'Other people are doing things I don't like'
'I simply must coerce them into doing what I want, it is for the greater good'
-crowd repeats solemnly- 'The Greater Good'
Soda drinks are under attack in the US and the UK, but the weapons employed on the two fronts are different. In the US, San Francisco enacted a law last year that requires advertisements for soda and sweetened drinks to alert consumers: “WARNING: drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth …
What alternative do you suggest? Fact is we have a rising obesity epidemic and the resulting health care costs place more burden on an already strained national health care service. Taxation isn't coercion. People are still free to do what they like.
"What alternative do you suggest?"
How about "M.Y.O.B." - Mind Your Own Business[es]
On a related note, an alleged 'Obesity Epidemic' isn't a problem when Peter doesn't have to pay for Paul's irresponsibilities. That goes though ALL aspects of life, by the way, from substance abuse to risky behavior.
<snip>On a related note, an alleged 'Obesity Epidemic' isn't a problem when Peter doesn't have to pay for Paul's irresponsibilities</snip>
Are you somehow saying you wash your hands of the problem if you pay for your own treatment directly?
Could I perhaps point out that healthcare provided privately and paid for through insurance still involves Peter paying for Paul's irresponsibility, that is how insurance works after all.
"No, it involves insurer asking Paul his height,weight and waist measurements plus medical history. Then charge him accordingly."
Really? Is that how you think that insurance works? that you basically just pay into a savings account to pay for your potential future health issues?
If thats what you think then you would be better off not paying insurance and just shoving your premiums into a normal savings account that way at least you can get the money out if you dont get ill...
Back in the real world though insurance companies charge a premium, yes it will be based on some questions about your height, weight, family history etc but then you pay in $xxx a month.
Say you pay in $500 a month for a year and then get cancer and need treatment costing $1500 a week, now, clearly you have not paid in enough to cover more than a few weeks and the insurance company cant just say "No your not being treated" * So in that scenario where do the funds come from? they come from the people who pay their premiums and dont get ill.
The whole idea of health insurance for profit is a giant gamble on the insurance companies part, they want enough people paying premiums staying well to pay for the treatment of the ones who are ill whilst still turning a profit, they do this by stacking the odds, turning down people they think will need expensive/prolonged treatment in the future and charging more for people who *might* need treatment.
This of course leaves people with bad family histories (Heart conditions etc) either paying massive premiums or worse uninsurable and unable to get decent health care.
* Though I believe they do some times and that is frankly horrific and terrifying - but is also the subject for another discussion.
Taxation isn't coercion? OK, I challenge you to NOT pay your tax, and see what happens next. The best you can look forward to is a cashier telling you "Well, you're right that the price tag on that item is $1.00, but with tax it's $1.10. If you don't pay the 10 cents tax, you can't have the item." If you push your position to payroll, income or property taxes you will find your bank accounts frozen, your home repossessed and yourself in front of a judge.
Obese people have a lower TCO to their society. Not an opinion, just a fact --- check any current set of mortality tables. And remember that the over 65s consume 150bn in pensions, and half of the 13bn of the NHS budget which alone comes to over 20% of total government spending.
There is one epidemic threatening both the NHS in particular and the UK economy in general. It is not immigration, poor lifestyle choices or antibiotic resistance. It is longevity.
oops missed a 0 - the NHS budget is 130bn, of course. 65bn/year on the over 65s. (I'm not saying they don't deserve it) just we need to get things in perspective. The acute alcohol cost to the NHS (before you count the savings in shorter lifespans and the extra income in duty) is under 5bn a year. The elderly cost that falling over.
HA ha! the resulting health care costs place more burden on an already strained national health care service.
The joke's on U., OK.? We'uns in the liberty-lovin' US of A don't have a national health care service, so we don't sweat the burgeoning health crisis. And Obamacare subsidies can always be slashed and private insurance companies have begun raising premiums in anticipation, so...in the timeless words of M. Antoinette, "Let'em Eat Cake!" (Or continue to eat cake. Or whatever.)
"We'uns in the liberty-lovin' US of A don't have a national health care service, so we don't sweat the burgeoning health crisis"
I dont think you know how insurance companies work. More people claiming more makes EVERYONES premiums go up.
Think about it, if I pay in £200 a month in health insurance, Im a member for 2 years and then make a claim for 15k the insurance company is out of pocket.
So obese people in US hospitals insured or not IS costing you money, like it or not.
"Taxation isn't coercion"
Oh, good to know! I must remember to send a letter Her Majesty's Government that as taxation isn't coercion, I shall not be sending them any more money. As they will not want to coerce me, I suppose they will just sigh and adjust their spending accordingly.
Another junk article from The Conversation. Can they have their own special subsection so I don't waste time clicking on them?
I agree, and that's even before asking "what's the IT angle?" (as it's not Friday either unless the whole summertime adjustment was bigger than I thought).
I guess it's cheap content - the exact thing I normally hope to avoid by reading El Reg.
Yes I'd love to pay more for my cola of choice because some people don't have any willpower. Though as the article states, there's loads more sugar-infested products people can gorge themselves on. I guess this is the thin end of the wedge, there'll be campaigns all sorts of food/drink and before we know it... bacon tax!
On a slightly more serious note, I'm unconvinced any tax gained by this will be set aside for any sort of subsidy or health-related cause.
Bacon Tax, SSHHHHhhhhh Don't say that out loud!!! Have you gone mad?
I would hate to pay a FAT tax being a skinny guy, but the whole idea of taxing anything because it can cause some people to gain weight is way off the mark. Sounds more like the gubbermint can't squeeze existing taxes any further. Let's put a tariff on levee on the tax on MSRP! I think that the gubbermint thinks we all have way too much money.
"Sounds more like the gubbermint can't squeeze existing taxes any further"
Its all well and good until you consider the bigger costs (Only really applies to the UK)
Google "BIG JOHN TOILET SEAT" - doesn't go with my argument, but.. holy fuck, look at that size of that!
In a country where healthcare is funded by the public and is free at the point of delivery *we* fund the purchasing of these things.
The fire service have to cut people from their homes and hoist them on a crane into the waiting ambulance... *we* pay for this.
I would never advocate charging people for healthcare and I am perfectly happy with my tax payments being used for this, BUT if we can reduce the number of people letting themselves get it into this state whilst collecting a bit extra at the same time, that cant be a bad thing can it?
Regardless of metabolism body weight is a function of calorie intake. Encouraging people who excessively consume foods which we know will make them fat faster to consume less is an obvious way to reduce the burden on the public services that we ALL rely on.
Its not like being fat creeps up on you, to get to 20st you first have to get to 15/16/17...
There are warning signs that you are getting fat they start with being "A little podgy" pass straight through "I cant see my gentiles anymore" and end with "Well I cant get out of bed, might as well order a takeaway"
"n a country where healthcare is funded by the public and is free at the point of delivery *we* fund the purchasing of these things."
THERE's your problem. I'm a firm believer that if you remove the CONSEQUENCES for irresponsibility, it's like removing the PEST PREDATORS from an ecosystem: you get pestilence.
it's not the CAUSE that ought to be attacked, but the PROBLEM. So why not "Tax the fatass" instead?? Or if fatty-fatty two-by-four can't fit through the kitchen door, then STOP! REQUIRING! KITCHEN! DOOR! MAKERS! TO! ACCOMMODATE! FATTY!! (admittedly allegorical)
But I can see this degrading into a discussion over BMI-related weight standards, which favors the 'skinny frame' lanky person over someone of Scottish descent [me] who has a barrel chest, short legs, and ultra-wide shoulders and weighs about 25% more than the average person due to being muscular.
[the REAL weight gain problem is from the high-carbo "low fat" diet foods anyway, right Dr. Atkins?]
"THERE's your problem. I'm a firm believer that if you remove the CONSEQUENCES for irresponsibility, it's like removing the PEST PREDATORS from an ecosystem: you get pestilence"
If that were true there would be no problem in the US where healthcare is not centrally funded
> Its not like being fat creeps up on you, to get to 20st you first have to get to 15/16/17...
Easy to say.
(Dunno, I never remember how many pounds in a stone. Not going to look it up.) I was 200lbs for a long time. Then a job change about 15 years ago and nobody to play racquetball/squash/basketball at lunch any more and before you know it i was up to 240. I fscking jumped off the scale when I saw that. I knew I had put on a few pounds, but didn't realize it was that much.
And then losing it, and keeping it off is hard. Bloody hard.
14lbs in a stone.
Incidentally, at 200lbs you were already considered "Over weight" (unless of course you're 6'5) Im 6' and about 180lbs and that is considered borderline... (Don't get offended carry on reading :) )
The issue of course is that your 200lbs could have been mostly muscle, weight alone is not a good indication of fatness - My body fat is approximately 13% at the moment which is below average but my weight puts me at almost overweight, as you said you were quite active I assume you will have been similar, Lets not confuse this though, the point of this tax isn't people with body fat% in the teens its people who are consuming so much sugar that they are 20/30/40% fat!
With regards to it creeping up on you, you are quite right, it can be a slow and subtle change so it can creep up (A few weeks off the gym and Im noticeably squishier round the middle) my point was that the difference between being a "normal" 1x stone compared to being 2x stone is very noticeable.
the whole idea of taxing anything because it can cause some people to gain weight is way off the mark.
Actually, I think this would serve as a good argument to make MPs pay tax again, because their salary can cause them to commit expenses fraud so we ought to charge them upfront for that. If anyone objects I'd like that person to tell me how that differs from having to pay extra for CDs and DVDs because I could possibly use it for pirating video (which is far better done electronically as far as I know, but that still hasn't stopped that lunacy tax in some countries).
Hmm, this has potential. Tax the crap out of Tony Blair because he may start another war? Tax the French because they may strike again?
I'll be here all week, thanks :).
"Are you sure that that is the intended goal?"
it's the STATED goal, that's for sure. we have this *kind* of problem in California all the time. The REAL goal is always the same: control, power, manipulation. The 'elite' decide what's best for US, and generally make it so that THEY aren't impacted by the legislation. How about 'boutique' shopping bags instead of the really inexpensive plastic ones, allegedly to save the environment or something? It's on the ballot this November, because legislators "felt" that their existence threatened the world. Seriously I think they just like everyone using the 'boutique' washable bags that would be spreaders and retainers of food-born germs and other health problems.
So none of this is new. It's all the same *kind* of thing, with different details and supporting gripes.
Expect the 'tea tax' next. OK I'm joking, but still. Maybe the U.K. needs a "Tea Party".
"Posting calories and warning consumers is fine as far as it goes, as is a soda tax, but in our view these policies don’t go nearly far enough."
Obviously, because the gravy train would stop. More taxes, more work for Public 'Elf psychologists.
I agree with the poster above - the same Conversation articles appear all over the internet: on the Daily Fail and clickbait blogs. Why should they appear at The Register?
Well there are now. Those are the fat bastard smokers who can't afford to buy a new car, boiler and solar panels and so are getting royally fucked by the tax system.
Blair and Brown made "tax the poor" trendy, but I think it's getting a little out of hand these days.
"since low-income families will be most hurt by the tax"
Only if they are wasting their already low disposable income on sugar high fizzy drinks.... If you have a low income and you waste your money on this shit (At least enough for a 24p increase to be a problem) then you need your head examined.
Same with smokers, there are members of my family who don't work, plead poverty but spend £200 a month on fags, £100 on the top virgin TV package and fly off to lanzagrotty every year, then I am made to feel bad because Im "rubbing their faces in it" when I go and book a holiday to florida or buy a new car.
Im not tarring everyone with the same brush but if you're telling me that a 24p price increase on something as unnecessary as fucking fizzy drinks is going to cause a problem for "the poor" then "the poor" need to give their heads a good shake because if you need something and you cant afford it you have a problem, if you don't need something and you don't need it, there is no issue.
Well, poor people do need to consume about 2000 calories per day to avoid starvation, just like anyone else.
Also, they may have to avoid allowing their blood sugar to drop far enough to make them sleepy when they are at work or at other times for other reasons.
And it may happen that soft drinks and other nutritionally poor choices are the most economical way to address this.
"And it may happen that soft drinks and other nutritionally poor choices are the most economical way to address this."
**News flash** - they are not, sugar provides a quick fix a bit of a blast of energy and that's it.
If that is your argument I would have to point out that a 200g bag of almonds costs around the same as a bottle of coke, gives you more, protein, carbs and 1200 calories, WITHOUT added sugar.
The nuts give you protein and fibre and two bags will meet your calorie intake for the day (Though I don't want to see the state of the toilet if that's all you eat!)
FFS, you can get a whole cooked chicken from Tesco for the price of a few cans of red bull...
Also, they may have to avoid allowing their blood sugar to drop far enough to make them sleepy when they are at work or at other times for other reasons
Refined sugar - including sugary drinks - is an astonishingly bad way to do that.
The blood sugar level goes up rapidly, an so the pancreas goes into overdrive trying to control it. And then the sugar runs out.
We're not really evolved for that - so it takes a while for the insulin production to drop off. But as there is no new sugar coming into the system, that means the blood sugar level crashes...
Starchy foods are the way to raise the blood sugar level - and they're generally cheaper than sugary foods to boot. They just don't always taste as interesting.
Upvoted you for the blood sugar explanation.
Don't agree that starches are good, though. One vey small step away from sugar and still give you that "just ate some and I'm hungry again" effect.
Fats and protein are better for long term energy. Strangely, you can live well wthout consuming any carbohydrates.
The human body has evolved to survive periods of starvation where all there is to live on is stored body fat. So there are no "essential carbs" to give you energy and keep your brain working. You need some protein to repair and build muscle (or you lose muscle mass), minerals, vitamins and an energy source. Fat will do nicely for that.
The big problem is the constant over supply of cheap bulk carbohydrates. The bun round your burger is probably doing more damage thhan the contents.
Sugar tax is just a way for politicians to claim "we fixed it - next problem please". It doesn't really address the underlying problem.
avoid allowing their blood sugar to drop far enoughI
Your blood sugar does not "drop" after you stop consuming calories for a couple of hours. If you are incapable of considering what mankind got up to in terms of calorie balance in the stone age (hint: not every day involved mammoth for tea) then I'd suggest you could read a variety of accounts of starvation, whether most expedition literature (eg "The worst journey in the world", or Finnes and Stroud walking across Antarctica) or Holocaust/Gulag survivors, or indeed just Orwell's descriptions of northern England in the 1930s to understand that humans do not need to eat every 4-6 hours, let alone snack repetitively within that time.
You have high insulin levels being counteracted (by the cunningly named counter regulatory hormones) and this drives hunger. Hunger does not equal low blood sugar levels; such claims are pseudoscience. If you seriously think that humans are incapable of adapting to different amounts of food intake I'd suggest you need to learn a bit more before commenting "knowledgeably."
And if you think those who are overweight only consume 2000 calories, I have more news for you... (this was the average in the mid-20thC, for a man, at a stable normal weight of 72kg, who did the usual
~60 minutes of exercise a day through walking. If you're a stable 130kg your intake will be at least 3500 calories, before you start to do any moving around - and given how angry I've been so far in this post please don't suggest that some people have "different metabolism").
Hunger does not equal low blood sugar levels;
OK, here's a claim for which I can't be arsed to provide any substantiation, but I'm sure a bit of research can back it up.
Most people don't drink enough liquids. And they get thirsty as a result. And they cannot distinguish that feeling from "hungry", so they eat food.
So when a fat person starts talking about "water retention", that's actually exactly what it isn't.
 Cetaceans suffer this far more than humans; they need a fresh-water supply despite, for most of them, spending their lives in seawater. Thus their entire water supply is obtained through their food, and they have no distinction whatsoever between "hungry" and "thirsty". Playing a hose into a dolphin's mouth at a dolphinarium - whilst potentially quite endearing - is actually messing with their diet...
The obesity epidemic where 68.8% of the US population are considered overweight or obese.
The obesity epidemic where 61.7% of the UK population are considered overweight or obese.
The obesity epidemic that has meant hospitals have had to buy in reinforced furniture for patients, and weighing scales that wouldn't look out of place for weighing elephants...
"The obesity epidemic where 68.8% of the US population are considered overweight or obese."
because the standards are based on the BMI which is a total crock of [expletive deleted]. Most body builders and athletes would be qualified as "obese" under those standards.
'obesity' should be based on percent body fat and overall general health. In fact, being too skinny is usually WORSE than being too fat, up to a point anyway. I don't see anyone claiming there's a "skinny" epidemic.
more LIES, DAMN LIES and STATISTICS being used to manipulate people, I say.
It's just another aspect of political correctness running amok. I note that they didn't suggest fat tax on greasy foods... or pastries from the local doughnut shops. Why not them also. Why not just tax anything with sugar or corn syrup in it?
Just stay away from taxing bacon...
"I note that they didn't suggest fat tax on greasy foods.."
They did, but the industry responded by reducing the amount of fat in foods. Oddly enough, in many instances they replaced fat with sugar to get a similar effect. It's possible that reaction may have unintended consequences. It's amazing how often that happens. It;s almost like a "law" or something,
"because the standards are based on the BMI which is a total crock of [expletive deleted]. Most body builders and athletes would be qualified as "obese" under those standards."
Also worth noting that. since this is a "scare" story, the term "obese" is being used in it's strictest medical sense, ie just a few percent overweight is medically obese, whereas your average reader of these clickbait stories has a mental image of ""obese" as OMG he's fecking huuuuuge". That impression seems to be in the minds of at least some of the posters higher up too.
It does make one wonder what level of "epidemic" we would be in the middle of if the BMI took account of the fact we are three dimensional beings and not two dimensional. Maybe it'd just be a blimp on the radar :-)
BMI is a general indicator and there will always be exceptions for individuals. However for the population as a whole it is a good general indicator.
Unless, of course you have statistics (lies and damned lies) to prove that about 60% of the population are highly trained muscle bound body builders with less than 10% body fat. Plus a peer reviewed study or two?
Your BMI is way too high.
Nah, BMI is a load of bollocks. Look at Geoff Capes.
Repeat after me "Muscle doesn't wobble and hang down over your nads!".
Are you being serious?
I can only assume that you either don't leave the house or are one of those people who has gotten so used to being around people who are just a bit over weight that their perception of "Normal" has shifted.
To put this into context, if you saw me you would probably say that I was underweight, Im 6 foot (Ish) and 85kg this is the upper end of normal. Most of the people that I meet are shorter than me and weigh more, in my mind that suggests an obesity problem.
Maybe the obesity epidemic where the fat bastard brit sitting next to me (in economy class) who was so big he couldn't eat his meal without continuously bumping me in the arm. And then had the nerve to ask if I could do something about it, like leave my seat while he ate.
My response: no, but maybe you should pop for economy plus or business class if you don't fit in the economy seats.
Subsidising fruit and nuts is not a great idea. A lot of fruit contains a non-trivial amount of sugar and nuts are highly calorific. I'm not saying they are right up there with deep fried mars bars but subsidising them would send out the message you could eat them whenever you wanted which simply isn't the case - they are good in moderation. If you must subsidise something subsidise vegetables.
True, however, your body has a harder time metabolizing the sugar in fruit than drinks. Fruit juice, on the other hand, is just bad all around. More calories than most sodas, and less nutritious than the fruit it came from.
The main argument for fruits and nuts would be that people don't normally want to consume them in the same quantities as drinks. So, eating an apple or orange and a couple handfuls of nuts will still be better for you than the 32 oz. soda that people frequently have with a meal.
"True, however, your body has a harder time metabolizing the sugar in fruit than drinks. Fruit juice, on the other hand, is just bad all around. More calories than most sodas, and less nutritious than the fruit it came from."
Shhh... don't tell them, or the Florida orange growers will go ballistic over the impending doom
Actually in the case of fructose, it's apparently metabolized in the liver, and doesn't cause insulin levels to increase. I think some studies linked high fructose consumption to earlier onset of type II diabetes, but that's must me trying to remember so it could be wrong. or not.
that just suggests that health, weight, metabolism, food consumption, and everything else is a COMPLEX (and individual) thing that just can't be legislated.
Heck, you don't even have to believe aspartame is definitely safe for it to be the logical choice. It's simple: we know for a copper-bottomed *fact* (very rare when it comes to nutrition) that sugar is extremely damaging. We don't know for sure that aspartame is. So, go with the aspartame!
That's really all you need. It's not even necessary to note that the balance in the sweetener debate is rather strongly in favour of the 'well, we did a bunch of trials and none of them showed any negative effects except at a level of consumption that in humans would translate to drinking sixty cans of Diet Coke a day forever' side, rather than the 'some nutbag on the internet said it would give me cancer' side...
"Any food or drink with any Aspartame at all gives my wife severe migraines. It's always made me wonder what other side effects it causes that people aren't even aware of."
Anecdotal evidence, different people react to different things differently - who knew!? Just because it causes this reaction in your wife doesn't mean its bad for everyone.
For example bacon gives me the shits - literally within minutes of eating it I need to poo, I'm pretty sure most of that is psychological but none the less it still happens... I wouldn't for a second start recommending that people stop eating bacon because I have a funny reaction to it.
"Any food or drink with any Aspartame at all gives my wife severe migraines"
no 'substitute' [that is legal] is perfect. I wonder if that's why Sodium Cyclamates were rumored enough to cause cancer [which they don't] that they were BANNED by the U.S. FDA back in the 60's... it seemed everything had cyclamates in them, including pre-sweetened coolaid and toothpaste. And of course the expensive testing is unprofitable now, since cyclamates are SO CHEAP TO MAKE.
just pointing that potential conspiracy theory out...
Aspartame has it's downsides. Here in the States, it's been taken out of a lot foods and Splenda (or generic) was substituted. We're now finding out that this sweetener causes major illnesses also, although the research is in it's infancy and some of the methods make one go "wtf... equivalent of 10 pounds (~5kg) per day in the test?"...
I made the mistake of buying Aldi tonic water the other day. In fact it is labelled "Tonic flavour soft drink". I made a normal sized G&T with it and it was disgustingly sweet. The correct proportion of G to T required to make this shite drinkable was 1:1.
The fact that it's also soon to be a tax efficient way of getting banjaxed is just a bonus!
Interesting, I have a couple of cans of Lidl "Indian tonic water" in the fridge, planning to mix a G+T later, but ingredients list seems fine. Made with sugar - no added sweeteners, hear that Schweppes? - and it has quinine too. Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be overly sweet.
The correct proportion of G to T required to make this shite drinkable was 1:1.
I've started paying a little more for my gin of late. With the better stuff, I find that the correct ration of G to T is 1:0.
This is not something I would recommend - it gets expensive :-)
In the UK it's not called soda tax, it's sugar tax (the grauniad link even includes that in its description!)
You may be obsessively Americanizing everything (even though I visit theregister.CO.UK (note the caps!)) - but ther;s a difference between using US terminology and veering into gross inaccuracy, if you are referencing a UK law, use it's UK name - do not dream up a US terminology friendly name for it.
One day they will come for our bacon and our beer.
We will be standing at some ergonomic table in some random vegan friendly fat free low alcohol safe space bar. We will finish off our tofu and avocado salad, wash it down with a fruit tea infusion, cry a little inside, and wonder where it all went wrong...
I'm all for taxing sugary soda drinks. It can only encourage people to drink less which can't be a bad thing for the collective health of the UK. As an additional benefit (or main depending on your perspective) , there's a large boost to the government coffers. They're going to get the tax money one way or another so it might as well be from something I don't consume much of anyway.
As for those who do drink a lot of soda, they just have to decide if it's worth paying more.
Edit: But I do implore Fever-Tree to look at knocking 0.05g/100ml of sugar from their recipe! (Fever-Tree Indian tonic water: 8g)
Fight this sh*t. Fight it as hard as you can. Write letters (not emails) to your congressman, warning him that if he supports any of these sugar taxes/obnoxious labels, you'll certainly be voting for his opponent. I'm also trying to find a lobbying group I can donate to.
This is one of the many reasons why I'm voting for Trump. I can't see him supporting any of this foo-foo nanny-state crap.
"Er, why would your lesson from the "war on tobacco" - which has been probably the single greatest public health success story of the 20th century - be to fight it?"
Because this guy is clearly the epitome of the all 'murrican (Yeah Haw) gun toting, trump voting stereotype. A strange breed of people that think that just because you can do something you should be allowed to*
*Unless your a guy trying to marry your boyfriend.
I joke obviously, but there is clearly a growing number of people on both sides of the pond wailing about the "nanny state" and whatever the American version of that is. While forgetting that nothing is being banned - its just *slightly* more expensive.
Wouldn't it be even more effective to start legislating controls on the soda formulation itself to reduce sugar content?
As for using tax monies, I recall great things were going to be done to shore-up the health services using ciggy tax money. Don't see much of that, probably because once tax money is collected it rarely goes where it is supposed to go.
Bridge tolls that are not used to keep bridges in good repair until one falls in the Hudson River, cars'n'all, 911-infracstructure tax levied on cell phone usage that actually buys boots for State Troopers and my personal favorite, retirement funds that are underfunded until they squeak, then whomever is currently in charge of lying and cheating loudly protesting that the situation is caused by those enrolled being "too greedy" in expecting a contractually agreed payout after 10, 20 or 30 years manning the oars.
You want people to stop drinking sugary soda, indoctrinate them when they are young not to drink the stuff. That's how you get people to do anything you want them to do do "voluntarily".
From my own childhood:
Dip, Don't Dazzle.
Remember to use the Green Cross Code.
Wear Something White At Night.
Think Once, Think Twice, Think Bike.
"Wouldn't it be even more effective to start legislating controls on the soda formulation itself to reduce sugar content?"
That would never get through, too much lobbying from the industry.
The way to do it is to do exactly what they have done, increase the price through tax as the sugar content increases... this will potentially have a few outcomes
1. People might cut down what they drink, if they don't the gov't collects more tax.
2. People might switch to a cheaper drink.
And the people switching to a cheaper alternative is the interesting one, as this gives the industry an incentive to lower the sugar content of its drinks without directly forcing them to do so through regulation, sure they can keep the sugar levels the same, but if pepsi drop their sugar levels to get the price of the end product down do you think coke wont do the same to compete?
They tried this hereabouts in BC- lowering the tax on fruit and veg to encourage healthy eating. The tax is lower, but the base price is higher as the supermarkets simply jack up the price again to what the market will bear.
If the average customer is prepared to pay $3 and no more for a cauliflower, then $3 it will cost, no matter what the price/tax split.
The same happened when the UK VAT rate briefly went down to 15%.
I worked for a company that did ecommerce solutions at the time, spent a weekend adjusting base prices for all of the products so that something that cost £15 on Friday still cost £15 on Monday but brought in a little more profit than before.
Unethical? - Yes,
Illegal? - Grey area, Im going to use the Nuremberg defence on this as I was young and didn't know better.
So you are quite right reducing the tax on healthy foods would not have the desired effect.
What could happen is drinks companies/supermarkets could reduce their margins/price of production and pass that saving on to the consumer, but that's not going to happen.
Its also worth noting that fruit and veg are already zero ratted for VAT, so I don't see how we could reduce it anyway.
"If the average customer is prepared to pay $3 and no more for a cauliflower, then $3 it will cost, no matter what the price/tax split." --- Maty
Yes, yes, yes. Adam Smith stomped all over this silliness 200 years ago. Now we have a resurrection of mercantilism (what else is all this Brexit nonsense?); swathes of people who profess to be small-government capitalists wanting to interfere constantly in the markets to modify behaviour (which is merely using money to achieve control over the population in the way the communists tried with mind control); and people who claim to be caring socialists wanting to restrict free healthcare to people who only behave in the current state approved manner.
With a nod to Churchill, minimally regulated free market capitalism is the worst system of economic management --- except for all the rest.
Yes, it really does. The general rule is that the more processed a foodstuff is, the less healthy. So raw cane sugar is not as bad as refined white sugar.
It's also true that calories aren't a precise measure of what a human body will do with an input (look up how calorific content is calculated and ask yourself whether your body does anything even remotely like that). A lot depends on gut bacteria and such factors - i.e. whether you can process/digest what you eat. Some people absorb 95% of the alcohol they consume, some may absorb as little as 50%, so a given amount of alcohol will make one more drunk than another.
"Sugar directly from fruit vs HFCS/Processed cane sugar for example?"
HFCS may be a part of the problem [I avoid it myself]. Some believe you need MORE of it to get the same 'sweetness' as white processed cane sugar. So , in theory, more calories for the same 'sweet', and as it's FRUCTOSE, not sucrose, it's metabolized differently, doesn't increase insulin levels when consumed, etc. etc.. Then again, you can buy 'real sugar' versions of popular soda brands if you go to the right source, at least within the USA. I understand the stuff bottled in Mexico also uses real sugar, not HFCS. I've heard people talk about it on the radio, saying it tastes better.
HAHA! Very funny, but OJ is fruit sugar, the bestest kind there is, guy. If you can't tell the difference between useless soda pop and an actual healhful glass of fruit juice, you have more problems than a soda tax, guy.
Who the fuck is drinking soda all day long? I might have one a day. Tax it! It's not that much. While we're at it; tax the fucking church. Those tax-free fucknuts are a useless bunch of whiny complaining assholes who never "turn the other cheek" ever. I've yet to meet one religious person who is also not batshit crazy and a flaming out-of-touch asshole. Tax them hard. Nothing good comes of it. Tax the church, and give them free guns and soda to make up for it. Then, let them shoot each other while hopped-up on sody-pop. I LOVE IT!
That beer isn't taxed like this (it probably has an alcohol tax already.
I don't know if club soda is taxed. It does taste nice and refreshing. Perrier?
They don't want to tax sugar directly, so I can continue to add it to my coffee/tea.
Governments are addicted to things as well. Usually those that they get LOTS of taxes from. I have yet to see an outright ban on smoking/tobacco/other stuff by any government.
I suspect that these taxes will go into the "general fund" and just be spent like any other.
Does this have ANY relation to the diabetes spam I receive every day??
These taxes are all a DUMB idea. What will they want to tax next? Hot Dogs, or Hamburgers? McDonalds?? NO, NO, NO!!
Why not charge the obese for treatment, and not tax everyone including those that drink soda drinks responsibly, dont have a BMI of 50 and look after themselves.
How long before the local scallywags are going to add soda to their shopping list of fake alcohol and tobacco products.
"Why not charge the obese for treatment, and not tax everyone including those that drink soda drinks responsibly, dont have a BMI of 50 and look after themselves."
2 words: political correctness. THAT, and it's not about actual OBESITY. [it's about the power, control, and manipulation, same as usual]. Besides, the BMI itself is flawed. you need a % body fat analysis and more to 'get it right'. BMI is just a convenience for making up stupid statistics saying >60% of people are "obese", keeping the bar low so no MUSCULAR or BARREL CHESTED person can "pass"
I ask as otherwise this would be a tax on water rather than what it appears to be i.e. yet another targeted attack against a hated group of people who are annoyingly enjoying life and not hurting anyone but themselves.
Lets be frank and admit that this tax will not be used to improve the health of the majority but will instead be diverted to the people who can already engage in real luxuries rather than just sugar, alcohol or tobacco.
If we're taxing things just because they cause people to become a burden on the health care systems, then we should also be taxing sporting goods
I read somewhere that parachute jumps cause sufficient injury that, on average, each charity jump in support of the NHS actually costs them money...
 Might have been here - I forget these things...
Sugar content is printed on all drinks. In really, really, tiny letters.
That's what keeps people drinking the stuff, because it's so difficult to find something healthier in the shops.Try finding something that isn't plain water, and doesn't contain either tons of sugar or tons of artificial rubbish that is even worse for your body than the sugar.
Instead of just adding a tax, there should be a law that requires printing the sugar content _per bottle_ and the tax _per bottle_ to be printed on the bottle in two inch bright red letters. If you have only say a 24p tax, and a customer sees one bottle for £1.00 (full of sugar), and one bottle for £0.76 (no sugar), many will think that the higher price means higher quality. LARGE display would mean people can see that they hurt their body, and their wallet.
While I like the idea of these drinks being taxed to prop up government coffers (which are empty for other reasons), I don't think this will solve the problem. If someone wants a coke (or is addicted, which can happen), they'll pay extra for it, as a can of pop wont go up by much.
There may even be other worse consequences, such as manufacturers substituting sugars for other even less healthy options (nutrasweet, aspartame anyone?) to keep prices low and profits constant.
I think it's a great idea. In general we should remove unhealthy food from circulation as much as possible because we're a nation of fatties. I'm educated, I know how to eat sensibly, about intake/bmi/TDEE etc. but when I walk into tesco and see a shelf of family sized discounted crunchy M&Ms by the door you can bet your ass it's a struggle not to buy them and scoff the lot. Many poor people don't have an understanding of calorie intake and proper nutrition so they have it even worse.
Like it or not we're designed to crave the bad stuff and it really shouldn't exist in such abundance at such low prices. Liquid sugar is unnatural as it exploits a mechanism to seek out calorific foods and overloads it. It shouldn't be sold at all.
Take a page from Asian countries that have crazy low obesity rates. They don't promote confectionary and sweet stuff. If you grow up eating/drinking healthy you will not have a taste for the sugary junk when you're older. So we should force it out until as a nation we get accustomed to eating properly.
tldr; no pudding until you've eaten your broccoli
Well yes, but a good way of getting fat (especially getting your liver fat) and overweight is eating sugar.
And sugar (at least non glucose sugars) doesn't cause satiety, so people don't 'know' to stop eating. (ie their brain does not receive a signal saying "we've had enough, push the plate away")
Liver fat is just like any other fat; it is there as your body as a store of excess energy. The difference between it and the subcutaneous storage that we see all around us (but strangely don't identify when in the mirror) is that the liver has other jobs to do, and if sufficiently poisoned by storing fat is unlikely to do them well.
It is of course true that the body can't handle fructose in a particularly useful way so turns it into free fatty acids; similarly it is not true that other sugars "flood the blood stream" unless you've got diabetes.
And the fact is that this tax is aimed at "nudging" people to consume less sugary beverages; it is aimed at reducing the massive highly regressive funding of the soft drinks industry by the poor. I'm not sure why you'd consider this a bad thing. If your political leanings are against any intervention in the market that's fine; much like those at the other end of the spectrum who advocate the state should do everything for everyone you're living in the past.
I don't have a problem with people eating less junk however this tax is nothing to do with improving health any more than taxing shopping bags to reduce landfill.
This is a just another tax and some people who have chosen a life style such that are uneffected are supporting the idea that this is a benefit.
This is nothing other than a cash grab based upon popular science, there are many ways they could have reduced the consumption of sugar filled drinks without collecting additional funds to support tax breaks. Now if this tax was all passed to the NHS to fund diabetes etc then fair enough but if any goes this route it will always be a tiny percentage of that collected. Same with tobacco tax, shopping bags etc the money is diverted away from the thing it is presented as being in aid of and so supporting a tax on people who do nothing wrong other than enjoy their life within the funds they have left shows just how little empathy the supports have.
If you support this tax then you are really just supporting the taxation of anyone but yourself without any interest in where cash collected will be spent.
Yes high sugar consumption and no exercise is bad for you however they could have just capped the amount of sugar allowed to be added to products sold in each country without taking a cut from the addicts.
Attacking the addicts rather than the dealers has never been shown to be a successful tactic unless ofc you are complicit, accepting a share of the drug money just continues the problem into the future.
If you want to help your fellow man then resist the distractions and support efforts that hit the root of the problem rather than the victims
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