May 14, 2009 9:04AM

Drop the Soda, or Else!

Government is busy trying to protect us from ourselves. It tosses nearly a million people in jail every year for marijuana offenses. City councils, state legislators, and Congress all add ever more restrictions on cigarette smoking. Legislators demand action to stop steroid use by athletes. And the Senate Finance Committee is considering a “fat tax” on sugared drinks.

This isn’t the first time legislators have considered trying to squeeze a little money out of us while micro‐​managing our lives. Editorializes the Boston Herald:

Earlier this year Gov. Deval Patrick proposed a 5 percent tax (more if the sales tax is raised) on sweetened drinks and candy bars under the pretext of battling obesity (while thinning out our wallets). Happily we haven’t heard much about it lately. But yesterday on Capitol Hill the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony about helping to fund President Barack Obama’s massive health care expansion in part with a similar tax.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a 3‑cent tax per 12‐​ounce sweetened drink — including sports drinks and iced teas — would bring in $24 billion over four years.

“Soda is one of the most harmful products in the food supply,” said Michael Jacobson, head of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which gives you some idea of the mindset here. Jacobson would also like to raise taxes on alcoholic beverages.

If the American people don’t start saying no, there won’t be much liberty left to preserve.