The new report from the New England Journal of Medicine claims taxing soda would reduce obesity rates while generating billions of dollars in revenue, and The Sun has endorsed the idea in an editorial (“Hate the sin, love the health care it funds,” Sept. 18). However, many studies have found that taxing soda is not effective for shrinking our waistlines.
A report from the Mercatus Center for Public Policy determined that soda would require a 1,200 percent tax — making a can $9 — in order to achieve a measurable decrease in weight. That’s a tax increase worlds apart from the penny-per-ounce excise tax suggested by the new report.
The tax code shouldn’t be used to punish people for the food they choose because some activist groups and government regulators don’t approve of consumers’ choices. Taxing soda is just an example of the paternalistic politics that thinks that decisions about what to eat and drink are better left to Washington politicians instead of us.
J. Justin Wilson, Washington