Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carbonation Inflation? 64% of Americans Oppose Soft Drink Tax

In what should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, those who drink sugary soft drinks oppose additional taxation on their favorite beverages.

What may surprise you is that I agree with them—for totally different reasons. For starters, I don’t believe the government that is doing the taxing has our best interest in mind. While they say that they are doing it for health reasons, the reality is that they are doing it to overcome budget crunches in local and state governments. We’ve known about the obesity epidemic for years. If the government really had our best interest in mind, they would have proposed these “health measures” years ago. It’s telling that the government is only taking action when the answer (taxation) comes at a time of their biggest need (budget shortfalls).

I also don’t agree with the “random” taxation of consumable goods. While I agree that consumption taxes are ideal, they are best served when they are applied across the board. The random taxation of goods scares me—what if the government decides that organic foods or even grassfed dairy should be subject to an additional tax?

However, politics and economic theory aside, the real reason I don’t agree with the tax is because I don’t believe it will work. As the poll shows, Americans are too in love with their soft drinks to give them up. Even if taxation “worked” (by slowing the sales of soft drinks), the effect would be minor compared to the depth of the problem.

68% of Americans are overweight or obese. A 20% tax on soft drinks isn’t going to come close to changing that statistic.

We aren’t going to win the battle of the bulge with government intervention. We’re going to win it through education. We will win it when people truly understand the dangers of our current food production system. We will win it when people like you, who read this blog, spread a message of health and wellness to those you care about. You can tax all you want, but true change will come when people are educated about the choices they make—and I’m counting on all of you to help with that mission.