Italy plans to introduce a tax on sugary drinks by the end of the year. Carla Ruocco, a lawmaker from the 5-Star Movement, announced recently that the so-called ‘sugar tax’ would be presented as an amendment to the federal budget on which the Italian parliament has to vote on by the end of the year. Ruocco who is the President of the Lower House Finance Committee said the tax is “aimed at drinks with high sugar content.”
The European Commission has rejected an initial draft of the budget because it aims to raise the deficit instead of reducing it.
Governments from all across the world, from Mexico to the United Kingdom have made strong efforts to tax sugary drinks especially hitting low and middle-income families who cannot possibly afford to pay any more taxes. The government claims to care about the health of its citizens, but in the end, it is all about gaining more revenue.
This nanny state approach to implement policies to change people’s behavior comes quite close to Einstein’s definition of insanity: Trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
What comes next? Does Italy also want to tax gelato? This tax will not work. Take the Berkeley, California, as an example. The city implemented a one-cent-per-ounce tax in 2014, which increased costs by almost 75 percent. A study conducted by Duke University showed that the tax had virtually no effect on obesity or other related health issues. It turns out the government cannot tax people into good health.