To tax or not to tax, fat that is.


The fat tax is in the media again. Denmark’s experiment has failed miserably after 1 year – people have revolted and shopped across the border. Unfortunately, if it happened in Australia people would not have that luxury. By the way, Aussies are still reeling from the carbon tax and now possible debt tax is hanging over them. Not sure if they could take another tax…

Denmark has taken one approach and taxed the product, kind of like what happened with tobacco. Unlike tobacco, though, which is one product one ingredient, they taxed food products containing certain levels of sugar and/or saturated fat. This, as we can imagine, has created a bit of an administrative hell for companies. Greece should learn from this…

By the way, since McDonalds has switched to Canola oil, they could probably avoid paying the saturated fat component, but fat chance about sugar! Nearly all items on their menu are loaded with it.

The other approach would be to tax the individuals who choose this lifestyle. Of course, safeguards should be in place for people with genetic disorders, or other afflictions that are not their fault. Not sure how people who lost their gall bladder would fare as many have complained about weight gain after the surgery. Would they have a claim?

Apparently, nearly 40% of Americans would support taxing the obese. This is a big surprise in a country where 75% of people are heavier than they should be. So even fat people agree with this. Strange. After all, airlines do charge people for excess baggage…

The question is not if, but when and how. It is inevitable. In America, the annual medical cost of obesity is estimated to be $190 billion. This is a staggering amount, but would the medical industry let go of the golden goose without a fight? Well, the government might as well jump in for a ride on the gravy train. I’m sure that medical and food industry “experts” will help shape the policies.

The fat tax is not going to change anything as far the obesity epidemic goes. As we have seen from the tax on cigarettes, smokers keep on smoking. Whoever is addicted to sugar will have their cake and eat it, too. First time I visited Max Brenner Chocolate Bar, I could not believe that they were selling slices of cake for $12 each, but there were plenty of customers. A slice of similar cake could have been purchased for a fraction of this just around the corner. Saturated fat is not a cause of obesity as can be seen from the French paradox and Sweden. So this part is a scam in my view.

Taxing the individual is risky. Politicians would be shooting themselves in the foot as majority of voters fall into that category. However, some countries are sneaking this tax on certain products already. It’s called discounts. Health insurance companies can easily afford to lower the premiums for people with healthy weight. After all, this is a shrinking minority and won’t hurt the bottom line.

In summary, I dare to say that we will see fat tax shortly. Most likely it will be a combination of the different methods and somewhat diguised by clever marketing. Will it make a difference? It will financially hit the poorer population the most, since junk food is the cheapest and the cost of other food will probably rise in proportion. However, I don’t think that anyone will get healthier because of it.

About istayinshape

Passionate about keeping in shape body, mind and spirit. Can help you achieve that dream body.
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