Mexico Ads Savage Bloomberg for Soda Tax Push
El Bloombito gets no love as he takes his anti-sugar campaign south of the border.
Having had his attempt to restrict soda consumption in New York City rebuffed by New York state courts, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is now investing millions to support a soda tax in Mexico—a wildly unpopular proposal that has small business leaders running newspaper and television ads warning, "a gringo is trying to tell you what to consume."
Both the trial level and appellate courts of his state struck Mayor Bloomberg's soda ban down as unconstitutional, but the mayor continues to propose similar tactics to prevent consumers from downing sugary drinks.
This current controversy comes on the heels of a proposed tax by Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, that would increase the price of soft drinks by 1 peso (8 cents). Bloomberg not only praised the proposal—which, according to the New York Times, could generate as much as $950 million in revenue—but has invested $10 million globally in organizations advocating for these taxes. In response, small business owners and investment groups have launched newspaper and television ads targeting the "Bloomberg Tax" directly.
According to Oxfam, Mexico consumes more soft drinks than any other country in the world—hence President Peña Nieto's estimate of almost $1 billion in revenue from the proposed tax. Peña Nieto alleges the government would invest this money in potable water programs in schools and impoverished areas, but business owners aren't buying it.
"Bloomberg has the right to be crazy, but he does not have the right to come here and impose his craziness on us," remarked Cuauhtémoc Rivera, head of the National Association of Small Businessmen, an advocacy group contributing to the anti-Bloomberg ad blitz. The group, allied with others, is particularly targeting Consumer Power, a special interest group led by Alejandro Calvillo which supports the tax and has claimed broadcast media in the country has denied his group the opportunity to run ads. Televisa and Azteca TV, the biggest television channels in the country, have both denied the accusation.
The ads targeting Bloomberg mince no words about his intentions in the country, warning consumers that the tax proposed is Bloomberg's way of making up for losses in the United States. Watch one such ad below (English translation below the video):
[Bloomberg ad announcer] The Campaign for the Alliance of Nutritional Health has launched a vast publicity campaign with sensational ads that will soon also be visible on buses—
[Announcer] Do you know who finances this campaign?
[Bloomberg ad announcer] The foundation of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg partially funds the campaign that alerts consumers to the allegedly high sugar content in bottled refreshments in Mexico, according to Consumer Power organization leader Alejandro Calvillo.
[Announcer] Alejandro Calvillo has complained about the multinationals [corporations], but receives money from North Americans. Michael Bloomberg, conservative American Republican politician, finances this campaign against consumption in Mexico. And you—are you going to let a gringo tell you what to consume? What interests does Michael Bloomberg really have in Mexico? Why is he financing campaigns against consumption in Mexico?
A gringo wants to charge you the taxes he could not take from over there.
What interests are behind Consumer Power?