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The proposed tax itself is fine. Calling it an "obesity tax" is out of line and misleading. A recent study showed that people who drink diet soft drinks are actually more likely to gain weight. I've written more on this here.
I'm not surprised by these things anymore.
I also think calling it an "obesity tax" is out of line and potentially dangerous. It could open the door to legalizing discrimination against fat people. (And who decides how fat is fat?) The law is often about precedent, and this one could be a doozy!I also have an issue with picking and choosing which foods get taxed. As Rachel said, diet soda could possibly be even worse, healthwise, than regular. But it's not being taxed.Do we tax foods with sugar in them ,even though they may not be as unhealthy as overly-processed, artificially sweetened diet foods? Who decides what the "good" and "bad" foods are? And what's next? Do we make certain foods illegal because they MAY cause weight gain? 'Cause I'm here to tell ya, from experience, it's just as possible to overeat healthy food as it is to eat junk.
I was actually with a group of doctors a couple of weeks ago who were talking about whether or not to support this idea in Rhode Island. One of the doctors mentioned that if we're going to tax the sugar/hfcs drinks, we should also tax drinks with aspartame. Her rationale was similar to Rachel's - that artifical sweeteners may actually contribute more to obesity than just plain sugar.
I'm with the group on this one... calling it an "obesity" tax is a dangerous and slippery slope.Tax soft drinks if you want, but tax ALL of them and stick to that "luxury" definition.
I agree, and on two points:1. Aspartame is a known poison and I have read some terrible things about the health effects, also that indicates that this is an industrial byproduct they are trying to get rid of into our food? Alsothough this is secondhand. 2. That sugarfree drinks, because of the sweet taste, your body over produces insulin which can lead to weight gain, and that when your body realises ther isn't any sugar coming, you get the munchies to make up for it. Avoiding subscribing to the fat - is - bad theory stuff, I don't feel that sugarfree drinks, or caffinated drinks like this are my friend physically, but for those who do like them, will it reduce consumption and encourage healthier alternatives? Will the tax go towards health initiatives?I agree that the tagline is horrific - this kind of chronic mislanelling just serves to mislead and warp public opinion
I will join the group with my vote that "fat tax" or "obesity tax" is just plain awful. It should be about health - are the thin-er people who drink hfcs non-diet soda making a healthy choice? No. I also have found that penalizing people for doing something "wrong" is not as effective as supporting and reinforcing positive and healthy choices. Do we really need to be told, yet again, that regular calorie soda is bad for us? No, we don't. I'm also wondering from a political standpoint how wise it is for Paterson to do this when Pepsi is headquartered in Purchase, NY? Does that make ANY sense to screw over a major employer in your state instead of working with them?
I wonder -- instead of putting a tax on such foods, what would happen if the US government stopped major subsidies for corn and other industrial staple? The price of soda would go up, as high fructose corn syrup is made from corn. What's more, the price of soda would actually reflect it's REAL cost, whereas now the burden is on taxpayers to subsidy agrobusiness.
Ai Lu, that would be common sense, and we're not big on that around here.
Interesting, because diet drinks are not healthier than regular high caloric sodas either.
Ai Lu - right on! Instead of getting worked up about calling this an "obesity tax", we should be more concerned about the American citizen's ever-growing tax burden. Ridiculous.
It's a good way to make money, but a crappy way to treat food. Have we reached the point where we have to have our food taxed in order to educate us on its merits? I'm with Ai Lu - if we paid what it really cost (chemically, agriculturally, environmentally) for food, we'd all be eating more organic, locally-grown vegetables and fewer twinkies.
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Not to mention....I live a bit in both the "professional ED world" and the "Recovering/ed ED world" and i know FAR more thin or "average weight" women who drink regular soda than overweight or obese woman who do.Its like eating an M&M off the floor...Its funny if a thin woman does it, but a bigger woman wouldnt be caught dead doing it....So why would we call this an obesity tax? Lets atleast talk about our terminology
This is a very old post, but I wanted to comment anyway.Not only is labeling as "fat tax" problematic, because fat =/= unhealthy, but it's going to cause problems for poorer people. Due to poor subsidizing by our government(from what I understand about it), unhealthy food is cheaper than healthy food, and therefore more affordable to poorer people -- now they're just going to have more problems getting food at all, while the middle and upper classes would be able to ignore the taxing and get it anyway.
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