Taxing at a higher rate and very incrementally increasing the price of an item already not really purchased based on price (no one gives a @#%^ that soda costs 14 cents a metric ton to produce) is not akin to literally legislating customers for that product out of existence, and thus, because of the increased severity of the statutory penalty, should also meet a higher standard for enactment.
Really? Legislating restrictions on what people can buy on the public's dime should require a higher standard than legislating economic penalties for purchasing decisions people make with their own money? In typical Smash fashion, you've managed to completely miss the point (happy new year btw!). A government deciding that it will artificially increase the price of goods I buy with my own money because some interest group thinks it's bad for me is a far far greater intrusion on my liberty. A government taking money from me and giving it to other people (in the form of food stamps) to buy stuff is a far greater intrusion on my liberty as well. There is no intrusion of liberty on the person receiving the food stamps at all because... wait for it... it's not their money.
If you buy your own lunch, you're free to order whatever you want, from wherever you want. But if I'm paying for your lunch, guess what? I get to decide where we go to eat, and if I decide to limit what you can eat on my dime, I'm free do to so because it's my money. That's how liberty works. The problem is that liberals sometimes (often!) confuse "free stuff" and "freedom" and don't realize that they're not the same thing. When you pay for something, you are free to decide what is purchased. When someone is paying for you, you don't. You don't give people freedom by giving them free stuff. You limit their freedom because they become dependent on the free stuff *and* they are not in control of what free stuff they get.
I keep hoping that someday this seemingly obvious fact will sink in. But I'm an optimist I guess.
Edited, Jan 2nd 2013 3:07pm by gbaji