When I wrote about the Philadelphia soda tax last week I didn’t expect it to stimulate much in the way of systematic lawbreaking, as distinct from lawful evasion by consumers’ heading out to buy in the suburbs. But Bob McManus, writing at City Journal, has probably seen farther than I:
…for retailers who deal in, say, 100-case lots ($720), or major-market wholesalers handling 10,000-case shipments ($72,000), the temptation to integrate untaxed product into their inventories and pocket the difference is obvious.
In other words, the primary mechanism of unlawful evasion will probably not be speakeasy-like underground depots, but rather ordinary merchants’ temptation to falsify their volume of soda business for tax purposes. And some branch of city law enforcement will then have the responsibility of policing all these corner store operations without succumbing to either corruption or oppression. Isn’t it great that the Philadelphia police department has such great relations with corner bodega owners?
P.S. Presumably unrelated touch of Philly roughness: Jillian Kay Melchior/Heat Street on the role in getting the bill passed of much-feared construction unionist John Dougherty, seen earlier in this space.