taxes, taxes, taxes

disclaimer: this is my opinion on my blog.

First of all, I just want to say that this commercial irritates me:

This line is what does it:

"they say it's only pennies... well, those pennies add up when you're trying to feed a family"

Soda and juice are not what you need to buy to be feeding your family. If someone is buying so much soda and juice that those pennies do add up, then that person is probably buying way more than is healthy for them. Maybe the tax will help those people buy less and not consume so much junk. A "study [in the New England Journal of Medicine] cited research on price elasticity for soft drinks that has shown that for every 10 percent rise in price, consumption declines 8 to 10 percent."

That is a good thing, to me. Soda and juice drinks are a horrible way to hydrate yourself and offer empty calories, many actually dehydrate you. If you are thirsty, drink water.

The organization who pays for this ad does have some good points on their website:
"...taxes on soda and juice drinks do not teach our children to have a healthy lifestyle... Even the science shows that education, not taxation, is the key to reducing obesity and improving public health."

I completely agree that education is much more effective than taxing the drinks. I also don't think that a tax should be put on something (like food) for the sole purpose of deterring people from buying the item. For example, the tax on cigarettes isn't there to make people not buy them, it is to help make up for the loss of money that comes from illness/disease caused by smoking. Soda and sugary drinks are also costing the health care system money. Obesity causes many health problems that are potentially fatal. People who make choices leading to obesity should help pay to control the premiums that are rising in part because of them.

The following is another argument against the tax that I mostly agree with and I find much more logical than people not being able to afford to feed their families:

"If you want to pay for health care reform," say Blumenauer, who sits on the House committee that writes tax law, "it's fairest to have every American pay a tiny amount." At the same time, a population that consumes too much sugar and fat is a problem, he says. But rather than focus on soda or french fries or other targets, Blumenauer would attack the problem on a larger scale.

"Why not end subsidies on corn?" he asks.

Corn is the main ingredient in high fructose corn syrup, which gives sugar drinks their sweetness while also contributing directly to the expanding waistlines of millions. Federal subsidies to corn growers vary by year depending on market price and other factors, but under current law, producers are guaranteed a total of at least $2 billion a year.

With so much federal aid, corn prices remain artificially low, which means the cost of a 2-liter bottle of Coke is inexpensive as well. Health professionals say that's a major cause of obesity.
(From THIS Oregonian article)

In the end, soda and juice drinks are not healthy. Most people know this. Should we tax it? Maybe, maybe not. Should anyone be running commercials like this? I personally think not.


kandra said...

I mostly agree you too. We really shouldn't be drinking enough juice and soda so the tax makes a difference. Personally, I never buy soda and buy little juice. However, I'm not sure taxing the food directly is necessarily right. I think taking away the subsidies for corn is probably the best bet. Instead of the govt being in control of one more thing, it's taking away it's power over corn production.

Rob and Marseille said...

I know dumb! I can't feed my family because the pop is too much $$. Sounds like they are leaning towards sales tax...I say start w/non essentials. For a while UT lowered the food sales tax from 6.5% to 4.5%...I think it's gone back up, but I don't notice a difference that much...maybe I should

Ksenia said...

hahaha! Zach and I both laughed out loud when we saw that commercial. It is ridiculous. I haven't thought about it much, but my first impression is that I have nothing against taxes on junk food (for reasons you mentioned).