Real Coke and Car Tariffs

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Real Coke – the most American of sodas – comes nowadays from Mexico. I mean of course the stuff made with sugar and put into glass bottles, the way Coke was once made and sold here  – as opposed to the high fructose corn syrup sweetened sludge (in aluminum cans and plastic bottles) currently sold here.

Interestingly, this is the case because of tariffs.

On cane sugar, which costs artificially more here in the U.S. thanks to them – in order to punish the manufacture of “cheap” sugar outside the U.S.

It is why American-made soda – not just Coke – is generally sweetened with HFC instead of cane sugar.

Almost everything else, too.

The soda sweetener switcheroo happened back in the ’80s. You may be old enough to remember. Real Coke was replaced with New Coke, which was Coke with HFC instead of sugar. Then – after an uproar – came Classic Coke, which wasn’t Coke. Because it was made with HFC, too.

But it was cheaper to make and sell  than real Coke with sugar.

Does the tariff on sugar benefit American soda drinkers? Their waistlines – and much-upticked tendency toward obesity and diabetes – provides the answer.

Cheapness – especially when it is artificial – has its price.

Not surprisingly, many people wise to the costs of HFC are willing to pay a little extra to get Mexican Coke – real Coke –  made with cane sugar. Or the more expensive boutique sodas which are made here, with artificially expensive cane sugar.

But if it weren’t for the tariffs on sugar, they wouldn’t have to go to Mexico (so to speak) to get a real Coke. They would be able to buy American-made Coke – without HFC.

And it wouldn’t be artificially expensive.

No one blames the Mexicans for HFC-laden American-made sodas. The problem is not enough people blame the U.S. government for the fact that they are effectively forced to drink HFC-laden sodas – or pay extra for sodas without the HFC.

The sugar isn’t naturally expensive. But the tariffs are.

Now the Orange One wants to apply tariffs to vehicles, apparently on the same principle – and it will have the same effects.

It his argument, essentially, that vehicles made elsewhere don’t cost enough because they don’t cost as much as it would to make them here. But why does it cost more to make vehicles here?

Think about the costs associated with relocating an entire manufacturing assembly in another country – and then mull the costs associated with shipping finished vehicles from that foreign country (in some cases, across an ocean) to this country . . . and it still being a lower-cost deal than it would be to make them here.

Why?

Certainly, labor costs enter into it. But the Mexican line workers in Hermosillo and Silao (where the Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500 pick-ups are made) are not sweat shop coolies. Ask them. Go see. I have been there. And have. They earn wages equivalent to what U.S. line workers made back in the ’50s, which is enough to sustain a very decent middle-class living, just as U.S. line workers once enjoyed.

Well, before the U.S. unions decided that line workers should be earning an upper middle-class living.

Add to this the EPA and OSHA ukase and rigmarole which afflicts manufacturing lines in the United States.

It is why it is easier – cheaper – to hecho things in Mexico and elsewhere, too.

Even China.

Where GM makes lots of Buicks. China is still a nominally communist country but really it is more of an oligarchical authoritarian capitalist state now – and the workers building Buicks in Shanghai are not sweatshop coolies, either. GM makes Buicks in China rather than Michigan because the Chinese government is – unbelievably, almost – less of a burden, which means lower costs and higher profits, some of which go to higher wages for the Chinese line workers.

Maybe the solution would be to make it easier and cheaper to make things here as well. As opposed to “adjusting” (via tariffs) the cost of things made elsewhere to the same higher level that afflicts things made here. People would have to pay less for stuff, which is the same thing as giving them a substantial raise.

It makes too much sense, I realize.

Almost as much sense as having to buy a Coke made in Mexico to get a real Coke.

. . .

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86 COMMENTS

  1. Put it together with the energy initiatives and that shady deal with Foxcon in Wisconsin, and the picture is not one of economics. The Orange One is NOT ignorant of the effects of tariffs. The increase in oil/coal production, the building of massive electronic factories which is resurrecting an industry that simply doesn’t exist in America any longer, the steel and aluminum producers opening new facilities – all of this points to a national security reason, not an economic one. Trump is getting America ready to survive without the rest of the world, or more accurately IN SPITE of the rest of the world.

    • America can’t be held hostage to a foreign power if everything America requires to function is made in America with American raw materials. That’s more important than HFC versus cane sugar.

      • When you’re smilin, when you’re smilin, the whole world smiles with you.

        When you’re laughin, when you’re laughin, the world comes shinin through, but when you’re cryin,you bring on the rain……Please stop that bs “what America can allow “.-There ain’t shit made in America.

        Racking my brain I barely know Anything made in America.

      • Lowell, my understanding is that the US does not have all of the raw materials it needs to be self supporting, e.g. Chromium.

        I also understand that such resources the US does not have can be found in the rest of the Americas. If so then why is the US leaving the Western hemisphere in search of those raw materials?

        The US should be restricted by a “mirror clause” to the Monroe Doctrine: if the US barred other nations from the “New World” then the US should be barred from leaving the Western hemisphere. Otherwise that is some military grade hypocrisy there.

        But I do agree with self sufficiency – for individuals and proper (voluntary only) collectives.

  2. Interesting article you write Eric, just as here in the UK, our wise and noble Dear Leaders have imposed a “sugar tax” on all of us plebs…. As always, it was out of love and concern for our health as we seem to be getting fatter by the year, and ofcourse we are all too stupid to manage our own lives and need them to force us to do things in a better way…..

    In true form its as well thought through and implemented as everything else our Dear Leaders do…. For example, it penalises many juices, which ironically may have some elements of fruit which the average brit never gets otherwise. It penalises sodas of course. BUT it excludes anything which is sweetend by artificial sweetner. You know the kind which is known to cause cancer….. So the net effect is, pretty much all the standard meal deals now come with “diet” versions of cola, all the standard juices are being sweetened with the cancer causing type, and instead of too much sugar we will end up having even more unnatural chemicals which have god knows what side effects.

    But 30 years later when it manifests in the next public health crises, it wouldnt matter because the politicians today wont be in power anymore, it will be the fault of that evil no named 1% guy, and the dear leaders will be ready to fight it off with yet more taxes and regulation….

  3. Great piece, great comments…I’ve got nothing to add, except to bust Eric’s balls about using the word “coolie”.

    In this day and age that’s gotta be rayciss.

    😉

    • Hi AF,

      Thanks! 🙂

      On “coolie” . . . hell, I don’t care about offending PC orthodoxies. The sad thing is that while I might use an uncouth word, I’m the last person those worried about racial/ethnic (and other such) harassment need worry about given I’m a Libertarian… and we don’t believe in jacking with anyone unless they jack with us first!

  4. While we’re bashing HFCS, let’s not forget the other bugaboo, gluten. It’s so addictive it’s added to nearly everything. Commercial beer has gluten added. In-Bev, the huge conglomerate that owned Coors, Bud and Miller I think has changed names but truth be known, nearly all cheap beer has gluten added.

    Why? you might ask. Gluten is very addictive. Think about it darlin.

    • Something in cheap beer makes me sick and gives me a headache. Another social problem I have had where only cheap macro brew beer was served since I refuse to drink it.

  5. I did not know this. Another little piece of Americana disappeared when I wasn’t looking. Are Pepsi and Dr Pepper also made with HFC instead of sugar?

    Truth is, I don’t consume any soft drinks these days. But if I did, I wouldn’t feel bad at all about having a “real” Coke. And FWIW, I’d rather drink one with HFC before I’d drink the diet version, filled with genuinely toxic “artificial sweeteners.”

    These days for me, it’s R/O water, coffee, or Chardonnay. 🙂

  6. Old news, but your Hershey candy bar comes from Mexico thanks to taxes and artificially high sugar prices:

    “A key part of this shift will be to avoid markedly higher sugar prices under U.S. protectionary tariffs and quotas, Boyd said. Candy companies with operations in the U.S. pay about 21 cents a pound for sugar, compared to about 9 cents a pound on the world market.”

    https://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/05/high_sugar_costs_in_us_could_f.html

  7. I certainly agree that the government should butt out of automobile manufacturing and sales, and that the sugar growers protection racket should be ended, but something just doesn’t seem right about the soda story. I very well remember the New Coke fiasco and Coke supposedly buckling under pressure to bring back the original Coke. They obviously lied about restoring the Coke recipe if they switched from using sugar to using HFCS. Why didn’t the outcry re-emerge? Didn’t anyone read the ingredients? I was a young Pepsi products drinker back then, therefore I wasn’t paying that much attention.
    Why didn’t Coke just come out and tell everyone that the price of Coke will go up a few cents per bottle or can if they continue to make it with real sugar thanks to the sugar growers racket? I am sure that the public would have been willing to pay more. The price of soda’s has continued climbing anyway. Why didn’t the wealthy and highly educated CEO think about publicly shifting the blame for the change toward the state, or ‘the greedy’ sugar growers? I have no college education, and I easily came up with those tactics.
    I think something else is at play here, and I wonder if the state and the soda industry already knew the detrimental effects HFCS consumption would have on people.
    Some years ago I spent considerable time researching how to make my own Mountain Dew and Pepsi, but could not find anything. I already knew that I would not find the precise recipes that Pepsi Co uses, but I was hoping to find a home brew that tasted close to them. Oh well.
    I intend to check out the Hispanic section of the grocery store the next time I go shopping for food. I do not drink very much soda pop anymore, but I have been buying the “Throw Back” series of Mountain Dew and Pepsi when I can find them. I even bought them using Amazon before. Too bad they are not in bottles.
    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=throwback+mountain+dew&sprefix=throwb%2Caps%2C257&crid=3SVPN7RS4QQM2

    • Hi Brian,

      The switch to HFC did seem coordinated. I remember it well; I was in college around that time. All of a sudden, it seemed, almost everything that used to have sugar now had HFC instead. Not coincidentally, within a few years, obese people – not people a few pounds over; I mean grossly/morbidly overweight people seemed to be (and actually were and are) everywhere.

      Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things. The correlation is just too blatant.

      Anyone in my age group – Gen X or older – will know what I mean. When I was a kid, it was rare to see extremely fat people; so rare that when you did, you stopped and stared, fascinated. Guys like Jackie Gleason were considered fatties and by today’s standards, he’d barely register…

      I doubt people are eating more today. I do think they are eating (and drinking) more of the wrong things.

      HFC is bad news.

      • The other problem that started in the 1980s was the demonization of fat. Study after study showed that a low sugar, high fat diet kept weight off. But for whatever reason (figure it out) Uncle’s minions in the FDA cited one study that ran counter to both common sense and scientific consensus that showed that a low fat diet was somehow better for heart health. It was later proven wrong, but too bad, because Uncle’s never wrong, especially when there’s lobbying involved.

        http://time.com/3702058/dietary-guidelines-fat-wrong/

        The other thing that happened was that food manufacturers, seeing that people didn’t like fat-free foods, started dumping HFCS into their products to make them palatable. Fructose can’t be absorbed naturally, so it goes through the liver, which produces fat. Lots of fat, all around your gut. The worst place to store it, as it turns out. And consuming large amounts of HFCS can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, just like being a drunk.

        I struggle with weight and sugar addiction. When I get off the sugar train I lose weight, even when I don’t change anything else in my life. But if I try to go without fats I crave sugar as a substitute. It doesn’t help that it is in everything that isn’t in the produce isle or meat department. If I go out to eat more than two days in a row that’s usually when I fall off the wagon.

        • Amen, RK…

          This is anecdotal, of course – and genetics should be taken into account – but I find the same thing to be true. I eat a lot of fatty (grass-fed fatty) meat and butter; but I almost abstain entirely from sugary drinks and avoid HFC like cancer (which it is).

          Well, I am still a size 32 waist in middle age – the same waist size I was in high school, 30 years ago. Yes, I run and lift weights. But I also eat pretty much as much as I like and lots of the things we are told by Uncle not to eat; those “unhealthy fats,” I mean.

          I think it is calculated to emasculate men, especially. To feminize them. Literally. Observe how many men seem to have breasts

          Again, this is just me… and your mileage may vary… but no big gut or man tits; I am as strong as I was at 25 and can still easily run 8 miles. And I am not 25 anymore.

          But I do not mind the FDA’s recommendations – and I stay the hell away from carbs, HFCs and refined sugar.

          • One of the reasons I hate my job (but love the paycheck) is because of all the time I spend sitting, either in a vehicle or in a headend. And all the overtime. Yesterday I worked a 16 hour day because of a mostly artificial deadline and the fact that no one did anything to move the project along when I was on vacation last week. I’m not working today but because of the 7:00 to 23:00 day yesterday I’m basically too tired to do much physical activity today. Tomorrow I’ll probably start at 3:00 or 4:00 and work until the work is done. Then get up at midnight Friday to actually turn up everything. All because of a deadline that some idiot “engineer” and my wet behind the ears supervisor in Denver put on a spreadsheet.

            When I worked outside plant I was active all day long, climbing poles, hauling ladders and digging up bad cables. No need to lift weights and the pretty normal schedule meant I could stay active on weekends too. While I’m a mortgage slave I don’t see any way out from my current predicament, but that paycheck means doubled up house payments and a way to get rid of that damn debt. Then I can look for something that’s more in line with a normal life.

            Keep in mind, this is actually my dream job. But along the way my employer became toxic. Not sure what can be done about it, because it seems like most employers are pretty bad. And in the case of my chosen field of telecommunications there’s really no way to be self-employed unless doing contractor work and that’s 10X worse than being an in-house tech. Not to mention contractors are all working for someone else too.

          • Eric, “…I do not mind the FDA’s recommendations – and I stay the hell away from carbs, HFCs and refined sugar.”

            Preach it brother!

            I would only offer that natural carbs such as tators are ok. It is the artificial carb Frankenfood that is the problem.

            I will say it again – HFCS is a biological weapon purposely unleashed on the public.

            • Thanks, Skunk!

              It sure seems deliberate – at least, there’s an apparent correlation. People (on average) getting fatter/less healthy and less able to think and express thoughts. It’s human regression – and right before our eyes, happening on a scale of just a few decades and so readily apparent.

              Maybe Davide Icke is right about the reptiles…

        • Hello ReadyKW, I too am dealing with weight issues. I was hoping to start taking walks this spring, but the weather changed from winter to hot muggy summer with no spring season for me to use as an adjustment period. I drive truck locally now, but my morning start times fluctuate between 4 AM to 10 AM, and my return to home times likewise fluctuates widely. This prevents me from setting up an exercise routine.
          I am looking for a non-trucking job with steady hours, but the only ones I have found pay entry level wages. I am 55 years old. I do not have the time to climb yet another income latter before I reach retirement age. Once I am able to draw a social security check, I will seek self-employment for under-the-table income, or I might move to Mexico or South America.
          I have recently begun a Keto diet. Hopefully I will lose weight that way. I don’t really consume much sugar directly, but I do like to drink some beer after work sometimes. I just looked at an empty Shiner Bock beer bottle and could not find how many calories each bottle has. Ditto at their website. I wonder if they and other breweries use HFC or real cane sugar for the fermentation process? I did find this page though: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Calories-Popular-Beers-1504697 The key here may be to find the stoutest beer by alcohol content which also has the lowest number of calories, or quit drinking. Shiner isn’t included.

          • You sound like you’re in the same boat as I am, in regards to your career. Employers aren’t willing to pay up for experience. The trend is to get someone who’s eager to advance on the cheap (and young and healthy) instead of paying for wisdom. I think because management is being told that change is everything and so therefore knowledge is worthless. And of course there’s the idea that the ghost in the machine will do all the thinking. It will end badly, or at least be a very costly mistake, as the wheels are reinvented again and again, but as long as that’s what investors want, that’s who they’ll hire.

            • Brian and Ready, I think we share the same blue collar history. Fifty-seven year old twenty year truck driver plus another five years as as an admin pogue in the trucking industry here.

              My advice to everyone is to always remember that the company – any company – does not give two shits about you and yours. Use them bastards the same as they use you.

              Work and save and then drop the fuck out as soon as possible is my recommendation. It is the path I have traveled.

          • Hi Brian,

            According to fatsecret, Shiner Bock has 142 calories and 12.9 g of carbs per 12 oz. bottle.

            https://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/shiner/shiner-bock

            I don’t know of any commercial beer that uses HFC or table sugar. The main source of sugar comes from mashing malted barley, which converts starches into fermentable and non-fermentable sugars. Light domestic lagers often use adjuncts such as corn or rice to increase the original gravity without adding much in the way of flavor or color. Corn sugar is often used by home brewers to achieve carbonation in bottle conditioned beers. However, this is done after all of the primary and secondary fermentation has finished. This is usually done by boiling a specific amount of sugar in a small amount of water, adding this to the entire finished batch, and then bottling. The CO2 produced by the final fermentation cannot escape, which carbonates the beer in the bottle.

            Molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar are sometimes used in particular styles (usually porters, brown ales and stouts) to increase alcohol content and add a desired flavor profile. Candi sugar is common in many Belgian ales.

            Alcohol is very calorie dense so high ABV beers also tend to be much higher in calories than “standard” strength beers like Shiner Bock. In addition, “big” beers like IPA, barley wines, strong ales, imperial stouts, double bocks, etc… usually have higher levels of residual (unfermented) sugars (derived from malt, not adjuncts), which means higher carb levels and even more calories. Of course, these beers are more satisfying than a “standard” beer and 1 or 2 is usually enough. Good beer, in moderation, will not kill a lo-carb/primal/paleo diet.

            Compare one of the truly great beers available, Spaten Optimator, to a coke. The Spaten is a big strong, malty, complex masterpiece. you can’t drink it fast, nor do you want to. As it warms and gasses off some of the CO2, it goes through subtle changes; the strong alcohol bite fades to a lingering malt finish, the mouthfeel, at first crisp and assertive, becomes velvety smooth and luxuriantly viscous. The aroma, strongly alcoholic, mellows and gathers depth, reminiscent of warm , ever so slightly burnt toffee. Or, you could have a coke…

            Cheers,
            Jeremy

            • Thanks Jeremy for all of that great information. I used to home brew and I knew that corn sugar was the sugar to use, but I was suspecting that commercial brewers were taking the cheap route nowadays like Coke and Pepsi had taken. I am now living in a travel trailer, therefore I lack the space to home brew now, although I still have the equipment stored. I have always been an insomniac, and beer oftentimes, but not always, helps me to go to sleep. Strangely, once in a while drinking coffee will immediately make me tired enough that I know I could easily go to sleep, but I do not dare to take it at night with-in 3 hours of bed time because usually it prevents me from going to sleep. Insomnia usually only affects me one or two nights per week, but I never know which nights it will strike. It has struck 2 nights in a row before. Sleeping pills, including Melatonin, do not work for me.
              It is not at all unusual for me to sleep for 10-14 hours straight during weekends to get caught back up. I also take naps while getting loaded or unloaded when I can.

      • Chicks, then guys started getting fat beginning around the mid 1980s. That marked the beginning of the true obesity epidemic. It coincided with the use of HFCS in sodas, quickly followed by using it in packaged foods. It’s a mess really.

    • I am now wondering if the entire New Coke uproar actually happened? Could the uprising have been a false narrative put forth by the powers that should not be in order to cram large amounts of unhealthy HFCS down our throats? I didn’t see any protesters locally.

      • Some people at the time voiced the same suspicion as you do now. Al the publicity played into Coca-Cola’s hands. Now it seems hard to believe that the head honchos of that company really were going to replace old Coke with New Coke.

        Coca-Cola touted a new recipe for New Coke. The sodas tasted distinctively different, and New Coke tasted like RC Cola to me. There is no way simply switching sweeteners would have made Classic Coke taste like New Coke.

        Keep in mind that New Coke was still sold after Classic Coke returned, just as Tab is still available in some markets despite Diet Coke replacing it de facto. New Coke became Coke II in 1992 and was discontinued entirely in 2002, so it had a run of nearly 20 years.

        I tend toward the view that the whole thing was orchestrated from the beginning. The alternative is that the heads of Coca-Cola were too dimwitted to anticipate the uproar from replacing the old Coke, but that one is hard to swallow (joke intended).

    • The next time some big fashion changes take place ask how it happens. Then realize that most of the so-called hippie movement in the 1960s was clever marketing by clothing designers and was the first real “underground” marketing campaign. How else can you explain how suddenly an entire movement pops up from nowhere, across much of the nation (and world)? That’s not how organic growth happens. And why were all the hippie chicks (in the pictures at least) clean and beautiful? Even after not bathing for days/weeks/etc? Oh sure, some of the reason is because they were 20 years old, but come on now. I’ve seen women after camping out for a weekend and they don’t have perfect hair, makeup and inch long eyelashes. Yet look at the pictures from Life magazine from that time and clearly they were photographing models.

      These days it is incredibly easy to manipulate most, including us. A few well-placed blog posts that get leveraged through social media (these days designed to invoke a very strong emotional response) and pretty soon you have everyone in the target demographic aware of your new product. Over time we’ll figure out what the BS is, but until then we’re basically screwed.

    • A healthful effect of an increased sugar tarriff would a reduction of the amount of sugar in candies and other baked goods. We simply consume too much of it in the US anyway. To protect health, I believe that artificial sweeteners should be banned entirely. If that sounds “big government”, so be it. It would be a better use of big government than is currently being employed.

    • Unless they started using cane sugar, the Pepsi products called throwback are made with GMO beet sugar. I don’t know if there’s a difference in the way it affects our systems. Mexican sodas or Boylan’s sodas are what I buy when the kids are coming to visit. I drink one or two a year, but my daughter and son in law will have a few while they are here. My 2 year old granddaughter won’t drink sodas at all. I hope she doesn’t start.

      • Ed, good catch. I only drink cane sugar sodas and not frequently. Although I do consider myself a grape soda “expert”. : )

        • Skunk, the old bottler in South Carolina that has Cheerwine, Sun Drop and Nehi bottling authority has been producing their old line of sodas with cane sugar. Their Nehi grape is a real blast from the past.

          Sun Drop was the original citrus cola and got shouldered aside when Mountain Dew came along. Comparing Sun Drop with cane sugar to Mountain Dew throwback might just put old Sun Drop back on top.

          BTW, Nehi’s flavor list includes strawberry and peach as well as the old standby grape and orange. The peach is really good.

          • Ed, thanks for the tips. I wish RC and 7- UP would go cane sugar (for mixed drinks mostly). Cannot recall having a grape Nehi recently. Will look for it now. BTW IMHO so far I think cane sugar Grape Crush is the best grape soda.

            • Yep, I’ve seen those Crush drinks with cane sugar. About the Nehi, around here only the Food Lion stores and the little independent country stores have them. Wegmans, Publix and those don’t have that line.

          • Ed,grape Nehi was a fav when I was a kid. Grapette was good too.

            ROC soda just suffered from having soda in the name. Never knew why we called it ROC except to give it more creds.

            My grandmother had to have her Dr. Pepper with a raw egg every day. Us kids were fascinated at her drinking style, much like my best friend’s dad drinking beer.

            He was the school superintendent and had to sneak his beer with his BIL.

            He’d say, You boys (to his son and I) cool off a while. We’re gonna take a break and be back later.

            So AJ and BIL would mosey off in a pick-up, go to the hot barn where they had Hot beer stashed and us boys would tear off in the other pick-up as fast as we could to the shady culvert where our iced down beer was waiting. We’d guzzle cold beer and whoop and holler about them drinking 95 degree beer. When they’d get back they didn’t seem too fired up to bust àss at which point we’d remember we needed to change water or similar at another place. Nobody had to worry about seeing us again that day. You couldn’t have made us take a phone had such existed.

            I was 50 years old before I got a cellphone and don’t know I was any more productive when I had one. I’d had a bag phone for years that never left the truck and avoided it.

  8. The EPA & OSHA, the dynamic duo of business destruction (thanks, Tricky Dick). I’ve never been to China but, I doubt that in their manufacturing plant they have stainless steel grab handles over every urinal.

    • Mark, do not disagree except to also point out that there are manufacturing plants in China that have had to put up safety nets on its facilities to prevent their workers from committing suicide by jumping off the top of the buildings while at work. The most infamous is the Apple product facility.

      The extremes go both ways is my point.

  9. If a country is not moral then a nation either becomes a Communist shithole like North Korea or a Muslim country like Iran.

    • Libertarian, slightly disagree. Although islam is obviously an abhorrent philosophy, I argue that Iran is a muslim country only through its governmental force. IMO younger Persians are desperate to throw off the shackles of their oppressive religious psychos in government.

  10. When I lived in Austin, I used to drive to Dublin Texas for “real” Dr. Pepper. The Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Company still used cane sugar in it’s production (from the Imperial Sugar Company, a recipient of federal government subsidies on sugar, but anyway I digress). It tasted far better than what I could buy locally, thus justifying the 5 hour round trip.

    Their original agreement with the Snapple Group meant that they could sell it in a 44 mile radius of Dublin, but publicity around the mixture meant that Snapple sued them for violating their sales region agreement and “brand dilution” (IMO, Snapple was the one diluting the brand by adulterating the beverage with HFCS, but again, I digress). They couldn’t afford to fight, and sold.

    The key take-away on this is not only is the government subsidizing the corn growers, enabling HFCS to be cheaper than cane sugar, but they’re also subsidizing the sugar growers. It makes you ask – who *isn’t* getting a subsidy?

      • Every time I hear Snapple, I think of Sandford and Son when Fred explains mixing Snapple and Ripple. He called it Snapipple, hilarious

        • 8, I can just hear Aunt Esther telling him that God is looking down on him and saying, ” Fret Sanfudd, you mizzable, bald head, snaggle toof ol’ jackass.”

            • I remember a joke about a drill sergeant who broke the news of a recruit’s mother dying by calling them all to attention and saying,

              “Allright, everybody whose mother is still living, take one step forward. Not so fast there, Williams.”

    • Does coke (or any other soda) really taste different depending on whether it was sweetened with sugar or HFCS? Haven’t done a side by side taste test to see.

  11. The more Government fiddle-faddles with business and economics, the more things get out of wack. Government never “solves” anything – they just perpetuate the insanity.

  12. I am a big supporter of tariffs, however, on cars, it doesn’t make sense. Or does it? The effect of Reagan’s threats to tarriff ended up with Honda, Toyota, Nissan and others building their vehicles here. In addition, a host of spin off jobs from suppliers were also created to support American assembly lines. Ratchet up a couple of tariffs on imported cars and more just might be built here. It would also be nice to see what’s left of the US industry return to build the large pickups and SUVs here instead of Mexico. Given that the Mexican government is going left, it may happen and without tariffs. I am not holding my breath on Uncle Shithead making things here easier to build. The auto industry has a vested interest in these regulations as well. Not one of them has told the government to sit and spin when it comes to new fatwas.

    • It was originally intended that the federal government fund itself through tariffs and excise taxes. Direct taxes were to be for emergency purposes only. The very idea of taxing a working man’s wages was considered abject tyranny even by the Federalists who overthrew the Articles of Confederation.

      Then the Pukegressives came along and finally got an income tax to stick, but not to worry, just a small nuisance tax on the rich, it will never affect most people. Then we got WWII and the “temporary emergency” measure of withholding taxes – stealing wages before the individual even receives them. A politician’s dream come true!

      Of course we know what happened with that, as always happens with “temporary emergency” taxes. Today most people live and plan their lives around taxes and have been brainwashed into thinking that “take home pay” is what they earn and if they’re lucky they might even get a bonus from Uncle Shylock at the end of the year.

      This is now considered normal. Nobody alive except for a handful of very elderly people remembers working under any other circumstances.

      • Milton Friedman is the economist who gave the government the idea of “withholding”. This made the imposition of the income tax much easier as it was taken out of one’s paycheck. Previous to withholding, taxes were due and payable on April 15, all at once. Imagine getting rid of withholding today. There would be a tax revolution almost immediately.
        A brave woman (Kellem) sued the U S government over withholding, claiming that withholding funds from her employees amounted to making her an “agent of the state”. Of course, the “supreme court” ruled against her…the rest is history.

      • Income taxes are a ridiculous concept anyway. I suppose they derive from the idea of handing some of your crop over to the king in exchange for “protection” but we’re told time and time again that if you want to discourage economic activity you tax it. But income taxes turn this concept on its head. The income tax was to replace the taxes on booze in order to get the 18th amendment passed (it was a package deal with the 16th), and we all know how well that worked out. The taxes on liquor were to discourage consumption (and because everyone drank before water treatment), but of course because there was money coming into the government I doubt there was much discouraging of consumption coming out of Washington at the time.

        • Hi RK,

          Taxes, to be other than tyrannical, must be two things: Anonymous and voluntary. Motor fuels taxes are a good example. You don’t have to pay unless you want to – and there is no penalty for not paying them. And if you do pay them, you do so because you actually use the service provided (roads). Most of all, the tax is paid anonymously. The government doesn’t know a got-damned thing about you – as it ought not to. Only that you paid to use the service by dint of having bought fuel.

          Income taxes and taxes on property, on the other hand, are the most fiendish, evil assaults on liberty imaginable. Because they necessarily shove the got-damned government’s filthy snout into your business and because they are not voluntary and because they force you to pay for “services” you neither use nor wish existed at all – but which random strangers force you to pay for (for their sake) via the poltroonery of theft-via-proxy; i.e., by voting to do so.

          Jefferson’s line about compelling a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors comes to mind – only much more so.

          Without going too deep into a full-bore rant, why should the property of X be subject to perpetual taxation (so that he never truly owns his property) because Y decided to have children and now these somehow impose an obligation enforceable at gunpoint upon X to furnish funds for their education and so on?

          • LOL a friend of mine once said the reason you pay property taxes to fund the schools is to keep the kids locked up while you’re at work so they won’t break into your house.

            Out here in the way out west the largest property owner is Uncle. Colorado, despite having about double the land mass as Pennsylvania, ranks very low in public school funding. The answer isn’t to put the public land up for sale of course (that’s sacred land, to remain untouched by anyone other than oil and gas interests -unless they get too close to the rich folks in Aspen), nor to start charging property taxes on Uncle’s land, but to raise our property taxes.

            But the politicians are at least smart enough to know that if they raise ’em up too far there will be a revolt (and thanks to TABOR rules every tax increase needs to be put up for vote), so there’s a motivation to keep the increases low in order to get increases passed at the ballot box. There’s still manipulation through property assessment but again too much screwing around with that and they’ll trigger a bunch of appeals.

            But why bother with all that? By using property taxes you’re pretty much assured that no one will ever be happy with the funding levels for schools. Compare that to private transactions, where prices reach their own level. Oh sure, some people will be able to pay up for a better education, but how is that different than today? I know for a fact that your kid will get a better education in Aspen than they will down the road in Glenwood Springs. But you’ll also have a $20,000 property tax bill, vs a few hundred a year in Glenwood. And most people aren’t using the schools for more than a little more than a decade, maybe 15 years, unless they have a litter of kids. Property taxes are forever.

            Comcast (my toxic employer) delivers a consistent product to the entire country, at the largely the same price. Uncle and his cohorts can’t get a monopoly school system to deliver a single consistent product one town over. Yet everyone vilifies Comcast as an evil monopolist. BTW, Comcast charges the same price in Aspen and Glenwood Springs, property values irrelevant to the value of the product.

            • The same thing with property taxes happens in some Texas localities.

              People think that they’re getting some kind of free ride if they move to the states with no state income tax, such as Florida and Texas. Not true. States that lack one type of tax will more than make up for it elsewhere.

              In Texas school boards have taxing authority. What this means, according to acquaintances who have lived in cities there, is that you pay real estate taxes for general funds, then you get a second tax bill on your house from the school board for at least the same amount to pay for the schools. These bills double the tax, but they aren’t duplicates. Property owners have to pay both.

              Forewarned is forearmed. Be careful of what you wish for. Elimination of a hated tax doesn’t mean the government is just going to do without that money. A new tax, new fees, or a huge markup of an existing tax will quickly take the place of the eliminated tax.

          • Hell eric, get on that full-blown rant School taxes fund all sorts of shit almost everyone de despises.

            Let me address school boards. I noticed many decades ago in my part of the country that skool boards were made up of the people who only graduated because of the “give em a diploma and get em out ” people, the ones who say when you’re speaking of a good book, “I don’t read (books)”. No shit Sherlock and it shows.

            I’ve never been to a skool board meeting and don’t think I could endure one.

            The mindless mindset.

            Had I ever run for the office I know just what I would have heard “but you don’t have children “. It would have been fisticuffs when I retorted “And YOU shouldn’t have any and why should I be taxed for your subpar progeny? “.

            Forrest’s mom was right, Stupid is as stupid does .

            • Morning, Eight!

              Yup. To voice opposition to being taxed to support the “education” (wrong word) in government schools of other people’s kids is to stand accused of hating kids or some such vile nonsense.

              No, Mr. so-and-so. I do not hate your kids or any kids (unless there is reason to hate some specific kid). I do hate that you believe their existence entitles you to force me to provide for them. To provide for you – since what we are talking about here, in fact, is money for the government school workers (I won’t call them teachers). Yes?

              At any rate, how about I provide for myself – and my own (any children I may bring into this world) and you provide for yourself and yours? I fail to understand how you can entertain the idea that someone else’s decision to fuck – over which I have no control – imposes an obligation upon me, who wasn’t even in the room when it happened.

                • Morning, Skunkbear!

                  Unfortunately, it is the US Amerikan way… and it is very much like the former Soviet way. I’ve read accounts written by people who lived through it; lived in a system in which every other human being, just about, was to be regarded as an enemy – someone who would take your things or narc you out to government. In which you never felt “secure in your person or effects.” Constant stress, enmity and meanness.

                  Sound familiar?

                • Hi Skunk,

                  I pose this question often to local friends, especially my “conservative” ones – who also seem to think “the schools” entitles them to stick their hands into my pocket. I ask them: How is it that someone else’s voluntary decision to have unprotected sex and produce a child imposes an obligation on me, enforceable at gunpoint, to provide anything for that child?

                  I am considered a mean-spirited bastard.

                  And yet, I am not the one threatening people with violence. Nor do I “hate kids.” In fact, I’d hate them a lot less if each one weren’t another burden on me, who had nothing to do with their creation. But – in all seriousness – if I didn’t have to hand over so much money to the useless eater government (including the useless eater government school workers, who are “teachers” in the same sense that I am a “contributor” to Social Security) I would have money enough to assist worthy kids in my orbit whom I considered deserving – and to the extent that they remain deserving.

                  Ah, but that takes away the government’s power and the control…

                  • eric, don’t mean to hijack this thread but I just listened to a podcast between Lew and John Denson where John summarizes 2 books about that war, started for one reason only, to make a few extremely rich.

                    The original manifest for the Lusitania was found in the T. Roosevelt presidential library in 2012. That lie led to getting the US into that war…….Smedley was dead on.

                    • 8, I have been studying the cause of WWI for decades and have yet to read or hear anything close to a cogent reason for it.

                      But the banksters and some well connected corporations made a fortune off of it. Certainly that was just a coincidence I am sure…

                    • Hi Skunk,

                      One of the greatest tragedies of human history is the banker-prodded entry of the US into WWI, which had reached a stalemate and which otherwise would have ended in a reasonable, negotiated peace between the German Empire and the Brits/French. This negotiated peace would have almost certainly precluded the rise of Nazism and the second world war and thus spared the race the slaughter of tens of millions of people.

                      It is quite possible that a negotiated peace would also have avoided Stalin and the USSR; made possible a gradual reform of the Romanov absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy on the British model… and avoided the tens of millions killed by Lenin, Stalin and the communists.

                    • Skunk, it is all about the profit. General Butler put it perfectly, War is a Racket.

                      Eric, Woodrow Wilson’s years in office created so many of today’s major problems in the US and the world. The whole of middle east problems comes from implementing sykes-picot which was made possible by the US fostered allied victory.

                    • Eric, yup. That is why I study the period.

                      Brent, Smedley’s book is mandatory reading for any Liberty lover.

                      Some Libs will agree that war is a racket but they never connect the dots to see that war is a racket because all of government is one big racket. And cons cannot connect war to the Leviathan state they claim to be against all the while worshiping its enforcers.

    • Tariffs used to pay for the government , not this nonsense BS tax on earned wages.

  13. Funny to see this article after coming home from the supermarket where I just picked up several bottles of Mexican Coke. I avoid sodas and sweetened beverages in general, but this is an occasional guilty pleasure. It tastes like Coke did here in the U.S. 50-60 years ago and is well worth the extra cost. If I’m going to imbibe a soda I’d much rather have it sweetened with cane sugar rather than corn syrup goop or artificial toxins.

    I’m surprised the agribusiness here and their cronies in Congress has not made this stuff illegal yet. Imagine getting arrested for trafficking in THIS kind of Mexican Coke!

    • Stop by your local Hispanic supermarket and see if they sell Topo Chico. It’s a sparkling mineral water made in Monterrey. They’re now owned by Coca Cola, so buy it before Coke waters-down (pun intended) the brand.

      It’s best in the glass bottles, right from the refrigerator.

      • Walmart stores around here have Topo Chico in 12 bottle cases of glass bottles. They are in the “latino food” aisle. It’s my favorite mineral water these days. Jarritos sodas are good, too. They come in some interesting fruit flavors.

        That Goya crap is made in New Jersey, or somewhere and has HFCS.

  14. Trump hitting Chevy and Ram right in the kisser.
    End the corn and sugar lobbies, the beef lobby, Tesla lobby, etc ad infinitum.
    Maybe it will shed some light on our own retarded corporate subsidies but I am not holding my breath waiting on Joe Sixpack and Suburban Mom to catch on.

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