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Do you think the government should tax soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages?

172 comments

Anonymous wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Tax it, the government does

Tax it, the government does not care what you drink. Maybe if we taxed the 1 percent, took corporate money out of politics, and brought jobs back to the USA we would not need to look at more taxes on the middle class. You do not have to drink soda.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

wow really. why is this even

wow really. why is this even an issue? the government is already in the citizens business way too much now. By allowing another tax the government wants our money, they have already proven that they can't handle a budget. So hey why don't we find something to tax. the government can't handle the money they have. OH But let any one of the citizens not pay their bill on time and we get socked with a late fee and other crap. No more money.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Government should encourage

Government should encourage programs, education that teaches us how to be more proactive about our own health i.e., such as the fitness programs of 60s and 70s. It needs to begin at home and definitely with school children such as the Michelle Obama program with school lunches. What about nutrition classes taught very early in elementary school that teach kids to read labels, what things such as sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and calories, to look for. This discipline dovetails with others such as physical education, mathematics, science, English, etc. Neither or intellect or or physiology stand alone. By the way, when I went to elementary school in Illinois, physical education was an annually required class every year grades 1 through 12! Be innovative - Florida schools included golf, tennis and archery along with the typical baseball, basketball and gymnastics. Children who feel better health-wise and appearance-wise will carry that into all areas of their lives including home. Many disciplines have been lost from our schools and homes. We need to restore it in interesting, riveting ways. Our children are bright, capable and care about themselves unless we teach them not to. We do not need MORE government regulation, just oversight and encouragement, and funding in appropriate areas.

Cathy in MN

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I do not think the Government

I do not think the Government should because I feel it is my business what my family drinks or eats.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I agree that soda and sugary

I agree that soda and sugary drinks are horrible for you and are contributing to the obesity problem. While I personally don't mind it since I don't have a desire for them, I know very well that the food most available and accessible to low income and mid income populations is unhealthy, soda being one of them. However, even though a tax might deter some people, if you want to create wide change, two things are necessary:

1. Instead of punishing undesirable behavior, reward good behavior. Make it rewarding for people to eat and live healthy by making good food and exercise more affordable and accessible. A salad should not be more expensive than a quarter pounder.
2. Hold all of these companies accountable for poisoning us and our future generations! Why not tax the hell out of them for loading food with sugar, salt, preservatives, GMOs and various chemicals?! If they're products are expensive because of the government imposed tax, people won't be able to buy it.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I'm a little torn here...

I'm a little torn here... It's true that the inexpensive nature of soft drinks like soda increases consumption among impoverished demographics (people who are already at higher risk of obesity-related disease and malnutrition.)

Obesity affects everyone... obesity-related disease is the number one killer of americans and is costing all of us in health care expenses. I think we need to find a way to make it so the cheapest snacks aren't the most unhealthy. I would probably be buying cheap, tasty, convenient foods like coke and twinkies too if I didn't have the education or income to allow me otherwise.

The reason sugar is being targeted is because sugar-sweetened beverages are so very common still and they provide excessive numbers of calories without providing ANY nutrients or feelings of satiety. They are literally the single most empty calories you can find. The only reason I'm torn about the idea of taxing these items is because of how poorly it's working for the government to subsidize things like corn and soy (making it more expensive for farmers to grow other fruits/veggie crops.)

I really hope I can soon say otherwise, but I don't trust the government right now to know how to properly feed america.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

No more taxes! People need to

No more taxes! People need to be personally responsible for what they eat. Why are they blaming soft drinks when they should look at the time spent sitting in front of the TV, the computer, or on a cell phone?

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

The key point that many are

The key point that many are making is that we are responsible for our own lives, whether we chose to eat healthy or not. For a lower income family, it can be more expensive, but not if we make the choice to not buy and eat certain products in the first place. It is YOUR money that is being spent. Please study how much of your weekly budget is going for those snacks/chips/sodas/dips/salsas, whether it is planned in advance or a last-minute-pick-up at the quick mart or for a Sunday football game.

I chose to not bring any snacks/chips/sodas into my home and I won't serve them. If I want a snack, I'm adult enough to grab an apple or other fruits, which are always in the house or slice up some carrot and celery and dip into some plain yogurt. A fast late night snack is to slice up an apple, remove the core (freeze it to be given to the birds this winter), add cinnamon, wrap in foil, place in the oven for 10 minutes @ 375 F, or until you can smell the cinnamon, which will attract all those who said they weren't hungry. Remove and serve.

Any tax on the manufacturer will definitely be passed along to the consumer, that is the way consumerism and capitalism work. If the government is so interested in sugar, have them work with the manufacturers to not put so much (or any) into their products. Much of the time, the sugar added to a product is not needed, ie., tomato sauces. A cutback of 10% of the added sugars will save a manufacturer money, which at some point might even be reflected in the price.

The consumer is also in a position of writing to the manufacturer (they all have websites and e-mail) and letting them know what will be purchased and what will not and to make suggestions for cutting back on the sugars, flavorings, colorings, in their products. If you don't like the sugars in everything, don't buy them, it is your money after all.

Another means is (as is done in parts of Europe) to not allow direct to consumer/children advertising of candy/cereals/snacks during prime child-programming times (Saturday mornings especially) - but it is so much easier to not allow the TV to be used w/out a parent in the room and get rid of the TV in the kid's room. Get the kids outside and go play/ride/swim/hike, etc., with them. Your body's demand for fast sugar (snacks/sodas) will drop as you wean yourself and your family away from them.

We as consumers control what we buy. I make a point of not buying products advertised on certain websites. I chose to not have a TV. I make food decisions that are as smart as I can make them. I'm not perfect, but I am in control. Stop whining and take back your life.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

The products are already

The products are already taxed...as separate ingredients, and as a whole item. How about encouraging personal responsibility instead?

 
Nikki_47 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

All of you saying it isn't

All of you saying it isn't the government's place are probably the same people who applaud cigarette taxes.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

No more taxes. What we need

No more taxes. What we need is some way to punish the morons that come up with these ridiculous ideas.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

No to tax. Why can't the

No to tax. Why can't the manufacturers reduce the amount of sugar they put in the food products?

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

it looks like taxing the heck

it looks like taxing the heck outta smoking is a deterrent, so if it's working, use it for sugary drinks too.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Does taxing products or

Does taxing products or services ever really stop anyone from purchasing these items? Does it make anyone healthier? The money will just go to some rainy day fund and never be used for what it was intended for anyway. Just take a look at cigarettes or gasoline if anyone is really interested. How are the roads and bridges in your neck of the woods?

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

No, I do not believe it is

No, I do not believe it is right to allow the government to make more money off of us. If the government is so concerned with the US citizens eating sugar, why don't they get on manufacturers to limit the amount of sugars that are added to our food sources, which they have no issues with allowing toxins and poisons into. THis is really contradictory on their part. Whats new?

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

The government should not

The government should not TAXE us for soft drinks.....
Maybe we should start from the white house spending less money ....
The United States Of America was created to be a free country not a socialist country ..
We should be free to do what we want and when we want .........
Conclusion IS NOT RIGHT TO TAXE SOFT DRINKS AND SUGARY PRODUCE

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I voted NO. When will people

I voted NO. When will people start taking responsibility for their own actions and choices? We want the government to make the decisions for us about what to eat so we don't have to. It is not the government who is shoving that McDonald's Combo Meal in your mouth. It is you. Act like an adult and make the decision for yourself not to eat unhealthy. We claim to be adults. Why don't we act like it.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

A great author once said, "We

A great author once said, "We are each the authors of our own lives." Govenment should stay out of homes and our personal lives. It is the up to the parents to teach their children the right and the wrong way to eat. Parents today take shortcuts rather than feed their children healthy foods. I realize both parents need to work today, and both my parents worked too, to support all of our educations. But, the first stage of food preparation had to be prepared by one of us girls . . . coat the liver in fluor (ich) so it was ready for frying when my Mom got home from work, rolling the meatballs for spaghetti, etc. Nowadays it is too easy to dine out or "send the kids to McDonald's or Burger King." It is up to the parents, not the government!!! We had chips, soda, sweets in the vending machines in high school. However, if I wanted one of those treats, it came from my allowance. My parents provided good nourshing food and the treats at school, not at home, were up to me. Hence, I did not squander my money. Parents need to teach responsibility. It starts in the home with the parents, and not with the govenment interjecting what "they" feel is necessary. We are an obese nation because "we" allow it; all it takes is self-control.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

We have way too much

We have way too much government in our lives. It is no longer for the people by the people, it is all about the few elected officials in congress. We need to think more about doing K I S S, "keep it simple stupid."

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Taxes should not be used as a

Taxes should not be used as a tool to regulate behavior. Also, if Eating Well is going to post ads against Romney/Ryan, I'll take my Internet and subscription business elsewhere. I'm looking for edamame recipes, not the political views of the advertising department. AMJ Tampa

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Whats the purpose of this? As

Whats the purpose of this? As far as I see it, it is just another way for the gov. to take our money again.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Taxes are just a money grab.

Taxes are just a money grab. No one knows where the money is spent, and it usually isn't spent to fix what it is collected for. People have a brain and a choice and we are responsible for that choice. NOT everything is good for everyone and not everything is bad for everyone. We are becoming robotic enough through legislation, laws, computers, etc. Few people think for themselves anymore. More legislation is not the answer.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

It all comes back around to

It all comes back around to the Health Care Debate. The tax on these unhealthy drinks will be invested back into preventive health care. Diabetes and other diseases have been proven to cause Diabetes and other health related conditions caused by the consumption of sugary drinks. Taxes could also be put back into Healthy Food Programs for our schools, subsides for fruits and Vegetables to encourage healthy eating in all households across the United states. Some of us think that the Insurance Companies should be the ones to impose a surcharge, but how will they be able to prove what you drink or eat. This creates another problem for the preexisting conditions debate. The only way is, as mentioned above, is to add a few cents to each sugary drink. People will still have a chose, but will have to pay a little more.

MAB

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Wow why do we ALLOW

Wow why do we ALLOW manufacturer to make things that harm people? You are unbelievably ignorant! Shall we FORCE manufacturers to stop making cars, trains, planes, buses, sugar, bicycles, pools, knives, baseball bats, guns, anything that anyone MIGHT be allergic to and die from, etc.? You get the picture don't you? Absolutely anything can be harmful and can kill you! How about we throw some REAL money on keeping criminals off the street? Jailing wife beaters, child abusers, stalkers, drug dealers! When the government steps this deeply into our lives it is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!!!! They have NO right to tell me how to treat my own body! The last time I checked this was the United States, HOME OF THE FREE! I would much rather have the freedom to kill my own body (I don't as I am a pretty healthy person and care about myself) than have the government once again (can we all say FORCED Health Care plan?) shove their idea of a "perfect" lifestyle down my throat! Your body is your business and my body is MINE! The government SHALL NOT take away the LAST thing that is mine to do with as I choose!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

At first I said "yes", and

At first I said "yes", and then again I said "no". For the time we live in with numerous information on nutrition and our health that is so easily available, why should others be responsible for people who refuse to be responsible for their OWN health. Let them spend their money on these unhealthy food and bear the result. Paying more to the dentists for rotting teeth, paying more to doctors who just keep patching them until they can get their hands on more of these unhealthy foods. Who should be taxed are the adults who do not take responsibity for their children's health by passing on unhealthy habits

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

They already have their dirty

They already have their dirty hands too far into our daily affairs. Screw the government.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

TAX THE HUGE CORPORATIONS WHO

TAX THE HUGE CORPORATIONS WHO MANUFACTURE THE SODA- NOT THE MEDIA-BLITZED, COMMERCIALLY HYPNOTIZED CONSUMER- THE SAME GOES FOR CIGARETTES, ALCOHOL, ETC.
WHY DO WE ALLOW WEALTHY MANUFACTURERS TO CONTINUALLY MAKE PRODUCTS THAT HARM AND KILL PEOPLE- YES, WE HAVE FREE-WILL, BUT WHY ARE BILLIONS SPENT ON ADVERTISING??? BECAUSE IT INFLUENCES OUR CHOICES. IF THOSE SAME BILLIONS WERE USED TO EDUCATE THE CONSUMER ON HEALTHY FOODS AND BEVERAGES WE WOULDN'T HAVE THE HEALTH CRISIS (CANCER, DIABETES, HEART ATTACKS, OBESITY, ETC.) AMERICA IS EXPERIENCING TODAY. SINCE WHEN DOES MONEY MEAN MORE THAN PEOPLE ???? RR

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

What was the proposal? Just

What was the proposal? Just sugary beverages? So they do this and in turn encourage us to purchase diet beverages. Once they discover how everyone has cancer from fake sugar they will start taxing that. And so it goes on and on.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

The government needs to cut

The government needs to cut back on taxes. We cant even afford things as it is. Cut back on government spending and government programs. Let private industry take care of it.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

No, I think the government

No, I think the government should get the hell out of my life and stop spending my money!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

It is not the business of

It is not the business of government to rule over what I eat!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

its kind of a good idea but

its kind of a good idea but then its not it seems to me that type of thing starts stuff but then again its peoples choice if they want to drink it or not , not the goverments

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

What was the Revolutionary

What was the Revolutionary War fought over? Wasn't unreasonable taxation oneof the greivances the colonists had against British government? And now our own governemnt is heading in the same direction! Personally, I do not drink soda, I have never smoked and I have never imbibed an alcoholic beverage of any kind. But I also think it is wrong for the government to try to influence my life-style. A health or life insurance company should certainly impose a surcharge on someone with an unhealthy lifestyle so the higher-risk individual can pay their fair share. But that's not the role of the government, at least, not as I understand the limits granted by the Constitution.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I thought they did already. I

I thought they did already. I remember being taxed on several occassions for a soda water in a convenience store. But why is it that they can tax and the grocery stores don't. (That's if they already don't).

Anonymous wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

Government should stay out of

Government should stay out of peoples personal lives. We need people to be accountable, and responsible for themselves and family, not dictated to by every growning government.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

The founding fathers would

The founding fathers would have overwhelming supported a luxury tax on soda. They financed the government almost entirely through luxury and excise taxes, levied on items they thought were detrimental to society (e.g. whiskey, snuff, refined sugar) Luxury taxes very similar to this proposed soda tax were considered a better alternative to the income tax, which was thought unfair because it was unavoidable. Federal income tax was only made possible by the 16th amendment. So this kind of tax goes way, way back to the foundation of our country.

Also, these taxes do NOT take away your freedom to buy soda. If I wanted to buy 10 bottles of soda, I would be free to do so with or without this tax. The question is one of pricing. The proposed tax on soda would help capture what economists call externalities. Externalities are effects to parties not involved in the initial sale. For cigarettes, externalities include future health costs (which are frequently born by the U.S. taxpayer) and the effects of second-hand smoke. For soda, externalities are pretty much future health care costs. By levying a luxury tax on soda, the government could increase social welfare, improve general health, and force buyers to bear the true costs of their actions.

To those who think that this is an unconstitutional example of government overreach, I don't know how you could read the Constitution to support that position. In fact, the Constitution spells out the federal government's power to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States." This is a clear example of collecting a tax and providing for the general welfare, no?

The only argument against the soda tax that prevents me from fully supporting it is that the tax would fall disproportionately on the poor. Regressive taxation, in my opinion, is a mortal sin. But I don't see why the tax couldn't be used to help subsidy healthier alternatives to soda. That would seem to be a natural use for the collected tax money.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

I think the government sticks

I think the government sticks its nose into entirely too many of our personal freedoms as it is. It's one thing to trade the freedoms for which so many hundreds of thousands of Americans shed their blood when it comes to keeping that freedom and protecting us from terrorists. It is something else entirely when the government decides what we can watch on tv, what books we can read, what foods we can eat, what we can do for recreation, who we can love and marry, etc. I say this because, in order to tax us on these things, they will have to track our purchases. They already have the right to scan our emails and listen to our cell phone calls since 9/11....let's not give another inch if all we are doing is giving them more money to give to Solyndra or share amongst themselves. Clearly, at $4 billion dollars a day in escalating debt, they aren't using our money to pay the bills.

 
ctlmc98 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

In my state, am already taxed

In my state, am already taxed on all the food and drinks I buy, both in restaurants and in the grocery store. A loss of liberty is a loss of liberty. I don't consume a lot of soda because I don't want to. I don't think taxing it will have the desired effect of increasing healthly living.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Please tell me exactly WHERE

Please tell me exactly WHERE in the US Constitution you find the authority for the federal gov't to tax anything for the purpose of influencing consumer choices? The gov't has the power to tax to defend this great country and run the gov't. No question. They do not, however, have any business trying to 'nudge' people one way or the other in terms of how citizens run their lives.

We're a FREE people. With FREEDOM comes RESPONSIBILITY for our choices. The minute you start saying 'the gov't knows better' how you should live your life - and starts COMPELLING people to do things the gov't's way (or else), personal liberty is diminished. Even when the 'intention' is good, i.e. tax soda to make people healthier, this is a no-win proposition for citizens.

Personally, I don't drink a lot of soda. I like the taste, but I don't like how it makes me feel, so I've all but stopped drinking it years ago. My life - my choice. I don't care one bit if you do or don't drink soda - it is none of my business, just as my choice is none of your business and certainly none of Washington's business. I assume you're an adult (or have adult parents) and you can make your own decisions as to what is best for you.

Only the truly arrogant and conceited believe they can dictate what is 'the best way' for someone else to live. Get over yourself and live your own life and I'll live mine.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

A separate tax on Sodas, (not

A separate tax on Sodas, (not the sales taxes that are already at the grocery or food establishments as the above comments refer to,) could be a benefit, if the revenue was specifically used in some way for nutritional education of the effects of soda on the entire body physiologically.

There are many scholarships given by the government for essay writing. Most of them are Patriotic subjects. It would be great to see some educational subjects relating to Health and Nutrition included in these subjects. There is Soooo much that could benefit by being addressed this way.

Thanks for sparking this idea in my mind. I am going to start writing my congressmen to inspire them to pursue out of the box avenues for expanding the scholarship subjects for effective education in the students by the research they do for writing, and to inspire some of them to get involved in their career choices.

Caring and Sharing ...

Anonymous wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Whether your health care is

Whether your health care is insured by a private company or by Medicare/Medicaid, you pay more to subsidize the greater health care needs of diabetic and obese Americans. You are already being taxed or charged higher premiums to pay the costs of sugary soda's damage to our nation's health -- whether you drink the soda or not. A tax on consumption of a product that is quite justifiably identified as having significant health consequences seems fair to me -- the actual users are paying to cover their risk instead of demanding the rest of the society take financial responsibility for their bad habits. (This assuming the taxes go to fund health care provisioning...)
Additionally, 'sin taxes' are shown to reduce demand; users of tobacco, etc., think more about their habit when the feel the pain in their pocketbook. Also, another poster made the point that agricultural subsidies for healthy foods would help the situation. By all means -- remember, heavily subsidized corn makes corn syrup cheaper to sweeten those big liter bottles. Sadly, broccoli isn't subsidized.
I'm a little surprised that Eating Well readers don't, according to most of these comments, see the need for societal changes to address the obesity epidemic. And BTW, my father and husband both fought for America -- a just, enlightened, educated nation to which we all should contribute in our own ways, through hard work, military service, and taxes.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Taxing soda will not solve

Taxing soda will not solve the problem. In addition, once the government is allowed to do this...where does it ends? Meats have too much unhealthy fats so let tax it to prevent from buying it...see what I mean. Where would it end. It wouldn't.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

No more gov regulations

No more gov regulations

Anonymous wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Please move back in with your

Please move back in with your parents if you are too stupid to make your own decisions.

The govt does not exist so that you can force your opinions on other people. The very idea that you would coerce other people to do what YOU want them to do is disgusting.

Jane_79 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

The government should simply

The government should simply stop the subsidies on high fructose corn syrup. If we have to have a Farm Bill let's use it to our benefit and make subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

I do not feel the government

I do not feel the government should be in the business of dictating what people should eat or drink. If I wanted that I would move to a communist country. Some bean counter figured out the majority of society that purchases carbonated beverages are middle and lower class citizens, and we make up the majority of America. Just another tax for the middle class, where are the tax breaks I keep hearing about? My family and I drink more water than soda, but I feel if I want to drink a soda I shouldn't be taxed higher because of it. I have to agree with the comment posted by one reader that soda should not be paid for with food stamps.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

If you're worried about

If you're worried about paying tax on it, don't buy it.

... Just like you shouldn't be buying it in the first place.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I think the government should

I think the government should subsidize healthier foods in order to encourage people to eat them. Part of the appeal of sugar sweetened beverages is that they are cheap: 89 cents for a liter-- bottled water isn't even that cheap. This is a significant part of the issue that is frequently left out of such discussions, which is why there's no resolution about what to do. Fast food is similar: people know it's not healthy, but then again, it's a sandwich side and a drink for about $4.00. Healthy food costs more-- and a big part of that is because the fed subsidizes the wrong things...

Anonymous wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Yes it should be taxed.

Yes it should be taxed. Someone has to pay for the medicial cost. We are killing ourself drinking this junk .it breaks down our body, we run to the doctors to receive drugs, that do additional hurt. Then we wonder what American are over weight, sickly, weak and unmotivated. It all that sugar that our bodies don't need. Treat sugary drinks like we treat cigarettes and cigar products. Don't let a few people be made rich by making us unwell.

Jeannette D.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

There isn't much left that

There isn't much left that the government isn't taxing or telling us what we can and can't do, EAT OR DRINK. They have alot more important things to be doing if they would only do what they were voted in to do. DO YOUR JOB GOVERNMENT AND STAY OUT MY POCKETS!

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