Was listening to the radio this morning and they were talking about a proposed tax on soda. Many communities already have a tax on soda in place and more are considering this. Philadelphia mayor Michaal Nutter has proposed a 2 cent per ounce tax on the sugary beverages and California Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez has introduced a bill to tax them. As the obesity epidemic gains more press and more communities become desperate for tax revenues I expect this will become a popular trend. After all it's for the public good right?
Wrong. The FDA already regulates what is and is not safe to eat, but now the government will tax us on consuming that they deem to be unhealthy too? And who decides what is and is not healthy? Today it is pop, but there are already proposals to tax pizza or other fast foods. Do we want some militant vegan PETA freak trying to get a tax on meat, fish, poultry and dairy? Do we want allergy sufferers proposing a tax on wheat, shellfish and peanut butter? Should the lactose intolerant force a tax on milkshakes next?
And none of this addresses the real issues of dietary economics. People living near or below the poverty line can scarcely afford a healthy diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and unprocessed foods. They are sometimes doing good to just put food any on the tables. Pasta is cheap and filling, but is often just empty carbohydrates, canned vegetables keep well and are inexpensive and convenient but are often lacking the nutrient values of their fresh counterparts. Processed meats also keep well and are less expensive than fresh meat but are often full of preservatives, MSG and sulfites. All of these things could be considered "bad for you" so should we tax them and make it even harder for people living in near poverty just so we can feel like we are helping people stay healthy or fill the town coffers?
Instead of taxing the consumer for buying "unhealthy" food maybe we should concentrate doing things that will lower the cost of healthy foods, penalize food producers that manufacture crap food, and educate consumers on making healthy choices.
But that will never happen as long as the American consumer is willing to be lead like sheep to an early grave in a super sized coffin, or taxed into starvation.