EDITORIAL: Costco doesn’t mince words about punishing new Seattle soda tax

The retail behemoth Costco deserves a rousing cheer for refusing to play along with the authoritarian Nanny Staters. When Seattle recently became the latest progressive haven to impose a soda tax, the chain made sure its customers knew who was responsible for the giant leap in prices.

A placard advertising a sale on cases of Dr Pepper notes that the $17.55 price includes a “City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Recovery Fee” of $7.56. A Costco price tag for a 35-pack of Gatorade reveals that the $26.33 cost has been inflated by a $10.34 “beverage recovery fee.”

Not only that, but the store is also “putting signs next to the price display that tells shoppers where they can get their fizz outside the city,” a local TV station website reports.

“We feel an obligation to let people know what (the tax) is and let people know it’s only in Seattle,” the chief operating officer for Costco’s Northern Division told the Seattle Times. “Our real intent was to educate members.”

The inevitable result of the tax, of course, is that many Seattle consumers will travel outside the city limits to buy these products, potentially harming local businesses and those who work for them. But this is of scant concern to the scolds who enjoy virtue signaling by manipulating the power of the state to regulate individual choice and behavior.

Philadelphia enacted a similar tax last January. “By March, Pepsi had decided to discontinue the sale of 12-packs and 2-liter bottles in the city,” Reason magazine notes. “It also opted to lay off some 80-100 of its workers.” Meanwhile, the tax take has fallen millions below projections as thousands of residents now buy their Coke, Mountain Dew or Yoo-hoo from suburban stores.

Rinse and repeat in Chicago. Politicians in Cook County were forced to repeal the nation’s largest soda tax late last year when residents — read: voters — were on the verge of revolting over the massive price hikes. Retailers in Indiana loved the tax, though.

Do-gooders portray these punitive levies as benign attempts to prod people to drink more healthful beverages. In fact, these taxes have minimal effect on public health and are nothing more than blatant money grabs designed to transfer millions of dollars from the taxpayers who earned them to spendthrift politicians. The poor, in particular, bear the brunt of the burden.

Kudos to Costco for helping expose the charade.

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