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Seth Perlman/AP

The results are in from the first year of America's first "soda tax," in Berkeley, CA:

For proponents: Sales of sugary sodas in Berkeley fell by 9.6%, while sales of bottled water increased by 15.6%.

For opponents: In areas near Berkeley, sales of sugary sodas with no tax increased 6.9%, indicating consumers may simply be buying cheaper sodas outside the city limits.

Why this matters: Public health advocates have argued that reducing how many sugary beverages people drink would reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes rates, and that a tax would change buying behavior. The Berkeley results seem to confirm that. Opponents like the soft drink industry, meanwhile, have argued that consumers will simply shop elsewhere for their sugary sodas, and now there's some proof of that as well.

Get smarter, faster: Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove told Axios he'd like to see a tax on sugar.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

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