We mentioned it in passing, but in case you missed it, a Nevada legislator, Harvey Munford, resurrected a proposal to place an as-yet-undetermined tax on “junk food.” Last year, Munford proposed to levy a five-cent tax on all “fast food” items over 500 calories.
Claims that this tax would reduce obesity are nonsense, and that’s what our Senior Research Analyst Justin Wilson told Munford and the listeners of KNPR Public Radio. “There is a mile of difference between reminding people to eat healthy and forcing them with the power of the government to do so,” Wilson said.
Mercifully, unlike Michael Bloomberg’s New York City drink ban—which must only be okayed by Bloomberg’s hand-picked Board of Health—democratically elected representatives will have to weigh in on the Nevada proposal. With recent national polls showing that 63 percent of Americans oppose these “sin taxes,” we hope that legislators will recognize that these costly levies are foolish and unpopular.
And with new evidence stressing the importance of physical activity both for general health and weight control, why do legislators stress food? Oh right. It’s easier to balance the budget with food taxes than with ad campaigns against inactivity. A food tax is just another tax.