- Days left
twinkie taxAfter whetting its appetite with sin taxes on tobacco, alcohol and marijuana, local and state governments are licking their collective lips at the prospect of the money to be made taxing soft drinks and 'unhealthy' foods. Of course, this "Twinkie Tax" is defended as a move to improve the nation's health, but I don't buy it.

I do accept that there are a great many activists who support such a tax because they are convinced it would help stem our plague of obesity.

As Gary Sattler reported, a recent study concluded that those so afflicted spend $1,400 a year more for health care, and I can't argue that proportionate weight isn't a boon to health. However, taxing Cheetos and Chips Ahoy, Coke and curly fries won't accomplish anything but pad the government's pork pie.
Unlike tobacco or alcohol or recreational drugs, one cannot quit food. Those who work hard physical jobs can consume many more calories in a day that the more sedentary among us. Why should the government make it harder for them to afford a double croissan'wich with double sausage, if they can burn it off by noon?

These foods are popular not because we harbor some secret death wish, but because they taste good. How much tax would we have to put on a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup to stop us from buying one when we have the urge?

How many people who want an alcoholic drink don't due so because of the tax? Very few, I believe. Taxing to shape behavior doesn't work unless the tax level approaches that of tobacco. Would the public tolerate potato chips at $20 a bag?

Yes, as a nation we need to learn to eat more wisely, but is this the right approach? Did you teach your kids to moderate the number of cookies they eat by hiding the bag from them? Not successfully, I bet.

People will find a way to get what they want, tax be damned. The only way to reverse the nation's weight problem is to change what we want.

Taxing fat foods isn't the answer to any question except, "How can we raise more tax money?" Education, exercise opportunities, counseling, support, and drugs can all help move the needle of the scale.

Yet the same governments that want to tax Mountain Dew at the carryout are cutting out funding for physical education in the schools systems, as though that was fat that could be trimmed away.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

What is Inflation?

Why do prices go up?

View Course »

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Are You Exempt From Health Care Coverage?

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is an individual mandate that requires all eligible Americans to have some form of basic health coverage by 2014. Those without insurance will receive a penalty when they file their tax returns ? that is, unless they have an exemption. TurboTax's Exemption Check can help you find out whether or not you qualify for an exemption.

Essential Tax Forms for the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare, affects how millions of Americans will prepare their taxes in the new year. The law now includes penalties for all who haven?t obtained health insurance -- and those penalties are expected to be paid at tax time. The ACA also provides tax credits to help people pay for insurance, and you can claim those credits when you file your taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has introduced a number of tax forms to accommodate the ACA.

Mortgage Refinance Tax Deductions

When refinancing a mortgage to get a lower interest rate or obtain more favorable loan terms, you're really just taking out a new loan and using the money to pay off your existing home loan. In general, the same tax deductions are available when you're refinancing a mortgage as when you're taking out a mortgage to buy a home.

How to Determine if You Have Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC)

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires most Americans to have health insurance that meets a government standard known as "minimum essential coverage," or MEC. Whether your insurance qualifies as MEC depends not on the plan itself, but on how you obtained your coverage.

Rental Property Deductions You Can Take at Tax Time

Rental property often offers larger deductions and tax benefits than most investments. Many of these are overlooked by landlords at tax time. This can make a difference in making a profit or losing money on your real estate venture. If you own a rental property, the IRS allows you to deduct expenses you pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, conserving and managing the property, and other expenses deemed necessary and associated with property rental.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum