Friday, June 4, 2010

American Oppose "Fat Tax"

Picture of an Obese Teenager (146kg/322lb) wit...Image via Wikipedia
I mentioned in a post last month about the DC Soda Tax Proposal how more and more jurisdictions are considering taxes on sodas, candies, and other foods that could contribute to obesity.  These proposed taxes are offered as proposals to help fight the obesity epidemic in this country.  There is no doubt that too many people in this country are too heavy.  I know I could stand to lose a few pounds myself. 

However, usually these taxes are simply a way to try to raise revenues, not really to help curb problems.  I am not a smoker, and am no fan of the tobacco companies, however, between the states and federal excise taxes on cigarettes, the government makes more money on the sale of a carton of Marlboro than the Philip Morris company does.  If you ever get the chance to visit a duty free store, compare the price of cigarettes there to the price at your local convenience stores.

Today I was reviewing some stories in one of my industry news emails that I get at work.  The folks at the Harris Poll released the results of a survey that revealed that the majority of Americans are opposed to so called "fat taxes" on sugary drinks, fast foods, and candy.  What a shocker.  NOT!  Only 31% of those surveyed were in favor of implementing these taxes

All of the demographic groups that they broke the survey results into were opposed to the taxes.  However, there were definitely some groups that were more inclined to favor the taxes.  Those in the eastern part of the country were the most likely to support while those in the south and midwest were most opposed. Similarly, younger people, higher educated, and higher income people had a higher percentage of respondents that supported the measures.

I don't think any of these are real shockers.  I think lower income folks are more inclined to go towards higher calorie products because it is more affordable.  It would have been interesting to see the breakdown of responses based on the political leanings of those surveyed.  My guess is that more liberal people would be in favor of the fat tax, where conservatives would not.
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