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The junk-food tax

(article, Culinate staff)

We already have '"sin on cigarettes, alcohol, and other perceived vices. And in recessionary times, governments tend to pass more sin taxes; the public generally accepts them, and the revenue can be lush. So why not tax junk food along the same lines? 

It's not a new idea; Grist's Tom Laskawy batted it around back in 2009. In late July, Mark Bittman resurrected the concept with a lengthy op-ed in the New York Times calling for taxes on '"things The resulting revenue would subsidize healthy food, and the federal government could pat itself on the back for avoiding the medical costs of such preventable, diet-related diseases as diabetes. 

Laskawy agrees that the junk-tax idea is still a good one, but he thinks it'll never happen politically. He also believes that real change won't occur until, as nutritionist Marion Nestle has often noted, junk-food advertising is severely restricted. Good luck with that.