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Should Food Choices be Restricted?

September 18, 2014

It seems when we don’t like something it’s fair game to penalize.Processed food, organic, fat, dairy, diet…and a long list of folks to stand up against it. Until it’s your choice. From the archives discussion…

Taxing soft drinks seems like drawing battle lines, with much misinformation as to what will and won’t be included. Some call for specifically a tax on soda, while others say that but talk of all sugar sweetened beverages. How far does that line go?

Do we then – if it’s to reduce sugar consumption – tax also candy, sugar cereals and, well, sugar? If it’s restricted to beverages then it includes (or doesn’t) sweet tea, some sports drinks and even mixed drinks such as Kool-Aid. After all, these all have sugar in it, not just soda. What about lemonade? Is the popular summer drink on the “sin tax” scope or does it get a reprieve because it’s an “approved” sweet drink?

I don’t recall in several decades any tax that has been implemented that has ever done what it’s said to be for. Taxing sugary beverages I have little personal doubt that will be any different. We already pay taxes, licenses and fees for almost everything we do. From our pets to cars to – in some areas – yard sales there are fees because the governmental agencies can. It’s done one measure at a time almost as if then we don’t notice it.

It sounds like a good idea – taxing it to pay for health care. The actual use of the money for that is questionable. Activists have wanted to tax meat, dairy and eggs – are those next because some studies show health risks (while others don’t). Whose study, in an age where political and financial weight is thrown around, is most accurate or believable? Do we then move to put a tax on cars because they kill people and pollute the environment too?

This penalizes certain companies because of the perception they are to blame for the nation’s obesity. Many people do not drink soda but are obese, due to medical conditions, inactive lifestyle or other issues. What do we tax on those obese people? No one forces anyone to buy soda or other sugary drinks.

The New York Times is cited as discussing a penny per ounce tax on sodas saying it would add $14.8 billion the first year. Dangle that in front of greedy people and where does it stop? Soda is not the only source of sweetener. If it’s a “sugar tax” there is no sugar on the label of a Diet Coca-Cola. From the label: Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate (to protect taste) natural flavors citric acid, caffeine.”

Now if Coca-Cola has to pay why not lime flavored sugar free jello (which also has aspartame in it)? Is Crystal Light lemonade included or what about Dannon fruit light ‘n fit strawberry banana yogurt?

Or is it the potassium benzoate, a preservative? Well then shouldn’t “syrups, cider, salted margarine, olives, sauces, relishes, jellies, jams, preserves, pastry and pie fillings, low fat salad dressing, fruit salads, prepared salads, and in storage of vegetables” be included?

Or is it just a “we hate soda so they should pay”? If it’s by company should tea drinkers pay? Perhaps those who drink Nestea Iced Tea Lemon will happily join in. Same company, artificial sweeteners.

So if people do quit drinking soda – how many jobs does that cost? Worldwide! Is that worth it?

As far as I see it if all swear off soda tomorrow we have *another* US industry going belly up with thousands more jobs and it won’t make a difference in America’s obesity rate because people still fill up on much larger portions than we need, and there’s many other places we consume sugar. Do we tax sugar that makes Kool-Aid at home but not homemade cookies? If someone gives up the soda but still eats a bag of cookies per day do you really think they’re going to lose weight?

There are people who became vegetarian and gained weight – one stated 80 pounds despite having famously spoken of weight loss. So vegetarianism isn’t the key either. How far does anyone need to get into our homes for our personal consumption decisions? I don’t think they need to have control. I think the tax will get funneled away from health care because of the political switcheroos that seem to happen in DC.

We have people voting on a health care bill that don’t even know what’s in it! Isn’t that a pretty important matter when spending trillions of dollars? (If it isn’t send me a couple million – you won’t miss it!) They have no concept of money.

If we’re going to revamp the system here’s a thought – everyone who is there now has had a hand in the mess. Doesn’t matter what party, the bickering gets nowhere. Fire everyone. New rules – they get to live like us. $50,000 per year is more than generous, no extra accounts and if they don’t show up for work they get docked in pay just like we do. They’ll also get bonuses for performance. That will save a pile of money in DC, probably as much or more than the soda tax.

Yes the obesity issue is a problem. The solution isn’t taxes – those who want it will pay it. It won’t solve the problem it creates a long list of others. We cannot keep losing jobs and from the bottom up this will create job loss. Further it’s unfair taxation as it allows taxing some, but not all, products. Finally 33 states already have taxes on soft drinks according to the CharlotteObserver.com and it would lead to a loss of two pounds per person.

Now if the obesity epidemic is the reason for the tax how much does 2 pounds help the health of a 200 pound person? A 150 pound person? It doesn’t make a dent in the problem!

Food choices should not be penalized. It’s time the government get out of our homes and kitchens. As long as it’s something “other people” use or do then we look the other way. Taxing soft drinks is not the magic bullet it’s just a bullet in the economy of companies that produce a product that people want.

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