Do You Support a Sin Tax on Junk Foods?

According to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey most Americans do NOT. They found that 56 percent oppose sin taxes on sodas and junk food. Twelve percent are undecided.

A sin tax is taxing soda and other sugar-laden products sabotaging the health of many Americans.

Here’s what President Obama said concerning sin taxes on junk foods: “I actually think it’s an idea that we should be exploring. There’s no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda.”

A garden encourages healthy eating.
Dani is proud of her squash crop.

Obama continued, “And every study that’s been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else. Obviously it’s not the only factor, but it is a major factor.”

While on one hand, a sin tax may sound like a noble idea to reverse the trend toward obesity, although with government’s other hand, they are subsiding High Fructose Corn Sweetener (HFCS). Corn and soy are the two crops most subsidized by the government. Corn is obviously used in the manufacturing of HFCS.

Many farmers choose to accept support from the production of subsidized crops like corn and soybeans. They would not receive support from growing riskier (yet healthier) crops like tomatoes, broccoli and carrots. A government subsidy offers a cushion, making other produce not as profitable, as many farmers don’t want to risk a failed salad crop.

Will a Sin Tax on Junk Food Encourage Healthy Eating?
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid urges Americans to eat a variety of foods and limit our intake of sugars. Yet, the government’s subsidy of corn keeps the price of junk foods, like soda, low. Because legislators, from states receiving subsidies for corn, don’t want to do anything that will reduce the demand for their subsidized product, they oppose a sin tax on junk foods. They also oppose removing government funding of their crops.

Instead of government being Big Brother telling us what to eat, remove government funding of corn and the price of sugary junk foods will naturally increase. People will cut back on sugary junk food when the cost of  HFCS is not kept artificially low by subsidies. Salad produce won’t be an expensive alternative to processed cookies and a sin tax won’t be needed.

2 thoughts on “Do You Support a Sin Tax on Junk Foods?

  1. Melanie says:

    I definitely agree with the end of your statement. Why tax everyone when you can just even out costs naturally? Plus people bent on being unhealthy will pay the higher prices no matter what, but it still punishes people who occasionally have a soda as a treat or reward but don’t incorporate it into their everyday diets. Switching what is subsidized seems like a much better solution.

  2. Barb says:

    Hi Nonna…what a great article! In your last paragraph you say that salad and veggies won’t be an expensive alternative to processed foods, but the whole supply-and-demand would kick in. The more people veer away from junk food to buy veggies, the more the supply goes down — which inevitably means that the prices would rise. Either way, people need to be eating a lot more whole foods and supporting their local farmers as much as possible! This is a fabulous video on “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” (it’s a bit lengthy, but worth watching) that talks quite a bit about high fructose corn syrup:

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