Thursday, May 14, 2009
By Carmen Grant
Or pick it up if you want to fund Obama's new health care plan. The Obama administration is searching for ways to fund the proposed health care initiative. One way is to slap a federal tax on soda beverages. The revenue from the taxes would pay for part of the cost in setting up health-insurance coverage for all Americans. Early estimates put the cost of the plan at around $1.2 trillion. The administration has so far only earmarked funds for about half of that amount. The tax already faces strong opposition from the beverage industry and devoted soda drinkers.
Soda linked to obesity and diabetes
Research shows that drinking sugar-sweetened drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems like bad teeth. They say the tax would lower consumption, reduce health problems and save medical costs. At least a dozen states already have some type of taxes on sugary beverages, said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest who states that "soda is clearly one of the most harmful products in the food supply, and it's something government should discourage the consumption of," Mr. Jacobson said.
Stop obesity, or fund health care?
Supporters of this soda tax are sending mixed messages. They say this is a good way to raise funds for health care, and to get people to stop drinking so much soda. Do they want people to stop drinking soda, or do they want them to keep drinking it to bring in the revenue for Obama's health care goals? In addition, the tax will be placed on standard sugary beverages and not diet sodas, which a 2005 study at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, and separate studies released in 2007 at the University of Alberta in Canada and the University of Massachusetts found that diet soda drinkers were more likely than regular soda drinkers to be obese. In retrospect, the government wants to tax standard soda drinkers when the more obese soda consumers are those that drink diet soda, which won't be taxed.
Tax food, tax life
I propose a tax on Twinkies, chocolate, ice cream, and lattes. I also propose a subsidy for gym memberships, taking the stairs, and walking to work. Tax everything that makes us fat and, in turn, give me health care and initiative to be healthy. Force us into submission. Instead of educating about being healthy and allowing for the choice, tell us what to eat and drink and how to live life. Wow, liberty is sweet. I wonder if they'll tax that too.