moldybluecheesecurds 2

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Diet pop will save you calories and dollars

A nice piece by Nicholas Kristof on the brilliance of New York Governor Patterson's plan to make ends meet by taxing sugared soda
An 18 percent sales tax on soft drinks and other nondiet sugary beverages 
Why is this so great?  Because taxing unhealthy behavior is one way that we can make money by improving health.
Let’s break for a quiz: What was the biggest health care breakthrough in the last 40 years in the United States? Heart bypasses? CAT scans and M.R.I.’s? New cancer treatments?

No, it was the cigarette tax. Every 10 percent price increase on cigarettes reduced sales by about 3 percent over all, and 7 percent among teenagers, according to the 2005 book “Prescription for a Healthy Nation.” Just the 1983 increase in the federal tax on cigarettes saved 40,000 lives per year.

And why are sugared drinks in particular so bad?
Evidence is accumulating that sugary drinks are a major contributor to obesity because of the evolutionary heritage I mentioned at the outset: Except for soups, liquid calories don’t register with the body, according to Professor Popkin and other specialists. [emphasis mine]
Tax the hell out of them.  

1 comment:

rick said...

it is worth noting that "sugared" soda almost never contains cane sugar in the us. (if it did, it would cost more, though i'm not sure much more - i'd be interested to know if it would be significant to the consumer.)

if this tax goes through, especially if it spreads past new york, it might have the effect of lowering ethanol prices by reducing demand for corn syrup.