Fat Tax on Food: What Is Your Take on It?
State and local authorities are considering implementing a special tax on empty-calorie food like sodas, candy bars, fast food.
You may have to pay more for your hamburger or french fries in the nearest future. State and local authorities are considering implementing a special tax on food of low nutritional value (soft drinks, candy, fat and calorie-dense fast food). The revenue is supposed to be used to fund obesity-prevention programs and to promote healthy nutrition.
Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington already levy special taxes on soft drinks and snacks. Other states such as California, Maine and Maryland also implemented the tax for a short period of time, but then the tax was repealed due to its controversial nature.
The idea of fat tax was introduced in 1994 by psychology professor Kelly D. Brownell. Unsatisfied with the American food system, the professor suggested that products high in calories and low in nutrition should be taxed. He proposed that the revenue should be used to subsidize the sale of healthy foods and to fund obesity-prevention programs . Junk food and high-fat products would be more expensive . This would discourage people from buying junk food and increase the consumption of natural products.
In reality, fat tax is a rather ambiguous solution to the obesity problem. First of all, there is no unified opinion on the types of products to levy tax on. Secondly, calorie-dense food is widely available . It is often preferred by the people who live on a tight budget because they cannot afford healthier nutrition . Why should they pay more for the same high-fat food? Moreover , the number of overweight people does not seem to be lower in those states where the tax was introduced .
It is easy to make junk food more expensive. However, is fat tax the best way to improve nation’s health? Is it possible to reduce the obesity level in the country by introducing new taxes?