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Should junk food be taxed?

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Replies

  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    ftsolk wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    100df wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Part of the problem is that it's not really clear what the tax would be on.

    How about taxing based on added sugars? Would get the main items that any third grader would classify as junk food like pop, candy, cookies, etc. Might also get manufacturers to reduce the amount of "hidden" sugars in things like ketchup, sauces, etc.

    The US already has some definition of "healthy foods" from the WIC programs, might be a start.

    Lol @ any third grader would... but not on this forum! So weird!

    Taxing based on added sugar seems reasonable and doable.

    Asking what the definition would be is by no means a laughable question when we are trying to talk about a specific law, sorry. You can't just tax "junk food." You need a definition. This has already been an issue when people try to tax "soda" (which often means sugary drinks) -- is diet included? (often it is), is juice?, are energy drinks and sports drinks?

    If you get into a broader range of products, the question becomes harder. For example, the US definition of "empty calories" on things like MyPlate is added sugar AND added sat fat, but there are an awful lot of people on MFP who would take issue with the latter portion of that. And is bread or ketchup with some added sugar necessarily junk food? All flavored yogurts?

    Still others seem to be saying things like fast food (restaurant meals are already taxed, so I don't think it should mean this). But you can get a salad at a fast food place (or such is my understanding -- haven't been to one in years). And then of course we get into what's fast food (since despite what I just said, I've been to a Chipotle and a Pret -- fast food?).

    Anyway, if we are to seriously talk about this, I am interested in what the tax would say. Silly thing to mock. Defining things in a workable way is one of the difficulties of lawmaking.

    In the state of New Jersey, juice is NOT taxed, but soda is. The difference is the sweeteners. Sweetened beverages are taxed, where unsweetened beverages (100% juice, water, seltzer) are not.

    Candy is also taxed, but licorice, which has flour, is NOT considered candy.

    Prepared food is taxed. So, if you go to the store and buy deli meat and cheese, there's no tax, but if you get a sandwich platter made with the same meat and cheese, there is tax. Buying a live lobster isn't taxed, but if you have the guys at the seafood counter steam it for you, you have to pay taxes.

    Yeah, IL is the same, although we tax it all, just at different levels (most food, but not candy, soda, or prepared foods and restaurant foods) get a reduced rate of 2.5% in Chicago (which has local taxes on top of the state 1%, I think, for food). What counts as not candy due to the presence of flour is counterintuitive in many cases.
    Rather than try to figure out which foods should be taxed or not, maybe the helpful approach would be to figure out which foods we should try to LOWER prices on. I think we can all agree that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Rather than making soda more expensive, maybe we should try to figure out how to make fruit LESS expensive.

    I'm kind of neutral on fruit (I like it, I eat it, I don't think it's important that people do), but agree that people should eat more vegetables on average. I don't think price has a thing to do with why they don't, however, and around me, at least, I don't perceive vegetables (or fruit, for the most part) as being expensive at all. (Well, sure, non local and out of season items can be.)

    Philosophically I'd still rather just get rid of subsidies although I do think that would have a broader effect than just on junk food.
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Philosophically I'd still rather just get rid of subsidies although I do think that would have a broader effect than just on junk food.

    That it would. Ever since the loveboner for ethanol started, killing corn subsidies would end up showing a marked increase in fuel prices, especially for vehicles that run things like E85.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    Probably meat too.
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Probably meat too.

    Yeap.
  • vegmebuff wrote: »
    What are your thoughts?
    Yes, junk/processed food should either be taxed or cost more. Healthy food should cost less. I think some families have no choice but to buy junk because they can't afford produce and healthier/leaner meats.

  • sunnybeaches105
    sunnybeaches105 Posts: 2,831 Member
    tak13517 wrote: »
    vegmebuff wrote: »
    What are your thoughts?
    Yes, junk/processed food should either be taxed or cost more. Healthy food should cost less. I think some families have no choice but to buy junk because they can't afford produce and healthier/leaner meats.

    So you want the poor to pay more in an effectively regressive tax system?
  • chocolate_owl
    chocolate_owl Posts: 1,695 Member
    tak13517 wrote: »
    vegmebuff wrote: »
    What are your thoughts?
    Yes, junk/processed food should either be taxed or cost more. Healthy food should cost less. I think some families have no choice but to buy junk because they can't afford produce and healthier/leaner meats.

    How do you plan to lower the cost of healthy food while increasing the cost of junk? Do you think taxing chips will change behaviors for anyone outside of a low-income bracket?
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    edited September 2016
    tak13517 wrote: »
    vegmebuff wrote: »
    What are your thoughts?
    Yes, junk/processed food should either be taxed or cost more. Healthy food should cost less. I think some families have no choice but to buy junk because they can't afford produce and healthier/leaner meats.

    So you want the poor to pay more in an effectively regressive tax system?

    If someone isn't buying chips, pop, candy etc they aren't paying a tax on it. Some states are working on getting many common, high calorie, low nutrient foods removed from SNAP eligibility lists. This is a good thing IMO.

    I would support a tax on "junk food" if the proceeds were used for health education and increases in SNAP benefits so the poor could afford better quality foods (big qualifier, must remove junk foods from SNAP eligibility).
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    tak13517 wrote: »
    vegmebuff wrote: »
    What are your thoughts?
    Yes, junk/processed food should either be taxed or cost more. Healthy food should cost less. I think some families have no choice but to buy junk because they can't afford produce and healthier/leaner meats.

    How do you plan to lower the cost of healthy food while increasing the cost of junk? Do you think taxing chips will change behaviors for anyone outside of a low-income bracket?

    It might if taxes were at the level of taxes on cigarettes.
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    Return2Fit wrote: »
    Why empower the government and reduce freedom ?
    If people want to eat junk, so be it, but don't come back when you're fat and sick demanding free healthcare.
    That's so typical of the herd...lol

    The thing is, they will come back fat and sick and the government will pay for it.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 46,320 Member
    Why not call it what it is? A FAT tax. Let's just cut to the chase and weigh people and if they are over their body fat percentage for good health, tax them. That should go over well. :s

    There are lots of people who eat junk food and are fine body weight wise. They shouldn't have to bear paying the tax for food they can control but others can't.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    tak13517 wrote: »
    vegmebuff wrote: »
    What are your thoughts?
    Yes, junk/processed food should either be taxed or cost more. Healthy food should cost less. I think some families have no choice but to buy junk because they can't afford produce and healthier/leaner meats.

    So you want the poor to pay more in an effectively regressive tax system?

    If someone isn't buying chips, pop, candy etc they aren't paying a tax on it. Some states are working on getting many common, high calorie, low nutrient foods removed from SNAP eligibility lists. This is a good thing IMO.

    I would support a tax on "junk food" if the proceeds were used for health education and increases in SNAP benefits so the poor could afford better quality foods (big qualifier, must remove junk foods from SNAP eligibility).

    Right. We definitely need to help the poor by micromanaging their grocery lists. I think that most bureaucrats are idiots, and that's why they work for the government. So it's basically the overweight and blind leading the overweight and blind.

    Not a problem, if people don't want to eat items on the list they can just skip the SNAP payments. There is already a precedent with the WIC program, just pays for a list certain foods.
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    tak13517 wrote: »
    vegmebuff wrote: »
    What are your thoughts?
    Yes, junk/processed food should either be taxed or cost more. Healthy food should cost less. I think some families have no choice but to buy junk because they can't afford produce and healthier/leaner meats.

    So you want the poor to pay more in an effectively regressive tax system?

    If someone isn't buying chips, pop, candy etc they aren't paying a tax on it. Some states are working on getting many common, high calorie, low nutrient foods removed from SNAP eligibility lists. This is a good thing IMO.

    I would support a tax on "junk food" if the proceeds were used for health education and increases in SNAP benefits so the poor could afford better quality foods (big qualifier, must remove junk foods from SNAP eligibility).

    Right. We definitely need to help the poor by micromanaging their grocery lists. I think that most bureaucrats are idiots, and that's why they work for the government. So it's basically the overweight and blind leading the overweight and blind.

    Not a problem, if people don't want to eat items on the list they can just skip the SNAP payments. There is already a precedent with the WIC program, just pays for a list certain foods.

    You're right. SNAP payments shouldn't pay for ice cream because poor children will just get fat and lazy if they eat it. Probably best to rigorously control calorie intake for them too. We can have a government bureaucrat weigh little girls and make sure their BMIs are within the acceptable range.

    Seriously, why the hell do people think "helping" means "control?" They're poor not necessarily gluttons. People have bad times, don't turn it into forcing them to give up such basic rights as to choose what they eat.

    If someone is in a situation where they get government assistance don't you think the funds should be spent on nutritionally dense food?
  • queenliz99
    queenliz99 Posts: 15,317 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    tak13517 wrote: »
    vegmebuff wrote: »
    What are your thoughts?
    Yes, junk/processed food should either be taxed or cost more. Healthy food should cost less. I think some families have no choice but to buy junk because they can't afford produce and healthier/leaner meats.

    So you want the poor to pay more in an effectively regressive tax system?

    If someone isn't buying chips, pop, candy etc they aren't paying a tax on it. Some states are working on getting many common, high calorie, low nutrient foods removed from SNAP eligibility lists. This is a good thing IMO.

    I would support a tax on "junk food" if the proceeds were used for health education and increases in SNAP benefits so the poor could afford better quality foods (big qualifier, must remove junk foods from SNAP eligibility).

    Right. We definitely need to help the poor by micromanaging their grocery lists. I think that most bureaucrats are idiots, and that's why they work for the government. So it's basically the overweight and blind leading the overweight and blind.

    Not a problem, if people don't want to eat items on the list they can just skip the SNAP payments. There is already a precedent with the WIC program, just pays for a list certain foods.

    You're right. SNAP payments shouldn't pay for ice cream because poor children will just get fat and lazy if they eat it. Probably best to rigorously control calorie intake for them too. We can have a government bureaucrat weigh little girls and make sure their BMIs are within the acceptable range.

    Seriously, why the hell do people think "helping" means "control?" They're poor not necessarily gluttons. People have bad times, don't turn it into forcing them to give up such basic rights as to choose what they eat.

    If someone is in a situation where they get government assistance don't you think the funds should be spent on nutritionally dense food?

    They should eat whatever they see fit.
  • gothchiq
    gothchiq Posts: 4,592 Member
    Its already taxed like the rest of the groceries.
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    gothchiq wrote: »
    Its already taxed like the rest of the groceries.

    I would assume the OP means at a higher level than other foods, an excise tax similar to those on alcohol and tobacco products.
  • sunnybeaches105
    sunnybeaches105 Posts: 2,831 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    tak13517 wrote: »
    vegmebuff wrote: »
    What are your thoughts?
    Yes, junk/processed food should either be taxed or cost more. Healthy food should cost less. I think some families have no choice but to buy junk because they can't afford produce and healthier/leaner meats.

    So you want the poor to pay more in an effectively regressive tax system?

    If someone isn't buying chips, pop, candy etc they aren't paying a tax on it. Some states are working on getting many common, high calorie, low nutrient foods removed from SNAP eligibility lists. This is a good thing IMO.

    I would support a tax on "junk food" if the proceeds were used for health education and increases in SNAP benefits so the poor could afford better quality foods (big qualifier, must remove junk foods from SNAP eligibility).

    Right. We definitely need to help the poor by micromanaging their grocery lists. I think that most bureaucrats are idiots, and that's why they work for the government. So it's basically the overweight and blind leading the overweight and blind.

    Not a problem, if people don't want to eat items on the list they can just skip the SNAP payments. There is already a precedent with the WIC program, just pays for a list certain foods.

    You're right. SNAP payments shouldn't pay for ice cream because poor children will just get fat and lazy if they eat it. Probably best to rigorously control calorie intake for them too. We can have a government bureaucrat weigh little girls and make sure their BMIs are within the acceptable range.

    Seriously, why the hell do people think "helping" means "control?" They're poor not necessarily gluttons. People have bad times, don't turn it into forcing them to give up such basic rights as to choose what they eat.

    If someone is in a situation where they get government assistance don't you think the funds should be spent on nutritionally dense food?

    No, I don't. The purpose is to alleviate poverty not to nitpick their grocery lists. Cupcakes aren't a sin. Besides, every silly decision like this will only cost more money and red tape.