Letter: A Tax, or Not, on Soda
I have long been a proponent of the idea that sugar should be taxed like alcohol and cigarettes. This is the perfect way to raise vast resources while improving public health and reducing the likelihood of the childhood obesity epidemic being fueled by cheap sugar.
We must take responsibility for the fact that we have drug dealers running around the streets in plain clothes delivering drugs in their soda trucks and making a lot of money. All at the expense of human well being and the source of problems that lead to our enormous health care costs in this country.
To the Editor:
Re “Can a Soda Tax Save Us From Ourselves?” (Economic View, June 6):
If soda is taxed, N. Gregory Mankiw asks in the column, will products like ice cream and fried foods be next? And his final question — Do you trust government enough to make it your guardian? — seems to suggest that government shouldn’t be in the business of micro-managing what we eat or how we behave.
Fine. But there are plenty of other arguments for the soda tax:
Soda is often consumed all day long, and is more readily available than fast food.
Farm subsidies make high-fructose corn syrup, and therefore most sweetened beverages, artificially cheap, which encourages overconsumption.
Soda is more easily defined than fast foods, which vary greatly in nutritional value. It would be hard to determine which fast foods should be taxed.
Soda and fast foods are not good substitutes for one another, so taxing soda wouldn’t, for example, make people eat more fried chicken.
Finally, it’s better to do something than nothing. The soda tax would be a huge step in the right direction. Ron Cronovich
Kenosha, Wis., June 6
The writer is an associate professor of economics at Carthage College.