Drawbacks Of An Unhealthy Food Tax

2251 words - 10 pages

Taxes have been around for thousands of years. Their main purpose has always been to raise money for the government or those who were in charge. Today, many people want to use taxes for a different reason and some have already done so. Some people want to use taxes to prevent people from buying certain items, specifically unhealthy foods. Many health conscious people will talk about the many benefits of taxing unhealthy foods, but they tend to leave out the drawbacks of taxing such things. The drawbacks include the large opposition to this tax, the economic impact, as well as the consequences of charging people more for food that was originally considered low in price. At the end of the day, implementing an unhealthy food tax would not be in the best interest of the nation.
There are many people who oppose implementing an unhealthy food tax or a “Fatty Foods” tax. Everyone knows that unhealthy foods can cause health problems. The thing is, it should be the person’s choice on what kind of foods they want to eat. That is a benefit of living in a free country: choice. It should be up to the individual if they want to eat foods that are healthy or foods that are deemed unhealthy. People know the consequences of their actions. They know that some foods are high in calories and cholesterol. Taxing unhealthy foods will only frustrate the masses. Many people will find other ways to buy these foods or they will go out and buy the cheaper brands as seen in Denmark. Denmark enforced a tax on their people for foods “exceeding 2.3% saturated fat content” (Pieler). Some of Denmark’s citizens were seen crossing the borders into the nearby countries of Germany and Sweden so they could buy their favorite foods without extra costs. That tax was later rescinded due to many of their citizens’ disagreement with the tax (Pieler). Many Americans are opposing the idea of taxing unhealthy foods. In a poll taken by ¬Harris Interactive / HealthDay, fifty-six percent to fifty-eight percent of Americans are against the junk food tax while twenty-one to twenty-three percent wanted the tax. The other percent stated they did not care either way (Norton). The majority of Americans who took the poll are against the junk food tax. Some are against it because they just simply do not want it while others are against it because they believe that it is not the government’s place to tell people what should be eaten or what beverages people should drink: two-thirds of the people who took the poll agreed on the latter idea (Norton). Humphrey Taylor, chairman of the Harris Poll, stated, “The idea of taxing calorie-rich candies and sodas may be popular with some public health advocates, who see them as major causes of the nation’s obesity epidemic, but it is very unpopular with the public” (qtd. in Norton). If the public does not want it, why should it be? In an unofficial poll taken in a convenience store in Louisiana, eighty-nine percent of the people voted that they are against a junk...

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