Lack Of Findings For The Association Between Obesity Risk And Usual Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption In Adults – A Primary Analysis Of Databases Of CSFII-1989–1991, CSFII-1994–1998, NHANES III, And Combined NHANES 1999–2002, Food And Chemical Toxicology, 2007
"Conclusion: multiple lifestyle factors and higher dietary fat intake were significantly associated with obesity risk. Populations who frequently consumed sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), primarily HFCS* sweetened beverages, did not have a higher obesity rate or increased obesity risk than that of populations which consumed SSB infrequently."If we're going to tax a food to combat the obesity epidemic - the stated reason for taxing soda - why don't we tax a food that is associated with obesity? The study above found dietary fat is a likely culprit.
* High-fructose corn syrup
I don't mean to play study ping pong here. I'm not for taxing any food. I just think there are other, likely political, reasons for singling out soda.
Reducing access to food, whether through taxes or other disincentives, affects lower income people disproportionately. Because everyone needs food. This is the definition of a regressive tax. I think the sales tax is another example of a regressive tax. (But I'm not an economist so don't pummel me.) The sales tax may appear on the surface to be equitable ... the same 6% for everyone (in PA at least). But in reality it uses up a greater portion of a low-income person's buying-basket than a high-income person's basket.
I'm not defending multi-billion-dollar food corporations' buck-making off of cheap, high-profit, often subsidized food. Indeed, as Ronald said, why don't we tax them instead? Use the money to offset tax breaks for businesses that provide affordable, fresher, healthier food in underserved communities?
Soda may not be the healthiest thing we ingest, but there's no reason the poor should be burdened more by these proposals.
Click to enlarge.