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Monday, February 8, 2010

Are We Taxing the Right Things?

I was reading an article in today's newspaper about a proposed tax on soft drinks that doesn't seem to be going anywhere now, mostly because of those pesky special interest groups and industry lobbyists. And I just heard on the news that there may be a link between sweetened soft drinks and pancreatic cancer. With increased soft drink consumption being linked to increased obesity, a claim that of course the industry refutes, doesn't it make sense to tax these items? The other day on CNN, a Cafferty File question asked if food should be taxed to raise money to help out cities that are having trouble with their finances in these troubled times. Now here in Chicago, we have a 2.25% tax on food right now -- some other places have a higher tax, some have a lower tax, and some have no tax at all on food. But doesn't it make sense to tax things that are "bad" for us? Is there really anything wrong with taxing a six pack of Coke, or Pepsi, or Mountain Dew? And what about a lot of other items that have been deemed unhealthy? A while back I read an article about a special tax on candy that I think was going into effect on January 1st. But it was a complicated formula to figure out what was candy and what wasn't. If I remember correctly, something like a KitKat wouldn't be considered candy, because it contains a cookie. There was a whole complicated system that said if something contained flour it didn't need to be taxed as candy, but the whole system was putting more work on grocery stores and other places that sell candy to figure out which pieces gets charged and which ones don't. The whole situation doesn't seem to make much sense. They (those unknown, unseen entities) tell us to eat fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, yet those items are taxed in many places. Wouldn't it be better not to tax those things we all should be eating to maintain a healthy body and instead tax those items that aren't so good, like candy and processed foods? I know it's a confuzzled mess, so tell me what you think. Are we taxing the right things? Or can we do better?

7 comments:

houndstooth said...

I agree with you! If you're going to live a certain lifestyle, you should expect to pay for it. Maybe by doing this, it would actually turn out to be cheaper to eat healthier, too!

Benny and Lily said...

We could tax all that unhealthy junk, just not our stuff
Benny & Lily

RILEY AND STAR said...

Well, I agree with houndtooth, It probably would cause a lot of consumers to at least cut down on the junk food considering the economy right now and that would be a good thing for both our health and the health of our pocketbooks.

Lu,
Riley and Star.

Salinger The Pug said...

We're all for taxing crap food!
Mom doesn't want to sound like a jerk, but she tends to check out other people's shopping carts a lot and notices that a lot of the people that are buying junk/processed crap/sugary stuff are paying with food stamps a lot of the time. SO...we think that some work needs to be done on "the system" too because higher prices of junk is just going to cause more money to be funneled into "aid" to pay for rising costs. Grrrrrr.

BUT...if someone wants to enjoy a Hershey bar every now and then...I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem paying an extra nickel or so for it!

Whatever the case...NO new taxes on doggy treats!!!!

Lex said...

I totally agree.. for 20$ i can buy way more unhealthy processed food (like macaroni or hotdogs or cookies) then I can fruits and veggies and fish. It's ridiculous.

I don't mind a tax on pop at all, i drink coke zero and try my best to limit it to one can a day because if i don't i could easily drink 3 or 4 cans each day.

Apparently I heard that if you are able to only drink one sugarfree pop a day, it does minimizes your risk of pancreatic disease. (that was from my mother the nurse).

Lex said...

One thing i was going to comment on and forgot too (but i noticed now that Salinger's mom brought it up).

For people that can't afford food, usually they do buy cheap processed food because it is cheap. They can get several meals for their money instead of buying healthier choices that severly limits the quantity.

So they do need to fix this in here and there.

Pugsley and Lola said...

We are sooo glad you enjoyed the Valentine we sent Rainy!!! We were happy to send it:)

Pugs & Kisses
Pugsley & Lola