Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tax on sugary drinks

William Saletan writes:
The food police are closing in on their next target: a soda tax.

New York City's health commissioner, Thomas Frieden, is leading the way....

Persuading Americans to regulate soda the way we regulate cigarettes won't be easy. Isn't soda a kind of food? Isn't food a good thing? And isn't it a matter of personal choice? Doesn't taxation to control people's eating behavior cross a fundamental line of liberty?

In their article, Frieden and Brownell methodically attack these objections. Going well beyond science, they lay out a political battle plan for the war on junk food.

Step 1 is to convince us that soda isn't really food.
The evidence for soda being unhealthy is pretty thin. There are some papers saying that it contributes to type 2 diabetes, but I'm not sure that it is worse than any other sugary food. Diabetics do have to control their sugar intake, and can have trouble if they eat too little or too much.

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