It’s hard to believe – well, maybe not – that the Chicago-based American Medical Association (AMA) would be so out of touch with America’s obesity epidemic that they are now proposing a soda tax to "fight obesity." We should ask ourselves, especially in light of the growing cigarette use in teens these days, how that approach has worked for cigarettes.
To think, even for a second, that a "penny-per-ounce" levy would "pare consumption of sugary drinks 5% and therefore cut health costs by $17 billion" is nothing more than spin. I am aware of no study that has proven that taxes cause people to lose weight and keep it off. Nor have I seen any study that has proven that taxes save health care costs. (Please, if you know of even one, please send it to me.)
Even worse: I know it’s the Chicago Way, but since when have doctors become a taxing authority?
Increasingly doctors, especially the paternalistically elite doctors, demonstrate they have no comprehension of the impact their taxes will have on America’s poor. After all, who are the ones drinking the 44-ounce Super Big Gulp while they buy their groceries at 10 p.m.? Are they not the same people who are picking their kids up from day-care at 7 p.m. working service-oriented, hourly wage, poor-benefit jobs – or two even jobs – and are drinking those Big Gulps just to stay awake because the quality of life for the low-income American worker has deteriorated so significantly? Has anyone ever considered that many of the people drinking these sugary drinks have very limited dollars and are drinking their lunches? How much does an organic lactose-free sugar free Kombucha Tea from Whole Foods cost?
If you care about what’s happening to the People of Walmart, go in their neighborhoods, gas stations, and day care centers and get a real sense of how difficult life has become for this demographic. Get out of the John F. Kennedy School of Government and walk the streets and talk to the people. As yourself if changing human behavior really so simple as imposing a sales tax on goods.
But then again, what else should we expect from an medical organization based in the state with the highest sales tax in the US?