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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Obama, Soda and the Nanny State

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obama, Soda and the Nanny State

(HT Drudge) President Obama, with the exception of his smoking habit, lives a healthy lifestyle. He eats well, exercises and his efforts show; he looks good. He even keeps a bowl of apples in the Oval Office, but apparently he does not have enough on his plate and, hinting aside, let it be known in a forthcoming issue of Men's Health that he supports "sin tax" on sugar-laced products.

I do not believe that it is the role of government to shape our diet through the tax code. Such thinking should be exercised. If sugar-laced products are made more expensive through the tax code, what will we buy instead? Will we but even less healthy foods or more electronic forms of entertainment that make us even more sedentary? Might a beer or shot of tequila substitute for a soda? Some might even take up smoking to suppress their appetite.

If the government must get into the kitchen to tax people into reduce their weight, tax it directly and not the products that they buy. I would also advise the president to drop the anti corporate language.

Breitbart reports in "Obama open to 'sin tax' on fizzy drinks to stem obesity," that
President Barack Obama hinted he could support a "sin tax" on fizzy drinks to help lower high rates of US obesity, but admitted it would be an uphill battle against corporate and economic interests.
"I actually think it's an idea that we should be exploring," Obama said in the forthcoming issue of Men's Health, regarding potential taxes levied on soft drinks such as colas and other sugar-filled products.

"There's no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that's been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else," he said in excerpts released ahead of the magazine's mid-September publication.

The president -- reported to be one of the fittest US commanders-in-chief in decades -- stressed that "obviously there is resistance on Capitol Hill to those kinds of sin taxes.

"Legislators from certain states that produce sugar or corn syrup are sensitive to anything that might reduce demand for those products," he said.

In addition, "people's attitude is that they don't necessarily want Big Brother telling them what to eat or drink, and I understand that," Obama added.

"It is true, though, that if you wanted to make a big impact on people?s health in this country, reducing things like soda consumption would be helpful."

Obama, who said he works out nearly every day in order to clear his head and reduce stress, described himself as "a healthy eater" with low blood pressure.

He keeps a bowl of apples in the Oval Office. "It was our first step toward health reform," he said.

1 comment:

  1. I read this and couldn't help but comment. Nothing worse for your body than a cigarette or drugs. Let's think about this, he is going to tax a coke because it is going to make me fat, he is going to sit there with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth telling me that he is going to take money away from me to keep me from being fat. This is controlling and everyone should be screaming mad. I wouldn't be surprised if he is raising taxation to goods that are imported into the United States from other countries because he probably feels there is some adverse reasoning for doing it. Wasn't bad enough that he is involved with companies and the way they conduct business but now he is in our personal lives. I wonder how much more people will tolerate.