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08 July 2016 - Responsibility, Not My Problem

When I was growing up it was drummed into me that whatever I did, accept responsibility for my actions. If I got a low grade in class, don’t blame the teacher; if I broke something, don’t say it is somebody else’s fault; if I did something wrong, don’t blame somebody else, accept responsibility for your actions. I have discussed this may times in this column, but now I ask again - What Has Happened to Personal Responsibility? The idea that we, as individuals, take responsibility for our actions has, I’m afraid, gone the way of common sense - disappeared. So now we pass laws and let government do it.

The reason I bring it up now is the situation in San Francisco, where voters will have a second chance to vote on whether to tax soda. This move comes amid the city’s legal battle with the soda industry to introduce warnings on advertisements and labels for beverages with added sugar, noting that they contribute to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. If it happens, it will be the first U.S. city to introduce the labeling. A vote in favor of the San Francisco soda tax could add further strength to national moves to deter consumption of the sugary drinks.

Philadelphia already has a “Sweet Beverage Tax” levy, making the city the largest in the nation with an ounce-based tax on sweet drinks.

To me, the question comes down to, and I’ve asked it many times, did the writers of the Constitution ever think the government they formed would decide how much sugar should be in our soda or what we should eat or drink? Shouldn’t we be smart enough to know that?

I believe most of us know that too much sugar can create some problems, that too much of anything in our system can be harmful, but do we need a law so that if we fail, we can blame it on the government. Is our education process so poor in this country that we cannot make sound, educated decisions about our welfare on our own?

But beyond that, do I dare say this? Are the legislators really all that concerned about our health? With nearly every government body facing budget problems today, this looks to me like another easier way to attack the money deficit rather than raising income taxes or property taxes. Just tax every consumer food item in the name of better health, so as a legislator, you can feel good about what you are doing for the health of the country, but at the same time you are able to raise the money you want so you can continue overspending our tax dollars. I’m just not buying the health idea. Let us accept personal responsibility for what we do instead of passing laws and raising taxes to take the decision out of our hands.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.