Tax Junk Food?

A lawmaker in California is targeting the obesity epidemic by proposing a penny-an-ounce tax on soda and other sweetened drinks. That’s good, but why not expand it to tax all junk food, asks a Los Angeles Times columnist.

California is considering taxing junk food in an effort to raise revenue and reduce consumption of unhealthy beverages. Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus wants to extend the soda tax to fast food.

He suggests a penny for every 500 calories served.

“A 540-calorie Big Mac at McDonald’s would net an extra penny. So would a 500-calorie large order of fries. A 32-ounce chocolate Triple Thick Shake, at 1,160 calories, would bring in two cents.

“Factor in all the other stuff bought every day at all fast-food chains, and you can see we’d be talking about some serious money. That money in turn would be used for creation of bike paths, basketball courts and other fitness-related resources.

“It could also be used to help subsidize gym memberships (which health insurers should do as well, if they really want to cut their long-term costs).”

The paper called Lazarus’s idea, “Fighting obesity one penny at a time.”

John and I consider this blog to be fighting obesity one meal at a time, so we are in harmony there.

Speaking for myself, however, I can’t support Mr. Lazarus or the California lawmaker.

Granted we have an horrendous obesity problem in our country with 60% of us overweight and 30% obese. Also, we have kids coming down with adult onset diabetes at the age of 15 because of their unhealthy eating habits. So, something needs to be done.

I think the government getting involved in our food choices by adding a further tax is two bad things, however. We don’t need more government involvement in our lives and we sure don’t need any more taxes.

The budget problems facing California and other states have to do with too much spending and until they take a knife to expenditures they won’t have addressed the problem.

On the nutrition side, hopefully blogs like ours providing ideas on healthy eating will address that end of the problem. It’s a matter of free choice.

Eat right and exercise every day. Eat less and move more.

Check out our How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off page for some very useful guidelines and facts on healthy weight control.


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Filed under calories, Exercise, healthy eating, Snacking, Weight

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