Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Column Archive |  On Twitter: J Huget and MisFits  |  Fitness & Nutrition News  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed
Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 12/17/2010

Is that right? Soda taxes would help fight obesity?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

There's all kinds of talk these days about taxing sugar-sweetened beverages as a means of curbing obesity. The idea is that if sodas and other sweet drinks were more expensive, people would buy less of the stuff. In turn, that reduced consumption should mean fewer calories consumed, and hence less weight gained. And revenues generated by these taxes could go toward obesity-prevention programs.


But it's not clear whether such a scheme would really work.

A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine says that it should, but the effect on weight loss is likely to be modest.

The study calculated the effects of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) at the rates of 20 percent and 40 percent. It looked at how such taxes would affect consumption when they applied just to carbonated sodas and when they applied more broadly to all sugar-sweetened drinks. It also evaluated the effects such taxes would have on households of high, middle and low incomes.

In short, the study found that a 20 percent tax on all SSBs would result in a mean loss of .32 kilograms (.7 pounds, or about 11.5 ounces) a year per person, while a 40 percent tax would lead to an annual loss of .59 kg (about 1.3 pounds) per person per year.

As for revenue, the higher tax would generate $2.5 billion; the study suggests that high-income households, not low-income ones, would shoulder most of that.

I know every pound counts, but the estimates in the study hardly seem to merit the  rosy conclusion: "In summary, these results show that large taxes on SSBs are likely to be effective at positively influencing weight outcomes, especially among middle-income households. These taxes would also generate substantial revenue that could be used to fund obesity prevention efforts or for other causes."

The study's lead author elaborates, in a more nuanced way, in this interview.

What do you think about soda taxes? Let's vote!

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | December 17, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Health Policy, Is That Right?, Nutrition and Fitness, Obesity  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: CSPI helps mom sue McDonald's over Happy Meal toys
Next: GERD and esophageal cancer: 5 things you should know

Comments

When I look in my fridge in the afternoon, the fact that orange soda is $1 for three liters at the dollar store and my lactose free milk is $3 for a quart does cross my mind. The tax might help me.

Posted by: rose876 | December 17, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

No more stealth taxes!

Posted by: PennyWisetheClown | December 17, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Why would you be against a policy that would both cut obesity and raise revenue to help fight obesity and/or help pay the costs of health care that obesity places on society?

Posted by: dmfroman | December 17, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Why not just eliminate all the ridiculous agricultural subsidies that make sugar, and especially high fructose corn syrup artificially cheap instead of taxing one product that uses these commodities? Too bad our congress is to beholden to the farm lobby for that to ever happen. :-(

Posted by: alrob8 | December 17, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Why would you be against a policy that would both cut obesity and raise revenue to help fight obesity and/or help pay the costs of health care that obesity places on society?

Posted by: dmfroman | December 17, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

*********************************************

I am not if the money was actually used for that purpose but you know as well as i that the money will be diverted for anything and everything except that.

It will be just another stealth tax to drag more money out of us instead of reforming government and getting it to work correctly.

Posted by: PennyWisetheClown | December 17, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I think the whole thing is funny. What happen to self control? Is it now to the point where taxes/penalties provide a means of self control when it comes to eating food or drinking? Perhaps we should spend some time explaining what "restraint" means. Or how about education on the difference between a glass of water vs a glass of "sugar sweetend soda".? How about physical activity? Perhaps if people understood how long they have to exercise to consume the calories in one Mt. Dew they might think twice about drinking it vs a glass of water. Similar to smoking, the raising of taxes on a pack of cigarettes has not been a major factor in people quiting. The bigger impact is the education that has been provided over the past 15 years. I can not stress the difference between using taxes/penalties as a deterrent vs education on the rammifications of what you eat and drink. As far as the "bad" stuff being cheaper than the "healthy" stuff, perhaps its more a matter of budgeting... how about not buying the video game console/video games/computer games/etc so you can put that money towards a more balanced diet PLUS it also takes away the temptation of sitting in front of the TV for hours. Maybe...just maybe you will find yourself doing some fun physical activities..

Posted by: crazybrokenmike | December 17, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Where does government intrusion into our lives end and individual choice begin?

The government would tax sodas because the government believes sodas are bad for us?

Why not tax people that do not exercise?

Or those that that do not get enough sleep?

What about those that use tanning salons (opps I guess the government has already interjected itself in that activity).

The government needs to stay out of our personal choices...

Posted by: RandyM1 | December 17, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Any excuse by our elected crooks to sneak in another tax.

Posted by: myword1 | December 17, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Yay! for more ridiculous taxes to fund The Hill's pet projects, welfare state, and unwarranted wars/military affairs. Hear hear! Taxes only help one group of people---the people that enact them. Everyone else suffers.

How bout we request by shopping choices that all sodas use natural cane sugar opposed to high-fructose corn syrup?

"According to Ferder, Ferder & Inserra, fructose consumption and obesity are linked because fructose consumption does not cause an insulin response. This is important because, without an insulin response after consumption of a high-fructose food, there is no suppression of appetite which is normally induced by hyperinsulinemia after a meal. If there is no satiety or suppression of appetite occurring, then the person will continue eating or overeating as the case may be."

Posted by: ebgeer | December 17, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it would help. There are numerous studies showing that high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar are addictive--that is the more you consume of either, the more you crave. In that sense, they are no different from the nicotine in cigarettes. Cigarettes are taxed and there are numerous studies showing the higher the tax, the less consumption. Cigarettes lead to a number of health problems that cost tax payers a lot of money and the tax offsets those Medicare and Medicaid costs. Likewise, consumption of refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup lead to a number of health problems that cost tax payers a lot of money.

Posted by: Prosperity2008 | December 17, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

It is not the soft drink itself that is dangerous. What is dangerous are the sweeteners used: HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) and aspartame/nutrasweet toxicity.

It was a Japanese scientist who discovered the process to make HFCS about 40 years ago, yet Japan uses a completely safe natural sweetener called stevia for the last 30+ years.

The Japanese have much less obesity and diabetes and a longer life expectancy than we do. Our government subsidizes raising the corn for HFCS and subsidizes the manufacture of HFCS. We pay twice for our own poison.

Posted by: alance | December 17, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

RandyM1:
It's not the Government that is telling us that soda is bad for us. The medical community and the scientific community is saying that.

By mid century about half of adults in the US will have Type 2 diabetes or will be pre-diabetic. Do you know how much it will cost to treat all those people? Do you understand how their chronic health problems will be a drag on productivity in this economy? Today, the health care sector is closing in on 20% of our GDP. That's more than manufacturing.

So what is your answer for the obesity problem? Individual responsibility? Ok. How's that working out so far?

First, drop the agricultural subsidies that make soda and junk food so cheap. Then, tax the hell out of soda, junk food, and fast food--the same way we tax cigarettes and alcohol. FYI: those taxes don't go to support anti smoking or alcoholism treatment; they're putative... and most people are ok with that.

Posted by: bikes-everywhere | December 17, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

It makes absolutely no sense to tax people for buying HFCS-laden sodas, and then turn around and use (other) tax dollars to subsidize the production of a key component in those sodas.

Posted by: dkp01 | December 17, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I doubt that raising taxes on soda would do much until the tax gets as high as the taxes on cigarettes. However, an obesity tax on the obese might work. $100 a pound for every pound over your ideal weight yearly. So if I were 10 pounds overweight I would pay a yearly tax of $1000 until that weight was lost. We could have the annual supervised weigh in at the post office on the week of April 15th.

Posted by: Dipsy1 | December 17, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Great post dipsy1! Of course, some people already feel like our nation is moving towards a socialist society and if we had mandated weigh-ins I think people would flip out all together. Obesity as defined is misleading though. Every person that is in good physical shape is probably over weight. Muscle weighs 2-8x as much as fat so a 6' male with 4% body fat, weighing 200 lbs is considered obese! Every NFL player is over weight or obese technically. High sugar drinks create more problems than just obesity. Having said that, as other posters have noted,pizza, burgers and fries are much worse so maybe we should be taxing the restaraunts instead of the consumer that will buy whatever they can afford. I lived off of Ramen noodles in college not by choice. Take a look at the sodium content in there.

Posted by: Samurai38 | December 17, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Stop subsidies corn growing. Let the market decide what to grow!

Posted by: reefer | December 17, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

If they truly want to fight obesity, then outlaw diet sodas, yes diet sodas. Most of them contain Aspartame, a genetically modified artificial sweetner that in most people causes massive weight gain of 50 to 90 pounds a year, each and every year. Look at people around you that chew gum, since all commercial cheming gums now have Aspartame, regular gum and diet, and then look at their bodies. Almost all of them are fat.

Posted by: angel6 | December 17, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Common sense isn't so common anymore; self-discipline and self-control are almost non-existent, and the concession stand prices in the movie theaters just rose another 20%.

Posted by: SEdmo27421 | December 17, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Don't drink SSBs so I don't care about soda. Better yet, why doesn't the government worry about it's own obesity, "Tax Gluttonay" must be a deadly sin.

What next? How about window and candle taxes.

Posted by: dwj703 | December 17, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The only thing a soda tax does is cause people to gripe about the high price of soda. I doubt consumption would change much at all.

Posted by: koalatek | December 17, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

No need for taxes on soda. Just stop the ludicrous subsidies for producers of high fructose corn syrup. Same effect.

Posted by: BurgundyNGold | December 17, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

It probably would help. However the best method is education in schools on healthy eating practices (along with education on other good social behavior and health practices such as not smoking).

Posted by: Thinker19 | December 17, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

We've been educating people about preventing obesity for the past 20 years and it hasn't worked. The idea that a person lacks self control is a very limited view of the factors that influence behavior. Many people know what they should do and want to do it but the drivers of our behavior are tied to many things, including our wallets. It's time to try something new and time to begin thinking about the obesity epidemic through a new lens.

Posted by: sherpa | December 17, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

How about the nanny state getting out of our lives? No stealth taxes, no photo-enforcement of traffic laws, and DON'T TOUCH MY JUNK, BRO!

Posted by: bs2004 | December 17, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Angel6, by your logic (weight gain of 50+ lbs per year), I should currently weigh at least 1300 lbs. My BMI is 23.6, and has been since the BMI indicator came into common use. Aspartame has no proven effects (good or bad) on weight. All the other stuff you put in your mouth does, though. If you live in an area with high obesity levels, most of the people chewing gum, or doing anything else are probably overweight. If you're using diet soda to wash down your big mac and super sized fries, well...

Posted by: volleymom | December 17, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Tap water's already cheaper than soda.

Posted by: tomtildrum | December 17, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Why stop at soda? Really what's the difference between a 20 oz Coke and an overpriced moccha-caram-latto-espresso-chino at the formerly snooty coffee shop from Seattle? Too much of anything is bad for you; including TVs from China. Let's move to a VAT and tax consumption. This would be a move towards healthier people less likely to consume in excess and a healthier economy likewise less focused on consumption.

Posted by: blankspace | December 17, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Just because some fatty can't stop themselves from drinking too many Cokes doesn't mean that I should have to pay a tax when I drink my Coke (responsibly, I might add).

Posted by: hoya91 | December 17, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Just because some fatty can't stop themselves from drinking too many Cokes doesn't mean that I should have to pay a tax when I drink my Coke (responsibly, I might add).

Posted by: hoya91 | December 17, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

What a smoke screen! SODA IS NOT THE PROBLEM.

The drug makers and diabetes drug makers take in 10 billion$$$$ every year with no cure!!

Food Chemicals are the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis NOT SODA!

The FDA and Drug makers know this and are laughing to the Billionaire$$$ bank!

The food chemicals break the gut(insulin) and this is the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis

A filmmaker has been reversing diabetes and Obesity in now 10 countries and the drug makers do not promote the story

just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

Posted by: healing1 | December 17, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Such a tax would mean the end of freedom as we know it. If the government can tell us what to eat and drink, it can take total control of our lives. 1984 is almost here.

Posted by: scoogy | December 17, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

It amazes me just how much anger people have when it comes to obese people. What's with the hatred? And don't throw that lame argument over health care costs at me. Because I bet the majority of people can't quote exactly how much it costs them individually, if at all. There is a hatred of obese people that is scary, almost vicious. How is someone's weight actually harming YOU? For people who claim to want individual freedoms, you sure do stick your nose into fat peoples' business a lot! Solve your own f---ing problems first and leave obese people ALONE!! Geez.

Posted by: sigmagrrl | December 17, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Even a 40% tax on a $1 can of soda isn't going to make a person buy the $1.50 bottle of OJ instead.

Posted by: northgs | December 17, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Where does government intrusion into our lives end and individual choice begin?
The government would tax sodas because the government believes sodas are bad for us?
Why not tax people that do not exercise?
Or those that that do not get enough sleep?
What about those that use tanning salons (opps I guess the government has already interjected itself in that activity).
The government needs to stay out of our personal choices...
Posted by: RandyM1 | December 17, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse
---------------------------

Ok, good idea. Then how about this. If you've got no insurance or can't pay the full cost up front, you can't get any healthcare anywhere. Whether it's an emergency or just an annual check-up, come with your insurance card or your checkbook or be prepared to be rejected. Oh, and insurance companies get to choose to let onto their books only those who they want to insure. That gets rid of aalllllll this "intrusion" you're hyped up about.

Ok, back to reality. You see, numbnuts, you are ALREADY paying the tax for people who make bad choices. Every time you (or, more likely, your employer) cuts a check to an insurance company, a sizeable percentage goes to cover the costs of treating people who don't have insurance AND covering the cost of people who have willfully engaged in behavior that is harmful to their health - smoking, bad diet, etc. You subsidize it. You with your disdain for being robbed of your hard-earned money. You with all your talk of personal responsibility. You are already paying for these free-loaders! THEIR bad choices that already affect YOUR wallet.

The point of these kinds of taxes is not to impose some type of moral code. It's fiscal responsibility. If you want to engage in behavior that is proven to be unhealthy, and that will require resources to treat once those choices manifest in heart disease/cancer/diabetes/etc., you've got to help cover the cost that you are already putting onto your fellow citizens. That, to me, is the ultimate in personal responsibility.

It's so funny to me that people who are so concerned about taxes and keeping their own money don't understand that their money is already being taken - and that measures like this are designed to require those who make the choices to bear the burden. If you can give me a justification for why we should be paying our hard-earned money to subsidize through higher premiums other people's choices, especially choices that we KNOW are bad, I'm all ears. But, to me, this tax imposes nothing but personal responsibility.

Posted by: dan_of_dc | December 17, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Where does government intrusion into our lives end and individual choice begin?
The government would tax sodas because the government believes sodas are bad for us?
Why not tax people that do not exercise?
Or those that that do not get enough sleep?
What about those that use tanning salons (opps I guess the government has already interjected itself in that activity).
The government needs to stay out of our personal choices...
Posted by: RandyM1 | December 17, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse
---------------------------

Ok, good idea. Then how about this. If you've got no insurance or can't pay the full cost up front, you can't get any healthcare anywhere. Whether it's an emergency or just an annual check-up, come with your insurance card or your checkbook or be prepared to be rejected. Oh, and insurance companies get to choose to let onto their books only those who they want to insure. That gets rid of aalllllll this "intrusion" you're hyped up about.

Ok, back to reality. You see, numbnuts, you are ALREADY paying the tax for people who make bad choices. Every time you (or, more likely, your employer) cuts a check to an insurance company, a sizeable percentage goes to cover the costs of treating people who don't have insurance AND covering the cost of people who have willfully engaged in behavior that is harmful to their health - smoking, bad diet, etc. You subsidize it. You with your disdain for being robbed of your hard-earned money. You with all your talk of personal responsibility. You are already paying for these free-loaders! THEIR bad choices that already affect YOUR wallet.

The point of these kinds of taxes is not to impose some type of moral code. It's fiscal responsibility. If you want to engage in behavior that is proven to be unhealthy, and that will require resources to treat once those choices manifest in heart disease/cancer/diabetes/etc., you've got to help cover the cost that you are already putting onto your fellow citizens. That, to me, is the ultimate in personal responsibility.

It's so funny to me that people who are so concerned about taxes and keeping their own money don't understand that their money is already being taken - and that measures like this are designed to require those who make the choices to bear the burden. If you can give me a justification for why we should be paying our hard-earned money to subsidize through higher premiums other people's choices, especially choices that we KNOW are bad, I'm all ears. But, to me, this tax imposes nothing but personal responsibility.

Posted by: dan_of_dc | December 17, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rose876

When I look in my fridge in the afternoon, the fact that orange soda is $1 for three liters at the dollar store and my lactose free milk is $3 for a quart does cross my mind. The tax might help me.

---------------------------------
Who put the orange soda in your fridge? Elves?

One more thing: filtered tap water. Pretty cheap.

Posted by: mmwatch | December 17, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Would perents acting like PARENTS fight childhood obesity??

Would Personal Responsibility fight adult obesity?

Posted by: snowbucks | December 17, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The tax would definitely help. One pound LOST a year does not include the amount gained a year because of drinking soft drinks.

Sugar Sodas are 100+ calorie bombs.

The costs of weight gain must be reflected in the price. They currently are not. The costs only reflect what people are willing to pay on the front end to quench their thirst or a sugar craving.

The back end is that people get fat. Being fat causes a whole host of illnesses and health problems.

The companies that produce sodas don't want us to even consider this cost. It's best left "out there". They'll do all they can to diffuse the argument that they make you gain weight. It makes sense, they are out to make profit, and that is there number one goal. And they only make profit if you slurp down their drink.

But we know that a sugar drink is going to pack on the pounds more than say WATER.

Our country has to do a better job of factoring in the extra costs born by consumption. If society bears the medical costs of fighting obesity, then it is only right that these costs be allocated to the causes. It's not any different than cigarette smoking.

Posted by: camasca | December 17, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

dan_of_dc ... government is not supposed to be telling the citizens what to do. Government works FOR the people; the people don't work for the government.

Excessive taxation to control behavior is dangerous ... where does it stop? What if they decide to overtax a food or beverage that YOU enjoy?

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 17, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh Snap..Why not? We would all look a tad better when screened at the airport and the tax revenue coud be used for employing more federally funded molesters...er..I mean...pat down specialists! By the by...My left thumb weighs about .7 ounces. Benefit? I think not. Just getting up from the sofa three times a week for 1/2 hour will have alot more weight loss and muscle building effect! Why not include all forms of candy and gum? Pastery? Most fruit juice and breakfast cereal? And, more importantly, no one will have to pay more for anything!

Posted by: anonpost1 | December 17, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

This study proves it won't help a thing just create new taxes to hit Americans with.

Posted by: flonzy1 | December 17, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

dmfroman ... your logic is suspect.

The simple fact is that not ALL people who drink sugared soda are obese; so should the tax be imposed on only those who are obese?

Also note that our Federal Congress subsidizes the production of sugar.

People of America - its time to STAND UP to the crazy legislators who don't represent your interests.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 17, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Discouraging the consumption of carbonated beverages by taxing them can have long term health benefits for persons of all ages. Look up on Google "phosphoric acid," an ingredient in sodas, to learn why and how it causes the body to lose calcium, a mineral important to the life-long health of bones and teeth.
Healthy beverage choices include water, milk, and 100% juices. Persons who are concerned about weight, health, and taste may choose to take a calcium supplement and consume a no calorie drink made of water and a dry, sugar-free, flavored mix such as "Chrystal Light" or "Wylers."
Fortunately, the new school Child Nutrition bill recently passed by Congress provides for nutritious beverages to be sold in school vending machines. Now lunch money provided by parents will not be spent on sodas.
A tax on sodas could well have long term health benefits for persons of all ages by reducing bone fractures and preventing osteoporosis.
In my opinion, a tax that promotes health and also makes a contribution to the federal deficit is an acceptable tax.


Posted by: mpm1728 | December 17, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

It'll make beer look cheaper.

Posted by: NovaMike | December 17, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely! I suggest we also start an underwear tax, say 50%, on everyone. Some druggies sometimes hide their illegal goodies in their underpants so let's penalize everyone for the actions of those few.
Seriously, why should we penalize responsible people for the actions of irresponsible people?
Less government=Better government and this proposal is a bad one!

Posted by: meand2 | December 17, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

why not just put a 100% federal sales tax on all the useless and harmful crap that people comsume?

it'll fund all the extra medial care and pharma. medicare will be required to provide for them w/ at their life's end.

PAY IT FORWARD!

Posted by: boblesch | December 17, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Giving away freebies and free samples is the best way for companies to introduce their products to you. Best place is "123 Get Samples" Best of all, there is no obligation on your part.

Posted by: gladysdavis18 | December 18, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

My brother had recommended "Hypersonic Weight Loss" to me. I’ve lost over 100 pounds in 5 months and am still going.

Posted by: jaspermax | December 18, 2010 4:56 AM | Report abuse

The tax might help a little but would also punish (dollar wise) those who are not obese. My suggestion for obesity is to base health insurance cost on BMI. Maybe then people would stop taking in more calories than they use.

Posted by: dotboy10 | December 18, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

"And revenues generated by these taxes could go toward obesity-prevention programs."

Sure they would. Just like the cigarette taxes and the cigarette settlement money goes to support anti-smoking efforts. Oh yeah, less that 2% of them do, the other 98% gets wasted.

Taxation is all about taxation, it is not about health.

Posted by: b1978367 | December 18, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Obeisity is a myth. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 4,000 Americans each year die of starvation. Yet the media only concerns itself with people eating too much, not those eating nothing at all. Until we deal with starvation in this country, we have no business talking about problems of overeating.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | December 18, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Taxing unhealthy products is a proven harm-reduction technique. The US and other advanced democracies do it with booze and cigarettes, and it works well.

Soda makes you obese, is completely nutrient free, and is HEAVILY advertised by industry because it is so profitable. This is something that should be, at best, a very occasional treat (as it was not so long ago), not a daily staple.

The social harm of soda is real. The social benefit of soda is purely an invention of the advertising industry. So yeah, tax it hard to reduce demand.

And then we can move on to address the real issue: our corrupt Congress' give-aways to Big Agribusiness, subsidizing the cheap corn that's making America fat.

Posted by: vfr2dca | December 18, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

It makes no sense at all to tax one or more of the main products of the Farm Bill subsidies to grow number 2 field corn. Any sensible system would reduce or eliminate the $billions in subsidies instead.

But the subsidies mostly go to Republican states in the mid-west, and the Republicans in Congress aren't likely to end them.

To those who simply oppose all government control or regulation of economic activity, history shows that it can be very effective. The current policy is to produce huge amounts of corn that flows to processed food manufacturers at almost no cost to them. This supports the fast-food chains and the soft drink makers and many other things that contribute to obesity.

Posted by: jchinnis | December 18, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Greedy scam. If you're fat, don't buy it. Drink water. Simple.

Posted by: glenmayne | December 18, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Greedy scam. If you're fat, don't buy it. Drink water. Simple.

Posted by: glenmayne | December 18, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I drink a crazy amount of diet soda every day. So I'm pretty well aware that the average price of soda at the grocery store has gone up by about 20% over the last 5 years. People are still buying it.

Also, soda is constantly on sale, so the price fluctuates often enough that I tax won't make much difference.

Posted by: Booyah5000 | December 18, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The tax would be self-defeating. It's just another way for the government to take more of our money.

edwardallen54 wrote:
"Obeisity (sic) is a myth. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 4,000 Americans each year die of starvation."

Most heart disease is caused by obesity, and heart disease is still the #1 killer in the country. Therefore, your idea is a myth.

Posted by: flipper49 | December 18, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't drink that stuff. I drink Vodka and maintain my male weight at 163..I'm almost 6 feet tall.

Posted by: w4vr | December 18, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember Kool-Aid.... The last time soda prices took a jump we drank a lot of Kool-Aid. When cigarettes went up I started rolling my own. When the roll your own went up I started rolling pipe tobacco. When certain veggies goe up we plant our own. When we can't afford to make repairs to our home we do it ourselves.

Second thought... still a lot of beer drinkers out there despite the high taxes on it. This is just an excuse to collect more taxes.

My truck needs about 800 bucks in repairs, does anyone want to help me pay for that too.

Posted by: DamonTalbert | December 20, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Why should it be just sugary drinks why not EVERYTHING that has suger added if sugar is supposed to be bad for you than ALL of it needs to be set at a higher tax then!!!!!!

Posted by: pokerdragon | December 20, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Its not only the sugary drinks that make people fat; it’s the fast food, the marketing of fast food, and the convenience of it, the price is cheaper most of the time (when you have dollar menus) rather than going to the grocery store buying food and it going to waste. Let me rephrase that - the junk food is cheaper then healthy food. Example a salad is 6 dollars, a burger a dollar, which one would you choose in a recession?
People have been drinking soda for over 50 years they didn’t seem to have a high obesity rate until of late. The government needs to tax their own paychecks and not the people who make this country. The soda industry has even taken a big step in putting calories on the FRONT of the labels visible to the consumer. Some fast food places have done the same. If the government wants to help fight obesity they lower gym memberships, the cost of exercise equipment, and healthy food!!! Fight back American don’t let this government control you.

Posted by: Val23 | December 22, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company