Governments from all across the world, from Mexico to the United Kingdom to Berkeley, Calif. have made a strong effort to warn its citizens about the dangers of sugary drinks. Some governments have even gone as far as to impose an excise tax on sodas and other drinks in an effort to combat obesity. Let us take a look at this so-called government solution.
Well, firstly, “government solution” is a contradiction. Government seldom has any substantive solutions to any problem. To be clearer, such government “solutions” are more appropriately labeled as something else: a government demand. Many governments will now demand more of your money when you choose to consume a sugary drink. Yes, the “government solution” is in fact a new sugar-tax (to go along with a sales tax, income tax, property tax, air-breathing tax, and so on).
While some government bureaucrats foolishly believe that increasing the price of sugary drinks will decrease people’s appetite, in fact a Tax Foundation study found the opposite:
“Soda and candy taxes do not necessarily decrease caloric intake. One recent study finds that when adolescents switch away from soda due to price increases, the drop in calories is offset by an increase in calories consumed in other food and drink.”
And, yet, confronted with these facts, many will still argue for this flawed “solution”. But who does this tax really hurt? Put simply, low and middle-income families who cannot possibly afford to pay any more taxes (When politicians claim the middle-class is disappearing, they should be reminded that many families have been taxed out of the middle class). Raising the price of everyday goods millions of Americans use, such as certain beverages, can only be referred to as callous government-policy—callous, even for our government.
The government seldom does anything out of the goodness of its heart, so what does it have to gain? Revenue. If only government saw its unrestrained spending and taxing as dangerously as it sees sugary drinks.
We should not expect these types of sugar-taxes to go away any time soon. There is a real demand for the product and as we all know, where consumer demand goes, so does government taxation.