialogue surrounding libertarianism. Rather, I’d prefer to not freely hand over as much of my money and hard-earned effort supporting businesses that will then funnel money back into abhorrent tax expenditures. (i.e., the drug war, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, homophobic policies, etc.) I’d also prefer to not encourage businesses to support the same slimy governmental policies I normally decry.

How can I achieve that goal when I live in the Philly suburbs, surrounding by nothing but big box retailers? Well, aside from moving completely off the grid, a lot of it comes down to better choosing how our money is spent. Grow whatever produce and fresh herbs we can. Spend more money with private sellers (i.e., eBay, Etsy, or ideally, Craigslist). Barter when we can or just keep an eye out on our local Freecycle list. Cook. Customize or make clothing. Break the soda addiction. Spend less money at big box retailers.

In essence, if we just tried a little bit, we’d be better off in more ways than we might realize. When I was a vegan and had slightly different politics, I did just these things. (Except broke the soda addiction. That will come about angrily.) It often comes down to making an effort and an honest attempt to live life as ethically as you can.

Plus, I gotta admit, I’m a fan of sticking it to the man whenever I can.

I promise to not litter this blog too heavily with various political rants (that’s what my personal blog is for), but it’s my politics that have shaped my behavior. The personal is the political, and it’s about time we start acting it and making the small changes we can.

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