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Should Junk Food Be Taxed to Make Vegetables Cheaper?

Do you think it will make America healthier? Is this the way to go about trying to make Americans healthier?

If you’re a parent, you know how difficult it is to get your family to eat right. Do you think it would help if people were taxed heavily on items heavy in fat and sugar? Recently, Op-Ed columnist for the NY Times, Mark Bittman, wrote exactly that.

But what do you think? Will it help Americans eat better?

Bittman thinks that if folks had to pay more for foods that we know aren’t good for us, and those tax dollars go towards subsidies to make vegetables cheaper and programs to help educate people on eating properly, it would be a step in getting Americans healthier. 

I just don’t know.

Have the heavier taxes levied on tobacco products contributed to fewer people smoking?

Statistics from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids accompanying the article show a decline in smoking rates as the rise in costs have increased, but I don’t know anyone who has quit smoking because it is too expensive.

He suggests we tax “things like soda, French fries, doughnuts and hyperprocessed snacks,” but just how bad does a food have to be to qualify for the tax?

Carbonated beverages are heavily sugared, but many “kid-friendly” drinks have a lot of sugar in them as well. Maybe we should tax every drink but water!

Something needs to be done about the rates of obesity, diabetes and poor cardiovascular health in America – but is taxing certain foods at a higher rate the answer?

What do you think?

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Rose August 04, 2011 at 07:32 AM
Republicans really crack me up. They spend so much time and energy crying "nanny-state" and "Get the government out of my cupboard!" meanwhile choose to remain completely ignorant to the fact that the government is already in their cupboard!! The federal government  spends $25 billion/year (your money!) in a food subsidy call the Farm Bill. Since all of the millionare/billionare livestock and junk food  lobbyists are in bed with the government (both parties), those industries recieve 63% of this money, while fruits and veggie farmers receive less than 1%., completely negating the USDA's new recommendations to fill half our plates with fruits/veggies. In all actuallity, to make healthy food more affordable, the government doesn't need to tax anyone, or anything. They just need to learn how to stand up to their agribusiness lobbyists, and begin distributing these subsidies based on the  USDA recommendations. But until then, we need to "be the change we want to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi. After all, as American consumers, we have more power than any president or political party- past, present, or future simply by consuming wisely. Educating yourself on an issue and petition signing doesn't hurt either. http://www.pcrm.org/media/news/usdas-new-myplate-icon-at-odds-with-federal
christine howell August 04, 2011 at 05:10 PM
No, I don't think that it would make one bit of difference, much of it I believe is more about convienence . I am going to reflect more on the youth, living in Southbay I am more and more concerned, there is just an unreal number of not fat, but obese kids, at least one in three, not chuncky , or pudgy, but kids weighing 200 pounds plus. I see them in the elementary where they are carrying 30 pounds plus, knowing by the time they hit middle they are obese. Being called the low social economic area 2 of the meals are provided at school, which are supposed to be nutritional , yeh loaded with sodium. I would like to see ice cream trucks banned from school areas, they target this area, since you mentioned diabetes, I feel that it should be mandatory that with the vaccinations, a glucose test, simple prick of the finger should be given to students at high risk, having type 2 diabetes myself, I guarantee that a student that is not diagnosed and treated is not performing in school. They are suffering from extreme fatigue, extreme irritably, lack of concentrating, extreme hunger, peaks and valleys, this student cannot focus to learn. Until the parent realizes that their child is in a crisis , I don't know if raising taxes on junk food is the answer.

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