18 August 2009

Sin Tax

Lawmakers are currently considering a "sin tax" be placed on soft drinks and other sugary drinks (including energy drinks, Gatorade, Vitamin Water, etc.) to help pay for their health care reform bills that are in the forefront of the headlines. While I certainly am not a supporter of government run health care (Canada anyone?), you can only imagine my elation at this tax.

Soft drink sales and consumption have rapidly increased over the last 20 years. Since 1990, sales have gone up an average of 3% annually. A small drop occurred in 2006 (coinciding with the beginning of our economic troubles), but have still remained strong. And that's just soda. I can only imagine the explosion in energy drink consumption the last few years. This is a huge problem that has largely contributed to our nation's waistline and medical bills. It goes back to costs. Soda is an extremely cheap way to consume enough calories in a day for the poor and struggling in America, but unfortunately offers absolutely no nutritional benefit (just a rather large insulin spike).

The poor are also the least likely to have health insurance and therefore pay their medical bills which increases your health care costs. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Our health care troubles are caused by the poor diet you are encouraged to eat by a government using flawed science.

In addition to an unnatural insulin response leading to insulin resistance leading to diabetes, studies have shown sugary drinks can lead to kidney disease, gout, cavities, so on, and so forth.

The proposal is tax soda $0.01 per ounce. This could increase the cost of a 12-pack of Coke by $1.44 which has been said will decrease sales by as much as 10%. Just as we have done to cigarette smokers, we will do to chronic Coke drinker.

...I am still a bit confused though. Now we are planning to tax something (soda) that contains a product (HFCS) that we (the government) subsidizes (corn) because it contains that product (HFCS). Why don't we support farmers who grow organic lettuce and raise grass-finished beef instead of corn, soybeans, and wheat?

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