Stupid and Evil Soda Tax

Nanny statists are, apparently, equal opportunity hacks. Activists on the left and their legislative team players are not only going after the bottled water “sin industry.” They are also increasing the pressure for regulations on other beverages, seeking to slap a federal 3 cent tax on beverages containing sugar. Where will it end?

Look at this debate between Jeff Stier of the American Council on Science and Health and Michael Wolff of Vanity Fair. Wolff basically calls any American who is over-weight a needless drain on America’s health care system. Should they be punished with a nanny state tax?  He says: “Why not?”

Why not? Because, as Stier points out,  we live in a free society in which individuals should be responsible for themselves. And who seriously believes that 3 cents is going to matter a hill of beans? However, it will aggregate into a good chunk of change to enrich government bureaucrats who will probably do lots more stupid and possibly evil things. Let’s face it. This money won’t fix our health care system which suffers from excessive government regulations and runaway entitlement programs. They will probably use it for more misguided programs.

Before Stier was cut off by the rude talking heads he was up against, he pointed out better solutions for Americans suffering with some excess on their waistlines, one of which included allowing technologies to develop that will help reduce caloric intake. Ironically, nanny statists have fought and undermined these solutions.

For example, for decades they condemned the sugar substitute saccharin by saying it was a carcinogen based on questionable science. After scaring people away from this calorie saver for decades, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally announced that all the “science” previously touted was wrong. Saccharin isn’t a carcinogen after all.

Moreover, nanny statists with the ironic name Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) fought the release of olestra, a fat substitute that allows people to enjoy a few extra chips without all that many extra calories. A side effect for a small segment of people might be gastrointestinal distress, such as soft stools. But the product would not have this impact on everyone. Ironically, as the American Council on Science and Health notes in one publication, various studies showed that these effects were no higher (about 2.5 percent of consumers in test groups) than they were for chips made with regular oils. Nonetheless, CSPI undermined the marketing of this product and was able to win regulations that limit its use. It is only used for snack foods, but if the Food and Drug Administration allowed it, olestra could be used in a wide-range of valuable applications. Unfortunately, nanny statists would rather find an excuse to tax us.

Source for photo: Katharine Moriarty