The Fat Tax Essay

1549 words - 6 pages

It was 3:30 a.m. and I was in the school convenience store browsing around for a couple of minutes before deciding to buy beef jerky, Chex mix and an entire can of Pringles. I awoke in the afternoon to discover that I had already eaten everything I bought that morning except for five Pringles. If it is not apparent already, like most college students, I do not eat terribly healthy. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans also do not eat very healthy either and this is causing our government to propose many possible solutions. One of these solutions is a “Fat Tax” where the government levies an additional tax on unhealthy food. However, there are many obstacles baring its way to law. While there are reasons that a fat tax might be a good idea, there are many negative aspects relating to America’s health care system, and its people that clearly overshadow the possible benefits. For instance, some people believe that obesity is clogging our health care system but many experts belie that any tax on food could have unintended circumstances. A tax on unhealthy foods is not the way the United States should deal with its unhealthy citizens.
This “fat tax” is more of an idea to levy a tax on unhealthy foods than an actual tax. There have been many proposals to tax some foods based on fat to weight ratio some based on fat to nutrition ratio and some even tax sugary soda drinks, but they all have one intention: to make people healthier. Not all fat taxes are proposals, indeed Australia, just like the United States, does not levy a sales tax on food but unlike the United States Australia does charge its sales tax on unhealthy foods. This is not completely unprecedented, in fact the Assize of Bread was the first food law passed in 1202 for England by their king at the time, King John. Since then there have been countless more laws passed regulating food (Survey). “The State of Massachusetts passed the first comprehensive U.S. food law in 1785” (Levenson). There would be benefits to some individuals if a charge on unhealthy foods was implemented. The whole idea behind this tax is to force the citizens of America to eat healthier and to make better lifestyle choices and this could come as a great boon to America because one study found that 85% of Americans think obesity is an epidemic (Mello). Because this is a tax it obviously catches the eye of law makers who must find a way to balance their respective budgets in today’s crumbling economy. According to a public radio station in New York City, WNYC, a proposed “fat tax” on soda pops and sugary drinks this year would bring in $465 million for a state with a $7.4 billion deficit (Lawmakers).
Another reason why people are proposing to impose a tax on unhealthy foods is because they believe that obese Americans are clogging our health care system. It is true that overweight people do increase health care spending, although only in the short term. A study was done where they investigated the short and long term...

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