Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Junk Food Tax: Reasonable Public Health Measure or Evidence of a Nanny State?

By now, you might have heard about the “junk food tax” or “fat tax.” No doubt, you’ve read a few articles and thought, “This is a wonderful idea!” or “Man, what are these people smoking?” At a potluck this past weekend, a few friends debated the notion, and reactions seemed to mirror those sentiments.

If you haven’t heard of the junk food tax, the idea is this: to help curb obesity, the government would add a tariff on to unhealthy foods, such as soda and pizza. While no concrete legislation has been passed (as far as I’m aware), the specter of the tax has ignited some debate. Will it really help our weight problems? Is it fair to tax people who can’t afford healthy food? Aren’t we capable of choosing what we eat? Where would it end?

I’m of two minds on this.
  • When I consider the overall health of the nation, taxing junk food seems like a decent idea. Though education would ultimately be the best way of solving our obesity problem, it will take awhile. A tariff, on the other hand, is an immediate solution, and according to a recent study, might be more effective than subsidizing produce. Not to mention, the extra funds raised by the tax could go toward programs encouraging healthier behaviors. We tax booze and cigarettes, so why not junk food?
  • When I consider me – just me – my answer is very, very different. I can control my own intake, and don’t think I should be punished financially for wanting the occasional Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano (a.k.a. What Cookies Must Be Like in Heaven).
I’m curious as to your opinions, though, sweet readers, and would love to read your thoughts. Based on the arguments, I’ll compose a piece for next week outlining the good and bad points of the idea in more depth, as well as the readers’ general consensus.

The comment section is open: What’s your opinion of a potential junk food tax?

(Needless to say, please keep it civil.)

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51 comments:

JuLo said...

I'm also of two minds. On the one hand, I lump it with the taxes on cigarettes. I don't drink soda, so it won't affect me, but it will generate more revenue for a state that desperately needs it. So win win! Not to mention I approve of the intention to get Americans to eat less junk food. Cutting out junk food changed my life. Seriously.

But then I think why soda? Soda and cigarettes, to me, really are in a completely different vein. Why not frozen pizza? Why not oreos? And if the intent really is to lessen obesity, why not just go right to the source and tax things like butter and sugar?

Am I opposed to taxing soda? Not the soda, per se, but I'm afraid of where it could lead. I am definitely not one of those people to cry that the sky is falling, but I also think that the government should not have a say of what food I choose to feed myself with. They can educate, they can advise, but they absolutely cannot tell me not to drink soda, and taxing specific foods over others sure feels that way.

Annie Jones said...

I am against it. To begin with, I read over and over the examples of soda and pizza. Yeah, soda is an empty-calorie food, but pizza doesn't have to be unhealthy. Likewise, some foods we think of as healthy choices really aren't. Who will make the decisions regarding what will or won't be taxed?

Also, I'm not convinced it will truly help. You mentioned that there are taxes on tobacco and alcohol. True, yet I don't see people abstaining from them because of the tax. There may be other reasons why they quit or cut back, but most people who want them will buy them regardless of the cost. Why would junk food be any different?

K said...

Here in our state they are contemplating taxing candy &/or junk food to get more money to balance the state's budget, not specifically for health reasons. (At present time we have no tax on food items.)

I had the TV on while cooking so I only half heard the news I had on so I dont know if they were talking locally or nationally but the reporter mentioned it would no doubt cause problems as items that contained 'flour' would not be counted as candy so that means no tax on Twix or Kitkat bars etc.

Also there are many energy bars/snacks that are healthy choices and some that really are glorified candy bars so how does one make the distinction what will get taxed and what won't?

As a kid I was a junkaholic...every single school I went to had a 'mom & pop' grocery store (with massive candy & chips & snack foods aisles) across the street from it and we went every single day after school. I don't think the tax would have kept me from eating any more than I did then.

Food education or better overall food options with better ingredients or even better portion sized packaging seems like a beter place to start than taxing to me. I have been reading labels a lot lately and can't believe all the foods they put various sugars in these days...foods that don't need sugar. No wonder kids reach for sweet stuff all the time.

Sister6 said...

It's a no brainer to me. There is research that shows the contribution junk food makes to the health woes of this nation, and by extension, the health care costs. Which we all pay for. Decreasing consumption would also decrease the incidence of health problems, and health care costs. This is a purely voluntary tax. If one doesn't like it, one doesn't have to buy the taxed items. If you partake only occasionally, I can't imagine the extra penny or two is going to be burdensome. The products that cause our health problems should yield the solutions. Frankly, I think the corporations that make the billions in profits should be taxed too

amanda said...

I think it's possible that it would serve to make more healthful choices more affordable than junk, rather than less as is often now the case. And I tend to agree with the concept of taxing nonessential things we as a society find harmful - alcohol and cigarettes among them. On the other hand, the idea of who would be in charge of drawing the lines, what is "junk" and what is not, and the inevitable lobbies therefor, scares me to death. As I'm also not a fan of "substitute" or "diet" foods (aka chemicals masquerading as food to fool people into eating what they don't want), I imagine there would be a large influx of such things as alternatives to taxable junk food. So while I'm for it in overall theory, I don't see the practice of it as being very helpful.

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl said...

I'm not a fan of this idea. As you say, there are plenty of people who manage to eat "bad" food in moderation (for example, my mom eats ONE Dove chocolate every night after dinner) and it doesn't seem at all fair to penalize her for other people's lack of self-control.

If the government is going to try to get us to eat healthier, I'd rather see encouragement towards and education about good foods rather than taxation of bad foods.

Julie Gomoll said...

I agree that on the surface it seems like a fine idea. Definitely better than subsidizing healthy food. But I wonder if it will really help?

I'm embarrassed to admit that the skyrocketing cigarette tax hasn't curbed my desire to smoke. I always say it will - when smokes reach $x I'll quit - but I don't.

On the other hand, smoking is a very real addiction, whereas junk food is just a bad habit, or a compulsion in some cases.

So I like to think it would help us make better choices, but I'm not sure it actually will.

Aryn said...

I recently ranted about this on my blog. I'm very opposed to this tax. There's no proof that any single food causes obesity, unlike cigarettes and the direct link to cancer. Rather than tax certain foods to try to curb intake, why not just get rid of the corn subsidy? True, the price of all foods containing corn would rise, but maybe that would encourage food producers to create more healthy food or at least stop packing so much filler into food.

April said...

Why don't they just tax or fine the companies that make the "evil" products?? People are pinching pennies enough as it is. And besides, aren't we taxed to (and at) death enough already?

Meags said...

If it was on clear-cut categories (I.e., soda) I wouldn't be too opposed, but I don't trust the powers that be to decide on everything. I don't want my favorite ice cream to be taxed when the sugary granola bars aren't.

rip said...

I'm all for it. Unless of course everyone is willing to repeal all the tobacco and alcohol taxes. Which they aren't.

High sodium and sugar junk food diets cost the US FAR more than smoking or alcohol, in terms of health costs. The dirty little secret of anti-smoking campaigns about the health costs is that smokers typically cost less than non-smokers. Why? Because a smoker often gets an acute condition (heart, cancer, etc.) at a relatively early age, then dies. A non-smoker, on the other hand can develop chronic conditions that can last 20+ years (high cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes, heart condition, etc.), requiring constant treatment and monitoring.

The simple fact is that fast food and junk food are cheap calories. And that is a major problem. Healthy food (veggies, unprocessed high quality meats) costs a lot more. So I'm all for raising the prices of "bad" foods in order to make healthy foods economically attractive.

One thing though, instead of just taxing soda and Doritos, they should tax McDonalds, Burger King, and the like too.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy snack food as much as the next person. I just don't live off of it and I'm willing to pay a little extra if it helps keep America from being the fattest society in the world.

Paul J Warner said...

I'm strictly of one mind on this subject. Don't do it. It's also why I my stance on current health care reform is what it is again don't do it. Here are my reasons in a nut shell. Basically people that eat junk food get fat and they have raised health care for that reason...and with good reason. I shouldn't be charged more cause Big Mac over there can't exercise a little restraint when it comes to hitting the twinkies.

Now what I do think is that they need to reestablish what a healthy weight is. I weigh 185 give or take at 5'9" and I am FAR from what you would consider fat. Sure I could stand to lose a little weight but I am very healthy.

But thats a different topic entirely...Small .gov make people more responsible for their actions.

Lori said...

We actually had a "snack tax" in Maine from 1991 to 2001. It was put in place as a budget measure rather than a public health measure, but there is a nice research study that looks at the effect of the snack tax on obesity. Here's a link:
http://ecommons.txstate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1029&context=arp

The tax did not change my eating habits, but I'm in favor of a tax if it's more focused on snacks rather than "meals." I see snacks and desserts as luxuries, and, as such, I'm fine with taxing luxury items. Note- I quite enjoy treating myself to a luxury on a regular basis...

Emily said...

Is it possible that it'll push the food manufacturers to make healthier versions and maybe duck the tax?

Anyhoo, homemade chocolate chip cookies always trump store-bought, and the ingredients will probably be tax-free. Fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

IMO, this is merely a panacea so they can say they're doing something. I'd rather the government stay out of starting to tax "bad" foods as adding a tax to just soda probably won't make a big difference in our obesity rates. The government could make a bigger impact by getting rid of corn subsidies.

And where do you draw the line? Why soda and not candy bars?

My biggest issue is with those who argue for the tax by stating that they are "paying" the higher health costs of those with "no self-control" because they're overweight. If one follows that argument, wouldn't it make sense to charge tax those people who ride a motorcycle without a helmet? Or charge money for those who practice sports where injuries are more likely?

If we're only concerned about dollars rather than people, perhaps the government should consider a hefty tax for people who don't abort special needs children who will require medical assistance all their lives. After all, won't those types of people drive up health costs? And, in case you weren't sure, yes, I'm being sarcastic. I think it's gotten ridiculous.

Ryan said...

Are you sure changing the subsidy structure isn't the simpler solution?

http://www.pcrm.org/magazine/gm07autumn/health_pork.html

loan said...

It's interesting that they want to tax "junk food", but heavily subsidize the ingredients that go into processing junk food - corn syrup, sugar, etc. The reason junk food is cheaper than healthy food even though junk is highly processed (read: labor- & machinery-intensive) is because of this subsidizing. I don't support additional government interventions because we'd just be paying more in taxes AND in paying for the bureaucracy to fix a situation that was created by government policy.

Lisa said...

I'm opposed to a junk food tax for a couple of reasons. First, I don't agree with the correlation often drawn between it and taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. One can live (quite well, in fact) without ever buying a pack of cigarettes or a bottle of alcohol. However, we ALL need to eat food in order to live, and I don't want the government penalizing citizens for their food choices.

Secondly, what criteria will be used for deeming food healthy or unhealthy? If the government-designed USDA Food Pyramid is used (anyone else find it odd that the Department of AGRICULTURE and not the Department of HEALTH created these guidelines?), then Wonder Bread and Rice Crispies will be health food, but we'd be taxing salmon and olive oil for the high fat content.

Food is essential to life, and it is a personal choice. I'm not yet convinced, nor is there data to support, that any one food or food type is to blame for our nation's obesity epidemic and other health woes. And until there is solid data to support such an argument, I want the government to keep out of my decisions at the grocery store.

shesaserging said...

I've seen some others say it already, and I have to agree: end corn/soy subsidies. The logic is better: we're fat because we eat at Mickey D's and drink soda, right? And we eat that because it's cheap. And it's cheap because corn/soy/wheat are produced at the government's expense. So it makes no sense to subsidize it on one end and tax it on the other. Re-do the farm bill so it makes sense, and the cost of corn syrup, corn chips, corn-fattened beef, etc. will all go up without the need for some crazy tax (because, let's face it, it will be crazy. How will anyone ever decide what's junk food? I think soda is but pizza and chocolate are not and who's to say I'm wrong?). So that's my opinion. Making junk food more expensive is a great idea, but taxing it would just be a mess.

Guillaume Theoret said...

I'm a bit surprised.

I was entirely expecting you to make the argument that junk food is already more expensive than eating well.

How much junk food can you buy for 25$? Enough to last a week? I'm certain that's an impossible challenge. (Impossible in the sense of not starving yourself or making you sick. Eating well for 25$ can't include junk food. Anyone that says junk food is cheap I believe is dead wrong.)

Kacie said...

I live in the Pittsburgh metro. The mayor is trying to pass a "sugary drinks tax" of some kind. See here: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10076/1043338-114.stm

I think it's fine. I am trying to reduce the amount of sugary drinks I consume anyway, so maybe this will be more of an incentive!

I like this tax proposal better than his previous one, which was to tax local college students. Yeah. Cuz they have extra money to spare.

Karen L said...

I'm with many of the others. Cut the subsidies then we'll talk about taxes.

Yoli said...

Hey, this is Robert. I am completely against it. How can one be taxed or rather fined for eating what he likes to unless he is not doing any harm to the other fellow or to society ! Then what about smoking cigarettes in open which is more harmful not only for the one who is smoking but also for people near him who are being 'victims' of inactive smoking ?! Eating what one considers healthy or junk food simply depends on one's conscience. Yes, I agree with @shesaserging that funk food can be made more expensive rather than imposing tax upon it. But then so should be done to cigarettes and other such stuffs.

GrowingRaw said...

Even if I was sure the fat tax made sense (I'm not - especially when you follow back the chain to the subsidised corn producers), to fully support it I would have to trust that the money was truly going to be reinvested in improving the health outcomes of the people who are being taxed. Is there any guarantee of that?

Elizabeth said...

@Lisa, that's such a great point about the Food Pyramid. Why do we follow recommendations from an agency that is so involved in corn subsidies? Also, I think our understanding of what constitutes unhealthy food evolves so quickly that it's hard to know where to draw the line in a tax like this, or how often to update it. Ten years ago, our understanding of fats told us margarine was most healthy, and now we know it's more complicated than that. And I still see recommendations not to eat bananas because they have "too much" natural sugars. Never mind all the fiber and potassium they have.

I also feel it's not fair to say people are at unhealthy weights simply because of junk food. I do my best to eat well-balanced at *every* meal on a daily basis, but I'm overweight because I don't get enough exercise. Would a tax improve my health? Hard to say.

Anonymous said...

Dethrone King Corn!

Anonymous said...

I'm 1000% percent against it. Everyone uses tobacco & alcohol as an example, but honestly... what has the federal government & states done with that money but squander most of it? Again it's used for budget shortfall and not what the legislation was passed for -- which is education against using those items.

Additionally, you think about it, most people bottom line are willing to pay more for something they want. I smoke. The taxes went up in my state. I still smoke. I grumble and complain, but I still smoke.

Third, who has the most to lose & gain with a "junk food" tax? We as citizens with heads on our shoulders have the most to lose because we will be dictated to as if we're back in grade school and told what to do. Leave that philosophy to Sweden.

To gain will be the junk food makers. Why? Guess who has the most disposible income? Children and teenagers. Just the targeted groups that this ridculous tax is supposed to help. So unless you plan on watching your children 24/7, who's going to be monitoring what they eat?

Oh we'll have to create the health police then.

Anonymous said...

Nanny State just screams at me. I'm not going to get on my soap box about the lack of responsibility people take for there own actions in this country today, but this is just one more example.
Can we not just eat what we want and let the chips fall where they may? Yes, obesity is taxing to our healthcare system and to our lives personally. But those people choose the foods they want to eat and they have that right.
We need to start looking inward and taking responsibility for the things we do, eat, and say in this country. I don't think we really need the government to do everything for us do we? What next drive through ass-wiping stations because we can't do that on own on either?

The Happy Domestic said...

Here in Ontario, Canada, all pre-packaged, processed foods are taxable, and all whole-food staples are non-taxable. Now THAT's a tax scheme that makes sense to me. Even white sugar, if you're adding it to a food yourself, is going to be a whole lot healthier for you than a pre-packaged granola bar containing a whole host of hidden sugars / glucose additives, plus several other additives and preservatives.

Even in Canada, however, we could all do without the Big Agriculture subsidies which promote unhealthy food fillers and environmentally unsound farming practices. Canada's Food Guide (purportedly for healthy eating) is also created with the input of the largest national food producers, resulting in a "healthy food guide" that is anything but.

The Apple Hill Adventurer said...

I think most people assume that people are smart enough to make the right decisions for themselves, but honestly .. when it comes to food, the majority of people are idiots

The Apple Hill Adventurer said...

If my last comment was not clear, I am in favor of it. Some people need a nanny. People that eat that crap all the time probably end up causing the tax payers a lot of money down the line anyways. Maybe if the state makes it a little less easy/cheap to buy crap, people will stop piling it into their bodies and into their children.

Kris said...

Hi, everybody. This is Kris, the CHG lady. This has been a wonderful, serious discussion so far, and I thank everyone for offering such eloquent opinions.

Just to summarize a little of what's been said: one recurring theme seems to be a deep distrust of the government, particularly in their ability to allocate funds in a meaningful way. We're not talking Obama's administration in particular, but the lobbyists and lower-level elected officials who tend to influence these decisions.

Another common thread appears to be the slippery slope argument: what gets taxed? How do we determine what's healthy and what's bad for us? (Several people mentioned pizza, and you're right on.) And mostly: where does it end?

Finally, everyone seems in agreement that something has to be done, whether its curbing corn subsidies or instituting wider educational initiatives.

Again, this is great, and I thank everyone for participating. CHG readers are the smartest dang readers out there. I'd love to hear more.

Jennifer said...

I don't like the tax but not because of the "Nanny State." For me this is a band-aid. The best thing to do would be to make sure that healthy food is cheaper and more accessible to all. Throw in some nutrition education, some cooking education. Teach people how to garden and give them room to do it. Get some brilliant advertising people to develop ad campaigns that show home cooking from scratch as fun, easy and quick and full of those family values we're so fond of. Change the farm subsidies so soy and corn aren't so well-supported that we need to create new products to use up the surplus.

If we can agree that junk food is bad, why don't we limit it's advertising like we did with cigarettes?

Anonymous said...

Unhealthy foods ARE taxed - buy a candy bar, soda, or stop at MacDonald's, and you have to pay sales tax. Buy produce, rice, eggs or even a bag of sugar - no tax. Any 'junk food' tax would be in addition to that.

And since the government subsidizes corn and soy, unhealthy additions like high fructose corn syrup are already partially funded by taxpayers. You'd have to pay three times for a weekly chocolate treat.

Also, a 'fat tax' wouldn't address the equally important problem of physical inactivity.

Alice said...

Can anyone tell me what happens to the tobacco and alcohol taxes in the US, and where they're proposing the revenues from the new 'fat tax' will end up?

I'm in Canada, and up here the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol go right into the health care system. So there are two rationales for the 'bad things' tax - the first is about creating a disincentive, and the second being that consuming 'bad things' will likely (but of course not always) make you a pricier medical patient, so you should pay more into the system via the 'bad things' tax.

If a 'fat tax' like the one being proposed in the US were to be suggested here, I suspect that that would also be the argument... ie. disincentive, + "people who drink coke will use the health care system more, so the tax from coke will go straight to health care".

As a straight-up "disincentive tax", I have mixed feelings about it (as other people have also expressed), but when you couple it with the idea that the tax goes right to the general health care pot, I'm more ok with it. HOWEVER, that argument only works in a public health care system...right?

Any thoughts on that from your side of the border?

Laura said...

When I first started reading, I was like "woo hoo, tax the junk food!" But I think everyone made a lot of good points about the definition of junk food vs healthy food. My definition of healthy food would basically just be produce, meat (like, raw meat that's unprocessed except for some chopping and deboning here and there), and dairy - though dairy gets tricky because you'd have to differentiate between processing and also levels of fat.

That's pretty much my diet though, maybe with a few grains thrown in. I RARELY go into the inner aisles of the grocery, and if I did, I'd be willing to pay a bit more since it's so infrequent.

For those arguing that people who indulge moderately in junk food/soda are now getting penalized - no, they're not. That's the point of a tax; you only pay for what you consume. So someone who only eats one candy bar a month is only going to pay a few cents in tax, vs someone who eats one a day would pay several dollars.

Anonymous said...

I don't consume soda or junk food, I eat veggies and brown rice, have the same calorie intake and exercise habits as MeMe Roth, yet I'm morbidly obese. So, no, I don't think a junk food tax will do much about obesity, although it might improve the health of all the skinny people who live on junk food because they think not being fat makes them healthy by default.

And maybe instituting a "fat tax" might help to assuage the virulent bigotry of society against fat people, if it makes people like most of your commenters think that their favorite scapegoat is being punished.

Anonymous said...

@Anoymous posted at March 18, 2010 12:41 PM

Actually that's not entirely true. I live in Kansas. Grocery staples (milk, eggs, sugar) in the stores are taxed at the same rate as McDonald's food here.

AmandaLP said...

I agree with most of the arguments above regarding subsidies of processed foods.

I would be for a tax on "junk food" IF it were used to subsidize healthier whole food options. Using it to balance the budget or "for education" is not the way to get people to eat healthier. Making apples or lettuce a cheaper options than candy or chips is the way to do it.

suerocks said...

I don't believe that instituting a soda or junk food tax will make people consume less of it. I don't have stats to back me up on this, but I doubt that many people quit smoking as a result of higher cigarette taxes or go out of their way to buy them in a different, tax-free state. I'm in Philly where the soda tax is on the table, but it sounds like the Soda Lobby in the area is pretty strong and City Council is backing down from it. I do drink a little bit of soda, and I think I would cut down my intake more if I was paying $3 a bottle for it.

I like the point others have made on here...where does the tax end? Why soda and why not McDonalds or Burger King?

How about tax breaks for people who exercise, eat healthy, and aren't a burden to the healthcare system?

Mike said...

I think this is a fantastic idea. Many of the chronic diseases that are plaguing are country (heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc.) are linked to obesity. The relationship between BMI and sudden heart death might be a little more complex but the point remains: our country would spend much less on health care if people were in better shape.

Good behaviors like gym attendance should be subsidized. Some health insurance providers already give discounted rates based on gym attendance. Another great idea.

Needless to say, education should be a big part of the approach to dealing with obesity. We would be well-served by looking at data from cigarette sales in relation to anti-smoking measures. This data could be a good source to identify which has more impact on consumer behavior, taxes or education.

Maggie ~:) said...

I'm for it. While I don't have any notions that taxing these items will curb people's desire for them, I look at them the same way I look at cigarettes and alcohol. It's something we want, but isn't very good for us. And we aren't being told we can't have it, by the way, just pay a fraction more for it. And from what I understand, pennies, if even a Whole penny. And if your local govt is bankrupt, then I support it even more!

The thing is, we can't Just tax these "bad" items. We also have to make healthy food more affordable. When a person can get a large pizza from Pizza Patron (the cheaper example in my area) for $6, effectively feeding a family of 3, I Completely understand the lure of that versus healthier foods a person would have to slave over for more money. So we have to make produce cheaper along with the junk tax.

And we also have to be very careful about What we put the junk tax on. Outlaw HFCS altogether. And don't let those sugary health bars that are actually only slightly better than a candy bar slide. And Teach people about how to eat as well. If a person doesn't understand that one supersized meal at your choice of chains may equal the caloric needs for their whole day, they'll never loose weight. I have a classic example of a friend who couldn't understand why she wasn't losing weight because she was eating salad every day. But she ordered 2 extra sides of ranch dressing and Fried Chicken Strips to put on top of that salad. The point is she honestly just didn't get it. That right there is our real problem. The junk food tax should only be a means to help stem the bleeding of our deficits. And if it deters a few from stuffing our faces with junk, then that's a great bonus.

Of course, I'm also all for legalizing marijuana and taxing the hell out of that too. We're missing great tax revenues by keeping that illegal.

The Happy Domestic said...

I think Maggie's point about the $6 pizza for a family of 3 illustrates another important point that hasn't really been talked about much here:

Healthy food is CHEAPER ALREADY. People don't seem to realize this, maybe because they don't think about the meals they prepare in terms of cost per meal, just a weekly grocery amount. I spend about $3 per family meal, on average, to feed SIX people - that's about $.50 per person per meal - and we eat well, not just rice and beans. If I splurge, with a gourmet 3 course meal, I might spend $10. You can't buy prepackaged foods, restaurant foods, or even cheap fast-food meals for anywhere near that low cost!

Let educate people about how CHEAP and EASY it is to make healthy meals, and watch the junk food giants go bust.

P.S. My homemade pizza doesn't taste "healthy", and our junk-food junkie friends prefer it to Square Boy or Pizza Pizza anyday.

Mattheous @ Menu Musings said...

I think it's completely resonable. They already tax other 'sinful pleasures' (alcohol, tobacco, eating out, etc)--why not junk food? Besides, as we all know, it's entirely possible to make cheap food that isn' junk--so the 'I have to feed my family Hohos a La Mayonaise for dinner because I'm poor' argument goes rght out the window.

Anonymous said...

Soft drinks have already been taxed for a while in WV. It is an excise tax, so it impacts companies more than individuals. It could be said that the cost is passed on to the individual and so on.....

Tris said...

The entire idea assumes the government knows what is healthy and what is not. History is not promising.

Ria @ myorganicacaiberry.com said...

Who would decide which foods will be considered junk food or not? Besides, obesity shouldn't be blamed on junk food. Its usually a health issue or just lack of discipline on healthy eating. I don't really think that taxing junk food would curb it, it will just give the Government more income.

Weight Loss Blogger said...

You may also consider, that taxing less healthy foods may in many cases simply place an unnecessary hardship on families that have to resort to less expensive foods just to feed their children. The tax may then lead to families being able to purchase less food than is needed to feed themselves, healthily or not.

Anonymous said...

People should be able to control their own choices in diets. This is just another more authoritarian type idea that will limit freedom

Anonymous said...

obeasity in childen is caused by poor parenting or poor judgement.

CALUM !!!!!!!!!! said...

I beleive the tax on junk food is not necisary or needed for are current society although i belive healthy eating should be encouraged i think in the end people should decide for themselves