While glossing through the 5/7/2012 volume of TIME magazine, I read about the notion of taxing both sugar and salt.
TIME magazine's website doesn't seem to let you link directly to the article in question without paying first. That said, I found the article within a seperate site discussing it:
Sin Taxes: Will marking up junk food make us healthier? | Shane Weight Loss Camps & ResortsBut in recent years, health officials have turned to the tariff system to curb public consumption of fat, sugar, salt and more. With the obesity epidemic now claiming 34% of U.S. adults, legislators are proposing taxes on the added sugar in products like sodas and the salt in snack foods like potato chips in the hopes that higher costs will change people’s eating habits and improve their health. The latest study suggests that taxing salty foods could indeed reduce deaths from heart disease by 2% to 3% in developing countries, where rates of heart conditions are starting to climb.
At least that’s the theory. But while these sin taxes may fuel funds to fight obesity, they may not necessarily have the desired effect on our eating habits. Other studies hint that it may take as much as a 10% increase in the cost of foods like soda, candy or cake to lower consumption by only 1%. And even if a salt tax helped people avoid buying chips, for example, they might make up for the sodium deficit with extra helping from the saltshaker at the table. That explains why sin taxes have traditionally worked better for the tax taker than the sinner!
Personally, I think it might be a good idea. It might have somewhat of a positive effect in general. Obviously with 34% of adults in the U.S. struggling with the obesity epidemic, there must be new measures taken. The question though is to what degree. My view is that we should tax such things like soda and candy upwards of 20-30%. Sure, it may seem draconian, but this needs to stop. As we consumers feed on the garbage that's stocked in our stores, in turn said corporations feed on us, making profit. I think, no, I know they deliberately try to addict us; addiction is great for business. Why wouldn't the corporation of, say, Mountain Dew want us to become addicted to it? It's all about the money.
That's a bit aside the point. Such foods that can be easily addicted to and cause damage to your body should be taxed; not just 10%, but beyond. How many people know of kids and teenagers who were addicted to soda and candy, now suffering with cavities, without dental insurance? How many people do you know that, since childhood, became addicted to bad food? Instead of commercials advertising veggies to young children, you were bombarded with advertisements for Candy Pops and Pop-Tarts.
If a 10-30% tax increase in these foods has a positive overall effect on the country, then damn it, that's good. Take it further until it places a sizeable dent in this obesity epidemic.