Forget Carbon Taxes…Fat Taxes are coming

For the past couple of years, I have been saying that Fat Taxes are coming.

And not because our political leaders are overly concerned about our collective beer belly.

Fat taxes are coming because:

  1. Governments love problems that give them an excuse to raise taxes.
  2. Obesity is fast becoming the sort of economic and “moral” problem that allows them raise taxes – ala the sin taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.

In the U.S., New York City, California and other jurisdictions have been discussing various forms of fat taxes and fast food restaurant bans for the past couple of years.

In Europe, Denmark has a fat tax focused on saturated fat, Hungarians pay a tax on foods with high fat, sugar and salt content, as well as increased tariffs on soda and alcohol and the French have slapped a tax on soda…and are talking about broadening the legislation.

And now…the Brits are talking about putting a 20% tax on ALL “unhealthy” foods…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/emp/external/player.swf

…all thanks to 2 new papers published in the British Medical Journal

http://www.bbc.co.uk/emp/external/player.swf

In these new reports, the researchers reference modelling studies which predict that a 20% tax on sugary drinks in the US would reduce obesity levels by 3.5%, and suggest that extending VAT (at 17.5%) to unhealthy foods in the UK could cut up to 2700 heart disease deaths a year.

As well as bring in a boatload of money for the government coffers.

Which is why the authors also recommend that the taxes be used to raise funds to treat diet related diseases, subsidise healthy foods, or to stimulate industry reformulation of food (such as removal of salt, sugar, or saturated fats from foods).

Kind of like I was saying…

Personally, I am skeptical whether governments will be able to resist their natural urge to plow all that fat tax money into the general coffers…but we’ll see.

And we’re going to see pretty darn soon…in fact, I am willing to bet that in the next couple of years, we will see fat taxes all across Europe & North America.

It’s a no-brainer…governments bloated with debt solve their financial woes by taxing citizens bloated with cellulite.

Reference

2 comments

  1. Denmark… so often leading the charge in heath-related matters and so often I commend them for it.  Too bad they missed the mark on this one and are focusing on the wrong thing.  Saturated fat is not the enemy.

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