Putting an IRS bean counter in every vending machine by implementing a soda and junk-food tax, as was covered in The Associated Press story “Prospect of ‘obesity tax’ creates wide divide” (Sept. 3 and TribLIVE.com), isn’t an effective tool for reducing obesity rates. But it would open the floodgates for invasive taxes on “unapproved” lifestyle choices.

Academic research has discarded the notion that “junk food” causes obesity. Harvard researchers recently found that “there was not a strong association” between weight gain and the intake of snack foods, including soda. And a review last year of all the available research found virtually no association between consumption of soda pop and children’s weight.

The tax code shouldn’t be used to punish food choices. Taxing food and soda is just an example of the paternalistic politics that thinks decisions about what to eat and drink are better left to Washington politicians instead of individual people.

J. Justin Wilson