“A California lawmaker is targeting the obesity epidemic by proposing a penny-an-ounce tax on soda and other sweetened drinks. That’s good, but why not expand it to tax all junk food?
A 540-calorie Big Mac at McDonald’s would net an extra penny. So would a 500-calorie large order of fries. A 32-ounce chocolate Triple Thick Shake, at 1,160 calories, would bring in two cents.
Factor in all the other stuff bought every day at all fast-food chains, and you can see we’d be talking about some serious money. That money in turn would be used for creation of bike paths, basketball courts and other fitness-related resources.
It could also be used to help subsidize gym memberships (which health insurers should do as well, if they really want to cut their long-term costs).
The food industry is right: A soda tax won’t solve the obesity epidemic. Sin taxes in general aren’t going to make problems go away.
But they’re a good place to start.”
Although I am not for more taxes nor policing what people eat, this “sin tax” may just change my thoughts a bit.
Because I am in healthcare I see many cases which are the direct result of complications from obesity. Our healthcare system is fast becoming burdened with caring for those suffering from obesity and its co-morbidities such as diabetes. Diabetes is frequently associated with severe vascular disease, blindness, heart problems and kidney failure.
People can become severely disabled by diabetes and require assistance in every day tasks of living not to mention the costs of the prescribed medications to manage their disease.
It seems that if a tax on food that is considered “junk food”would help pay for some of costs of the care of those suffering from the effects of obesity it should be seriously considered.
To be sure the answer to the obesity epidemic is not just in taxing “junk food”. We all know it is far more complicated than that.
But people do respond to increased prices and taxes so maybe it would at the very least make more people aware of the foods that offer them absolutely no nourishment and actually shortening their life span and the life spans of their children.
“Definitions: Junk Food: Nutrition A popular term for any food low in essential nutrients and high in salt–eg, potato chips/crisps, pretzels, refined carbohydrates–eg, candy, soft drinks, or saturated fats–eg, cake, chocolates. Cf Cafeteria diet, Cafeteria model, ‘Couch potato.’, ‘Fast’ food. Cf Fruits and vegetables. McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.What Does Sin Tax Mean?
A state-sponsored tax that is added to products or services that are seen as vices, such as alcohol, tobacco and gambling. These type of taxes are levied by governments to discourage individuals from partaking in such activities without making the use of the products illegal. These taxes also provide a source of government revenue.”