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Is Taxing Soda the Answer… or Even an Answer?

Checking out some news stories today, and I saw that the idea of taxing soda is coming up again. The idea is to combat obesity.

I’ll quite readily agree that too much soda isn’t good for you. I’ll even agree that obesity is an issue. But I don’t think this is a good solution at all.

There’s a lot more to people gaining weight than drinking soda. Lack of access to healthy foods, for example. There are many neighborhoods where fresh produce is simply not accessible. It’s awfully hard to eat healthy if the majority of foods available are processed, high sugar junk.

Then there are the farm subsidies for corn. Most popular sodas use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), in part because it’s so cheap due to the subsidies. Might it make more sense to cut back on the subsidies? There are a lot of less healthy foods that use HFCS. Why focus only on soda?

For that matter, why raise a tax if cutting a subsidy could have a similar impact?

Yes, not a popular notion for farmers, but if they could be encouraged to grow something else, maybe not so bad. It’s not a topic I know that much about, so I’m not going to make precise suggestions.

This is just a proposal by health experts, not legislation pending right now. But when I see something like this that strikes me as a bunch of foolishness, I like to respond.

By all means, let’s take a look at what causes obesity and what can be done about it. But I’d rather see work done toward making healthier foods more available in places they aren’t than a tax on sodas and similar things.