Should We Tax Bad Food?
In this past weekend’s New York Times, Mark Bittman wrote an op-ed piece entitled “Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables” in which he argues that it’s time to take a stand and tax sugary and overly processed foods to save the health of our country and generate billions of necessary tax dollars.
In many ways, we’ve been talking about some of these issues for a long time: soda in schools, our nation’s alarming obesity rate, and the pervasiveness of fast-food in America. But Bittman takes a firmer stand here, showing little sympathy for the processed foods industry and stating definitively that it’s time to federally tax soda, french fries, doughnuts, and highly processed foods in much the same way we now do with cigarettes.
O.k., so where would the tax money go? Bittman explains that it could be used to subsidize buying good seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and dried fruit that we would be able to sell cheaply in drug stores, liquor stores and other locations of convenience. So everyone could have good, fresh food. Because, he insists, “Right now it’s harder for many people to buy fruit than Fruit Loops.”
Bittman warns, “…a sane diet could save tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs” and we’re all just digging ourselves deeper and deeper into a financial mess if we do not begin taxing it. So we want to know what you think. Does Bittman’s piece raises questions of what exactly a “bad food” is for you? Who decides and where do we draw the line? Are you on board?
• Read the whole article: Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables at The New York Times
(Image: fimoculous via Flickr)