Posted in food nazi, Government intervention, Health Care, nanny state, Taxation, tagged food nazi, Government intervention, Health Care, Higher Taxes, nanny state, Obesity on June 9, 2012 |
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Back in 2009, I wrote about various schemes to impose taxes on unhealthy food. At the time, I was primarily concerned about the risks of giving politicians a new source of revenue that would be used to increase the burden of government spending.
The folks at Reason TV look at the issue from a different angle and explain how government anti-obesity efforts won’t achieve their supposed goals.
One of the frustrating aspects of this debate is that failure will be used to justify even more intervention (aka, Mitchell’s Law). Politicians in New York City have already banned bake sales, for instance, yet that didn’t stop Mayor Bloomberg from unleashing a nutty new plan to prohibit large sodas.
And as explained in the video, the statists will respond to the failure of current anti-obesity efforts by arguing they need even more power to control and tax. And when those new efforts fail, they’ll argue for additional authority. Lather, rinse, repeat.
P.S. I assume this cartoon was designed to show why a value-added tax is a bad idea, but it’s very appropriate for this topic as well.
P.P.S. This issue helps explain the dangers of government-subsidized healthcare. Politicians make taxpayers pick up the tab for other people’s medical expenses and then claim that they should have the power to regulate private behavior in order to reduce costs.
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Posted in Big Government, food nazi, Government intervention, nanny state, Regulation, Statism, tagged food nazi, Food Tax, Mayor Bloomberg, nanny state, Soda Ban, Statism on June 3, 2012 |
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Mayor Bloomberg is a wretched human being. He’s an ultra-rich limousine liberal who wants to impose his views on ordinary people.
I’ve previously written about his statist efforts to ban bake sales, and I’ve noted with mixed feelings his proposal to tell food stamp recipients what they’re allowed to buy.
Now he wants to criminalize large sodas. Holman Jenkins writes about this silly idea in the Wall Street Journal.
Mike Bloomberg’s move to regulate the size of sodas sold in his city illustrates why it’s a good thing he is a mayor of New York and not the czar of all the Russias. American big cities tend to be one-party states to begin with, but at least their totalitarian impulses end up being merely cute because they’re so easy to evade. Under the Bloomberg plan, any cup or bottle of sugary drink larger than 16 ounces at a public venue would be verboten, beginning early next year. You’ll still be able to buy as much Coke as you want in a supermarket. Go home and pour yourself a bucketful. As Mr. Bloomberg himself was the first to note, you’ll also still be free to buy two medium drinks in place of today’s Big Gulp at ballgames, theaters, delis and other venues where the ban would be in effect.
But Mr. Jenkins doesn’t just mock Bloomberg for being a food nanny. He also makes an important point about public policy.
Here is the ultimate justification for the Bloomberg soft-drink ban, not to mention his smoking ban, his transfat ban, and his unsuccessful efforts to enact a soda tax and prohibit buying high-calorie drinks with food stamps: The taxpayer is picking up the bill. Call it the growing chattelization of the beneficiary class under government health-care programs. Bloombergism is a secular trend. Los Angeles has sought to ban new fast-food shops in neighborhoods disproportionately populated by Medicaid recipients, Utah to increase Medicaid copays for smokers, Arizona to impose a special tax on Medicaid recipients who smoke or are overweight. …So perhaps the famous “broccoli” hypothetical during the Supreme Court ObamaCare debate was not so fanciful after all. It flows naturally from the state’s fiscal responsibility for your health that it will try to regulate your behavior, even mandating vegetable consumption.
Or, to summarize, the view of politicians is that the government can tell you how to live because it is paying for your healthcare. This is Mitchell’s Law on steroids! One bad government policy leading to another awful government policy.
And it’s not just Mayor Bloomberg pushing these policies. Other politicians have similar proposals, though it’s quite likely that their main motive is to collect more tax revenue since they are focused on how to tax various “bad” foods.
But let’s try not to be overly depressed. Here’s an amusing cartoon on the topic.
I’m glad that people are mocking Mayor Bloomberg and the rest of the Food Nazis. And it’s good to see that the soft drink industry is fighting back, as seen by this Super Bowl commercial.
Maybe some day we’ll get to the point where people have to smuggle food past government agents. This may sound absurd, but it’s already happening in Norway.
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Posted in food nazi, Government stupidity, Protectionism, Tax avoidance, Taxation, Trade, Underground Economy, tagged Government stupidity, Norway, Protectionism, Tariffs, Taxation, Trade, Underground Economy on December 20, 2011 |
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I’ve written several times about the foolish War on Drugs, which has been about as misguided and ineffective as the government’s War on Poverty.
So when I saw a news report about a couple of Swedes getting busted for smuggling 200-plus kilos of contraband into Norway, and then another story about a Russian getting caught trying to sneak 90 kilos of an illicit substance into the country, I wondered whether these were reports about cocaine or marijuana. Or perhaps heroin or crystal meth.
Hardly. Norway’s law enforcement community was protecting people from the horrible scourge of illegal butter.
Sounds absurd, but there’s been an increase in the demand for butter and high import taxes have created a huge incentive for black market butter sales. Here’s a video on this latest example of government stupidity.
I guess the moral of the story is that if you outlaw butter, only outlaws will have butter. Or perhaps butter is the gateway drug leading to whole milk consumption, red meat, salt, and other dietary sins. Surely Mayor Bloomberg will want to investigate.
By the way, the United States is not immune from foolish policies that line the pockets of criminals. Here’s a video from the Mackinac Center revealing how punitive tobacco taxes facilitate organized crime.
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Posted in food nazi, Higher Taxes, nanny state, Tax Increase, Taxation, tagged food nazi, Higher Taxes, nanny state, Super Bowl Commercial, Tax Increase, Taxation on February 7, 2011 |
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I don’t know if this commercial was broadcast nationally, but I saw it in northern Virginia. A very smart, anti-politician message.
The worst commercial (this is a no-brainer) was from Chrysler. Not because the advertising was bad, but because the company is mooching from the taxpayers.
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I can’t believe I missed this stary from last October. The food Nazis in New York City have banned bake sales. This cripples fundraising for student groups, but that presumably is a small price to pay so that politicians get an opportunity for a few hollow sound bites about childhood obesity. Of course, if the politicians really want to do something about overweight kids, they could arrest the parents and destroy all televisions sets, video games, and computers in private homes. But maybe I shouldn’t give them any ideas. The New York Times has the odious details:
There shall be no cupcakes. No chocolate cake and no carrot cake. According to New York City’s latest regulations, not even zucchini bread makes the cut. …the Education Department has effectively banned most bake sales, the lucrative if not quite healthy fund-raising tool for generations of teams and clubs. The change is part of a new wellness policy that also limits what can be sold in vending machines and student-run stores, which use profits to help finance activities like pep rallies and proms. …Unsurprisingly, the rationale is getting a cool reception among students. At Fiorello H. La Guardia High School on the Upper West Side, students are used to having bake sales several times a month. Now, Yardain Amron, a sophomore basketball player, laments that his team will not be able to raise money for a new scoreboard. Another La Guardia student, Eli Salamon-Abrams, 14, said that when the soccer team held a bake sale in May, his blueberry muffins sold out in 15 minutes. He said of the ban: “I think it’s kind of pointless. I mean, why can’t we have bake sales?” The new policy also requires that vending machines, which generate millions of dollars for school sports, be supplied with snacks such as reduced-fat Baked Doritos and low-sugar granola bars. A new vending machine contract is expected to be approved on Wednesday by the Panel for Educational Policy, the school oversight board. Student stores will be able to sell only approved snacks bought from the new vendor, rather than obtain the food themselves, as they once did. …Department officials are suggesting that teams use walk-a-thons and similar activities as a way of raising money and doing something active.
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Posted in Alarmism, Economics, Fiscal Policy, food nazi, Government stupidity, Health Care, nanny state, Taxation, Uncategorized, tagged Economics, Fiscal Policy, food nazi, Free Markets, Government stupidity, Liberty, nanny state, Statism, Taxation on July 29, 2009 |
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A report at CBSnews.com highlights the growing interest among politicians and bureaucrats in new taxes on sugary drinks, including sports drinks such as Gatorade. This is a reprehensible example of nanny-state intervention, of course, but it shows the risk of having government involved in health care since politicians then assert the right to tell us how to live:
…one of the proposals put before the committee received a nod of approval from health officials today: taxing soda. The [Senate Finance] committee — the last congressional panel expected to produce its own recommendations for health care reform – listened to arguments earlier this year both for and against imposing a three-cent tax on sodas as well as other sugary drinks, including energy and sports drinks like Gatorade. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a three-cent tax would generate $24 billion over the next four years, and proponents of the tax argued before the committee that it would lower consumption of sugary drinks and improve Americans’ overall health. …CDC chief Dr. Thomas Freiden said increasing the price of unhealthy foods “would be effective” at combating the nation’s obesity problem… The American Beverage Association, which strongly opposes the tax, told the Wall Street Journal the tax would hit poor Americans the hardest.
The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, has a similar report about politicians wanting a tax on foods that supposedly lead to obesity. The reason for their interest, not surprisingly, is that a 10 percent tax on such foods may lead to more than $500 billion, which doubtlessly is leading to lots of salivating on Capitol Hill:
Key among the “interventions” the report weighs is that of imposing an excise or sales tax on fattening foods. That, says the report, could be expected to lower consumption of those foods. But it would also generate revenues that could be used to extend health insurance coverage to the uninsured and under-insured, and perhaps to fund campaigns intended to make healthy foods more widely available to, say, low-income Americans and to encourage exercise and healthy eating habits. …a 2004 report prepared for the Department of Agriculture suggested that, for “sinful-food” taxes to change the way people eat, they may need to equal at least 10% to 30% of the cost of the food. And although 40 U.S. states now impose modest extra sales taxes on soft drinks and a few snack items, the Urban Institute report suggests that a truly forceful “intervention” — one that would drive down the consumption of fattening foods and, presumably, prevent or reverse obesity – would have to target pretty much all the fattening and nutritionally empty stuff we eat: “With a more narrowly targeted tax, consumers could simply substitute one fattening food or beverage for another,” the reports says. …Conservatively estimated, a 10% tax levied on foods that would be defined as “less healthy” by a national standard adopted recently in Great Britain could yield $240 billion in its first five years and $522 billion over 10 years of implementation — if it were to begin in October 2010. If lawmakers instituted a program of tax subsidies to encourage the purchase of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, the added revenue would still be $356 billion over 10 years.
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