Obesity taxes won t work, and here s why

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In a recent op-ed for InvestorPlace, journalist Jonathan Berr outlines the various reasons why taxes on soda, high-fat foods, and candy which have already been proposed by several states won t solve the obesity epidemic. These taxes, he writes, try to reduce a complicated issue like obesity to a simple exercise of picking good foods and avoiding bad foods. ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan couldn t have said it better herself; regular Dispatch readers will know that she has consistently voiced these very sentiments.

The government didn t make me fat, and it can t make me thin, Berr asserts. Therefore, he says, these so-called sin taxes penalize the fat and the thin equally. Instead of blaming and taxing large soda companies, such as Coca-Cola, for our obesity woes, we should look at the facts: Per capita consumption of sugary soft drinks has actually declined by 22 percent between 1998 and 2009, Berr notes. People are drinking less soda than they used to, although the rate of obesity continues to climb which suggests that we can t simply target one drink or food item as we work to solve this public health crisis.

Read more of Berr s thoughts on the misguided idea of an obesity tax, here.