Should the government tax unhealthy foods as a supplement/ replacement for HC reform?
First full disclosure here. 1) I got the idea for this thread from a commentary I read online at cnn; 2) I'm what is commonly called a 'health-nut.'
I've actually been saddened at times when I take time to observe how many Americans are digging their grave w/ a knife and fork. I look around here in TX in particular and the sheer # of obese people, even young people is overwhelming. Something like 65% of Americans are now overweight w/ 35% being clinically obese. Have you seen children these days? Have you seen minority communities? It's absurd the % of obese individuals I see now particularly in these groups. I try and resist the urge to blame those that are obese since I have several obese family members that I consider intelligent and hard working if ultimately lacking a bit of self control. I recognize that sugar and fat really panders to our most basic of human instincts, the need to feed ourselves w/ energy dense foods to ward off perceived possible starvation. The cost of all of this extra weight to Americans and our Healthcare system is overwhelming our medical system.
Of course the counter side of this is that eating healthy cost much more than eating poorly. Why is this?
One reason is rather simple, the US government, in an attempt to help our Farms, offers huge corn subsidies. This cheap corn is then used to create fatty and less expensive livestock and it also is the reason our primary sweetener is Corn Syrup. Corn Syrup is very unhealthy and directly related to the enormous increases in diabetes in our nation. Beef fed corn is less healthy than grain fed cattle and cheap prices encourage overconsumption of this product as well.
Since the government often uses taxation to try and limit the appeal of unhealthy behavior (think alcohol and tobacco products) it seems to me that simply removing these generous tax breaks entirely or simply shifting these tax breaks to healthy food options such as fresh organic grains, fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, and even organic meat options makes a lot more sense.
The bigger picture here is: whatever happens in the healthcare debate we need to control expenses and try and improve the health of Americans and I believe these sort of policies represent a win-win partial solution.
Now I have no doubt that some Americans will say it's their body and their decision what they eat but how long should our tax dollars be used to supplement the cost of these poor decisions and down the road the cost of the health care problems that they present? That said, I would never even consider making even these very unhealthy products illegal.
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