Don't fall for the misdirection about jobs

This story at begins this way:

"Sweetened drinks shouldn’t even be subject to excise duty, never mind an elevated sugar tax, according to the Indonesian drinks industry." It goes on to say, of course, that up to X number of workers will lose their jobs if... (In this case, X=120,000.)

It's as though there's a Big Soda clearinghouse, drawing on the playbook deployed in the States numerous times, such as when New York considered a soda tax in 2010.

But here's the thing about soda-job appeals: They're a misdirection. Not even the most rock-ribbed unionist favors all jobs; when's the last time you saw anyone picketing to protect heroin-dealing jobs, or Mafia hitman jobs? Yes, everyone needs a job, but what is produced by workers is a key factor in deciding if their jobs should be protected.

If you want to balk at the analogy because refined sugar isn't as bad as heroin, or murder, I'll rejoin that it's only a matter of degree. Refined sugar isn't as lethal, but it's vastly more widespread, so which is destroying more?

Don't take the feint. Refined sugar is pernicious in all respects, and sugary sodas are their most egregious carrier. Their best claim is that they're "refreshing," a boast that hardly compares to the wasteful damage they do. 

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