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Should junk food be taxed?

September 2, 2009

Increasingly vocal calls for taxes on sugary drinks and junk food are fueling a behind- the-scenes battle that public health officials say is reminiscent of America’s war on cigarettes.

Fueling the debate are revenue-hungry federal, state and local governments officials who are eying a potential $50 billion windfall from taxes on over 10 years.

Take a look at the New York City Department of Health’s ad discouraging people from drinking sugary sodas, and let us know whether you think a junk food tax would be good public policy, or an intrusive step too far by the nanny state.

Comments

There’s nothing altruistic about it. NY’s motivation as always is greed.

Posted by Paul Zatley | Report as abusive
 

Tax sugar TAX IT, TAX IT!

Posted by john Ragin | Report as abusive
 

YES, if they can tax my cigarettes, then they should tax anything people consume that is deemed unhealthy, i.e. soft drinks, fast food, anything with Trans-Fats. For example, any product that has a %fat or %sugar content above X should be taxed.

Posted by RF | Report as abusive
 

Of course these things should be taxed, just like alcohol and cigarettes. The majority of major diseases in the US are the result of lifestyle choices, not factors beyond the control of most.The money from the taxes should be used to fund healthcare for these folks and the diseases they bring on themsleves.I am tired of seeing my tax dollars used to care for those who are unwilling to care for themselves through reasonable lifestyle (diet, exercise, etc) choices

Posted by mike | Report as abusive
 

Definitely, eventually the gov will figure out they need to go to a use tax system to keep their inefficiencies running along at slow speed. Until then they should tax “non-essential” consumables. There’s no need for that many carbs in one drink… it’s abused just like alcohol.

Posted by Marc Molnar | Report as abusive
 

It should not be taxed to pay for bloated, irresponsible government waste and deficits. Ad’s like this “encouraging” people to be healthy is a scam. If the state wants the tax revenues then they sure won’t want you to quit drinking them. Just imagine how much less revenue the states and feds would have if everyone quit smoking and drinking…… Talk about adding to the deficit!

Posted by jason | Report as abusive
 

The government needs to stay out of our lives and that includes WHAT WE EAT!!!!

Posted by Dennis | Report as abusive
 

I think that they should start with a tax on all advertising of junk foods. I realize that this would unfairly effect the advertising industry but the amount of commercials and promotions targeting unhealthy food and alcohol, especially those that target children really promote people to want bad food.

Posted by Paula | Report as abusive
 

Absolutely. Junk foods are like cigarettes – they are poisonous and ruin people’s health. Why tax cigarettes and not junk foods? They also should be banned from all school cafeterias and meal services.

Posted by jean | Report as abusive
 

Yes. The government has a direct responsiblity to encourage healthy public behavior. Taxation is a direct and effective means to discourage over comsumption of unhealthy food/drink items.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive
 

Not only should soda pop and juice drinks be taxed. More important, it should not be allowed to be bought with food stamps/cards from any government source of funds. Also denied should be all premade meals, just basic food that you cook yourself on food stamps. The money would sure go further.

 

Behavioral taxes never started a revolution, although revenue-raising taxes did (American Revolution, 1776, for example). Since the junk food tax is not the dangerous kind of tax, I sayTAX THE FATTIES!Think about it, its expensive to be fat.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive
 

Taxes use to be a citizen responsibility for the operation of the government. Now, with our hard earned tax money, we are the ones supporting the government!Anytime the government says that it wants to tax something for your own good or your health – think twice. It ain’t your health they’re worried about, it’s their over inflated budgets!

Posted by Yewbee | Report as abusive
 

Taxes are shackles of government control. Let the people be free.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive
 

i wish we could actually RID society of all junk food and drink. That would eliminate the advertising problem too. Failing this, a tax is the next best thing. I agree with mike above, why should those who take care of themselves fund the medical care of those who choose an unhealthy lifestyle.

Posted by renate | Report as abusive
 

RF-”For example, any product that has a %fat or %sugar content above X should be taxed.”Changing the lable so a 16oz bottle of coke has 3 servings in it would be an easy way to skate that. No one would ever have to pay it.The trouble with a tax like this is where to draw the line. Sodas don’t cause obesity like cigarettes cause cancer. “junk food” is way too broad a term. It would end up unfairly targeting certain industries (soft drinks, hershey) and ignoring others like the frozen, fried, processed chicken section. It’d be like taxing prerolled and filtered cigarettes but not chewing tobacco.

 

Sound like a good idea as long as the money goes to offset the health costs.

Posted by Milt | Report as abusive
 

Sure it should be taxed…i work in healthcare….Obesity is an especially heinous disease in that it not only endagers the patient….but the caregivers working with them…at best,,,damage to our backs lugging around an ugly fat ass….at worst..having one fall on you as you try turning them on their side with a bed rail down.

Posted by Ricardo | Report as abusive
 

Absolutely TAX it.In addition to this there should be a major food labeling initiative.E.g. Genetically modified food should be clearly labeled. As a consumer I have right to know what I am buying.How about 11 degrees (from +5 to -5) helthiness scale for all food? +5 being the most healthy, 0 – neutral, -5 most unhealthy.

Posted by PwlM | Report as abusive
 

TAX TAX TAX TAX. Just another way to create revenue. Give me a break….do you really think “they” care about us? Taxing us because they care? NO it is about $$$. Nothing more.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive
 

Enough is enough. I eat snacks,(chips and what-have-you), and have sodas when I want. I drink beer and I have not gained a pound in over 30 years. And yes, I weigh 120-125 lbs and am 5’6″. I have to wear girls/womens size 1,2,3 size jeans. There are no mens/boys jeans that fit me right. This is another bogus form of increasing taxes on the middle class when there are bigger fish to fry. So the government just needs to butt out of the meddling of our lives.

 

I think we are quickly reaching the limit of taxation and we will have a change in government if we continue. Carbohydrates is what the body uses for energy. We might want to teach people to smoke, drink, and eat in moderation, and we might want to help the overweight youngsters in school. The height to weight charts that the doctors tought are bogus.(Light and Heavy frames exist) We also might want to stop the advertizing that a growing child can have a small shake for breakfast and that should last until lunch.

Posted by f belz | Report as abusive
 

It is a good topic to discuss. why not tax people who produce sugar, corn resulting in high fructose corn syrup, bees for producing honey, beet farmers, sugarcane producers, fruit producers and host of other companies like candy manufacturers, soda bottlers, lazy people and all the fast food processors and while we are at it also who produce carbon dioxide producers which could include energy producers, car manufacturers, people using more than nominal electricity ( consumers with increased electricity use, cities with large usage of electricity and so on and so forth). why stop there we should also tax animal farm which also contribute to the obesity problem and even people who exercise too much along with people who do sedentary work, that would would produce multiple stream of income resulting in us becoming a nanny state so that from the time we get up to when we go to sleep and how much we sleep and we all would need constant watch on us. While we are at it overcrowded cities produce have more carbon foot print to sparsely populated areas where there is too much waste of natural resources to support few people living in comfort. In other words why not define the level of comfort and above and beyond minimal need everything which is considered sparse living should be taxed.Next question is what are we going to do with all the money we would collect and should we spend it or make an account and who gets say in using the money and in what form and whose use it should be labeled and spent on, not the bureaucrat who would love to use it for their use and waste it as they have done in recent times.This is the Pandora’s box I would like to see how it functions and who would really benefit from it.

Posted by VJ | Report as abusive
 

Look. Yes, we tax cigerettes in an attempt at socila manipulation. But I do not believe that taxes should be used for Social Conditioning. Taxes should only be used to raise revenue. Targeted taxes where the revenue matches the taxed good? Not a good enough criteria. A tax on cigarettes (and includes other products) for research into better air filtering technologies? Ok, with the caveat presented. Taxing cigarettes to pay for anti-smoking campaigns? Not good. That is social conditioning. We want people to stop eating candy and drinking soda, so we are going to generate a revenue stream that the state/federal governments wont EVER want to loose? That is not the way to go about it. As an aside, candy and soda(those made without corn syrup) can be (in small amounts) healthy for you. Emotionally. Which most many nutritional scientists will tell you is a component of nutrition, in addition to the physical aspects.

Posted by James Burkhardt | Report as abusive
 

Its the same idea with Carbon Taxing people. This wont change behaviors it will just mean people will have to pay to pollute and pay to become unhealthy. This will not PREVENT anything. People need EDUCATION and Options

Posted by tool | Report as abusive
 

If cigarettes and sugar drinks are sooo unhealthy and bad for people, then why doesn’t the government simply ban those foods? But I guess the foods are just evil enough to get a tax (banning them would produce no revenue!). What a crock.Better yet, its a bunch of liberals, those free thinking, my body-my choice folks who demand the government stay out of one’s bedroom but ask the government to intrude on our kitchen?I’m healthy, fit, athletic, and do not want the government to tax me when I want an ice cream cone or a cool, refreshing soda every now and them. Simply make fat, obese people pay the full cost of their health-care. That would encourage responsibility. Republicans and Democrats both want to use the power of the goverment to FORCE people to do the things they want, both are hypocritical. OPEN YOUR EYES, vote Libertarian.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive
 

Please define Junk Food and who will determine that. Im afraid it will be a polical definition.

Posted by Gary Maxie | Report as abusive
 

Enough with the taxation already. Actually in most states you already pay sales tax on soda and chips and the like. How about no new taxes and reduce what we currently have. Social engineering experiments are not what we need but maybe education and more activity.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive
 

Yes!

Posted by Emily | Report as abusive
 

This is a great idea and a good start. Set up a “tax the bad stuff” CZAR and have a “It’s bad” tax police. Everything the Government finds out or thinks is bad — tax it. Tax Whole milk. Tax fatty red meat. Tax dark chicken meat. Tax butter and Crisco. Tax large sales of everything — since too much of anything is bad. You could test for and tax excessive flatulation emissions. Hey, I know, lets just tax the “Bad” People. Bad people are bad and ulitimately bad for the public health. If the researchers make a mistake then tax the bad research on bad stuff. Maybe tax by the word bad editorial comments.Where does it stop?

Posted by bill | Report as abusive
 

I have to take issue with those who post the government has a direct responsibility, or even indirect responsibility on this or most any subject. The government of the US has no responsibility when it comes to the citizens making decisions regarding their lifestyle. It is very clear in the Constitution what the government has responsibility for and we have let them over-reach for years allowing them to use the commerce clause far beyond what was intended as well as the general welfare. Those terms were once well understood to be very restrictive and not as some, especially those who want some type of control over our lives, ie the nanny police, want them interpreted today.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive
 

A government’s job is to boss people around, in order to achieve a goal. Social manipulation through taxes is an effective method in achieving a goal … as well as raising revenue. In this case, the people benefit too, by possibly drinking less sugary drinks and eating less junk food. Who wants to be sick and unhealthy? Tobacco is taxed, and almost nobody complains about that. There are excise taxes on gasoline too.

 

I’m wondering if there is any member of Congress that is saying we are going to identify waste, cut excess spending and slim down the size of government and return the associated cost savings to the taxpayers (a paid for stimulus!) These people only speak spend, spend and more spend followed by tax, tax and more tax.Somebody call a cop!

Posted by HenE | Report as abusive
 

this is just a ruse by the obamanation to disguise tax increases. Just say NO to more taxes and let them manage the funds they have in a reasonable way. They can’t financially manage their way out of a paper bag, why give them more money to waste??

Posted by brilynn | Report as abusive
 

YES!!!Of course a few years back I would have said no; But then I am a Smoker and I now want my revenge. I do not drink soft drinks, nor do I eat “junk food” or fast food. PAYBACK TIME !Truthfully -I cant think of a more anti-American act than the attempt to control our behavior with taxation. Its hard for me to understand the voter sell outs that imposed the taxes on my cigarettes. I’m sure they “feel” good for thier actions, We smokers however must pay for thier kind act with real hard earned cash each time we light up. Political Thieves. Every time the government takes tax dollars they take away our time as it is time that produced them.Be Careful America

 

Dont tax food,tax people over the already established US gov paramiters for obese people.For every pound over healthy standards ,faty should pay.Cigarette smokers pay for their habit,so should glutons.If chubby has a medical condition exempt him/her.Otherwise step away from the buffet table.

Posted by neil | Report as abusive
 

Why is it that taxes are the bane of all mankind? I wonder if people think that our roads are magically built or our schools are funded by the teachers them selves. Granted our gov’t makes mistakes, don’t you, or are you the next coming of christ.

Posted by MIke | Report as abusive
 

YES! Please tax junk food. A few pennies on a can of pop or a bag of chips can hardly be called intrusive. I don’t care if it stops people from drinking pop or eating chips (I doubt it will, since people still buy plenty of name brand junk food instead of the much cheaper store brands), but if the money from the tax goes to pay for the higher health care costs resulting from people’s junk food diets, that seems the most reasonable way to make people pay for the consequences of their choice to eat what they please without making healthy eaters bear the cost as well. Cigarette and alcohol tax proceeds should be used for the same thing.

Posted by Janie | Report as abusive
 

Why would the government place a tax on these items when they can be purchased with food stamps. I realize only the hard up use food stamps but why should food stamps be used for anything like snacks, soft drinks, ice cream or other deserts.

Posted by tom | Report as abusive
 

Yes! Absolutely, we tax cigs and alcohol now, so why not junk food? One reason why so many people are overweight is because these foods are less expensive then healthy foods. We as a nation need to start losing some serious weight if we don’t want our healthcare system to collapse. (It’s on the fast road to that now.) One reason for rising costs is increasing waistlines. Excess weight is linked to a number of costly, chronic diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, etc.). As people grow fatter our healthcare costs go up, and folks who do the right thing subsidize folks who don’t by paying higher premiums. That is hardly fair.

Posted by BB | Report as abusive
 

Absolutely..yes!Cigarette tax was for SCHIP ..purportedly for children’s health..fat kids are not healthy kids and will be a drag on the health care system for life. Tax all those junk foods and soda pop stuff to the hilt! Ain’t Karma great.

Posted by Inez Jadu | Report as abusive
 

TAX! TAX! TAX! Let’s try another approach.This is just an excuse to raise more money for bureaucrats and ‘do good’ advertisements, a la the cigarette fiasco. Some people are still smoking cigarettes at $8-$9 per pack, while dying at a national rate of around 400,000 per year.If a substance or habit is proven unhealthy, we should BAN IT! Even if a black market develops, it will completely eliminate usage for some people, at least.Or, can technology be developed to create some sort of ‘smart card’ required to buy harmful products (along with a tax) which can then be used to pay future health care as needed for each individual user? Let the obese and/or smoker ‘prepay’ their own health care!If a user never needs acute care for the exact medical problem(s) caused by his choices of harmful products, he can apply for a ‘retro(active) refund’ in his latter years or add to his pension payout.Is it not possible? Let’s think beyond the box a little!

Posted by Al | Report as abusive
 

All takeout food should be taxed. All chips, cookies, and the like, should be taxed. In other words, unless you’re buying staples like bread, milk, fruit, veggies, eggs, meat, etc., it should be taxed.

Posted by Mears | Report as abusive
 

yes, tax everything they can. The government needs money. Tax just enough so people still buy it and pay the tax, but not enough to actually stop drinking it. ( just like cigarettes )

Posted by Mike G | Report as abusive
 

WHEN ARE THE AMERICAN PUBLIC GOING TO WAKE UP. THIS IS JUST ANOTHER GRAB FOR MONEY BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE NEXT STEP WILL BE TO TAX US FOR GOING TO BED. FOR GETTING UP FROM BED. F0R BREATHING THE AIR AROUND US. FOR EXHALING. FOR HEAVEN’S SAKES WHEN WILL IT STOP. WAKE UP AMERICA.

 

Absolutely not. This is just another government intrusion into the personal decisions made by adults for themselves or for their children. Whether it is smoking, fast foods, soda, candy or anything else I don\’t need or want some government nanny (who is probably as fat as an elephant, as government workers often are) telling me what I should or shouldn\’t do.

Posted by AlexU | Report as abusive
 

As a society we should all be in this together. Just as universal healthcare should be a right, anything that imposes undue burden on the people should also be dealt with.Unhealthy behaviors should be absolutely allowed. I do not favor a nanny state. However, the burden should not be on the people if i choose to smoke then need expensive care.So the answer is deterministic. Get impartial research. Find out how much money any given unhealthy non-necessity impacts the people and tax accordingly to offset the cost.Personally, i drink alcohol/soda, smoke, and eat the occasional bag of chips. These activities are all luxuries. All can be bad for me if the prevailing research is to be believed. As such it only seems reasonable for me to be responsible for such things.This said, i would expect any tax to come with back up data which clearly justifies its existence.

Posted by fred | Report as abusive
 

I feel that taxing, in general is wrong. What is a real solution is to remove the eligibility of these foods from any government program. Welfare, food stamps etc… any help that comes from the taxpayer, should only buy regular food. No snacks, drinks, chips stuff like that. People don’t have a right to these things. Good food is what they need. So, we would save more than the tax would bring in, if we were to stop allowing people to get these items on the tax payers dime. Chefrubeo

Posted by David Rubeo | Report as abusive
 

Why stop at Junk food. I say the FDA should seriously Consider a “Food Value” Ratings Mark on all food products in the grocery stores.. let me explain.If you could walk down the Isle and could see a Mark Using an A thru F scale Based Higher Nutrition content. where Foods such as raw Broccoli get an “A” and Modern over processed Foods like Kiddie’s Sugary breakfast cereal or sugary Soft Drinks get an “F” 1. Sugar content 2. Fat Content saturated/unsaturated/calories 3. Fiber Content 4. Vitamin Content. and 5 Salt or Sodium content. and Force all manufacturers to make the letter Large and on front of the package or display … we could Compare the a’s, b’s, c’s, d’, etc against each other ( knowing we should be trying to eat more of the “A” foods and stay away more from the “F” foods. and since you at it Tax FATS, SUGARS, SALTS, lack of FIBER CONTENT. as a percentage of “Nutritional Value” based of FDA and CSPI ( Center for Science in the Public Interest) Guidelines, and you would see these jokers begin to remove the excessive Sugars, Fats and Salts from these foods in an effort to reduce the tax they pay and get a Better “Mark” A-F on the front of their packages. A revolution in the Sugar, Salt, Fat, Fiber, content in foods must be put on the front burner at the FDA for REAL change to take Place.

Posted by Wilson Graham | Report as abusive
 

HELL NO. We pay enought taxes now. Right now about 42% of our earning goes to some form of taxes. I say NO NO NO. and any congressman/senator, govenor, ect. that support this stupid idea should pay the price in 2010 elections. Where will this stop. I’m tired of the goverment sticking their noses into thing where it dose not belong. If I was them I would be very careful cause that nose can get bit off

Posted by wolf on a roadking | Report as abusive
 

If they don’t have the gumption to stand up to manufacturers of partially hyrogenated oil, what are the odds that this is going to pass?Tax partially hyrogenated oil, if big business won’t let you ban it.On label: “No trans fat”In ingredients: “partially hydrogenated ________ oil”Only in America.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive
 

If the goverment needs money I have a solution stop spending what you do not have.

Posted by wolf on a roadking | Report as abusive
 

Reminder: Cigerettes don’t just harm the smoker they also harm people around the smoker. So, the tax on them isn’t just for those who smoke, but the people who get sick from the second hand smoke, which can be just as deadly if not worse according to doctors. So, before you relate them to this junk food tax scenario please remember this.I think I agree with the person previously here that said, ” Tax just enough so people still buy it and pay the tax, but not enough to actually stop drinking it [or eating it]. (just like cigarettes [where they tax enough that people still buy them rather than quit buying them, however cigerettes also have an adictive additive that helps that affect and to assure their consumption.])” My addtions to the quote is in [] brakets.

Posted by Cynthia | Report as abusive
 

This is the country you asked for America….enjoy.keep on taxing baby…

 

As an adult, I am responsible for my own health (or lack thereof). As long as my bad habits do not harm others, I should be allowed to indulge in these bad habits.On a personal note, I work out hard and often. As a result, if I want a bag of chips, or if I want to supersize my meal, I should not be banned from or inconvenienced in doing so. It is unfair to punish me because others choose an unhealthy lifestyle.If citizens give the government the free rein to treat them like children, those citizens need not complain when the government takes that recommendation, and that will inevitably lead to a level beyond fast food. Grow up, and take responsibility for your own actions! Are you trying to reinstate communist Russia?

Posted by alf | Report as abusive
 

I have never seen so many supporters of a regressive tax proposal in one place (unless, maybe, at a DNC). Punitive end use taxes serve to do a number of things: promise high-minded use of the revenue (which, by the way, is estimated based on the number of users remaining constant), fail to deliver on the promise (in large part, due to unrealized revenue), cause some level of US unemployment (a result of decreased demand), and cause those who continue to use the products to be resolute in their usage. How about, instead, we tax Congress based on the weight of the bill they propose, when it’s printed?

Posted by Wildbiker | Report as abusive
 

Yes, it should be taxed. I believe we are smart enough to know what takes us down, and gambling, alcohol, cigarettes and junk, unhealthy food does nothing positive for us, and this is a proven fact. These should be items that if consumed, or engaged in, be subject to tax. Healthy living should be rewarded. Taxes of this nature should be levied on those who choose unhealthy lifestyles.

Posted by Ricquito | Report as abusive
 

I think variable combine (local, state, and Federal) sale tax should be put on everything and drop all income tax. At the present the government only collect taxes on proven income. Combine Sale taxes will get money from all the illegal activity money making that go on in this country. If a man can afford to buy a million dollar house with cash then he can afford to pay hundred thousand dollar combine sale tax. And no combine sale tax on basic food, medication, and cleaning needs, but bottle water is not a basic food nor is pop, chips, candy bars, cake, cake mixes, and deli items.

Posted by morris | Report as abusive
 

The Government is OUT-OF-CONTROL!

Posted by Seeekerman | Report as abusive
 

Absolutely not!!! You can not legislate responsibility! You also can not discriminate! If I am already skinny with no health problems, you are telling me that I can not run my life and I need the “guv’ments help”. I am sorry, but with this administration, I have had enough “help” to last a lifetime. Get out of my life! I do not need any help from someone who can not tie their own shoes!Get out of my life!This burns my but like flames over my head!!!!

Posted by Rancho Azul | Report as abusive
 

what ever happened to personal responsibility? you can’t blame a soda or candy maker if your kid is fat….it is your own fault!

 

Oh boy, another tax made by bullies who dictate how others should live their life. What’s the alternative to junk food and soda? $2.00 bottles of tap water? Overpriced organic foods? Salads that are priced way more than their content is worth?The government needs to butt out of people’s personal life choices. If you start getting chunky, hop on a treadmill and start running. There’s no need for some political thug to tell you what you should and should not eat.

Posted by Erik J. Mawst | Report as abusive
 

Instead of a tax that has to be tracked and audited and is not only regressive but theoretically decreasing tax, why not just get rid of the farm bill. Given that a majority of these fattening products come from over produced and cheap sugar substitutes like high fructose corn syrup, removing the subsidies to the producers would be the best bet.Not only does it serve the purpose of removing corporate welfare but puts sugar (which metabolizes differently then corn syrup) on an equal footing with the corn producers of the world.

 

Just another tax camel with his nose under the tent! Just wait and see how long before the whole beast in! Parents today expect the government to be the nanny, wake up people!They are only talking about obesity and diabetes, how about the acids and sugars that eat away a drinkers teeth. All these taxes are starting to turn the USA into another Europe. Although they say, “Europe starts at the Appalachian mountains.”The Wisconsin Governor sold the tobacco funds for a dime on the dollar to help pay for his inflated budget, so what good is that?Trust a politician to grab your wallet and not his own.

Posted by P Offed! | Report as abusive
 

I’m for a tax only if 100% of the revenue is used to lower the cost of healthy alternatives. Tax that box of cookies and use the money to make vegetables more affordable. Tell the gov’t to keep their hands off!

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive
 

Yes, the taxes on junk foods will permit that people think before paying much for a thing that is not good for the health. That’s I believe so.

Posted by Leila Santos | Report as abusive
 

Conservative logic has become painfully ignorant. “Self responsibility”? If someone wants to indulge in junk food their whole life, WHO PAYS FOR THEIR HEALTH CARE BILLS? WE DO!!! I’m sick of paying higher premiums because of fat, unhealthy people. And as far as paying too much in taxes, how much do you guys think we spend on health care every year on problems caused by “irresponsible” diets? Enough already! Make the people who are too stupid to eat right pay for their own health problems.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive
 

In addition to getting rid of the farm subsidy on corn, the tax on junk foods with useless calories, excessive fat, etc is warranted. I would even prefer to see 25% tax. For those who think that the government is intruding on their choice of food, their medical insurance bills should be doubled to indicate their risk factor. If they don’t medical insurance, should they be denied emergency treatment due to implications of such lousy food & drinks. restaurants should be required to server half or quarter portions. All you can eat buffets should be scrutinized. We are so excessive in our foods that it is difficult to fathom that in the US, we have homeless and hungry people with all these excesses.

Posted by John Obu | Report as abusive
 

Taxing everything we have has become the status quo for this country. While we are at it we should tax people for breathing. I am a smoker and I think taxing cigarettes was the worst thing that they could think of. If people don’t like to smoke then don’t smoke. No one put a gun to my head and told me to smoke. No one pt a gun to my head and told me to eat junk food. It is all a preference and there should not be a government official to tell me what I can and can not do to my body. The government was set up to represent us not rule us. Stay out of my life!!!!

Posted by Bill D | Report as abusive
 

PLEASE TAX IT BIG!!! The higher the better. Obese people are costing our system billions!!! Being obese makes you sick, and the rest of us have to pay for it. Why? Because all our insurance premiums go up when you have to see doctors for diabetes and heart disease that you could have prevented. Because the emergency room has to treat you when your weight gives you a heart attack or otherwise compromises your health. Because you can’t do your job to the highest standards when you are obese, which means the rest of us have to work harder, or worse, pay for your welfare when you go on “disability” for that heart condition, which you have because you’re obese.

Posted by Tess | Report as abusive
 

No more taxes on anything!

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive
 

Although the thought of taxing junk food and sugary drink seems like a very good reason to increase the income of the goverment. I read these comments and people say “They should be taxed because of the people that are fat and unhealthly” There are other reasons for a person to be fat and unhealthly, some reasons likes myself have a thyroid problem that prevents my body from properly converting the food into the energy my body needs so it backs up the extra food it cannot convert into fat. Not all “fat” people are fat because of junk food. Also having to pay for their medical bills. That’s a shame that you aren’t willing to help someone else that is in need of your help, even if it is because of them eating, they are still human and deserve to be treated as such.

Posted by Joerie L | Report as abusive
 

YES, but the revenues should only be used for healthcare, including preventative measures such as personal health education. I don’t think that enough people understand their own metabolism enough to understand the dangers of ingesting everything the food industry tries to sell.People that think the govt. is trying to take away their freedom, are trying to obfuscate the matter at hand. Freedom is having a choice. This solution does not take away anyone’s right to choose, it just adds an economic consequence to your choice – much like the economic consequence that the healthcare system faces when people choose to lead unhealthy lifestyles.If you don’t realize that every choice has a consequence, you’re not Free – You will always be a slave to the short-sightedness of your previous decisions.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive
 

As someone with a background in public health, I understand the need to educate people about healthy lifestyles. However, as a citizen of the U.S. and taxpayer, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps we shouldn’t be working towards more legitimate sources of government revenue other than luxury taxes. In Zimbabwe with unemployment over 90% it has been reported that the vast majority of government revenue comes from alcohol and tobacco taxes. I find the paralels to what is happening here to be very sad. Will soda pay for Afghanistan?

 

Been waiting for this for years and I support it out of sheer spite. Everyone who kept voting and agreeing on cigarette tax increases are now on the recieving end with something they like. A plan to make money while protecting us from ourselves. I wonder how many years it will take for us to become britain.

Posted by John | Report as abusive
 

The Coca Cola Company, Nestle Company and any other people that take the water across the planet for free and produce plastic bottles to contaminate the earth should be fined.The production of all these products, pop, junk food should be eliminated.We are going to be running short of water and those big companies are still extracting water.Taxing the products is not going to help. Its the companies that you have to go after, not the populace.

 

Is taxing the answer? Or is stopping Corn crop subsidy in the USA the answer?Learn while being entertained, watch King Corn.More info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Corn_( film)

Posted by kdl | Report as abusive
 

As long as Government Officials, Bikes, Automobiles, Vegetables, Movies, Email, Bikes, Skateboards, etc. etc. are taxs equally as a percentage Sodas because in many ways they are just as dangerous.

Posted by Rich | Report as abusive
 

I can understand taxing things that are not good for us. But the reality is the taxes are being added because our government officials are incapable of running the government in a financially responsible manner. Doing what’s best for us is not their reason.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive
 

More and more it is becoming evident that the Freedom of Choice we have now has a price beyond the one paid by the blood of our forefathers. It must be paid in taxes to the state. Truly a shame.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive
 

I absolutely do not want to be taxed on junk food or drinks. We are taxed enough. I think people should be able to make their own free choices on what they think, eat or do. Stop trying to control everything the public does. It’s still a free country, isn’t it?????

Posted by Dot Carone | Report as abusive
 

What government agency labels my choice of food “junk”? “Junk” to the government may be “healthy” to me.

Posted by e eaton | Report as abusive
 

I completely disagree with this tax, I mean seriously where does it stop? I am in great shape and enjoy a regular soda and a bag a chips almost every day. The difference I work out. I think that we should start charging everyone a tax that doesn’t and that will pay for my gym and there increased health costs.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive
 

If we TAX them they must OBEYPeople are so simple minded. They dont see that we are in the mist of constructing the “perfect” world.We that are superior are obligated to protect these simple people from themselves. This is just the begining, just wait until they see Obamacare.Far to much freedom is given to the common simple people. They are not responsible enough to handle such freedoms and we as a result are forced to regulate.If you listen to them wine as we take away thier freedoms you’ll hear them wimper that they have the same right to live and choose as the rest of us.These are the same agrivated people that traffic jamb behind us as we keep them safe by controling thier speed on the road.

 

See World News Daily and its report on the states (esp. MA) considering swine flu legislation like warrantless entries into homes to see that everyone is vaccinated, $1000 fines for noncompliance, physical removal of those infected to quarantine stations–HIV/AIDS kills 50-60,000 a year and no one can know anyone’s name, whether they’ve had treatment, and if they are infecting others, but in the name of a flu, the gov’t's of the US want to control the breath you breathe.All in the name of health. It’s a scam to control your freedom.Bork’em. Call Congress daily 202-224/225-3121. Do not give up. Do not surrender.

Posted by Renny | Report as abusive
 

If the soda or candy company increased the price of your little treat 5c you wouldn’t bat an eye, as soon as you find out it’s a government tax you freak out, government intervention..so so so ignorant it’s laughable. No one is saying you can’t or not to, they’re saying if You Choose to indulge in these items you’re going to pay a few cents more. You ever hear of ‘sin tax’…you probably thought the newscaster was saying syntax…hmmm…you pay more for un-healthy choices because those choices are going to cost the government and society more money in Medicare over the coarse of your life. Your a drain, with your rotten, yellow teeth and emphysema from your ‘Cokes n Smokes’, livin off Reds, vitamin C and cocaine, all a man can say it ain’t it a shame…pay your taxes or drink a glass of water instead.

Posted by AustinHipster | Report as abusive
 

Um…. NO!

 

Anything sold in a bottle manufactured out of PET should be taxed, not just softdrinks.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive
 

Nanny May I?NOC’mon People Think

 

Yes

 

Another tax is just what we need..We do not need extra tax on any food or drink of any kind. Adding a tax on food would just be another way to take away from the people who can’t afford it and there should not be a government official to tell me what I can and can not eat or drink. The government needs to just stay out of my our lives and stop trying to take away everything that we enjoy

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive
 

When will it stop? I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the food police, the medicine police, the exercise police, etc. I thought this was a free county. Freedom to make stupid choices and be obese. I know. Why don’t we require all obese people to pay a FAT tax. The fatter you are, the momre you pay. I’m 58, trim, and sometimes I like a junior whopper, candy, or a little ice cream, but I don’t live on junk food. The state and federal government stay up late at night figuring out what to tax next. The answer is to quit spending so much.

 

Absolutely junk food and colas should be taxed.Suppose we were to tax $.50 per daily limit of added sugar, as suggested by the American Heart Association (which argues for less than 25g of added sugars per day – http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/08/25/aha .sugar.added/index.html). That would be about one cent per added sugar calorie. A 2L of Coke would have an extra tax of $4.10. If you have a healthy diet, these taxes should amount to less than $182/yr. But the average American consumes 355 calories of added sugar per day – and thus would be taxed $648 per year if they didn’t change their behaviors.In contrast, diabetes alone costs $713/person in the US from direct medical costs alone. (http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRel ease/idUS132744+01-Sep-2009+PRN20090901) Obesity treatments (including weight loss pills and diets) and diseases add much more costs. In short, this tax would dramatically under count the amount of damage one does to one’s health by consuming these foods. There’s no reason for Americans to consume these poisons without paying for their costs up front.

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive
 

Why not? they tax cigarettes, beer, wine, whiskery, bottles, cans. Where were you bed wetters when they were taxing those products. What made you think they would stop there? Come on Fatso pay up. I say put a scale and height contraption in every junk food establishment and make them pay $1.00 a pound they are over government recommended limits. Come on Fatso pay up, your using up valuable resources.

 

Hey ‘Bill’ — If you think you’re paying higher premiums because of fat, unhealthy people, you haven’t been paying attention. You’re paying higher premiums because the health insurance industry exists to make a buck (NOT to keep you and yours healthy), and the only people with enough clout to ‘negotiate’ a rate lower than the outright highway robbery that they enforce on individuals, are other corporations. Higher premiums come from a sense of ‘guaranteed money’ and a stupid medical bureaucracy that charges twice (at least) what everything’s worth because “health insurance” pays for most of it. Let doctors interact directly with patients, and costs to the individual go way, way down. ‘Fat people’ are a drop in the bucket compared to bloated bureaucracy and runaway ‘free market’ capitalism. Go do some reading, and then come back when you have a clue.

Posted by sls | Report as abusive
 

Yes! Yes! YES!!!

Posted by HL | Report as abusive
 

why not just put a tax on existence itself and kill everyone who is late in paying it? put a tax on thought, a penny for your thoughts and then put up billboards and TV ads and even ads on google trying to convince people not to think as much, after all thinking is bad for you because it makes you smart and when you get too smart you can’t relate to idiots anymore, and you also become antagonistic to the government, because it is composed of pure idiots.

Posted by rey | Report as abusive
 

I think it is a great idea, but lets not stop there. There should also be a $5.00 tax on those water bottles that people buy and the landfills can not handle. Bread those nasty old carbs should be taxed, along with any imported food. Importing food hurts the environment. It all has to be shipped here when actually there is no need, as the country can supply all the necessary food crops for a proper diet. Bananas etc are not needed for proper nutrition. Last but not least we should also raise the tax on alcohol products. You know that other addictive substance that kills more people per year than cigarettes.

Posted by Galium | Report as abusive
 

You idiots. You already pay a tax on soda and junk food, it’s called out-of-control health care premiums we all pay for the morbidly obese and unhealthy populous. The purpose of the tax is two-fold; more govt’revenue(of course) and discourage consumption of unhealthy foods, thereby encouraging a healthier citizenry. Would it work to achieve goal number two? Possibly. If sugar and fat taxes killed the bottom line on junk food for corporations, they might just find a way to make healthier foods that you might just enjoy. Is it wise or a government intrusion into our god-given right to eat your way into a double-wide hospital bed?Hmmmmm….

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive
 

STOP THIS INSANITY. Government wants more money and I say they are nothing more than “DOLLAR JUNKIES”. It’s none of their business what my family and I eat, drink or choose to smoke. Get out of our lives.John

Posted by John | Report as abusive
 

Hell no with any new taxes of any kind. Obama has already turned this country into enough of a nanny state. No more big BROTHER!!!!!!

Posted by joe smails | Report as abusive
 

STOP!!!!!!!!!!!! This is going to far. Now, we are going to be policed, by the snacks we eat. This is too ORWELLIAN for me. I’ll just make my own goodies from now on. Good grief!

Posted by M. Manuel | Report as abusive
 

A better way to save money is to tax the nanny state believers who think that a wise paternal government is the answer to every problem and that the state needs to micromanage the lives of its childlike subjects.What are you people thinking? Or do you need the elites and the government to do your thinking for you?

Posted by RSweeney | Report as abusive
 

Yes. Basic economics.Simply put, when you consume junk, you hurt yourself. We all pay for that damage because when you get fat, you take advantage of services we all pay to provide. A tax forces you to realize the costs of your initial behavior.Academic way of putting it:Sugar and fat impose a negative externality for which the markets and personal decisions do not correct. A tax helps internalize the cost of the bad habit to those who partake.Example:Joe only drinks Coke and eats donuts. Joe gets obese. Joe gets on Medicare (or goes to the ER every now and then). Joe has these services pay for his health problems. Me and you are paying for these services….A tax on the cause of obesity would help Joe realize the costs of this lifestyle.BASICALLY – YOU’RE CHOICES AFFECT MY WALLET. Pay for your own fat, don’t make me.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive
 

After reading this entire blog I have come to see that there are an awful lot of sheep to be sheared in this glorious nation of ours.If you want to see where the future of this country is going read 1984 by George Orwell. I for one do not want any semblance of big brother in my country , state or city. I believe in personal liberty above all else. Someday all of you sheep will have your day in the sun and big brother will shear you just the same as all of the others.

Posted by obamanation | Report as abusive
 

YES because the taxes could be used to pay for the medical bills that all the overweight people end up with.If you eat that junk food then you should have to pay for the problems that you will end up with.

Posted by david trauger | Report as abusive
 

Has anyone noticed how many of the anti-Obama people never seem to use complete sentences or correct punctuation? They’re so convincing! And I quote:”I am in great shape and enjoy a regular soda and a bag a chips almost every day. The difference I work out. I think that we should start charging everyone a tax that doesn’t and that will pay for my gym and there increased health costs.”Case and point? Maybe they’re just too busy trying to keep government out of Medicare……ha!

Posted by T. Frakes | Report as abusive
 

Just tax sugar beet and cane.

Posted by Ralph Johnson | Report as abusive
 

First they came for the smokers, but I wasn’t a smoker, so I said nothing. Then they came for the beer drinkers, but I didn’t drink beer, so I said nothing. Now they are coming for me….

Posted by Bruce | Report as abusive
 

This is just the start, Cars,homes and maybe how much kids go to school and miss school could be next

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive
 

CONTROL,CONTROL,CONTROL!!! Whether or not we are the ones who eat this kind of food or not. We are being IN THE CONTROL of the government! We use to be a free country, how free are we? Please everyone take a good look at your BIBLE it WILL tell you how this is just another part of what is to come.

 

One must never forget that the object of taxation will be food DEEMED to be «junk». If so required, non-skim milk could be declared «junk» and taxed. If one were to tax «junk» food because it is harmful then one would would expect a significant reduction in taxes applied to consumable items that are good for your health, red wine comes to mind …..

Posted by ian mason | Report as abusive
 

We dont need another tax, we need another boston tea party. Tax, Tax, Tax us into oblivion.

Posted by dave | Report as abusive
 

Noooooooo! get rid of taxes altogether. Ha ha ha

Posted by volleyball | Report as abusive
 

Good idea for schools and other public arenas for children and teens. Ditto fast foods outlets in schools. WAY too many obese kids who will have huge medical problems (like diabetes) in the future if they don’t get slim now AND will also be a big drain on the health care system as they age.Even if you’re physically active, kids are getting gall stones, ulcers, etc. from all the acid in sodas and parents who give their kids sports drinks (thinking they’re more healthy-not!) aren’t helping. Too much salt and sugar in those too!!! At least in school you can try and teach kids healthier options if their parents won’t. You have to start somewhere. Drink water at meals, juice once in a while and milk as needed and kids will be slimmer, healthier and their blood sugar won’t plummet…

Posted by Anna | Report as abusive
 

To Bob, who’s worried that a tax on soft drinks might lead to taxes on homes, cars, and kids going to school: Don’t know where you live, but in most places they already do tax homes and cars. I pay about $1500/yr on my house, another couple of hundred on the cars. Don’t think they tax kids yet, but maybe they should tax them for not going to school, and use that money for their later welfare payments.

Posted by James | Report as abusive
 

Tax this Tax that: Is that all the government can do any more? Overly restrictive laws and ever increasing taxes will hurt everyone in the long run including the government. Everyone please go home and pullout all your receipts and look at how taxes have multiplied over the past 20 years it is amazing. It robs us a little at a time. The government only worries about inflation but rarely ever says a tax will steal our buying power. When has inflation taken over half of what we make like taxes? Set down and make a list of all the things that are not taxed. I will bet it is a short list indeed.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive
 

Look… it’s not a matter of whether it’s a free country or not.. it’s a matter of us, taxpayers, having to take the bill for obese people. An obese senior had 3 to 7 thousand dollars/year more in health costs then a non obese person. They also live just as long on average, meaning that we have to pay that bill longer. Most of seniors are on Medicare which means that the governent covers that bill quite a bit. Even if they aren’t on government health insurance, they are still taxing the insurance companies which will in turn raise premiums for the rest of us. I don’t think the tax should be extremely large but I think a little tax would be good to offset the cost that comes with obesity and also to encourage healthy eating.

Posted by Jimmy | Report as abusive
 

Taxing sugary drinks won’t provide the impact that a change to the Farm Bill would. Over-consumption of junk food (and fast food) affects lower income families most. Higher-income families are free to make healthier choices, and would be less affected by a small tax on soft drinks.Our government currently subsidizes corn, which drives the price down and makes high fructose corn syrup an attractive sweetener for soft drink and junk food producers. What we should do is reduce (and eventually remove) corn subsidies, allowing farmers to choose to grow more variety of foods, driving the price down for vegetables, etc. Veggies and good food are currently very pricey for lower income folks.Can people buy junk food with food stamps? That might be a good thing to look at too.

Posted by Chrod | Report as abusive
 

If you are gonna to tax people who put their health @ risk, then wouldn’t we also have to start taxing people who participate in sporting activities? Imagine how many people have broken bones from skiing, biking, football, hockey and other sports and thus driving up health care costs!

Posted by teflonsteve | Report as abusive
 

It is just wrong to use tax policy to punish politically unpopular products. Where does it end?Unless you are insured as part of the group I belong to, you do NOT pay for my choices! If I am obese and die early and you are a granola eating stick person who lives twenty years longer who really costs more?Obese Americans are not the problem, an obese government with an uncontrollable appetite for money is the problem. Obesity is just an excuse to increase revenues.

Posted by Stephen Kerner | Report as abusive
 

Heck, they did it to us smokers. Even occasional smokers are outcasts lately. Everyone is so self-righteous these days. You will all ultimately suffer the consequences of someone telling you what you should and should not be doing and then make you pay for it. Why not tax junk food? Let the obese diabetics get in on the party. They’re costing taxpayers plenty. Maybe we should fine people based on caloric intake. Let’s get the general population more involved here. Maybe we can tax alcohol next. I don’t drink. It won’t bother me. Nobody knows the trouble you will soon see.

Posted by junie j | Report as abusive
 

This is getting wayyyyyyy out of hand. What’s next? I know!!!! They should taxxxxxx all fluids. Reason being, with the consumption of fluids, there is an increase in urinating. With this increase,there are added flushes to the house-hold toilets,to allllll the house-holds in the nation. Wait, there it is again, with every flush, you have taxable fluids going down the drain. Exactly where the money the government gets JUST HAPPENS TO GO!!!!! Here is a hint. Quit spending and taking my money. I would at least like to do something freely.

Posted by Ed Christoph | Report as abusive
 

Sex should be taxed. It can be done in such a way that it really pays — for the government and for the emotional well-being of many. Here’s the scheme: people don’t value what’s free but give greater value to what costs more. So, mandate that each partner in sexual activity charge the other for sex, each will pay the other, and each will report the amount received to the government, which will tax that amount at say 5, 10 or 15%. Lists will be published. There will be much pride in reporting more received and more taxes paid for one’s sexual capabilities. “I paid XXXX in sex taxes” will be a boast heard many times. “Let’s help the government” will become the top pickup line in bars and offices.

Posted by Floyd | Report as abusive
 

Do it. We’ll be paying to keep the obese and unhealthy alive as they grow older as is. If we’re going to tax all other manners of unhealthy products might as well tax these as well.

Posted by Shea | Report as abusive
 

Good Grief. What in God’s name are going to think to tax next. Oh, I’ve got it, the air we breath. The mower I use to cut the grass in my yard because the county police say I have to cut my grass. I thought they wanted us to get some exercise.

Posted by Douglas Holbert | Report as abusive
 

Are any of you really dense enough to believe the extra revenue from this “sin tax” would be used for health care? Nancy Pelosi probably needs a new airplane. Or maybe we could have another brilliant idea like “Cash for Clunkers” to spread the wealth. Gosh, I just saw an illegal driving a 4 year old car! We can’t have that. Give them Cadillacs with all that tax money.

Posted by Olivia | Report as abusive
 

I just read a good one. Junk food and sodas should not be allowed to be purchased with food stamps. However, it is perfectly alright to use tax money to fund baby killing. I guess it’s because the more babies we kill, the less people will grow up to need healthcare dollars.I continue to be amazed at how depraved Americans really are.

Posted by Olivia | Report as abusive
 

Right, tax sugar at the same time that non-sugar sweeteners are found to have over 100 side-effects, including causing ADHD in kids and slow weight gain.

Posted by rick | Report as abusive
 

Why penalize responsible people who enjoy junk food every now and then?If the excuse is to save on medical costs, why not just let people be responsible for their own medical costs….either way their paying. Taxing only robs from the responsible and does little to discourage the irresponsible. The health care care cost argument is a good example of socialism leading to fascism; only more indirectly through taxation and income redistribution.

Posted by R Miller | Report as abusive
 

who are we …I have a neighbor who goes to the doctors at any whim….I am over weight….61 years old …and haven’t seen a doctor since 1971….how much am i taxing the system ,how about adding the cost to take care of all those weekend warriors…who mame themselves on a regular basis ….how much does it cost to rescue some lost hiker……life is life …..and if they do get away with this tax on soft drinks ,when will the extra taxes for beer drinkers,martini sippers and meat eaters ,a nd sushi eaters fom mercury poisoning ….it never stops something kills you ..one thing for sure none of us are getting out of this alive….that is the one consistent about life …

Posted by john megna | Report as abusive
 

In California, we have a “CRV” which is a fee of about 4 cents that is added to beverages sold in bottles or cans. When the can is recycled, one theoretically gets back this fee; containers are weighed, not counted. The CRV generally makes the item taxable and the tax is added to the price of the product PLUS the CRV.The CRV induced me to stop buying soda and other bottled drinks. I only have soft drinks when I eat at restaurants, which is not often.I don’t think we need another tax here in California.I am uncertain of the morality of using sin taxes to pay for health care, because then we are in the position of people needing to consume the very products we say we do not want them to consume, in order to pay for health care.I would be content with the government just forcing health plans to stop discriminating against people who have pre-existing conditions. If we can afford the premiums, we should be able to get coverage.

Posted by walker | Report as abusive
 

This sounds great. While you’re at it, why not just tax all drinks and all food. Hell, start taxing the oxygen I’m breathing. Why don’t you tax the taxes too.

Posted by Xavier | Report as abusive
 

What pushes unhealthy food is advertising. Why not tax the billions in advertising? In that way, the corporations would directly suffer the tax and the consumers would feel it only indirectly.

Posted by Merik | Report as abusive
 

You don’t get fat and unhealthy from drinking soda. You get fat and unhealthy from EATING TOO MUCH!I guess the sugary drink hysteria is coming from the dopes who pay $1.50 for bottled water while they pollute the earth with plastic bottles. Did you ever hear of anyone dieing from a Coke ???

Posted by Joseph Fusco | Report as abusive
 

Yes, they should, just as they tax cigarettes and alcohol. You can have all the advertising in the world, but people only care about one thing: price. They should use the tax from junk food, to subsidize healthy food (not corn). That way we are all better.And all these people who hate the health care reforms, are so ignorant of how it works in most Western countries. They should get out a bit more, maybe read a bit more.

Posted by cak | Report as abusive
 

I do not agry with such policy.There are also light drinks for the people thar has weight problems.Sugar is goog for human brain.Sincerely,Mª Celia Fernández

Posted by Mª Celia | Report as abusive
 

The tax is not to take money out of your pocket, its supposed to act as an incentive to NOT eat so much junk food.Junk food has repeatedly been shown to be the cheapest calorie per dollar intake you can make and buy, and the tastes and additives (animal/plant oils & fats, simple carbs such as sucrose, fructose, flavor additives, etc) are specifically selected and added to make them as palatable as possible because of this. They are huge profit generators for their manufacturers – far more so than their healthy equivalents – which is why they are promoted and marketed so heavily. This is why taxes are being proposed – to make them equivalent or maybe even more expensive than better options, so you perhaps won’t select the 99c Cheetos as quickly over an apple next time.Now, the discussion about what happens to those dollars is completely separate – the idea-bankrupt politicians may use these tax revenues incorrectly (just as they do most other dollars today), but thats not an argument to say if taxing junk food is a bad idea or not. Perhaps you should be looking at other things they tax that are more questionable (taxes on basic goods and services come to mind – such as, anyone who tells me that phone/TV/internet are not basic services in 21st century USA are obviously not very realistic for example – why do I have to pay 10% USF and other taxes on this).Those of you who complain about sports injuries are just looking for any excuse because you want to feel less guilty about eating your Costco-sized bags of chips and 2 liter of cola. Look up the cost statistics of how much obesity costs the US, then compare to the cost of sports-related injuries – and then grow up. No-one is saying you can’t eat a burger and fries – they are simply saying you probably shouldn’t eat that every day (which is the case in thousands upon thousands of homes around the country – reference Eric Schlosser’s research if you’re curious – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_Food_N ation)100+ comments and I have barely read an intelligent one… perhaps they should use the tax revenue to educate people properly.

Posted by dazed and not confused | Report as abusive
 

Tax it. Part of the reason we have so many obese people, and why so much sugary and salty foods (fast food included) are consumed is because it’s so accessible and cheap. The additional money made, even if it’s a tax as small as 5 cents per item, can go toward funding things such as schools, libraries, roads or police. People act as though taxes are the bane of the American way of life, but people also don’t seem realize how much is really provided by the government thanks to our payment.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive
 

“one thing for sure none of us are getting out of this alive….that is the one consistent about life”- Posted by john megnaactually death AND taxes.. unfortunately

 

Americans have a serious health problem evident in a generally malnourished yet overweight population. Skin problems, depression, hair loss, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and countless other common ills are far more prevalent than in cultures with healthier diets (Korea or Japan). This is a serious public health issue that needs to be tackled for the sake of future generations.While some defend the consumption of junk food as a lifestyle choice they neglect to see their consumption largely as a product of enormous investment into advertising by the food and beverage industry. It is not fair or in the best interests for young children, generation after generation, to be indoctrinated into a lifestlye that inovlves daily consumption of substances that are harmful.Junk food should be taxed and the revenue should be used partly to campaign for a healthier lifestyle. 30 years ago, cigarette consumption was quite high among the US population and now its been dramatically reduced due to campaigning. The same can be done with junkfood.Let people eat junkfood, but as a choice. Not because its the only diet they know.

Posted by alejandro | Report as abusive
 

Wow. I think the larger problems with our diet come from the preservatives and artificial ingredients.I am allergic to corn and corn derivatives. So I don’t buy processed foods for the most part. I make my own. Under this proposal I can be charged extra when I buy a box of twinkies which is basically sponge cake with cream filling with preservatives and artificial ingredients or I can buy the basic components of a sponge cake (eggs, sugars, flour, heavy cream) and make my own. You would only be discriminating against those who lack the knowledge and foresight to make baked goods. So after you tax the twinkies, the “staples” will be next to be taxed.As others have mentioned if you want government intervention in what we eat the biggest thing is to end corn subsidies and prevent “convenience” foods from being purchased with food stamps. Seems pretty simple to me.

Posted by nika | Report as abusive
 

Why not tax video games so people get off their duffs and become active?

Posted by Paul Shockley | Report as abusive
 

As long as htey don’t tax chocolate, it’s Okay with me to tax all junk food and sodas.

Posted by toni | Report as abusive
 

I think junk food should be taxed but I think we should go a step further and base health insurance premiums (assuming universal coverage here) directly on weight with the higher rates calculated by body fat percentage. We already charge higher rates to smokers so lets charge overweight people for the increased cost of caring for them. Make everyone have their body fat measured yearly so they have to face the fact that they’re overweight and hurt them a little in the pocketbook and maybe people will do something about it.

Posted by Heather | Report as abusive
 

As someone who is obese & a non-smoker/non-drinker; I was for a tax on both cigarettes & alcohol–surprisingly, I am also for a junk food tax. Fast food is already taxed & if my chocolate bar goes towards helping folks without health insurance or beefing up the kevlar equipment for some of our troops overseas, I am all for it.

Posted by Chris Lach | Report as abusive
 

The Unabomber in his manifesto correctly predicted that the politically-correct, liberal-minded crowd would one day use the strong arm of government to tell us what we can and cannot eat and drink. Liberals were not content to place a cancer warning on cigarettes, they had to launch an all-out campaign to make smoking a moral rather than a health issue. When that didn’t work, they slapped on high taxes. According to the Unabomber liberals will never be content with the state of society. They must have a cause to fight for. They will try persuasion at first, but if that doesn’t work they will resort to force, that is, government. What are some of you who favor taxes on cigarettes, liquor, and fast food going to do when the liberals decide to put a stop to your favorite vice?

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive
 

One persons Junk Food is another persons nutrition. Junk food is in the tastbud of the consumer.In Obamaland EVERYTHING will be taxed!

Posted by PJ | Report as abusive
 

The healthy thing to drink is water. It is very dangerous that these sugary beverages are so cheap. Not only do they cause obesity in people of all ages, they contribute to the high rates of tooth decay in our community. I am FOR a tax based on the size of the beverage container, because it is an effective way to decrease the purchases of sweet beverages. The indigent population will benefit from the tax by drinking water instead of the sweet beverages, both because it is healthier and because it is MUCH less expensive.

Posted by J Gotlieb, MD | Report as abusive
 

Should junk food be taxed? In a word, NO!FIRST, junk food is made by businesses, large and small, and a tax on the products of ANY business means lost sales, lost revenues, and lost jobs. If we are to recover from this recession, we must focus on CREATING jobs in the private sector, not destroying them.SECOND, taxing junk food is another example of government trying to regulate our behavior. Government should stay out of the behavior regulation business (except in cases of behavior that is truly dangerous to others.)THIRD, our federal government should be constrained to spending within its’ means. We have been living on the taxes of future generations under Bush, and now Obama has made Bush look like a piker. raising taxes so that government can spend more foolishly is NOT the answer to America’s problems.Our federal government should concentrate on creating jobs in the PRIVATE SECTOR — and they should do this, at least in part, by granting tax breaks to small and medium-sized businesses. The private sector is where all wealth in America is created — government jobs do NOT create wealth, they simply erode the wealth created in the private sector. JOB CREATION in the PRIVATE SECTOR — among small and medium-sized businesses — is what is needed to pull America out of this recession.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive
 

While we are at it, let’s tax the air that we breath and how about start telling us when we can eat and go the the bathroom! Gotta love BIG BROTHER!!!

 

The messages in these ads are so over the top that they are counterproductive to serious efforts to address obesity.Like most foods, soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are a source of calories. But simply naming one food or beverage as the cause of obesity minimizes this complex disease. The key to energy balance and maintaining a healthy weight is counting calories in and calories out, not focusing on specific foods or abstaining from any one food or beverage in particular.– American Beverage Association

 

If the gov taxes alcohol and cigarettes due to unhealthy reasons (?) yet also tax things as necessary as fuel and property, it only seems appropriate. (!?)

Posted by Stu | Report as abusive
 

I think the best idea would be to stop subsidizing corn farmers. At least then junk food (made of sugar rather than corn-syrup)would have the chance to be turned to energy before making the jump right into fat like corn-syrup does.

Posted by stu | Report as abusive
 

A tax credit for vegetables would seem more appropriate.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive
 

This article on junk food are readable.Good responses from many readers.Now, a days it has become fashioned to say that ,cool drinks,pizza cakes,more sweet consumption on sugar candies,and from many Indian and Pakistan sweets are responsible for obesity and some fat related diseases.As per medical reports,these junk food,sweet beverages may create obesity,more Blood Pressure and some digestive dis order,and,lastly,psycho problems among frequent users.If any government wants to impose more taxes to these latest products for more revenue and for minimum usages by us.Good in one aspect.Whereas ,what happened more taxes on tobacco products.Whether that created,crazy bad habits are stopped.Not much encouraging results till now.Old habits goes to the shelf and new habits of sweet,cool drinks and junk food among new generations are part of creating,urges towards these products by massive advertisement and publicity,especially spending huge amounts to world famous celeberatives for mad of these drinks.Finally speaking,whether tobacco or chewing a pawn in Asian countries,or drinking in public places,or seeing more tempted videos,crazy to certain films,songs,mad rush to world famous artist shows also comes under the categories for more taxation for arresting these mad tendencies among students,youngsters and among adults.Speaking of against these products are easy,but implementation against more usages are very difficult.

 

Ok, I’ve written about this way too many times, so for the sake of clarification, I’ll make it real easy for Americans to understand. Let’s all say it together “Socialism”. There it is, plain and simple. End of story.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive
 

Soda and junk food cause one to get fat. Over 30% of Americans are obese and the majority are overweight.Soda and junk food have almost no vitamin content, no minerals (except salt), plenty of perservatives, and enough calories to replace a meal. Basically one is putting sugar and poison into their body. Why has an institution not penalized this practice until now?With raising taxes the most common detriment is that it is bad for business. Unfortunately the amount of money the US spends per capita on healthcare alone offsets the amount of income the soda and junk food producers contribute. Cut in half the number of overweight persons in the US and you significantly decrease the 33% of our National Budget that goes to running healthcare systems.In my person opinion putting a $0.02 per can tax on a Cola isn’t going to stop anyone from drinking soda over water. If the US wants to get serious about its weight problem they need to take more drastic measures. In Britain, the 2nd most obese country, the tax on soda and junk food exceeds 20%. How fat will America have to get before the government has to really force us to take care of ourselves?

Posted by Justin | Report as abusive
 

Yes, junk food should be taxed as America’s junk food capitals is doing the most damage to your waistline. Junk foods increase your calorie intake and too much of it can cause Obesity and Increased risk of Heart problems as well as Diabetes, High BP.Also many a times I have felt that some of the junk food is not very easily digestible and heavy on stomach.

 

Why stop at sugary drinks… why not also tax high cholesterol foods like eggs, milk and cheese. These are all just as bad for you… or so the pundits would have you think. ANY food in excess is bad for you. Why not also tax any household cleaning items more for polluting our water supplies and our environment? These cause cancers and all kinds of health issues.. that end up costing me to pay for others health issues… TAXES are getting completely out of control period. Sugary drinks are just the latest thing those on the left want to demonize. This is really just about CONTROL.. contro l over what you eat, what you do.. and increasingly what information you do and don’t get (fairness doctrine reincarnation)…. and taking as much of your hard earned money as they can get their hands on.. ohhh I forgot… BECAUSE they know what is better for you than you do… Why is it our life expectancy is the highest it has ever been if we are all eating so unhealthy? (it must be all those preservatives in the food we do eat!) The answer is better medical care.. (which costs $$$)…. I have a novel idea.. to save tax dollars… why don’t the congressmen and senators take a pay cut (or forgo a 6% – 10% raise every other year)… as a sign of goodwill and a shared sacrifice… lets just say.. I WON’T HOLD my breath for that one. Why is it that they always vote themselves a pay raise while the average working American is seeing pay decreases (or loss of jobs).

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive
 

Michael Moore should be taxed.

Posted by Casper Lab | Report as abusive
 

If the goverment was serious about healthy eating, their is allready a program in place. The food stamp program. In Pennsylvania food stamp sales are NOT taxed, so who is going to be paying this? They don’t need to raise a tax, they need to stop letting people buy junk food with food stamps, make all food purchaces be healthy. An opportunity to teach healthy habits, with out raising taxes.

Posted by Julie | Report as abusive
 

Don’t tax junk food the rest of the world wants to see just how fat the US people can get. Paticularly their little, or not so little, porkers of children.

Posted by gd | Report as abusive
 

I think this does not go far enough. We need fat-camps NOW!!! Round up the obese off the street and make them run until they get thin. Or better yet, we could put them on generator-bycicles so that they make electricity in the process. There could even be a get-out-of-fat-camp-for-a-fee program for those who are not amenable to re-education. I think that anyone who is against such a societal change is simply not thinking of the children.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive
 

If these things are so bad, why doesn’t the FDA remove them from the American market — not leave them to be taxed?

Posted by bill | Report as abusive
 

First put the movie “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days” in all the movie theaters, so people know their choice of food really will determine most of their weight and health (www.environ-mentalproductions.com and click “Reversing Diabetes”). Then, if people, now educated, still choose junk food, the tax collector can come in.

 

If the tax rev goes directly to Medicaid/Medicare, I say tax it. Maybe when healthy foods becomes cheaper than junk food people will start buying apples over Twinkies.The implementation will be a little tricky though. I think it should only be applied to ready to eat food. (candy, soda, fruit-flavored drinks, TV dinners, food with an unnaturally long shelf life etc.)

Posted by Esqua | Report as abusive
 

Let’s tax stupidity as well, while we’re at it. If we did, all the so-called law makers would be broke. The government has no business whatsoever dictating what kinds of foods we choose to eat and certainly is not able to tax it. Can anyone out there say “socialism”?

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive
 

Seeing junk food as a potential source of addiction, the same as alcohol and tobacco, has nothing to do with the “nanny state” or socialism.I smoke, but I’m thin as a rail. I pay taxes on smokes because it’s bad for my health, especially if I do it too much.Now try to find me some significant differences between that, and eating alot of junk food –it’s bad for my health, especially if I do it too much.Time to pay up like the rest of us getting our “fix”, fatsos.

Posted by jlh | Report as abusive
 

The agricultural industry and food processing industry are the latest version of huge corporations exploiting the consumer for huge profits. If its frozen or comes in a box, chances are its not good for you. Fast food is fat laden poison. Why do you think we all have to take acid-blockers and cholesterol drugs? Why are so many of us diabetic? Why are we depressed and our kids have ADHD?Wake up!

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive
 

How far will they go? If this happens, the gov’t will control what you eat, literally. I am a grown woman of 41, and I pay my own insurance and bills. I depend on no one. I paid for my own college and grad school without loans and grants. I can choose what I eat all by myself without a bunch of people (who are getting paid for their opinion) making my decisions for me. I have raised two very healthy (not fat) children who make good choices in their eating and exercise habits. I was the parent there, not a government. To support people who choose not to work, choose not to apply for citizenship, choose not to make choices that would extend their lives, choose to depend on taxes for their very beings, any more of these and I will lose the house I have never defaulted on. Middle class cannot pay for everyone and still have any life that was attained by hard work and sacrifice previous to the nanny government system. “Personal responsibility” should be the new catch phrase.

Posted by Misled in Georgia | Report as abusive
 

I eat junk food because I like it. After years of science, health and P.E. I have come to understand it is bad for me and my parents taught me me to take responsibility for my actions. Getting fat does not cause any physical danger to others unlike smoking, drinking or drugs. So why would we have it taxed? A couple of possibilities come to mind. (1)Socialism, (2)government needs more money and they made a good excuse or (3) health food nuts are trying to take over the world. Eating too many hot dogs is bad for me too and I don’t like them so lets tax them next.

Posted by Heather Rasmussen | Report as abusive
 

Sorry people, but you’re wrong when you claim that it’s your own problem when you choose to disrespect your body by eating junk food. We all pay through higher healthcare premiums so that you can be treated for you obesity health issues. And if a small junk food tax really would have a significant economic impact for you, and you choose to eat less junk food – then you should probably be thanking the junk food tax for saving your life.It’s pathetic to hear the narrow-minded redneck talk of “it’s my own problem – I can do what I want”. No, we live in a society – TOGETHER. And as a last resort you cry “socialism!” to hopefully spread some irrational paranoia. I have a suggestion; why don’t you get a passport and try to visit some countries other than the US. Oh, sorry – I forgot. You don’t do public transportation because anything public is “socialism”.

Posted by Philip | Report as abusive
 

We should definitely have a tax on junk food and drinks. No nutrition, just a fix, also causes myriad problems that plague society. We should help our nation to build healthy habits. Having the junk and real foods grouped together is simply a mistake – it puts out the wrong message. In addition. it is not fair that millions are intentionally making themselves obese, giving themselves heart problems, eating trash until they are seriously ill with diabetes, and so on and so on… I hope we choose to accept the taxes and the priceless benefits that will come with them.

Posted by lindsay brewington | Report as abusive
 

The issue shows just how far govt. will go for revenue.No doubt there are health effects translating to monetary effects, but it is a smokesceen to cover the real purpose, add more revenue. Why?To cover ever increasing spending. Doubt about the tax base and the ability to tax to cover obligations is a nagging worry to me.

Posted by Ge | Report as abusive
 

A big contender on this front is red meat such as beef, veal, pork and lamb. No matter how these foods are prepared, they are incredibly high in cholesterol. It was once purported that eggs were a healthier alternative to getting protein; however, egg yolks too are packed with bad cholesterol.

Foods with High Cholesterol
http://foodswithhighcholesterol.com/

Posted by jimamily | Report as abusive
 

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