A new tax on soda pop has been proposed as a way to “fight obesity” and, just as an aside, provide billions for health care reform.
Taxing a “sin” is a really really great idea that really really works as a methodology to eliminate the sin.
Smoking incidence as a percentage of the population has declined pretty much every year since 1965. In 1998, 29.9% of the population smoked some form of tobacco. In 1998, 24.0% smoked. According to the latest National Health Interview Survey, 22.8 percent of the general adult population now smokes.
The rising price of cigarettes has gotten a few of the 50 million or so smokers to quit. The rising price of cigarettes may have kept a few of the 250 million or so non-smokers from starting.
Peer pressure, advertising, and (most important) bans on smoking in most public places is the real driver in the moderate decline in percentage. In absolute numbers, more people smoke more cigarettes today than in 1965.
Yeppers, raising taxes really works to change behavior.
Taxing soda pop is not about fighting obesity. Taxing soda pop is all about raising new billions in taxes. Taxing soda pop will not reduce the costs of health care “reform,” either. Those billions will go into the general fund.
Have you noticed that, every time Congress collects more taxes, the deficit goes … up?
The idea that taking more money from us will make us behave better is snake oil, pure and simple.
Hey! Here’s a behavior we could change. How about we throw out the boneheads who want to sell us this snake oil.