September 9th, 2009
01:41 PM ET
10 years ago

Could President Obama propose a soda tax?

Obama acknowledge he would likely get some pushback from legislators on Capitol Hill whose states produce high quantities of sugar or sugary products.

Obama acknowledge he would likely get some pushback from legislators on Capitol Hill whose states produce high quantities of sugar or sugary products.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Grabbing a soda out of a vending machine could eventually come with a higher price tag, according to President Barack Obama, who says he would consider taxing the sugary beverages to benefit the nation's children.

"I actually think it's an idea that we should be exploring," President Obama recently told Men's Health magazine. "There's no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that's been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else," Obama said, adding that soda isn't the main cause of childhood obesity, but calling it a "major factor."

Obama acknowledge he would likely get some pushback from legislators on Capitol Hill whose states produce high quantities of sugar or sugary products.

Kevin Keane, Senior Vice President of The American Beverage Association, a lobbying firm which represents the producers of non-alcoholic beverages including Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper, and Pepsi, says the president's proposal would amount to a new tax on the middle class.


"All it would do is further squeeze middle class families who are already struggling through a recession," Keane told CNN. "This certainly doesn't seem the time to be taxing people's groceries at a time when they are struggling to keep their health care, keep their house." Americans don't like being told what to do, he added - a point which Obama himself acknowledged.

"People's attitude is that they don't necessarily want Big Brother telling them what to eat or drink, and I understand that," Obama said. "It is true, though, that if you wanted to make a big impact on people's health in this country, reducing things like soda consumption would be helpful."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Jump on, republitrolls! Tell us how sugar and chemicals are actually GOOD for kids and that Obama has no right to deny them their obesity.

    September 9, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. Dennis

    Why not? Democrats can never get enough taxes. They just don't want to pay taxes themselves.

    September 9, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. dg

    just wait..there will be a tax to take a breath

    September 9, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. BJC

    So this is his way of sneaking in his tax hikes to the poor as he keeps claiming he will not raise taxes?

    September 9, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Bush_Low_I.Q.

    Obama, Biden, Hillary Clinton and Pelosi are the Best Team America Ever Had.

    Go Team Go, We Support You. Majority of Americans Voted you, that is why you are there. You are doing a Great Job.

    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are Criminals, Put them in Jail. 😐

    September 9, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. a health economist

    If the administration wants to fight obesity by adding a tax they'd be better off taxing corn. Roughly 50% of the average Americans food intake can be traced back to originating as corn. Processed foods have numerous ingredients that are corn biproducts. Corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup are found in so many items no-a-days.

    Of course it would likely be political suicide. It would absolutely end up being a regressive tax.

    September 9, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Welcome to the Food Police disguised as The Taxman. This guy's lectures, even on our admittedly bad habits, is astounding arrogance in assuming that His Harvard Hawaii ways are superior to everyone else's.

    September 9, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Corey

    Not surprised. What next? Taxes on candy bars, potato chips, and cupcakes? Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    September 9, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. Joe Fattal

    By the time Obama increases everything, nobody going to benefit out of it except big coorporations. He must have made a hell of a deal before running for the presidency.

    September 9, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Karl

    Merely an excuse to raise taxes. Keep soda machines out of schools. Let parents parent.

    September 9, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Einar's Vikings

    Anything to make a buck

    September 9, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Dar

    What happened to " IM not going to raise taxes"LIES, LIES and more LIES, now he wants to tax soda?????????? Why not take money from the babies who elected him. Please wake up America!!!!!

    September 9, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. Carlos

    It's a good thing you dems are sticking to your words about not raising taxes on people making less than 250k or we would be in a lot of trouble, wouldn't we?

    September 9, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Counting the days until the Obamanation is GONE and America can prosper again

    The sugar isn't just in sodas. The corn industry has brain washed us to belive that we need high fructose corn syrup in EVERYTHING. It's even in canned green beans. Don't just tax soda and direct people to other things which have sugar in them. Yes, it's a start – and one I'll even agree with the great and mighty Obamanation on – but it doesn't go nearly far enough.

    September 9, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Soda is the new TEA!!

    Wow! Could this guy just go ahead and buy a furry hat and rename our country to The Socialist States of Obama.
    And everyone thought that "tax and spend" was just stereotyping democrats...

    September 9, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Alfred E. Neumann

    How about a tax on Kool Aid – that would drive a number of his supporters broke.

    September 9, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. David

    So, what's next? A McTax on every Quarter Pounder? A surcharge on my cup of Folgers? Pretty soon they'll be adding a tax on my bath water to help clean up the environment.

    September 9, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. virginia nielsen

    Would be a great idea !!! We'd pay for health care and ,at the same time, people would healthier. Kids in this country would drink more water what would reduce the number of diabetics. Great and responsible move !!!

    September 9, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Minnesota Liberal

    Go for it. Of course, the lobbyist (who makes a living out of telling senators to do what Coca-cola and Pepsi tell him) would say all that crap like "American families will suffer and the middle class will feel the soda tax" but in that case, just grab some freaking juice, or better yet. some water.

    September 9, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Pete East

    Drink that kool-aid while you can. The President himself is using the term "Big Brother" so he has pre-empted critics. He understands that people don't like being dictated too, but he obviously doesn't care.

    Watch this space. More to come.

    September 9, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Bluebonnet

    Wouldn't surprise me. By the time he's through showing us "change we can believe" in, going to the toilet will be taxed!

    September 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. J.P.

    Let me tell you how it will be,
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
    ‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the Taxman.

    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don’t take it all.
    ‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
    Yeah yeah, I’m the Taxman.

    (If you drive a car car), I’ll tax the street,
    (If you try to sit sit), I’ll tax your seat,
    (If you get too cold cold), I’ll tax the heat,
    (If you take a walk walk), I’ll tax your feet.
    Taxman.

    Hey, hope smokers, you had enough Hope and Change yet?

    If not, wait until he taxes the minutes you spend online, or even worse, taxing by the keystroke.

    September 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Sgt. USMC

    This is one topic I disagree with President Obama on. I understand what his point is but as a father of 2 I believe that it should be the parent's responsibility to control what their kids drink. I don't buy sodas and would not really be affected by this but I would much rather the government help bring down the price of water (filters and purifiers) and maybe provide tax breaks for companies who produce healthy juices with little sugar. Also, more healthy nutrition based programs for moms and dads. That's where it should start, at home.

    September 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. ISmellBigGovernment

    This is a joke, right? Concentrate more on important things like crime prevention, not sodas. Geez! Anyone see where this is going?

    September 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Hugo

    Yes, I would believe that the Obama thought process would be that we need to tax soda pop to "help" the poor stupid minions that consume it to cut down. The people that support Obama and the leftist policies are not drinking soda, they are drinking "stupid" kool-aide. The Administration's claims of not raising taxes is a smoke and mirrors deception, they initiate Cap and Trade and tax the Corporations, then you pay more in consumption costs so the Corporations can make up the additional costs to them. Wake up!

    9 trillion dollars, HMMMMM, $9.00 per second for the next 36,000 years!
    I wonder what the compounding interest on that debt is per second?

    September 9, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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