I just caught Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter on CNN talking about his city’s proposed tax on soda. In the last few years I’ve often heard about proposed “fat taxes” on sodas, snack foods, and other items deemed unhealthy for Americans.
Until now, I sort of shrugged off the whole idea. Yes, I’m still furious that laws about cooking with animal fats ruined McDonald’s french fries, but a couple of extra cents for a a bottle of soda wasn’t going to bother me, except in principle. However, as the Philadelphia story was running, I noticed the info at the bottom of the screen: the proposed tax is 2¢ per ounce. Per ounce! I checked one of the 2-liter bottles I had in the kitchen: 67.6 ounces. That’s a tax of $1.35 per bottle!
Damn! That would be more than $5 a week for me! Just in soda taxes. And I’m not even a soda sinner. I only buy the diet stuff.
Where does the government get off telling us what we can and can’t eat, anyway? Keeping us safe from contaminated food, mislabeled food, meat from diseased animals, etc. Fine; that’s their job. Requiring detailed, accurate nutrition information on food labels. Great idea; I appreciate it. But telling us what we can and can’t eat, and then enforcing it with laws limiting or penalizing our choices? Absolutely not. We never voted to establish a food police department.
And don’t try to justify such a tax by telling me fat people and their health problems are costing us all a lot of money in health care. Penalizing my food choices because someone else has a weight problem is wrong. What I eat is none of your damn business. My doctor’s, maybe. But definitely not yours.
So there. End of rant.