Sunday, January 11, 2009

I vote No on Paterson's Obesity Tax !

Nobody these days seems to sit down and calculate the consequences of their actions. In the case of Food or Soda Pop or Obesity many ideas have come along, we have made adjustments to our lives, and nobody reexamines the reason we are doing things.

The local New York State Governor has proposed an obestity tax on soda pop. The theory is that soda pop has replaced the amount and need of the consumption of water in many people’s daily calorie intake. Calories make fat and fat makes obesity. Obesity likely leads to diseases such as diabetes that has increased dramatically in the population in the last decade or two.

Interesting idea for a tax to immediately tackle a possible health hazard. It is not unlike the tax on cigarettes here in New York City. Cigarettes are selling for something like $9.00 a pack these days. The tax will supposedly drive down demand and make people healthier in the sugar and tobacco departments.

Of course more government in our lives to collect taxes is not a great idea from my point of view.

I look at the bottle tax that has been in effect for several decades and wonder where does all the redemption money go if the consumer does not want to stand in line and cash in empty soda and beer containers. Does the supermarket pocket the unredeemed money or does the state? This bottle tax is a nuisance tax and was instituted before mandatory recycling in most local communities nationwide. The state does not review or revoke useless or obsolete taxes especially when it pockets the monies to waste on other government boondoggles.

Going back to the late 1960’s was when soda pop marketing and packaging produced an excess of glass and plastic that overwhelmed trash collections and land fills. The bottle tax was a good idea at one point in time. It is now a regressive and unfair tax on the consumer.

Which leads me to the concept - a green concept - that a lot of restaurants and consumers are going after and that is to consume farm goods produced a small driving distance away. Less driving means less gasoline wasted in transporting food. I do not know how well the theory of this works in the everyday practice of the idea but this green thing almost seems like a religious experience for some. I think it should be considered and used if it works both to reduce gasoline consumption and encourage a redevelopment and expansion of local farms and local labor needed to process local food and produce a local profit.

Last thought. This is a full circle. Maybe just maybe, before the Masters of Business Administration started shaving fractions of penny profits for the food industry over the past few decades, maybe the original give and take of local production and local processing of food and beverages and recycling etc - maybe a smaller soda pop with real sugar and no chemicals, produced locally, is a better way to go for beverage consumption than a temporary, never to be repealed, state tax on soda.

Maybe with a high cost of energy, some old models of production and consumption are viable and indeed profitable and lead to a better way of living in the future. These classic model processes certainly are worth examining and reexamining in the scheme of things.

Maybe even GLOBAL has a limit or point of diminished returns.

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