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Soda Taxes to Fight Obesity and Raise Revenue
in the news: "The average American drinks a gallon of soda a week, which delivers 1000 calories and no nutrition. The average American is also overweight or obese. Could changing one of those things help change the other?" asks Barbara Kiviat in a July 12, 2010 Time Magazine article entitled "Taxing Sodas for a Healthier Economy." After recounting the recent history of legislation --proposed and enacted--involving cash strapped state governments taxing sugar-laden soft drinks, Kiviat concludes, "Soda taxes may not have passed en masse this year, but there's plenty of reason to think they'll bubble up again soon."
commentary and analysis (by Stephen P. Cook, founder and manager, project Worldview, www.projectworldview.org): There really isn't too much to say on this issue beyond identifying the worldview themes potentially valued by those on opposing sides (as I've done in the table below). Of those, I'm not sure the global vision vs. narrow focused vision themes necessarily belong where I've put them. Here's my thinking on their inclusion. Those on the "AGAINST" side narrowly focus on fighting any new taxes and for upholding existing freedoms. Those on the "FOR" side would counter that poor dietary habits such as soft drink consumption leads to increased health care costs for everyone--in particular those who live healthier lifestyles. If people are allowed soft drink indulgences without incurring extra cost, everyone is going to pay for it. A soda tax would make only those who indulge pay--much fairer! Those on the "AGAINST" side argue such taxes are unwarranted government meddling into what we eat and drink and an assault on our freedom to buy what we want; those "FOR" respond by saying freedom isn't being curtailed, all that is being asked is that those whose behavior will result in increased societal expenditures for health care services should be the ones to pay. Crediting those on the "FOR" side with possessing "Global Vision" may be a bit of a stretch, but certainly their thinking suggests a "Pay As You Go" alternative to increasing government budget deficits.
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