Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Soda Tax?

A few days ago, Elana of Elana's Pantry, posted her initial reactions about Mark Bittman's Op/Ed piece in the NYT about a potential junk food tax, which you can read here. Well, the passions have flared! Currently, there are 162 comments, and they fall along very predictable party lines. Some are very adamant about the government not being in their pantry and others are all for it.

Where do I stand? I think it's a great idea, personally. I tend to buy more expensive sodas anyway, without the HFCS, and honestly, I don't do it that often. I would be happy to pay a bit more, particularly if that tax money were to go to something useful. Aha! But there's the rub. What about subsidizing vegetables? In theory, I'd be okay with that, if it means that families like the one featured in Food, Inc.(you know the ones...the family that can only afford to eat fast food dollar menu items, can't afford fresh produce, and are obese and on tons of medications as a result? Yeah, them) can actually afford REAL FOOD.

I have to say, I'm really surprised by how violently people reacted to the post, on the anti-tax side. the government is not going shopping with them, slapping their hands away; they would still have the freedom to choose Coke or Pepsi, but they'd have to pay a little more to do so, just like if they were buying a bottle of wine or a pack of cigarrettes.

Do I think the government has the best food policies as others feared? No. Do I wish we could just get rid of the USDA and the FDA? No, because I think they play important roles. We do need food and drug regulation. We just need to not have big corporations making all the rules for the government. It's them who I really have a problem with, not the government. Our government just needs a real backbone.

And anyway, it's been shown before that if soda's more expensive, people will consume less of it. That can't be a bad thing for anyone, right?

Part of this week's Fight Back Friday from Food Renegade!

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