Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Fat Tax - Fat Chance or Easy to Swallow?

We have all heard a lot about the "fat tax".
A new non-partisan study done by the Urban Institute and the University of Virginia, claims that a "fat tax"—adding a tax to fattening, unhealthy foods—would not only curb obesity by discouraging people from buying and consuming these types of foods, but would also generate a good amount of revenue for the government. According to the study, implementing a 10% tax on fatty foods could raise $522 billion over the next 10 years, and a 20% tax could raise $937 billion.

The group points out the successful campaign against tobacco use, that over the past 40 years. . In addition to adding a tax, they propose "placing simple, graphic nutrition labels on the front of packages, requiring restaurant chains to put nutrition information next to each menu item, and banning the advertising and marketing of junk food."The theory is that a public stigma about junk food (as there is now about tobacco) would further inhibit consumption.

The idea of taxing unhealthy or sugary food and drink is gaining momentum.
But if this becomes a reality who decides which are "unhealthy" food items anyway?
The American Against Good Taxes, a newly-formed group that includes the National Restaurant Association, the American Beverage Association, and a slew of individual companies such as Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and Dominio’s Pizza, would like to know the answer to that question as well.

A newly-formed coalition is now waging a multi-million dollar media campaign in the Washington, D.C. area to combat any food or drink taxes, further lessening the chances of a tax of that nature ever being levied. Even New York Gov. David Paterson recently agreed to drop a proposal for an 18% tax on sugary drinks after dealing with a bunch of angry beverage-makers and New Yorkers.

As Congress mulls things over, eventually, we will find out whether or not a fat tax on those sweet, salty, greasy foods will be imposed.

Whole Foods Market's philosophy is, "Access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege."
Let's add good food as a basic consumer's right. You're ultimately the one who will decide what you like, for what price, and what you want to buy. So the movement is on even though it remains wildly unpopular with the American people. Essentially, the global public-health movement and other non-profit organizations would like to make buying anything thing they claim to be unhealthy as inconvenient and expensive as possible.