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Should we tax fat?

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LottomagicZ4941
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Should we tax fat?  Reply with quote  

Many states exempt food from taxation. But perhaps we should be taxing fat?

Poor people could avoid the tax in part by loading up on carbs and protein.

Perhpas we could use this new tax to improve the health care system.

Especially the work man's comp part which is stacked against the working man.

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Post Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:42 pm
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jlee1224
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Interesting theory....

What specific items would you tax? Butter? Milk?

Should salads from McDonalds be tax exempt?

Maybe give tax deductions for gym memberships. Tax credits for buying weights.
Post Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:45 pm
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LottomagicZ4941
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Well Jimmy Carter may push for a peanut tax exemption.

I'm thinking saturated and Trans fats are the ones that should get taxed. So yes Milk will get a ding due to the saturated fat. Milk does have CLA so perhaps it would get an exemption?

My old econnomics professor use to say if you wanted less of something tax it and if you want more subsidize it.

But subsidies arn't always efficient. And taxing beer and cigs never put a crimp on supplies.

I'm going to have a chat with my state representives so I'm just kind of thinking for all the possible topics.

Main reason I want to talk to them is because of how unethically I was treated on a work man's comp issue.

And I've meet other workers who have even been treated more unethically then myself.

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Post Fri Oct 07, 2005 7:21 pm
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sayyes
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I've heard of people proposing a tax on soda (which is probably THE most unhealthy thing for you). I think it's interesting. Even though I drink soda from time to time I would support this.

Especially when I see people in front of me at the supermarket buying donuts and soda with their food stamps. Shouldn't they be buying something that actually gives them nutrition?

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Post Sat Oct 08, 2005 2:50 am
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Rolo
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hehehe...tax fat itself, as in, body fat.

New Form 1040:
200. Enter BMI here: ___
201. Subtract 25. enter result here ___
202. If line 201 is zero or negative, skip to line 205
203. Multiply line 25 by $1,000, enter result here ___
204. Add line 203 to your Adjustable Gross Income.
205. ...

That'd eliminate the debt AND fund Socialism Security! Very Happy

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Post Sat Oct 08, 2005 11:51 am
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auggyf
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As an economist (hypothetically speaking Smile ), I would say tax it to the extent that it has externalities (ie it harms 3rd parties, preferably the public, which aren't taken into account in the cost of the original item).

If you can somehow measure how much being fat costs on our society {health care, subtract social security benefits if you die young}, and then somehow translate that into a cost/donut, then fine. But it gets much more iffy when there are so many other factors for obesity, such as genetics, exercise, and the rest of your food choices. Having one donut will not cause society harm if you eat a balanced diet the rest of the time.

Then there are items with no clear-cut answers. How healthy is an avocado (high in unsaturated fat, but may have other benefits)? Apple juice (some apple juices are practically pure sugar with very little of anything else)? Eggs or a hamburger as part of an overall diet program (if the government thinks the Atkins diet is bad, is it going to impose this opinion on everyone else by saying it's a societal problem?).

So in the end, I don't think it's feasible to tax unhealthy items -- at least, I don't think you can tax it correctly.

This makes Rolo's idea sound less like a joke (to me at least): if you really can prove that having a high BMI costs society some money, make them pay for it every year. In my opinion though, the link between BMI and costs to society will be so weak and insignificant that it's not worth imposing a tax on it. There are many many other taxes that seem very inefficient and that make individuals behave inefficiently. Let's solve some other problem with the tax system first.
Post Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:44 pm
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Rolo
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A waist > 40" for men and > 38" for women are proven heath risks and added costs. You can tax that, then.

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Post Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:18 pm
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Lithix
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/starts saving for all the extra taxes he's going to have to pay.
Post Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:24 pm
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financechoices
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The healthcare system is private in America already isn't it? If healthcare is more expensive the less healthy you are then being obese is already given an economic disincentive.

Unfortunately no such incentive exists in the UK Sad

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Post Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:24 pm
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Rolo
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quote:
Originally posted by financechoices
The healthcare system is private in America already isn't it? If healthcare is more expensive the less healthy you are then being obese is already given an economic disincentive.



You are totally correct!

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Post Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:50 pm
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financechoices
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Does it encourage people to live healthy lifestyles?

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Post Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:53 pm
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Rolo
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I couldn't tell ya, honestly. From what I can see, it vascillates: first our society, overall, gets obese, and then the pedulum swings the other directions and--like typical American "I WANT IT NOW!", we get a rash of fad diets...some healthy, some not.

Eventually, after much running ourselves into the ground for a while, we will learn that the sacrifices to the god of Instant Gratification are quity costly and are usually one's undoing.

Either way, (not being ethnocentric here) I have not seen any public health system touch that of our private heath system. Is it perfect? Not quite, but what man-made thing ever is? The government (ours or anybody else's) could never outperform the private sector, in anything.

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Post Mon Oct 10, 2005 2:29 pm
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arbitrade3
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Well I feel if you start taxing food then those who actually use food stamps for healthly foods will be hurt. It is like an unintended effect similar to minimum wages. The government sets a minimum wage so people can receive a reasonable income, but it usually leads to an increase in unemployment.

Also, the problem with trying to tax unhealthy foods is deciding what is healthy and what is not. And who would decide?

Instead of creating more taxes, why don't we increase the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. There is a good amount of general agreement that those two products are hazardous.

If we allow "unhealthy" foods to be taxed, we are exposing ourselves to receive any tax and then eventually the idea of gas being taxed will come up.
Post Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:46 pm
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Rolo
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quote:
Originally posted by arbitrade3
Also, the problem with trying to tax unhealthy foods is deciding what is healthy and what is not. And who would decide?

...

why don't we increase the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. There is a good amount of general agreement that those two products are hazardous.



'general agreement'

You cannot have it both ways; a sin tax is a sin tax.

Some alchohol in moderation is not unhealthy and in some cases, healthy.

quote:
Originally posted by arbitrade3
If we allow "unhealthy" foods to be taxed, we are exposing ourselves to receive any tax and then eventually the idea of gas being taxed will come up.


If you mean gasoline, about a third of it is tax...and more like half in those liberal states.

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Post Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:09 am
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LottomagicZ4941
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quote:
Originally posted by arbitrade3
Well I feel if you start taxing food then those who actually use food stamps for healthly foods will be hurt. It is like an unintended effect similar to minimum wages. The government sets a minimum wage so people can receive a reasonable income, but it usually leads to an increase in unemployment.

Also, the problem with trying to tax unhealthy foods is deciding what is healthy and what is not. And who would decide?

Instead of creating more taxes, why don't we increase the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. There is a good amount of general agreement that those two products are hazardous.

If we allow "unhealthy" foods to be taxed, we are exposing ourselves to receive any tax and then eventually the idea of gas being taxed will come up.


Re-e-visiting this issue because I just saw Super Size Me.

Unfortunatly the politicians will deside who taxes what.

With the fast food guys haveing a lobbie perhpas the healthy fats would get taxed instead of trans an saturated fat.

Cigs and alchol already taxed. The boston tea party was for a tax on tea right? Well there were other issues.

Anyway, I do think Super Size Me is worth watching. Taxing fat would be a good way to finance nationalized health care.

I remember when SubWay was cheaper then eating at Mc Donalds.

Econ 101 states if you want more of something you subsidize it. But this can make for less efficient producers and back fire. If you want less of something tax it.

Once again I'm saying "Let's tax fat"

As far as food stamps. Can you get Mc Donalds from food stamps?

Low fat meals wouldn't be taxed under a healthy plan. It would just be for prepaired meals like fast food and TV dinners that have over a certain amount.

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Post Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:33 am
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