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What Do You Think About the Proposed Soda Tax?

| 5/21/2009 2:58:29 PM

Soda can
Photo by iStockphoto

 A new federal tax on soda and other sugary beverages has been suggested recently as a way to pay for part of the major overhaul of the U.S. health-care system proposed by the Obama administration.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based watchdog group that pressures food companies to make healthier products, plans to propose a federal excise tax on soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas. It would not include most diet beverages."

Supporters argue that the tax would have multiple benefits. In addition to partially funding health-care reform, supporters argue that a tax on sugary beverages would likely discourage their consumption, potentially relieving some of the burden on taxpayers covering the medical costs incurred because of overweight and obesity.

Addressing these issues, a recent article from the New England Journal of Medicine reports, "For each extra can or glass of sugared beverage consumed per day, the likelihood of a child’s becoming obese increases by 60 percent," and that "a review conducted by Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity suggested that for every 10 percent increase in price, consumption decreases by 7.8 percent."

Finally, the article states that "The contribution of unhealthful diets to health care costs is already high and is increasing — an estimated $79 billion is spent annually for overweight and obesity alone — and approximately half of these costs are paid by Medicare and Medicaid, at taxpayers’ expense. Diet-related diseases also cost society in terms of decreased work productivity, increased absenteeism, poorer school performance, and reduced fitness on the part of military recruits, among other negative effects."

7/16/2010 12:25:48 PM

I am offended that the government would even propose such a measure. I don't agree with it in any case, but if it were to pass it should be applied to diet beverages as well. I don't consume artificial sweeteners because they are unnatural and give me migraines. When I drink soda I try to choose natural sugar sodas as much as possible, a choice which is limited primarily by availability. If the government needs additional sources of revenue to fund the healthcare system, why not impose the tax on the profits of the manufacturers? Or perhaps close some of the tax loopholes they are allowed? While parents should be more diligent in what they allow their children to consume, the manufacturers are the real culprits when it comes to the content of the foods we consume. They should accept their responsibility alongside the parents.

Mel in WA_2
7/16/2010 9:41:56 AM

Tax em! Soda isn't a God given right and if people are going to abuse it they should pay for their extra expenses. I think cigarettes have shown that for every increase in tax there is a decrease in consumption. The only problem is that we would be paying that tax when people used their food-stamp cards to pay for the unhealthy food. We need to look at the real cost of our food choices and end subsidies to corn, soy and wheat which constitute most of this 'junk food' and nasty feed lots and instead incentivise intensive grazing.

4/8/2010 8:41:36 PM

I think this tax is crazy. What's on a can of beer? It is really no ones business if I chose to drink a soda. We have too many taxes now as it is. Soon our country will be run soley by the government. They will control everything, including what we chose to drink or eat.

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