Neera Tanden, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), wants to impose a steep national soda tax.
Tanden endorsed the “Medicare for America Act,” legislation introduced by House Democrats that imposed a one cent tax per 4.2 grams of caloric sweetener in sugary drinks.
The Center for American Progress, which is currently led by Tanden, also called for a tax on sugary drinks as part of their “Medicare Extra for All” plan. This plan would impose several “public health excise taxes” including a tax of 1 cent per ounce to finance new spending on liberal priorities.
If one of these sugary drink taxes were imposed, it could result in a 55 to 67 cent tax on a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola. A single 2 liter bottle of Coca-Cola costs anywhere from $1.25 to $1.70, so this tax could total 50 percent of the cost of the product. With the Tanden soda tax burden, the cost of a 12-pack of soda could increase by $1.11 to $1.44.
A tax on sugary drinks would also be extremely regressive and disproportionately harm low-income Americans. In fact, according to a 2018 report from the Tax Foundation, 47 percent of the tax collections from a sugary drink excise tax would come from households with income under $50,000.
Even Bernie Sanders came out against a soda tax.
“The mechanism here is fairly regressive. And that is, it will be increasing taxes on low income and working people.”
Sanders went on to note that Clinton’s embrace of a soda tax violated her pledge to the American people not to support any tax increase on Americans making less than $250,000 per year.
“Frankly, I am very surprised that Secretary Clinton would support this regressive tax after pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. This proposal clearly violates her pledge,” Sanders said.
Needless to stay, this tax would violate Biden’s pledge to not raise a single penny of any tax on any American making less than $400,000 per year.
The OMB Director is responsible for implementing the President’s policy priorities across the executive branch. If confirmed, Tanden would play a key role in shaping and implementing policy proposals under a President Biden.
Biden has already called for $4 trillion in new or higher taxes on American families and businesses. With Tanden as OMB chief, a sugary drink tax could be next.