Saturday, September 19, 2009

While drinking their sodas

They are at it again, those nutrition and economic “experts” with their recent proposal to fight obesity. This time, it’s imposing a tax of one cent on every ounce of soda and other sweetened beverages. The experts’ plan was outlined in a health policy article by the Surgeon General of Arkansas and six other supposedly health and economics big shots. The article appeared in a September 16, 2009 Health Policy Report of the New England Journal of Medicine titled "The Public Health and Economic Benefits of Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages".

Apparently, a national tax of that amount would generate nearly $15 billion in its first year according to the proposal’s authors, an amount our federal government elected officials could spend before noon in a normal day’s work. The authors suggest that this money could be used for child nutrition and obesity prevention programs and would also lead to a yearly 2-pound weight loss for the average soda drinker. In a finer point that people like us of average intelligence might not realize, the authors pointed out that the weight loss could be a lot more for people who drink lots of soda.

If this is the best that our nutrition and economic experts can produce, who needs them? This middle-age man can do without them, soda, and a tax on sodas and other sweetened beverages. He doesn’t need to be taxed to lose two pounds of weight, and neither do most people if they really set their minds to it and want it bad enough.

Well thanks to hired gun lobbyists who represent the soda and sweetened beverage industries, this proposal appears to be dead on arrival with no apparent interest in either the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate, busy at the moment trying to legislate the healthcare reform proposals of President Obama.

Find no comfort, however, because there is no sin tax haven to be found so long as these experts have time on their hands to dream up their misguided ideas. They are probably in a meeting, as you read this, creating their next bright-idea tax and spend health and wellness proposal while drinking their sodas.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

1 comment:

Charles Long said...

Not just drinking their sodas, but also their martinis while smoking a cigar and chomping on Twinkies.