If somebody wants to lose weight, or doesn’t want to lose weight, whose business is it? It’s not mine and it’s not yours and it’s certainly not the government’s. I think it’s up to an individual to decide if they want to pay to lose weight rather than have a tax imposed on their drinks that is supposed to reduce their sugary drinks consumption thereby saving them from obesity.
I firmly believe weight loss is a personal decision and responsibility. The decision to lose weight, when or if desired, is completely the choice and responsibility of the body owner. It may be influenced by health and one’s physician. I think allowing the government to help us lose weight by taxing what we drink is a dangerous precedent.
Is soda tax really for “our own good” or to dig into our pockets to balance an out-of-control budget?
The city of Philadelphia approved a 1.5 cent tax on every ounce of soft drinks with added sugar last year. Sugar-free soft drink are taxed too. This is based on an assumption that sugary drinks make people fat and sugar-free drinks trick people’s bodies into wanting more food, so despite the fact that they have 0 calories, it’s argued they too make people fat.
I don’t drink a lot of sugary drinks – never did, but I was obese. On occasion, I’ll have a diet cola. Mostly I drink milk, unsweetened iced tea and water. Cutting out sugary drinks or artificially sweetened diet drinks isn’t going to change my weight one way or the other. The effect those calories have on my overall calorie consumption is negligible.
Kicking a sugary soft drink habit is a way to lose weight providing you drink a lot of sugary drinks, but a lot of obese people drink little or no sugary drinks. The tax only helps to reduce the weight of a fraction on the obese in Philadelphia.
What if you love soda and want to drink some in Philadelphia? What if your weight is healthy and you only drink a sugary drink on rare occasions? You’ll be paying a “sin tax” and you’re not a sinner. You’re going to pay that sin tax anyway. Is that fair or even right? I don’t think so.
Those who support it say it will effectively fight obesity, but this tax isn’t just about helping establish healthier drinking habits. Beer can now be bought for less than soda in Philadelphia. How can that be healthier?
The tax is a significant new source of revenue for the city and they plan to spend it where it will do good for the citizens. The money raised will be used “mostly for pre school programs, parks and libraries.” Meanwhile the tax has increased the price of some beverages by as much as 50%.
What do I think about this? It’s another tax. This one is a “feel good ” tax which helps make it more palatable to the public. It’s to help people reduce sugary drink consumption and that’s good for their health and the money will benefit programs for children. That sounds good, but make no mistake, it’s another tax. It’s a sneaky way to take your money and an attempt to push values on the people of Philadelphia whether they want to embrace or reject them.
Maybe you say, “what’s wrong with that? It’s good for everybody! Help people be healthy and create more pre school programs, and such!”
Legislators have been heard to say, “the soft drink industry makes billions of dollars and we want a piece of the action.” That would explain why the tax is applied to the sugar-free soft drinks too. I’m not even sure if they think the tax will reduce the consumption of sugary drinks nor would they want it to do that. If fewer sodas are bought, they miss their soda tax revenue mark.
The city expects to make 90 million dollars in new tax revenue next year to pay for prekindergarten, community schools and recreation centers. It bothers me is that the city announces it plans to “spend most of that new tax revenue” on prekindergarten, community schools, libraries and recreation centers. What is “most” and where will the rest of that money go? Oh, I bet you can guess. It’s going in the general fund.
I’m not defending the sugary drink industry. I’m not promoting drinking sugary drinks. I’m defending our freedom of choice. I am against our legislators imposing more taxes on citizens when there are indications that the money already collected in taxes is poorly managed.
Of course I want to see money spent on important things such as prekindergarten, community schools, recreation centers and libraries. I just don’t like the way the money is being raised and am particularly suspicious of how much won’t go where the citizens of Philly expect it to go.
I’m mistrusting of the real reason behind a soda tax.
If it truly is a sincere effort to make people healthier, then I appreciate the sentiment although misguided, but I don’t think it is. I think it’s sold to the public as a health initiative, but it’s just a way to squeeze more tax money out of citizens in a way that brought on a lot of public support. After all, “who’s going to oppose a tax that makes people healthier and raises money for the children?”
I have no doubt that some readers have decided I’m against laws meant to help people eat healthier and lose weight is because it’s bad for my business. Yes, it’s true I am a general manager of a commercial weight loss company. If the government’s “war on obesity” was actually won, some may think I’d be out of a job. I’m not worried.
As far as I’m concerned there are 3 things in life you can always count on – (1) death, (2) taxes, and (3) people seeking commercial weight loss solutions to lose a little or a lot of weight.
You might think I’m wrong.
You think “imposing taxes to help people make healthier choices is a good, noble and probably necessary thing.” Maybe you want to see a sugary drink tax here in Maine. I have a hard time using “good” and “taxes” in the same sentence – period.
Let’s make our own decision about our own weight and lets stop the flow of our money from going out of our pocket and into more taxes.