The question whether or not to put a tax on sugary beverages and junk food has made its way to our legislatures desks because of the overwhelming population of obese people throughout the world. The alarming consequences of obesity have given the government reasoning to take charge and try to rectify the problem. They believe that by taxing certain food items that are high in sugar and salt content, trans fat, and saturated fat the percentage of obese persons will decline.
Even though the obesity problem has increased over the years, who is to say that putting a tax on soda and junk food alone will solve this issue? Further more, the process of assigning a tax to junk food would be extremely tedious for the government because they would have to be extremely cautious about violating individual rights and upsetting the public. Going along with this idea, there are a lot of gray areas associated with which foods are considered to be unhealthy and what percentage of that is appropriate to tax. Lastly, the overall affect of a tax could result in an economic downturn.
Argument 1: A “Fat Tax” will not solve our nation’s obesity problem.
Sugary beverages and junk food are not the sole cause of overweight gain and health diseases. Yes America has made itself known to be one of the fattest nations, but Big Gulps and family size chip bags are not the only entity making people fat. Other variables could possibly be demographic such as age, ethnicity, gender, or residency. Studies show that one third of U.S adults are obese and minorities take up a chunk of that portion. “Obesity is especially prevalent among minorities; African Americans have a 51 percent prevalence of obesity and Hispanics have 21 percent higher obesity prevalence than whites” (Marlow 2012).
Another leading cause of obesity is the advancement of technology that has led our society to become extremely lazy. The creation of the Internet, mobile phones, machinery, and many other devices has made the standard of living much more sedentary than ever (Marlow 2012). Think about it. Not many jobs require rigorous labor these days. Many people are strapped to a desk, glued to a telephone, or limited to a small cubical. The accessibility to the Internet and the ability to communicate anywhere has reduced the amount of effort put into daily life routines. Also, today people’s entertainment is passive. For example people watch tv and surf the internet for entertainment, all passive actions (Pham 2010). Lets face it, if one does not move all day and simply takes in calories without burning them off then they are prone to weight gain. “Remarkable technologies such as food processing, TV, personal computers, and the Internet, have unintentionally corrupted societal health and stagnated individual activity… It is the making of a modern Shakespearian tragedy in which our protagonist, technology, has overcome many diseases and disorders but inadvertently created an even more deleterious, yet subtle, enemy in obesity…” (Gaglani). Argument 2: Fear of Nanny States if “Fat Tax” is imposed.
When congress develops a new law or steps in to remedy a situation, congress has to make sure that what they are about to tamper with will not oppose any rights in the constitution. The battle for a soda tax was just recently won in the state of New York. On Thursday, September 13 the Board of Health approved the ban on large sugar drinks (Colvin 2012). “Under the plan, all restaurants, fast-food joints, delis, movie theaters, sports stadiums and even food carts will be barred from selling sugar-sweetened drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces” (Colvin 2012). New Yorkers are furious with the ban, declaring that it is taking away their freedom. Vanessa Pino Lockel, New York City director of the American Beverage Association said, “Our freedom of choice is being restricted” (Mays...