Trying to justify taxing “caloric sweetened beverages”
Or as you know them, soda’s, energy and sports drinks and fruit juices.
• A tax-induced 20-percent increase in the price of caloric sweetened beverages could reduce net calorie intake from all beverages by 37 calories per day for the average adult. The effects for children were estimated to be larger—an average reduction of 43 calories per day.
• By assuming that 1 pound of body fat has about 3,500 calories, and assuming all else remains equal, the daily calorie reductions would translate into an average reduction of 3.8 pounds over a year for adults and 4.5 pounds over a year for children.
• The weight loss induced by the tax could reduce the overweight prevalence among adults from 66.9 to 62.4 percent and the prevalence of obesity from 33.4 to 30.4 percent. For children, the at-risk-of-overweight prevalence would decline from 32.2 to 27.0 percent and the overweight prevalence would decline from 16.6 to 13.7 percent.
Let me summarize – a 20% tax would reduce consumption of these beverages enough to take “37 calories a day” out of your diet. That resulting net loss of 37 calories would average 3.8 pounds for year and take the overweight population from 66.9% to 62.7%.
Really? 37 calories a day – the amount of calories you burn getting off your fat behind and walking to the fridge for another soda? Overweight people normally ingest more calories a day than they burn. And that caloric intake is usually well over 2,000 calories a day. 37 calories? That’s a third of a granola bar, for heaven sake.
This is science?
Oh, wait – a couple of qualifiers:
1. A large group of individuals are overweight or obese by only a few pounds, and a small reduction in calorie intake could change their weight classification; and
2. Many overweight and obese Americans consume large amounts of caloric sweetened beverages. For example, 10.6 percent of overweight adults consumed more than 450 calories per day from caloric sweetened beverages— nearly three times the average amount of 152 calories consumed by adults.
And, of course, it is the job of government to help tax these people into a new weight classification? Well of course it is – Congress just gave themselves the power to make it their business.
Of course this 37 calorie drop a day assumes that a) overweight people won’t change a thing other than dropping the consumption of “caloric sweetened beverages”, b) won’t attempt to fulfill their desire for sugary food with something else or c) won’t grudgingly pay the tax and continue their consumption habits . The further assumption, of course, is they’ll lose the weight as a result of the negative incentive provided by a 20% tax.
Not only are these people marginal scientists, they seem to know very little about human nature. On top of that, they certainly don’t seem to understand the political blowback something like this is likely to have.
But, just the fact that the USDA is dabbling in studies about taxing sugary drinks should tell you all you need to know about the continued intrusive depths to which government now plans to go to regulate everything in your life.
Freedom means the freedom to succeed and to fail. It means as long as you aren’t violating or intruding on someone else’s rights, you can pretty much do whatever you want – to include get fat on sugary drinks. What it doesn’t mean is some outside agency deciding what is or isn’t good or healthy for you and deciding to tax you into the behavior it deems proper.
But that’s precisely what this “study” is all about.
Freedom is becoming a rare commodity in this land, and we need to understand that and fight against any and all attempted intrusions no matter how trivial or seemingly well intentioned. Allowing the incremental encroachment of government in all areas of our lives is the sure way to kill freedom and put us well on the road to serfdom.
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