The case for taxing soft drinks

  • Article by: ROGER FELDMAN
  • Updated: December 3, 2011 - 4:19 PM

We drink a lot of it. With a tax, we'd drink less. We'd be healthier. The state would make money.

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Gregc02Dec. 3, 11 4:27 PM

Sheesh! Talk about bought AND paid for... "Roger Feldman is the Blue Cross Professor of Health Insurance at the University of Minnesota." More social engineering!

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arspartzDec. 3, 11 4:35 PM

The purpose for taxation is to raise revenues not social engineering. A sin tax runs counter to the original intent of the government.

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guest1Dec. 3, 11 4:38 PM

Sure, let's try a failed tax policy that is overwhelmingly rejected by the public. No. The problem with these social-engineering tax schemes is that they never stop. Once you start with pop, then they are going to try to expand the list to candy bars, snacks, anything with sugar in it, etc. etc. Liberals just never learn such 'force people to be more healthy' scams never work.

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Gordon013Dec. 3, 11 4:39 PM

I am 100% opposed to this idea. This would open Pandora's box to all sorts of government taxation of products that should be chosen and consumed by personal choice. The "lets tax Pop" advocates will not stop there if this passes. The tax is also unfair. It taxes the thin person who likes to drink soft drinks, but does nothing to the obese person who feels the need to order a triple patty, layered with cheese and topped with bacon mega-calorie burger. Does the person who makes bad choices in diet cost society as a whole in higher health care costs. Perhaps, but if we want any shred of personal choice left, we as a society need to absorb that cost.

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taftjDec. 3, 11 4:41 PM

I fully believe the writer feels a difference can be made for the better in peoples lives if this is instituted. However, what if someone posed a tax on running shoes because it is a proven fact that excess running leads to joint replacement surgeries that would not have been required absent someone running dozens of marathons? It's a very fair comparison. If I have one can of soda a week, it's nothing more than a treat and I'll never get diabetes. Now if I have 5 cans a day...I'm in trouble. Just like if I run a 5k once a week, my joints will be fine...but if I run 6 marathons a year, I'll have joint replacement procedures much sooner in life. My point is, everyone has their own version of their ideal life. Instituting taxes on people who do not share your viewpoint of an ideal life is about a un-American as it can get.

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garagewineDec. 3, 11 4:51 PM

What if it's a diet soft drink?

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unicorn4711Dec. 3, 11 4:52 PM

It's a great idea. We tax cigarettes and alcohol higher than other products on the grounds that people don't need them and they inflict social costs. Pop is a logical extension. Obesity is a huge problem; pop is a part of that problem. Too many of us drink too much of it. That revenue could be used to promote access to healthy groceries. Those of us who want to avoid the tax can drink less pop. Those of us want a pop can have it. I'd like to see fast food, cigarettes, junk food, and pop taxed higher and the money used to help ensure access to fruits and vegetables and easy exercise like walking and biking paths.

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dreamweaver2Dec. 3, 11 4:54 PM

The same old story - it is bad for you so we must tax it to cause you to consume less of it. The reality: The government is looking for any reason to raise taxes.

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unicorn4711Dec. 3, 11 4:56 PM

The running shoes argument isn't really the best analogy. I get your point, but shoes in and of themselves have no inherent healthy or unhealthy quality. Pop is always unhealthy. A little now and then is perfectly fine, of course, but there's no one that can say pop is necessary at all or healthy at any level. As for a fear of pandora's box: We have democracy. The majority of the people can decide to what extent taxes should be used to incorporate negative effects of products into the price. As it is now, the rest of us who many not even like pop end up paying for a lot of the negative social costs. At the very least, incorporate those social costs into the original price so it gets paid for buy those who use the product.

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dreamweaver2Dec. 3, 11 4:56 PM

So, instead of doing the real work of the nation, the Obama Regime is focused on taxing soft drinks and making table salt illegal. And liberals accuse conservatives of being too concerned about what people do in the bedroom? How about paying attention to what your own party has and is doing in your life. Then again, maybe you like being told what you can eat or drink.

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