The Least Likely and Most Awesome Tax System Ever

Looooooong time readers will remember my “fair tax” proposal, the only one that is truly fair. But with Independence Day coming, I thought I’d try for another (ridiculous) tax idea. It wouldn’t be fair in any sense of the word; it’d be better than fair, though.

As Barbie knows, a government’s authority should derive from consent of the governed. The government never has the entire country’s full consent, of course, but it does things that are more or less popular, like social security, health care “reform” or giving money to gang members.

So, how about this: How about no taxes?

Now, I realize they tried this with the Articles of Confederation, and it was a great weakness. But at the time we were a lot more States and a lot less United.

“But Blake,” you say, “that would be the end of the government!" 

"You have something on your cheek,” I say. “Also, stop texting and driving.”

It wouldn’t be the end of the government if the government had the consent of the governed. I’m pretty radical, I know, but even I wouldn’t want to see the government to go away completely. But when we allow the government to set its own levels of taxation, well, we get the current state, where we all pay about half of everything outright to various agencies with an added bonus suppression of our economic activity worth another half or more.

Run the government on donations. Run all of them on donations.

Also, allow taxpayers to allocate their money. Hate war, love handouts? Allocate your tax money to Welfare. Or, if your preferences are reversed, send it to Defense. Maybe even take it to the micromanagement level: Allow your donation to social security to be used for poor handicapped kids, but not rich old people. Or support the war in Afghanistan but not the one in Iraq.

Now, would this lead to some phenomenally bad decision making? Oh, yes, guaranteed. I don’t know if we could have won the war in Iraq had we not persevered through unpopular times. On the other hand, we probably would have won Vietnam. Also, maybe Iraq wouldn’t have been so unpopular if the administration had known that their success was tied to its popularity, and put some effort into explaining it.

Americans tend to be isolationists, though, so I suspect we’d see a quick drop in overseas military bases. Foreign aid—some of it would drop dramatically, of course, but some might actually go up.

War on drugs? I don’t think there’d be huge support for it. But maybe if funds were limited, they could focus on the really bad stuff, and stuff aimed at kids.

The sort of business-squashing regulation industry that’s bloomed over the past 100 years would be interesting. How many people would pay to support that? The real danger there would be that various industries would put a lot of money into regulation, then use that squash the competition.

Kind of like they do now. So, it’s not a panacea. We’d still have to be paying attention. (Eternal vigilance, eh, what?) But, wow, what a feeling it would be. You’d really feel like you had some control. And various government agencies would bloody well have a good reason to treat you like a customer rather than a subject, wouldn’t they?

I mean, hate the DMV? Don’t fund it. If it has to shut down, the state could make a different plan up to better serve people. The IRS (and various state mini-IRSes) would be completely gone. Absolutely no need for a tax authority. The TSA would be a bad memory.

Tax time would be whenever you felt like it. The government could produce estimates of how much it needed to collect, monthly, quarterly, yearly. There’d be strong motivation to save a little cash in reserve for lean times.

Oh, yeah, the government would absolutely not be able to borrow.

Me? I’d pay $3,000-$4,000 a year for government. Maybe more. It’s a little hard to gauge, since if it were drastically smaller, I’d be drastically better off, and feeling way more benevolent toward it than I currently am.

If you’re thinking, as a lot of people probably would at this suggestion, that there’s just no way that a government can exist without using force to collect money from people, I submit to you that no government really has the consent of the governed or could.

Now, if you want to argue that it’s not fair, I agree. There would be tons of free-riders, just like the 50% or so of the population that pays no Federal income tax, or actually gets money back. I suspect, though, that quite a few of that 50% would donate. A lot of rich people wouldn’t, probably more than the number of rich people who find ways out of paying taxes now.

But it would all be voluntary. A select few carry the burden of national defense for all of us. It’s horribly unfair, but the only times you hear people complain we need a draft are when they want our national defense to be unpopular. (That’s why some agitated so strongly for a draft at the height of the Iraq war’s unpopularity.)

Some people would be exceeding generous while others would simply not donate at all. But there could be few complaints if none were forced into paying for things that they didn’t want. And in this age of high-speed information, it’s eminently do-able.

And if this couldn’t work, the more interesting question become why not?

Conservatives vs. Libertarians

I like AlfonZo Rachel, even if I disapprove of such liberal use of capital letters in the middle of his name, but I wanted to address the fallacy in his latest polemic, embedded herein. It’s a good piece, worth watching for his take on Herman Cain as leader vs. representative. Trouble starts at about the 5 minute mark, though. Let’s watch:

Money quote:

A libertarian is just a liberal who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship complex with capitalism.

Whoa. That’d be like a libertarian saying “a conservative is just a liberal who’s hung up on using the power of the state to control your body instead of just your money.”

Which, come to think of it, a lot of libertarians do say. (These days you have to add an addendum that liberals want to control your body, too, just with regards to fat, salt, smoking, condoms and healthcare.) The irony is that this statement comes after a talk about getting ideas outside the conservative tent and is followed up with a rant on how libertarians want to claim to be conservative.

I’ve never, ever met a libertarian masquerading as a conservative. (OK, I haven’t met Ron Paul, but he might qualify, though he’s more masquerading as a Republican than a conservative.) In fact, what I see more is conservatives masquerading as libertarians, because the conservative cachet is mega-uncool, while you can be libertarian and still get invited to liberals cocktail parties. (I believe this is because liberals rightly perceive libertarians as no threat. But a lot of Tea Partiers are libertarian, and we know how liberals feel about them.)

Now, there’s always been a grain of truth to the argument that libertarians really just want to engage in whatever vice they’re saying the government shouldn’t be meddling in. Some libertarians do just want to smoke their dope in peace, in-between whoring around and playing online poker with their winnings from their stock portfolio.

Whoops. See what I did there? Conservatives get all uptight because libertarians don’t want the awesome power of the state used to shoot someone 71 times while “liberals” get all uptight because libertarians want to let people do what they want with their money. One says “How dare you do what you want with your body!” while the other says “How dare you do what you want with…”, well, actually, anything at this point. Your body, your money, all your property—all of this is fair game to the modern “liberal”. (I keep putting “liberal” in quotes because, remember, our Founding Fathers were all liberals back when the word meant libertarian. Co-opting the word “liberal” was the greatest trick the communists ever pulled.)

But let me get back to Zo, here. His next argument seems to be that you can’t legalize drugs, prostitution and abortion without an entitlement society. There’s no doubt that the two go hand-in-hand in a lot of ways, but it’s the entitlement that makes destructive lifestyles not only possible but not even particularly unpleasant (financially).

This is where his argument really falls apart. What he (and other social conservatives) tells us is “Government is terribly ineffective in the economic arena, but it’s oh-so-important in the social arena.” Both are indefensible positions. One reason that social conservatives need to start (and are, in fact) trending more libertarian is because the government actively undermines their positions.

Government power cannot be used to strengthen the values that so-cons love, because government power is inherently self-serving, and the government hates the competition that socially conservative values rest on. Government is pro-abortion, anti-religion, anti-family, pro-casual-sex, pro-euthanasia, anti-culture, etc., etc., etc.

If conservatives don’t trust the government to handle poverty, education and the economy, why on earth should they trust it to handle their most sacred values? (Conservatives actually did trust the government with education, long ago, and look how well that worked out.)

The exact same powers used to enforce conservative morality are used to justify “liberal” views of morality. Huckabee is much hated by some conservatives because of his fat kid initiatives when he was governor. But there was nothing illogical about what he did. If you start from the premise that the state must pay for children’s health care, the logical conclusion is that the state must also have the power to dictate the activities of those children that impact their health. (That is, all of them.)

 Is Huckabee a conservative? Why is it okay to regulate temperance and lust but not avarice and gluttony?

There are more bad arguments, but see if you can connect the thematic tie between Zo’s arguments and most “liberals’”:

  • We’re going to have to have more government intrusion, he argues, to enforce alimony and child support with all the broken families. Well, no, the Libertarian solution would be “You made a bad choice with whom you chose to have a child with. Deal with it.”
  • “To a libertarian, real freedom means being able to use drugs if you want to. Really?” He goes on to explain how awful drug dependence is (and says that alcohol is bad enough). Well, yeah, Zo: Really! The libertraian argument isn’t that “drugs are good” it’s that “government is bad”. 
  • The black market, he says, won’t go away, it’ll just target minors. Honestly, the true libertarian argument here is: That’s why they have parents. But assuming that’s too extreme, he doesn’t explain why it wouldn’t be easier for drug enforcement wouldn’t be easier if the various agencies involved only concerned themselves with minors. (I did smile at his notion that rich kids are “ripe for the pickin’”. Sorry, dude, I grew up around rich kids and they never had any trouble getting drugs and never, ever, ever got into legal trouble.)
  • Weirder, he then says these drugged out kids are going to want abortions paid for by the state. Well, they wouldn’t go looking for it if it weren’t possible to get them, Zo. (Also, being pro-life is not necessarily incompatible with libertarianism.)

Did you see it? Fiscal conservatives argue that people need the freedom to fail economically. Businesses need to fail. People need poverty as a motivation to improve their lots in life. Propping up bad ideas smothers good ideas.

This is no difference socially. People need to have the freedom to fail with their lives. (This is where social conservatives come in, as I’ll explain at the end.) Trying to protect people from their failures also limits their possibility to succeed—and in the case of social issues, grants the government near omnipotence.

In the end, Zo conflates thinking drug use is good with wanting to decriminalize drug use which is exactly like “liberals” conflating conservatives objection to social programs to conservatives being for the problems those programs are meant to solve. Against Social Security and Medicare? You hate old, sick and disabled people. Against welfare? You want widows (these days “single mothers” as if that were a condition visited on women randomly) and orphans to die.

I know that some libertarians posit that the country would magically become nearly utopian if government got out of all of our lives. They even point to the first century of this country’s existence as proof that you don’t need all these vice-laws and their attendant limitations on freedom.

In reality, the truth is that removing the various vice-laws would cause an uptick in the various bad behaviors they’re meant to restrict. How big, nobody knows (and some data seems to suggest it might eventually go down, even, in some situations).

There can be no doubt, the removal of the various nanny policies—and I’m including the left’s economic programs and the right’s morality programs—would have bad consequences. Poor people would be worse off. Some people would use drugs and ruin their lives. Exploitation. Sorrow. Despair.

But that’s what we have now! With a bonus that we get massive government intrusion into all of our lives. Poor people are trapped by welfare. Drug addicts are not only trapped by drugs, they might get thrown in jail for good measure. Divorce rates are enormous and somehow I’m unconvinced that legalizing prostitution would be a huge factor (free sex has never been easier to get).

Point is, while it would be worse for some, it would be better for most, because we would have the autonomy our Founding Fathers fought for.

It’s not that simple, of course: The Founding Fathers had a common, fairly rigid culture to conform to. A culture that valued honor, diligence, frugality, family, God and community. What we have now is a repressive government combined with a licentious culture—which is not a recipe for survival.

Traditional values are extremely important for our survival, but social cons should note how badly it works out when the government tries to enforce them. Social cons should also note, as Zo does, that the current “anything goes” point-of-view of the culture is highly destructive, and present their alternatives in that arena.

Not the government. The society. Social conservatives need to forge the bonds that tied us together in the past—and you can’t do that with laws, even if you could get the laws passed.

I’ve heard that kids today are having lower divorce rates than their parents. Why? Because they come from broken homes or have seen what broken homes did to their friends. I know people who swore off drugs (or alcohol, for that matter) when they saw what it did to their loved ones.

People can observe. They can learn.

What social conservatives have to realize is that the government is not their friend, and the libertarian point-of-view prevents the government from working against them—and the government will always end up working against them. A lot of groups and individuals think they can master the power of the state, but it can’t be tamed—it must be minimized.

Black Holes? Yeah: Racist

Buncha twits tweeted about this NAACP vs. Hallmark story, which really must be watched to be believed. It’s a must-see.

A cynical person might wonder if the NAACP had been holding on to this, uh, race card racist card for three years just waiting for a time when they needed to bolster the credibility of charges of racism.
“Blackness is being made fun of…again!”

Honestly, where have these people been? It’s being made fun of again since…when, exactly? “Amos and Andy”? Ted Danson’s blackface costume?
And the perpetrator of this heinous crime? That edgy, boundary-pushing comedic daredevil known as Hallmark. That’s right, Hallmark made a card that talks about “black whores”. It’s just like them.
Do these people realize how stupid they look? Indeed, are?

More than anything, they remind me of the stories my dad would tell about when he was a kid and he heard about some new dirty rock and roll song. He’d of course immediately go get the single and play it (over and over again) trying to hear the dirty words.
He was always disappointed. But then, he was honest about what he heard.
These guys? They’re nothing more than the modern incarnation of the FBI playing the Kingsman’s rendition of “Louie, Louie” over and over again, trying to hear the dirty words.

Why I Dropped A Whole Bunch Of Semi-Celebrity Tweeters

Twitter is an interesting thing on a lot of levels. Way more interesting than it should be, really. After all, it’s just a massive stream of unrefined short communications that you tap into selectively—and then, very often, just whittle down again.

It’s so amorphous as to be only as useful as you make it, and not really designed for the OCD-types like myself. My inclination is to want to read everything someone I’m following writes, but that’s only realistic for a smallish number of people. My time being so scarce lately, when I get to Twitter, I focus on the Althouse-lists like Darcy’s coffee-hellos or Ruth Anne’s FTA list.
Even then, I have to stop myself from paging back, back, back.

I used to follow a bunch of celebrities. Not exactly A-Listers. Mostly comedians, vets and wannabes, and some musicians. But I had—and have—a rule: Mock Palin and you’re off the list.
It’s not that I’m a Palin fan, though I think she’s very clearly an admirable woman. (Also, while I’m damning with faint praise, I think it’s pretty clear at this point that of the four of them, she’d have been the most consistently sensible President.) But the smear campaign run against her was the most appalling thing I’ve seen since Junior High. And that’s about the level of it: The cool kids, who are cool solely by virtue of agreeing that they’re cool and having the megaphone, decided to hate the pretty newcomer who wasn’t one of them.
The levels of the smears were the same level, too. First they went after her for the way she dressed, then they went after her for changing the way she dressed. They fabricated lies to smear her with than echoed them back-and-forth to each other as if they were fact. Their fury, increasingly impotent though it is, continues to rail at this woman who dares to survive and flourish even though she’s hopelessly, terminally uncool.
Nobody should understand this better than a comedian. Comedians are almost universally losers. Ostracized growing up. (Maybe not Dane Cook.) Still on the outside of society in a lot of ways.
And, frankly, when I see them piling on, I find it pathetic. It’s such a cheap shot.
I forget what it was that Palin had done—maybe the “death panel” comment—but I ended up dumping most of the celebs I followed when they started mouthing off about her. I don’t even remember who they are any more, for the most part.
James Urbaniak (who plays Dr. Venture on the inestimable Venture Bros. cartoon) was particularly vile, and not the only one. I almost felt bad for dropping Michelle Collins because she actually pleaded “Please don’t drop me” right after her joke. Dana Gould—Jeez, I’ve always loved Gould’s dark schtick, which is almost entirely centered on being a doomed loser, and he, this guy who looks like he’s never been so much as camping, decided to take a shot at Palin’s grasp of reality.
Who else? Oh, the lovely and talented musician Marian Call. She actually didn’t make a comment directly because she’s smart enough to avoid those subjects, and said as much. And then…the temptation must have been too much, since she coyly linked to a really gross insult.
Does unfollowing mean I won’t be supporting these people in the future? Yeah, actually, it probably does, at least for a little while.
I’m not much for fairness, but the whole assault on the Governor was so unfair as to get my hackles up. And I think this was obvious and blatant, and anyone being honest should be able to see that.
And, come to think of it, I never see comments like that from the few A-Listers I follow. (Kelsey Grammer, Kirstie Alley, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, etc.) I think that confirms my thesis about what’s behind the attacks.

Ends, Means and the Arbitrary Execution of Power

My sister used to like to, as a sort of coup-fourré of any argument, snap “So, you’re saying the end justifies the means.”

It stumped me for a while, because everyone knows the ends don’t justify the means. But then I realized she had reframed the argument in the wrong way, and began to retort, “The means don’t require justification!” What I had realized was that she didn’t like the ends, and was attacking the means rather than just coming right out and saying she didn’t like the ends. (Sometimes she also didn’t like the means, because she really didn’t much like it when I did anything.)
I thought of this while I was driving and, as many of us do, wondering about whether I might be pulled over. I wasn’t doing anything wrong I don’t think. I wasn’t speeding, hadn’t done any reckless lane changes. I was driving the Bumblebee, which may not be compliant with all the laws. (I recently had to outfit it with a new catalytic converter to pass a smog test.)
And it reminded me of something Althouse said a while ago that appalled me: She said that universally applying the law would be horrible. I think she even used traffic laws as an example.
I, on the other hand, tend to view universal application to be a necessary requirement for justice and reasonable governance. Speed limit laws? If they were universally applied, they’d quickly be (mostly) repealed. And so it is with, I think, most of the laws—particularly “regulations”, which are of course just laws that have been passed in violation of the way the Constitution allows—would go away were they all enforced.
What this means is that the government gets to pick-and-choose who to prosecute, allowing for the arbitrary exercise of power. This is often done for political reasons, but it’s also just done because it can be.
This is particularly relevant in light of the recent James O’Keefe case, where he was prosecuted for doing what has been standard practice in journalism for as long as I can remember. Burying the lede about Senator Landrieu’s lying, the old media completely unselfconsciously is labeling O’Keefe a “criminal” and an “activist” for doing what they’ve been doing since I was born.
It’s such a dog-bites-man story these days that it’s barely worth noticing, much like the old media itself. “It’s only okay when we do it,” they’re telling us.
But this itself made me reflect on the phrase “the end justifies the means”, and how the thinking of that is meant to be the very epitome of evil.
But when you think about it, the intended end is the only thing that can rationalize any means. I mean, think about it: You suffer many injustices in your day-to-day life, don’t you? (I know I do. Well, maybe not many, but enough.) But you don’t (e.g.) fly a plane into the nearest Federal building because they ripped you off on your taxes.
OK, some people do, but we call them crazy, even if we agree they were poorly treated.
People always end up talking about Nazis when this ends/means thing comes up. But the Nazis had no trouble with the means—the means were, in fact, the point. The end was what was hazy. “We’ll kill all the Jews and life will be great!” Hitler sure didn’t believe that. He thought actually achieving that end would be awful and require him to make up a new target.
Stalin and Mao killed tens of millions. In their cases, the means actually were the ends. Yeah, I know all the blather about justice and immanetizing the eschaton and what-not, but the point of communism (and socialism and environmentalism and fascism) is raw, naked power which is what any dictator ends up with. Power and the ability to continue to exercise it.
(Sort of tangentially related, Matt & Ezra’s Excellent Adventure continues unspoiled. One of them is bound to win the Walter Duranty Award for Oustandingly Naive Journalism.)
Nothing really revelational here, I just always find it interesting when I end up analyzing something I’ve assumed for years and found it not to be all that true.

I Like The Cut Of This Buckley’s Jib.

I’ve not really been up on William F. Buckley (referred to as Mr. Fbuckley on “Laugh In”, if tales my parents have told me are true…) but I came across this at The Other McCain:

They are men and women who tend to believe that the human being is perfectible and social progress predictable, and that the instrument for effecting the two is reason; that truths are transitory and empirically determined; that equality is desirable and attainable through the action of state power; that social and individual differences, if they are not rational, are objectionable, and should be scientifically eliminated; that all peoples and societies should strive to organize themselves upon a rationalist and scientific paradigm.

I think this is exactly right, if better thought out than “liberals” actually do any more. Except for being based on a mountain of fallacies, it even sounds reasonable.

I wonder if there’s a mirror-image on the left, where “liberals” describes “conservatives” as accurately? Oh, wait, that’s right there is!


Touché, statists.

In Which I Admit I Was Wrong

I have been saying sardonically since November of 2008 that’s Obama would be the greatest President ever. Because he was so transparently an unreconstructed Marxist and because I knew that he would overreach, I figured this put him ahead of a squishy John McCain, who would move us down the road to socialism while the press decried it as conservatism, just as they did with Bush even when he was doing things that were “liberal”.

Unlike some, I’m not so cynical that I could actually vote for Obama on that basis, but I figured it would play out that way.
Worst-case scenario would be that someone on Obama’s team might actually understand economics and fixed the economy—which really isn’t that difficult if you’re not a true believer in communism. With a repaired economy, the administration would have a blank check as far as implementing social programs like health care reform and providing graft to all their buddies.
Fortunately, they’ve drunk their own Kool-Aid so they really don’t understand cause-and-effect. They actually believe a command-and-control economy can work.
Even more fortunately, the American people seem to have woken up to the dangers of overreaching government. I’ve been predicting an electoral bloodbath for November for the past year, but I think the actuality may exceed even my expectations. The goal should be to make health care reform so toxic that a veto proof majority will vote to repeal it—and given how bad it’s currently faring after only a few days, I don’t think that this is as wild notion as it might have seemed a few months ago.
So how am I admitting I was wrong? I think that the American people were waking up to the dangers of big government anyway. I think they would have fought McCain as well, just as we saw pork busters emerge under Bush.
In other words, I don’t think it was necessary to put the American people through the trauma of a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress destroying the economy in order to alert the them to the dangers the government poses. I think they would’ve gotten there anyway. And it will get a lot worse before it gets better.
I only hope that people will respond to the same degree that their freedoms have been trampled.

John Adams echoes Freeman Hunt

Do you remember this post by Freeman Hunt called “He Is Not Coming”? I responded to that one twice, here and here.but I’m currently reading David McCullough’s book John Adams. And I came across this interesting passage:

“I wander alone, and ponder. I muse, I mope, I ruminate,” he wrote in the seclusion of his diary. “We have not men fit for the times. We are deficient in genius, education, in travel, fortune—in everything. I feel an unutterable anxiety.”

It must be admitted that to some degree the times create the character of the people. The Greatest Generation is considered to be the greatest because of their handling of the Depression and World War II. And, frankly, I don’t think they handled Great Depression that well since they left us a legacy of unsustainable social programs, to say nothing of a compromised Constitution. We won’t even get started on their child-rearing abilities.
I think there’s a real opportunity here for greatness and I think the American people are up to it. I guess what I’m saying is that he may not be coming but perhaps we are.

Lazier and Stupider Than I Thought

Trooper York advised me to drop the whole “Obama is stupid and lazy” meme, on the basis of the government’s ability to persecute its enemies—something he, as a New Yorker, is all too familiar with—and that was probably wise, given the way this administration seems to work.

But—man, oh, man—it’s like the guy is baiting me. Maybe the blog prof is wrong here, but I suspect not. Obama bought liability and then expected to have his car repaired. And what’s with disparaging a business satisfying the legal requirements? What else are they gonna do?
It’s that stuff that worries me. I know people get to be that age without even a basic grasp of—not even economics!—but the simple mechanics of how business works. I mean, insurance is a trickier product than a lemonade, but it’s still providing a service for a cost with enough left to make a profit.
Oh, yeah, and there’s the whole not-leading-the-whole-national-health-reform-process-until-it’s-gone-to-hell-only-to-submit-a-bill-nearly-identical-to-the-rejected-Senate-bill-only-more-expensive-and-then-having-a-summit-where-he’s-completely-unprepared-to-address-any-real-concerns-thing, too.
But I’m sort of inured to that level of stupidity and laziness by this point. You?
Now, if you were a civic-minded fellow (the sort that might run for President) wouldn’t your first inclination be to try to figure out why you weren’t covered? I mean, if you were supposed to be covered, and you weren’t, that sounds criminal, doesn’t it?
Remember, you’re not just civic-minded, but a community activist and future or current law student! Personally, I’m sort allergic to legal procedings and even I would’ve considered small claims court.

Pepsi Throwback

Have you seen the “new” Pepsi Throwback? Basically, it’s Pepsi from the ‘70s: In the old packaging but made with sugar.

It’s…sublime. It doesn’t leave a film in your mouth. It has a clean, refreshing taste. Swear to God, it actually bubbles nicer. The bubbles are sharper and more lively. I had this obsession a few years ago with trying to find soda that bubbled the way I remembered—and never could. (Returned a whole lot of fountain drinks as “flat”.)
In the mid-’80s, the soda companies switched from sugar to high fructose corn syrup. One of the reasons given for this is that HFCS is “easier to transport”. Curiously, the soda companies don’t use HFCS anywhere else in the world. Just the US. In fact, one trick used by sugar soda fans is to buy sodas imported from Mexico (which I’ve heard CostCo has).
So if it’s not transportation, why would soda companies use it? Well, the Federal Government subsidizes HFCS, making it slightly cheaper than sugar. The Federal Government also jacks up the price of sugar (to seven times the world price!), making sugar a lot more expensive.
It’s probably too soon to blame HFCS for obesity, liver disease, diabetes and autism, but not to soon to blame it for screwing up the soda experience. And never to soon to blame the government for making it all economical.
We already eat quite a bit of corn: On the cob, loose, as chips and tortillas, corn bread, polenta, etc. To then HFCS in virtually every sweetened product on the market? Probably a bad idea.
Meanwhile, the Snapple Company is coming out with Dr. Pepper “Heritage"—the sugar-based version of Dr. Pepper.
And the corn folks are already in full blown PR mode. You’ve probably seen the HFCS commercials. And if you search for it on the web, the industry sites are there. The recent indications of mercury being found in it, probably doesn’t help their image.
Having re-tasted the old sodas (and having drunk a lot of "gourmet” sodas over the years), I sure bet these guys don’t want to go head-to-head with sugar.

Oh, by the way: Tomorrow is the last day for Pepsi (and Mountain Dew) Throwback. I’m gonna stock up.