How the Free Market Spanked Seattle's Government After It Tried to Dictate How Its Citizens Lived

The statists of the blue city of Seattle are currently being taught a very harsh lesson about attempting to control how its citizens live, and the lesson is being helped along by the harsh but fair hand of the free market.


According to CW33, Seattle thought it could pass a monumental soda-tax on its citizens, nearly doubling the price of products like Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper within the city. The leftists believed that such a tax would get people to start being healthier, as it would dissuade them from consuming their favorite sugary drinks. As one city council member said, their aim was to literally control the behaviors of its citizens.

“To make sure that we not only impact norms and behaviors for folks in term of choice and consumption, but that we also invest in food access programs, education and early-learning efforts throughout Seattle,” Seattle Council Member Teresa said, according to CW33.

“One of the most important outcomes that we’re interested in studying is how children sugary beverage intake changes in response to the tax,” she added.

But the people wouldn’t be controlled so easily, and to prove it, the buy-in-bulk mega-store Costco decided to help along a little rebellion.

Costco created signs that showed the original cost of the products Costco typically sold them at, but then it added the tax imposed upon it by the city of Seattle, showing customers that the high prices of their favorite beverage were the result of government meddling.

And as you can see below, customers took notice.


What’s more, Costco added a second sign to inform their customers that their drinks were much cheaper at locations outside of the city of Seattle. As one customer told KIRO, that’s just what she’s going to do.

However, the city of Seattle still doesn’t seem to be getting the hint that their soda-tax will affect business negatively, even though their entire purpose was to slow sales of a widely bought item. In fact, one city council member believed businesses wouldn’t suffer at all despite the lack of sales.

If that sounds absolutely ludicrous, it’s because it is. The Cato Institute points out via a Twitter thread by Scott Drenkard of the Tax Foundation that the leftist city council can’t have it both ways.

  • “First they interview people at the Costco who are rightfully shocked at how high prices on soda and sports drinks are now (they are almost doubled).”

  • “Then they interview a public health advocate who says ‘that’s right! We want these prices to change people’s behavior and slow sales!’”

  • “Then they talk to the consumer, ‘think you’ll change your behavior, maybe even shop somewhere else?’ And she’s like, ‘ya the Tukwila store is close enough.’ Then they ask a city council member if this will hurt local biz, who says ‘there is no data’ suggesting that.”

  • “Then the SAME public health advocate says that people won’t respond to price increases, shopping elsewhere because it isn’t ‘worth their while.’”

  • “You can’t have it both ways people! The tax is either big enough to elicit behavior change, which would slow sales and hurt local biz and potentially reduce calories, or it isn’t. Get your stories straight!”


It will be interesting to see how businesses report their earnings with customers looking elsewhere for their Dr. Pepper, but with customers shopping elsewhere, it won’t be good. If they’re being driven to different stores in order to shop for drinks, there is little doubt that customers will do the rest of their shopping there as well. It won’t just be soda that’s affected.

The question is, when will Seattle cave and remove the tax, and how much will businesses suffer until that time?

(h/t: Hot Air)


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