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Raising the Tax on Soda

An often cited but nonetheless effective point.

Forget the war on drugs or the war on terror; we’re waging the war on bubbly soft drinks.  Not a bad war to wage, but worthy of serious consideration as mentions of a soda tax has sparked debates.

On Wednesday night, President Obama delivered the State of the Union address, in which he (again) expressed a desire to create taxes and incentives to make persons and companies financially responsible for their role in the American economy.  I support that. 

In my opinion, a soda tax is not all that much different.  Undoubtedly, sugar sweetened beverages have contributed to obesity, high rates of chronic disease, poor dentition, and decreased bone mineral density in this country.  The cost to combat chronic disease is felt across the nation in the high cost of health care.  At the very least, a tax might help offset those costs, may deter people from choosing soda frequently, and may help reduce the expanding waistline trend.

Made by the educated, for the educated.

What’s the opposition?   Well, check out the ad to the left.  Some feel that a soda tax limits the freedom of choice and creates a nanny-like government.

I feel pretty strongly about this and anti-soda tax people, you’re wrong.  I think it’s the government’s responsibility to raise awareness of public health issues and help steer those less educated, limited resource persons to healthy options.

A study came out recently that suggested that a soda tax of one penny per ounce could help avoid 2,600 deaths per year!  However, as with all studies, there are limitations – mainly the assumption that people would replace soda with non-caloric beverages (which isn’t necessarily true).

My support for a soda tax doesn’t mean that I don’t support other soda deterrents.  For instance, some of the highest obesity rates are in low income populations, which generally consume larger quantities of soda.  The Food Stamp program currently allows recipients to spend my tax dollars on anything they want – but I think food stamp money should be limited to healthier foods and omit soda in order to encourage better choices.

Though I agree that a tax on soda wouldn’t necessarily alleviate the strain on Americans’ health from sugar sweetened beverages, it’s worth a shot, isn’t it!?  No one is taking away your freedom of choice, but a higher cost might make you think twice about your purchases.

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