Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter recently unveiled a plan aimed at curbing the city’s obesity problem.
However, his solution seems downright, well, nutty: he wants to impose a tax on unhealthy drinks, hoping to slow down the ever-increasing trend of obesity.
While popularly known as the “Soda Tax,” the tax would actually include all sweetened drinks, from soda and energy drinks to ice tea and even chocolate milk. Yes, you read that last one correctly.
The proposed tax adds an extra $0.02 per fluid ounce. This would raise the price of a six-pack of 20-ounce bottles by $2.40. Only diet drinks and baby formula would be exempt from taxation.
First of all, this tax is outrageous because it punishes people for choosing to consume a specific product. Granted, obesity is a problem, but if someone wants to drink a soda, he or she shouldn’t be forced to pay extra for it just because it has sugar.
If they want to drink something that could potentially make them fat and unhealthy, that’s their choice. No one is tying them down and force-feeding them Coca-Cola.
The government has no business dictating what anyone should consume and, yes, Nutter is doing just this by making sweetened drinks more expensive than their “healthier” shelf-mates.
If Nutter wants to combat obesity, especially childhood obesity, the best solution would be to include healthy drink options in school cafeterias (without removing or banning soda) and educating students about the dangers of obesity and the role sugary food and drink plays in causing the condition.
But punishing the entire population, big and small, because some people are overweight? That is out-and-out unjust. Not to mention completely nutty.