As revenue-starved politicians everywhere seek new ways to collect every last available nickel and dime, more and more are turning to soft drink taxes. It’s almost a sort of whack-a-mole game, with a new state or locality creating a new proposal seemingly every week. Fortunately, they’ve met strong resistance at nearly every turn, sparking protests in New York and Kansas. And as Rasmussen Reports declares this morning, 56 percent of Americans reject taxes on soft drinks. Today, we’re adding our own thoughts to the debate in Kansas, as we talk to Wichita Eagle about how taxes on sugary drinks don't improve anyone's health:
There's no convincing evidence that "fat taxes" on food or drinks are an effective way to force weight loss. Writing in the Review of Agricultural Economics, a team of researchers determined that a small tax on snacks "would have very small dietary impacts." As for a larger tax, it "would not appreciably affect" the average person's diet.
Moreover, taxing soft drinks may even be counterproductive in reducing the number of calories people consume through what they drink. Researchers writing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine noted that taxing soft drinks may result in people simply substituting other beverages that are still high in calories but remain affordable. For example, orange juice and 2 percent milk —which would not be taxed under Vratil's plan — contain more calories per ounce than cola. If the Vratil tax really worked, it could cause an increase in consumption of these other beverages, resulting in people consuming more calories than before.
Read the whole piece here.