The Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Michael Jacobson and 1998 Nanny of the Year Kelly Brownell have recommended in a paper in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health that soft drinks and snack foods be taxed to provide funding for nutrition and health campaigns.

The Hartford Courant gives lots of ink to Brownell and the “Twinkie Tax” proposal. Reflecting on the nanny-dominated National Nutrition Summit, Brownell says, “I’m actually getting optimistic. People are becoming more alert to the possibility of social action, like what happened to tobacco.” (“Fat Tops Talk at Food Summit,” Hartford Courant, 6/1/00.)

Brownell originally argued that a “Twinkie Tax” would join other “sin taxes” in discouraging consumption, an idea that U.S. News and World Report in 1997 called “unabashed social engineering.” As late as September 1999, Brownell told ABC’s John Stossel, “If you choose to eat a cheeseburger, you would be paying more under this plan, and you accept that extra cost because the public good is being served.”