Taxes Don't Fix Obesity

Katy Grimes: Despite the stated goal, Assemblyman Bill Monning’s proposed soda tax is just another money grab.

Just like the recently announced soda-tax approved by Sacramento’s City Council, Monning claims that his goal is to fight obesity.

Monning, a Democrat from Carmel introduced AB 669 on Thursday, which would impose a one cent-per-ounce tax on soda and sport drinks, adding at least 12 cents to every drink.

Sacramento Councilman Kevin McCarty told the Sacramento Bee, “he doesn’t want such a revenue generator in Sacramento to help solve full-scale budget problems. Instead, he said he’d like to see the money go to city-run recreational programs such as summer and after-school youth leagues, and to help fund city employees working in recreational programs at schools.”

Sacramento’s parks have lost more than 40 percent of the park workers in cuts over the last two years, instead of cutting the bloated recreation budget. And now McCarty has come up with a way to help fund those jobs. The Local 39 union members must love him.

Monning said in a press release, “It’s only fair that the sweetened beverage industry pay their fair share to address the crisis.”

But it has been widely reported that the American Beverage Association has opposed soda taxes. The association released a statement in December that said “taxes do not make people healthier,” and these charges amount to “a money grab to pay for a government that is already too expensive and too involved in (taxpayers’) personal lives.”

This is just another case of nanny government levying taxes to raise revenue. Whether the issue is smoking, transfats, seat belts, ski helmuts, or healthcare, the end result is the same — government expansion and the erosion of personal liberty.

Most people are capable of understanding the health risks of drinking too much soda — or eating too much fast food, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, or snowboarding down the hill without a helmut on.

Those are an individual’s decisions to make, and the individual’s consequences to live with – not Assemblyman Bill Monning’s or Councilman Kevin McCarty’s. They were elected to keep the government operating within budget, which thus far, neither politician seems to be particularly clear about.

How did we ever survive without government saving us from ourselves?

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  1. larry 62
    larry 62 18 February, 2011, 09:12

    It’s just like Michael Savage says, “liberalism is a mental disorder”. I cannot figure out any other reason why these politicians keep coming up with these ideas.

    Reply this comment
  2. John Seiler
    John Seiler 18 February, 2011, 10:15

    My solution: Abolish the government schools entirely, and repeal truancy laws. Let parents school their children as they see fit.

    Reply this comment
  3. a friend
    a friend 18 February, 2011, 13:40

    I seem to remember a year or so ago when libertarians were complaining that the problem with health care costs was that people weren’t taking good care of themselves. Well, one of the ways in which people don’t take care of themselves is by making bad food choices. And one of the reasons for their poor choices is cost. Healthy food — juices, and fresh fruit and vegetables — are more expensive than soda and Twinkies.

    You people seem to want to have it both ways. You want people to be healthy so you aren’t responsible for their healthcare costs, but you don’t want to use the marketplace to help them make better choices.

    Reply this comment
  4. a friend
    a friend 18 February, 2011, 13:42

    P.S.: you can say that “taxes don’t fix obesity” but it is a demonstrable fact that taxes reduce smoking. Those places with the highest tobacco taxes have the lowest incidence of smoking. Given time, taxes probably CAN “fix” obesity.

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