April 11, 2009

The best kind of tax

Some great ideas are not accepted right away. This healthy idea will take several years to catch on. And it will have to overcome one of the strongest lobbies in the U.S. But it's an idea that will take hold.

The idea is a tax on sodas and sports drinks containing sugar. And no other idea will stop sugary drinks in its tracks like this one.

From the New York Times:

A month after Gov. David A. Paterson dropped his proposal for a soda tax, New York City’s health commissioner has written an article advocating “hefty” taxes on sodas and sports drinks containing sugar. Such a tax, the article said, could be the biggest boon to public health since tobacco taxes.

The commissioner, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, and Kelly D. Brownell of Yale University, his co-author, argue in the New England Journal of Medicine that a tax of a penny per ounce could reduce consumption by more than 10 percent and raise $1.2 billion a year in New York State alone.

“It is difficult to imagine producing behavior change of this magnitude through education alone, even if government devoted massive resources to the task,” said the article, published in the journal’s April 30 issue and released online Wednesday. “Only heftier taxes will significantly reduce consumption.”

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