Crushing Beverage Tax Proposals

Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution features us in a pro-con debate about whether health policy should include a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. The “pro” side is represented by an Emory University professor who argues that not only are consumer taxes on soft drinks (and alcohol) good, but they don’t go far enough. He also advocates taxes on restaurant meals that aren’t sufficiently “heart healthy.” We take the “con” position, disputing the effectiveness of a beverage tax and arguing against the social engineering proposals of dietary do-gooders. As we tell readers:

The sudden rise of beverage tax endorsements is rooted in a “for your own good” social engineering dogma that injects the government further into vending machines, liquor cabinets, and ultimately our private lives. It’s the kind of politics that thinks that your decisions about what to eat and drink are better left to a few self-appointed activist groups in Washington.
It’s time to slam the door on the food cops before they get their foot in it. These taxes need to be stopped before they begin, or the only barrier between the government and our personal choices will be a politician’s imagination.

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