Posted by: Jeff | February 7, 2011

The Strangest Super Bowl Moment

No, not the legions of horrible movie trailers premiered on primetime.  The PSA at halftime:

I seriously thought it was parody.  Ezra Klein wasn’t so sure:

If you were watching the Superbowl in the DC area last night, one of the ads you saw came from the No Food Taxes coalition (which includes 7-Eleven, Alcoa, the Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Distributers Association, American Airlines, McDonald’s, and many more). It showed a sensible-looking woman putting soda into her shopping cart and complaining that “some politicians” are “trying to control what we eat and drink with taxes.” Pulling into the checkout lane, a deep-voiced announcer intones, “government needs to trim its budget back, and leave our grocery budgets alone.” Watch the ad here.

It’s evidence of how seriously the sugared drink industry takes the threat of a soda tax. And, in the interest of balance — I did link to the ad — here’s David Leonhardt making the case for one. But a federal soda tax doesn’t currently exist and, if it did, it would reduce deficits, so it’s not really a great place to concentrate your energies if you want to reduce budget deficits and ensure a level-playing field in the snack foods aisle. That said, however, I’d like to propose common cause with my brothers and sisters in the Coca-Cola Company. Government does need to trim its budget back. And it probably should be doing less to influence us in the checkout lines. So let’s make this the year we finally end subsidies to the corn industry. Deal?

Ezra is more generous to the spot than I am.  For me, it just raises lots of questions.  Like, if those taxes on unhealthy choices are really so prohibitive, why are you still buying orange soda in the grocery store?  Clearly it isn’t as effective a tax as this woman wants us to believe.  And do consumers really lose when healthy options are incentivized?  And since when does taking a potential revenue stream away from the federal government serve to balance budgets?  Did they just throw that in there to hook the Tea Party unknowingly to their cause?  I’m still waiting to see the Saturday Night Live production credit.



  1. […] written a bit about the strangest Super Bowl commercial, as well as the proliferation of horrible movie trailers this year.  So I promise this is the last […]

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