‘Karmic debt’

A former Coke executive working on the side of healthy food:

The logic behind these moves has been repeated so often it is practically a mantra: The nation is in the throes of an obesity crisis and sodas account for an outsize share of the sugar pouring into American bellies.

Putman, 51, shares that view. But he is also driven by another motive: From 1997 to mid-2000, he was a top marketing executive at Coca-Cola.

“It took me 10 years to figure out that I have a large karmic debt to pay for the number of Cokes I sold across this country,” he said.

On Thursday, he came to settle it.

He wanted to give an inside account of what he contends has been a drive by Coca-Cola to replace not just its direct competitors but all beverages in the American diet — a campaign for what the company called “share of stomach.” He wanted to warn about the industry’s particular focus on young people and minorities.

But mostly he wanted to level the playing field.

“I’m not against soft drinks per se,” he began carefully. “What I am for is balance of power. And I think the power has shifted in the wrong direction. The resources, the scale, the intelligence, the strategy these companies use is intense.

“We need to take all that thinking . . . all that strategy and convert it — jujitsu it — to healthy products.”

Honestly, I don’t see why they can’t outlaw the sale of sodas to kids under 18. When my ex and I owned a neighborhood ice cream store, kids would come by on their way to school and buy big sodas – and a bag of barbecue potato chips. Nobody’s kids should eat like that.

One thought on “‘Karmic debt’

  1. This letter is a bit too into the tall grass of details, it seems to me, without clear tables or pinpoint explanations, at least for those who haven’t been paying close attention to the moves to shrink SocSec payments to those in the lower quintiles who need them the most.

    I think it needs a cover letter, an executive summary, with the points clarified and very brief.

    An earlier post from Susie about how the percentage of wages subject to FICS (90%) has dropped amazingly since SocSec began hit me, someone who’s been into trying to understand the SocSec opponents’ tactics and strategies, right between the eyes. They claim it would oh so unfair to tax higher earners on more of their income, yet, hey, it freakin’ began with 90% of wages covered!!

    (However, I wonder if part of the reason for taxing 90% at the beginning of all income was that SocSec was in a start-up mode and people who had never paid in were being covered? Something to consider.)

    Anyway, we need clear, succinct arguments — and also need to bolster for the public the morality of caring for our older people, the children of parents who die young, the incapacitated, etc. We need to get the American people to be morally bestirred to do the right things for the Greater Good. And, right now, the SocSec opponents have gone far in convincing people that the Greater Good is to…do things which result in distributing wealth upward to the tippy-top Zero Dot One Percenters.

    How do we do it? Obama and his aides will not help with this; they agree with the Big Money redistribution upward. And Obama has made clear he dearly wants to lower SocSec payments to people, raise the retirement age even as he sees that many older workers are let go and can’t get jobs. No, there will be no help from Obama.

    Many Dem leaders in state and local party organizations seem to have lost their vocabulary and how to speak about the shared Dem Party principles; perhaps they do not want to sound as if they disagree with Dear Leader Obama. Perhaps they no longer hold to those principles. It does seem that no in the Dem Party any longer recognizes that half the people are below the median income, heh? They always talk about helping the middle class, yet somehow they can’t define it. So, they speak only slightly about helping the poor least the suburbanites think they’ll be deprived of their share of the pie.

    Damn, but we needed and still really need a 21st C. FDR. But FDR had many people who prepared the way for the public to understand what he was saying and doing.

    Obama had the chance: He could have done so much to assist the lower quintiles, but he was bounden to the One Percenters. And is one, wants to stay one….

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