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May 12th, 2009:

MINUTEMEN UPDATE: Senate considering Coke tax

The United States Senate is considering a federal tax on pop and other sugary beverages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The 3 cent tax on every 12 oz serving of pop would pump an estimated $24 billion into federal coffers over the next four years. Senate leaders are considering the lifestyle tax as a way to fund part of President Obama’s health care plan.

The Wall Street Journal has the full story.

[Update]

This post has been getting a good deal of traffic over the last few weeks. Here are some more recent posts on the push to tax soda.

European-style soda taxes make inroads

Is a “Coke Tax” a threat to Free Refills?

Why Europe Sucks €5. Different sized banknotes

Not mine.Traveling can be a stressful activity.

Not only do you need to navigate an unfamiliar place, but you also need to keep track of numerous little things to make sure your journey goes smoothly; things like passports, airline tickets, bus passes, hotel keys, travel itinerary and, of course, your cash and credit cards.

Normally keeping track of some small papers, an ID, credit cards and money wouldn’t be that challenging of an activity. That is why man invented the wallet, after all.

But as anyone who has traveled to Europe knows, keeping track of your cash and your wallet in order isn’t that easy in Europe.

Why?

Because Europeans think it is clever to have the size of their banknotes increase with the denomination. For example, the €500 note is nearly 33 percent larger than the €5 note.

On the face of it, having different sized banknotes doesn’t seem like that bad. The varying sizes would give an additional visual and tactile feedback as to the bill’s value. But in practice different sized banknotes are a major hassle for most people and especially stressful for tourists.

The wildly different sized notes means that cash doesn’t fit nicely into a standard wallet. Large denomination bills hang out over the top of the wallet and crinkle up in your pocket while the small notes get lost in between the big bills like a scrap of paper in a file full of documents.

The end result of the situation is that you always have money hanging out of your wallet and can never find the small bills when you need them. The latter point is especially problematic because of the well known reluctance of European merchants to offer even the most basic customer service, like making change.

Of course, the Europeans adopt their typical sanctimonious attitude when questioned about their different sized banknotes and claim that they do it in order to assist people who are visually impaired or blind. But if the Europeans really cared about helping the visually impaired they would accept credit cards everywhere and eliminate fees. That way neither blind nor anyone else would ever need to fumble around with a pocket full of crinkled-up banknotes again.

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