German newsmagazine Der Speigel reports that Denmark plans to repeal its tax on sodas starting this year. The small European nation enacted and subsequently repealed a separate saturated fat tax. Demonstrating conclusively that people will get the beverages they want come what a government may do, the soda tax drove Danes to increase cross-border shopping and hurt local businesses.
And a recently conducted Harris Poll shows that Americans are also livid with the suggestion that Yalies and billionaire mayors should dictate beverage choices. Respondents objected to the idea of a soda tax by a 2-to-1 margin. Over half also didn’t think that a soda tax would reduce obesity. (Evidence shows that they’re right.)
As our Senior Research Analyst told HealthDay News, “[P]eople prefer incentives to penalties.” Indeed, the general Bloomberg-style idea of food choice regulation proved even more unpopular than soda taxes in this most recent poll, with over two thirds of Americans actively opposed.
These results confirm a longstanding trend in the national conversation: Only a small group of self-appointed elites have any desire to regulate their fellow Americans’ food choices. (Not their own, of course, as the Rich-People’s-Big-Gulps-excluding latte loophole in Mayor Bloomberg’s invalidated soda prohibition shows.) An analysis of an Associated Press poll showed that Americans of all political stripes balk at the effort to seize control of our dinner plates.