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[icon] This infuriates me - Patti
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Subject:This infuriates me
Time:11:43 pm
Tax On Sugary Drinks Could Help Middle Class Lose Weight. This is one of the most fucked-up policy ideas that I have heard in a long time.

Yes, America has a weight problem. Yes, Americans drink too many sugary drinks. We also eat too many sugary foods, and suck down empty calories in other ways. Why is that? It's largely (no pun intended) because we have a tremendous surplus of extremely cheap, empty, non-nutritional calories in our food supply. And why is that? The Farm Bill. We subsidize corn to the tune of billions of dollars per year, and we grow way more of it than we need. That corn gets refined into high-fructose corn syrup, which is then poured into food in obscene quantities.

Subsidizing production then taxing consumption is insane. We should stop subsidizing the production of this crap and let prices rise to more natural levels. This wouldn't be great for Coke, Pepsi, McDonalds, Starbucks, Hostess, or any of the other companies that stuff our food with this crap, but I'm OK with that. In fact, I'm more than OK-- I would be ecstatic.

Alternately, we could put a hefty tax on refined corn. I understand the value of creating incentives to ensure an adequate food supply, but if it's gotten refined into sugar then it's clearly above and beyond the amount that we need in order to feed the country.
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violet_tigress1
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Time:2010-12-15 07:58 am (UTC)
Clearly.
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jcdill
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Time:2010-12-15 08:21 am (UTC)
+1

(Need I say more?)
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adbjupe
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Time:2010-12-15 12:49 pm (UTC)
Don't post that on the BARGE list. They'll brand you as a libertarian.
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terrencechan
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Time:2010-12-15 03:31 pm (UTC)
It's also regressive as all hell, since poor people consume way more pop and such.
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whipartist
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Time:2010-12-15 04:38 pm (UTC)
Perhaps, but one could argue just as easily that poor people suffer the most harm from the current farm subsidies, because they consume so much more junk food. Which is the greater evil-- making their food a bit more expensive, or destroying their health by providing them so many cheap, empty calories?
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dmorr
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Time:2010-12-15 04:45 pm (UTC)
Random nitpick: starbucks doesn't use HFCS (or artificial trans fats) since their big revamp 18 months ago.

Lots of sugar in their baked goods, of course, regardless of HFCS.
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whipartist
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Time:2010-12-15 04:53 pm (UTC)
I wasn't aware of that.

Still, I don't think it changes my argument. Starbucks drinks are cheaper because of HFCS-- having the price of HFCS artificially depressed lowers the demand for cane sugar and other sweeteners, reducing the price. If HFCS prices doubled or tripled, the price of a grande caramel macchiato would go up.
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jpmassar
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Time:2010-12-15 05:33 pm (UTC)
We subsidize the production of all sorts of stuff, from houses (mortgage deduction), to software (special tax breaks for startups, special visas for employers to hire foreign high-tech workers), from solar energy to oil production.

And then we tax the consumption of it in one way or another (real estate taxes, sales taxes, "utility users' tax" (reading from my PG&E bill), gasoline taxes).

What exactly is different about a tax on soda than every other instance of exactly the same sort of "insanity" that you should be particularly upset?
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whipartist
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Time:2010-12-15 06:27 pm (UTC)
The difference is that the supply of cheap calories is causing actual harm to our population, and the proposal for reducing that harm is to tax it.

We're creating an incentive on the supply side, and that incentive is changing behavior. The proposal is to try to create a second incentive on the demand side. It seems to me that it would be far more effective to address this issue on the supply side.
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tigerknight
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Time:2010-12-17 06:39 am (UTC)
A reduction in demand isn't going to do anything unless it's a HUGE reduction - they lose so much to waste already, it's just part of their equation and not really a dent in profit.
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tigerknight
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Time:2010-12-17 06:38 am (UTC)
One thing we do NOT have a shortage of in this country is food supply. Enough gets thrown away because it's 'expired' (whether finished product like packaged foods or raw produce/meats) to choke a whale or few. Part of that problem is that this country doesn't believe in the concept of 'just enough'. You can blame THAT on advertising/sales drive - another division of the almighty bottom dollar and sibling of subsidized production.
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(Deleted comment)
x_mass
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Time:2010-12-20 03:23 am (UTC)
would you mind if I added you, you have an interesting set of views that i enjoy reading. Don't feel that you need to add me back. I was looking through your photography which was amazing. I hope you get to meet otterylexa someday, I suspect that you would enjoy each others company based on your similarity of interests wiskey, bikes, photography, your user info etc
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[icon] This infuriates me - Patti
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