Categorized | Domestic Affairs, Economics

Resolved, the US government add a tax to caloric beverages

Background : Recent studies show that American people are consuming more and more beverages with a high caloric content.  Some believe that a tax on these high-caloric drinks would deter citizens from purchasing sugary drinks and thereby help prevent against ever-spreading obesity in America.  The majority of these anti-caloric drink advocates believe drinks such as 90%+ fruit juice and milk should be exempt from such a tax.  They believe that these are the drinks people, especially children, ought be drinking, and that deterring their parents from purchasing sugary drinks is the best way to bring about this healthy life-style change.  Is regulation of sugary drinks a legitimate matter of public health necessitating government involvement? Is a “sin” tax on these drinks, similar to taxes on tobacco, the best way to handle the issue?

Pro:

  • 66.7% of Americans are overweight, 30.6% are obese. This is caused in part from excessive caloric intake. Obesity can develop into serious diseases and even result in death.  Caloric Intake leads to increased body weight and high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and low LDL cholesterol. Unfit and unhealthy workers is a serious drain on the US economy.
  • We currently tax tobacco products. Neither tobacco or high-caloric-content drinks are necessary to consume, and both have adverse effects on the consumer.  Additionally, the tax on tobacco has shown that high “sin” taxes do deter people from purchasing the taxed products.
  • Revenue from the tax as well as money saved that would have been spent treating health problems would help our economy.  $147 billion is spent annually towards health problems such as overweight patients; over half was paid for by government funded Medicare and Medicaid.

Con:

  • It is not the federal government’s place to monitor the American people’s beverage choice.  This is an unjust breach of power for the federal government.
  • December 15, 2008 the NY governor proposed an 18% tax on drinks with a high caloric content.  Within 3 months, it was shot down.  Several states in the northeast have tried this, and the bill was voted down.  It is not the government’s place to force states to place a tax clearly unwanted by the American people.
  • This resolution will hurt America’s small businesses, exacerbating our economic pains.

~KS

DEC 2010

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