Instigator / Con
Points: 14

Junk Food Tax

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 2 votes the winner is ...
Club
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Health
Time for argument
Two days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Pro
Points: 8
Description
A nice debate about the JF Tax, if it's practical, and should we implement it into the law system of today.
Round 1
Published:
I waive...
Published:
You waive this round, fine.

As of right now, I propose a 20% tax on junk food.  There are multiple reasons for this.

1) It does not hurt the poor that much in comparison to the rich unless they stop eating it and switch to healthier food.  If it did, it would deter poor people from eating bad food, leading them to switch to healthier food.  Currently, there isn't a strong correlation between income level and fast food consumption(https://theconversation.com/do-poor-people-eat-more-junk-food-than-wealthier-americans-79154).  

2) It helps decrease the income tax by providing alternative sources of revenue for governments.  If we don't have a junk food tax, it leads to more income tax, which discourages income production.  Better to discourage something bad like junk food consumption then to discourage something good, like income.
Round 2
Published:
Junk food, the despised product by most "healthy" Americans. Government officials are starting to blame this food for the cause of obesity in America. They are creating a junk food tax hoping to decrease the amount of obese citizens. But it just won’t work!
    Now this tax isn’t new. In 2011, Denmark introduced the world first tax relating to this matter, “The Fat Tax”. Less than 12 months after it was introduced, it was taken away. Danish people were going other countries to buy the cheap, good tasting junk food. If we implement this tax , some junk food driven people would go to other countries to buy it! )
    The tax has not faced the real problem, promotions and advertising. Health campaigns funded by the government were crushed by the junk food marketing. Frito lay itself spend 146 million dollars a year on marketing. The problem of obesity is too complex for just a junk food tax to eliminate it."The bottom line is that the tax isn't going to make anybody healthier, it's not going to make a dent in a problem as complex and serious as obesity, and we're certainly not going to solve the complexities of the health -care system with a tax on soda pop." Kevin W. Keane a worker at the American Beverage Association says. Also a report from the Tax Policy Center said that nutrition taxes are understudied, so it’s very risky to implement this tax.
A study from Cornell university, found that in Berkeley the cities obesity rates didn’t lower as much as people thought. So if you are thinking about a massive curb in obesity, it won’t happen. It’s bad for economy too. The potato chip industry is worth 26 billion dollars and the candy industry is worth 79 billion dollars, so how much do you think the junk food industry is worth? You are putting a industry worth billions at risk just for a tax that won’t work and people hate. A junk food tax in Hungary was released in 2011, it only lowered the consuming of junk food products by 3.4%, and the raised the consuming of healthy products by 1.1% also thus proving that it won’t curb obesity that much.
This proves 1, THE TAX DOESN'T WORK
The junk food tax is just making the obese poor. They will keep on buying the junk food for a more expensive price. Instead of having a cheaper alternative to healthy food, they’ll have 2 expensive options. Junk food activates the same centers in your brain that cocaine does, so it’s really easy to get addicted. “Food companies will spend millions of dollars to discover the most satisfying level of crunch in potato chips and their scientists will test for the perfect amount of fizzle in a soda,” “Don't get caught in their traps.” says Shayna Komar, a licensed registered dietitian.
The tax is just hurting the poor and helping the rich. Poor people who are used to buying the cheaper, shelf stable, and  convenient unhealthy option will have to pay more, making them even more poor. All the relief programs will be useless. The poor people will just have no choice in food resulting in starvation. The whole point of tax was to get people less sick, but in the end you would just make more people sick!

This proves 2, IT WILL MAKE THE POOR POORER.




Published:
Poor people who are used to buying the cheaper, shelf stable, and  convenient unhealthy option will have to pay more, making them even more poor.
It's a 20% tax; it won't hurt them that much.  8% of Americans spend less then $50 a week on food.  This will cost the poor people about $10 extra per week(https://news.gallup.com/poll/156416/americans-spend-151-week-food-high-income-180.aspx).  They can get the money for this by removing the time and a half regulation imposed by businesses and allowing their employees to work 12 hours a day without extra pay.  If farmers can work this hard doing hard work, waking at early hours, poor people can work this hard while waking up at a preferable time with easier work (https://www.agweb.com/article/farmers_clock_long_hours_naa_sara_schafer/)

 The poor people will just have no choice in food resulting in starvation.
If they switch to the healthy food which would be more affordable since they are working more hours under my additional plan of reducing the 8 hour a day regulation on businesses, they would be able to afford the cheaper food.

IT WILL MAKE THE POOR POORER.
It would make the poor richer due to another plan that would get put in place.

Dropped points that are worthy of an extension:

-The poor consume junk food at rates comparable to the rich.
-It reduces the income tax.
Round 3
Published:
It's a 20% tax; it won't hurt them that much.  8% of Americans spend less then $50 a week on food.  This will cost the poor people about $10 extra per week
Ok let's just say they spend $50 a week. Since there's 52 weeks in a year, they have to pay A WHOPPING $520 more. I know that doesn't sound much, but to poor people that's probably more than they can afford. 
They can get the money for this by removing the time and a half regulation imposed by businesses and allowing their employees to work 12 hours a day without extra pay.  If farmers can work this hard doing hard work, waking at early hours, poor people can work this hard while waking up at a preferable time with easier work
You're literally just saying that if poor people work more they can afford it. It in fact is NOT EASIER TO DO MORE WORK, it's harder. Why should they work more for a tax that DOESN'T WORK! The government will be starving poor people while trying to help rich obese people get back in shape. Where have our top priorities gone?

Note:
Please respond to my first point, it'd be great to have feedback before the group debate so I can mentally prepare myself for losing (badly) to one of the best debaters in DART.


Published:
Ok let's just say they spend $50 a week.
A 20% tax would make them pay $60 a week.  Not a huge increase.

It in fact is NOT EASIER TO DO MORE WORK, it's harder.
Working 12 hours a day as a McDonald cashier is easier then working 12 hours a day as a farmer yet farmers can do their job just fine.  If farmers can do their jobs under the harsh conditions that they do it in, poor people can do their jobs in better conditions.

Why should they work more for a tax that DOESN'T WORK!
They should work more to get more money, but that's off topic.  They don't consume fatty foods much more then rich people that I cited in R1, so the tax doesn't hurt the poor disproportionally.  

The government will be starving poor people while trying to help rich obese people get back in shape. Where have our top priorities gone?
The government won't be starving poor people since the poor can afford the tax, especially if they are working 12 hour days like farmers.  They would be making an extra $29 a day from it so they can easily afford an extra $10 per week extra cost in food.

Please respond to my first point
I might have missed it.  No one's perfect.  To address your point,

Now this tax isn’t new. In 2011, Denmark introduced the world first tax relating to this matter, “The Fat Tax”. Less than 12 months after it was introduced, it was taken away. Danish people were going other countries to buy the cheap, good tasting junk food. If we implement this tax , some junk food driven people would go to other countries to buy it! )
If the US installs this as a nationwide tax, then under the status quo, Americans just can't leave the country to buy junk food.  People also wouldn't spend $40 on gas and hours of their time just to move to a place where they could avoid a 20 cent tax on junk food.  Something Denmark has that the US doesn't have is open borders with other countries.  In the US, you can't just move to another country.  People leave a country for reasons other then saving 20 cents a day on junk food.  Almost no one if anyone would leave the country for this sole reason.


Round 4
Published:
A 20% tax would make them pay $60 a week.  Not a huge increase.
As I have pointed out yes it is. Let's say a poor person makes a little more than minimum wage, $8 (US). This person has a great work ethic (which not a lot of poor people do), and works 12 hours all 7days of the week. They make $672. Their annual salary is $34,500 dollars. Since they spend $60 a week on food and the tax then they spend $3120, that's about a 17% increase of money due to the tax. So yes, huge increase.
Working 12 hours a day as a McDonald cashier is easier then working 12 hours a day as a farmer yet farmers can do their job just fine.  If farmers can do their jobs under the harsh conditions that they do it in, poor people can do their jobs in better conditions.
Yeah, but farmers make more than people who work at McDonalds, and I don't understand how that refutes to "It in fact is NOT EASIER TO DO MORE WORK, it's harder." You're just saying that farmers work hard, why can't poor people?
They should work more to get more money, but that's off topic.  They don't consume fatty foods much more then rich people that I cited in R1, so the tax doesn't hurt the poor disproportionally.  
The correct statement should've been 
"They should work more to get more money for a tax THAT DOESN'T WORK!" And if rich people eat a lot of junk food, then poor people eat more, so they will be still effected. The problem is they're being affected not that they're being affected "disproportionally".
If the US installs this as a nationwide tax, then under the status quo, Americans just can't leave the country to buy junk food.  People also wouldn't spend $40 on gas and hours of their time just to move to a place where they could avoid a 20 cent tax on junk food.  Something Denmark has that the US doesn't have is open borders with other countries.  In the US, you can't just move to another country.  People leave a country for reasons other then saving 20 cents a day on junk food.  Almost no one if anyone would leave the country for this sole reason.
Sorry for being unclear, that wasn't my first point, my first point was the tax doesn't work. Thanks!!
I might have missed it.  No one's perfect.  To address your point
I agree



Published:
Yeah, but farmers make more than people who work at McDonalds
They have to save that money over the course of a year for seeds and equipment renting in some instances, plus they have to pay more rent for more land if they don't own the land, so it's not like they get the money free and clear.  They also need to know business skills in addition to agricultural stuff, and they work in harder conditions than the poor.  Poor people don't need to know much to get their job working.

You're just saying that farmers work hard, why can't poor people?
Because poor people ought to have to work for 100% of what they receive in the form of a salary.

The correct statement should've been 
"They should work more to get more money for a tax THAT DOESN'T WORK!" And if rich people eat a lot of junk food, then poor people eat more, so they will be still effected. The problem is they're being affected not that they're being affected "disproportionally".
The tax won't discourage junk food consumption but there are benefits to it.

You're just saying that farmers work hard, why can't poor people?
Basically.  If poor people are overworked from 12 hour a day work days, how come farmers can do it just fine?  Poor people ought to emulate farmers on their working habits.

Sorry for being unclear, that wasn't my first point, my first point was the tax doesn't work. Thanks!!
It might not work, but the tax does have other benefits such as:

-It doesn't hurt a poor person compared to a rich person, since the tax is comparable on both parties.
-It decreases the income tax.
Round 5
Published:
It might not work, but the tax does have other benefits such as:

-It doesn't hurt a poor person compared to a rich person, since the tax is comparable on both parties.
-It decreases the income tax.
It decreases the income tax because there's a new tax, so they still pay the same amount of money.
It doesn't matter if it effects disproportionally
Basically.  If poor people are overworked from 12 hour a day work days, how come farmers can do it just fine?  Poor people ought to emulate farmers on their working habits.
But why should they work harder for a tax that doesn't work and has no benefits whatsoever(I refuted your benefits).
They have to save that money over the course of a year for seeds and equipment renting in some instances, plus they have to pay more rent for more land if they don't own the land, so it's not like they get the money free and clear.  They also need to know business skills in addition to agricultural stuff, and they work in harder conditions than the poor.  Poor people don't need to know much to get their job working.
Farmers do work hard, I agree, but poor people shouldn't have to work harder for a tax that doesn't work and is completely useless to society.
The tax won't discourage junk food consumption but there are benefits to it.
Well, thanks for the concession. But there are no other benefits, so the tax is useless.


Published:
It decreases the income tax because there's a new tax, so they still pay the same amount of money.
It doesn't matter if it effects disproportionally
If the income tax gets decreased, then people would have incentive to make more money, so even if they are paying the same amount on average, since they are making more money, it helps them out more.

But why should they work harder for a tax that doesn't work and has no benefits whatsoever
They should work harder to get more money and to be less dependent on welfare.

Farmers do work hard, I agree, but poor people shouldn't have to work harder for a tax that doesn't work and is completely useless to society.
The tax's use is decreasing the income tax.  So the tax isn't, "useless"

Well, thanks for the concession. But there are no other benefits, so the tax is useless.
It wasn't a concession.  Just because a tax doesn't discourage something doesn't mean there are other uses to it.  An example is the tax discourages the income tax, which gives more incentive to make money which benefits the economy.

Vote Pro.
Added:
Lesssgoooooo
Instigator
#21
Added:
--> @Alec, @Club
Good debate, I left some constructive criticism for you both. Try to take it to heart! :)
#20
Added:
Bump.
Contender
#19
Added:
Bump
Instigator
#18
Added:
--> @Club
It’s on my list :)
Just so you know; I subscribe to all debates I haven’t voted in; and vote based on how long is remaining. I’ve only missed votes when there are a lot ending at the same time; or when I’ve been super busy (as I have been the last couple of weeks).
As a debate that sucked up spare time is mostly over now, I should have more time to vote and catch up :)
I have about 14 debates in my list now :)
#17
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
Vote Please
I don't wanna tie, I wanna lose or win (mostly win though)
Instigator
#16
Added:
--> @Alec
Vote CON
Instigator
#15
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--> @Club
Vote Pro
Contender
#14
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--> @Alec
Vote Con
Instigator
#13
Added:
Vote Con
Instigator
#12
Added:
--> @Club
I would also agree that my "modest proposal" is unrealistic...as I said, I said in jest (sorta). But I would also counter that just because a tax might be easy to implement is not good enough reason to implement it.
#11
Added:
--> @GuitarSlinger
Tax those who are obese requires much more thought, you have to look into everyone's medical record, and then find if they're obese or not. I agree it's unfair, but it's unrealistic.
Instigator
#10
Added:
--> @Alec
I eat and enjoy my junk food, but I also exercise regularly (run at least 4 times a week, play basketball 3 times a week). As a result, I am not obese-- i'm in great shape-- i'm one of those guys that can eat whatever I want, including junk food, and still maintain a healthy weight (it's a curse, I know). I should not be penalized (i.e. taxed) simply because others can't do the same......
Allow me to borrow a pen from Jonathan Swift and submit my own "modest proposal". If the intent is to curb or stop obesity, then how about we just tax those that are obese, rather than tax everyone who partakes of said junk food? This would provide a clear incentive to those who engage in an unhealthy lifestyle. The tax could be proportionate to the individual's um,....proportions......your % tax could be tied to something like BMI, or something like that....
I say all this in jest....well....sorta....
#9
Added:
--> @GuitarSlinger
If a deal was made that a junk food tax would be implemented in exchange for a reduction in the income tax, then it would work. Many representatives are in the GOP and they would want the income tax abolished. This tax helps get revenue for the federal gov without an income tax.
Contender
#8
Added:
--> @Alec
First, I've only read the first round of arguments.
Your first point (1) is not really a "reason". Or at least I had trouble understanding how the point is a reason to implement a JF Tax. It is simply stating that implementing a JF tax would not impact the poor as much-- this is not really a reason.
Your second point (2) does seem to be a reason put forth by you. However, I would counter that you're making an assumption that the JF Tax would decrease the income tax. You don't know this- it's an assumption. For all we know, Congress' voracious appetite for money would not decrease and thus the "need" for the income tax would still be there.
#7
#2
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Will it hurt the poor?
Both sides agree that it will hurt the poor, but pro claims it will not be by that much, con claims it would be significant.
Con substantiates how much it will hurt the poor, and states that it would constitute a 17% increase for them. I’m not convinced by the math, but the idea that the poor will be hurt by the tax is compelling.
Pro does almost nothing in justifying the primary premise and benefit of the tax - which is to change behaviour, there is no detailing of how practical it is, how the poor could change their behaviour and but healthier food to save money.
I fact pro doesn’t seem to actually offer any health benefits or intent behind the tax of any kind. This lack of clear objective benefit significantly harms pros case.
That it eliminates the income tax is likewise unwarranted. Pro doesn’t show how much it will take in, how much it would reduce income tax by, how how much it would reduce overall tax burden of everyone, and offers no real argument to support changing how people will be taxed will affect production.
Con points out that pros argument that the poor can simply work longer, is pretty outrageous and I have to agree with him, as this is clearly against basic intuition.
Cons best point however is that in situe with harming the poor: instead of allowing the poor to chose between a cheap and an expensive option - it makes them chose between two expensive options.
I didn’t really buy cons case about the junk food tax in the Netherlands - I think con needed to provide better rationale here, or simply rely on the point above.
All told; con gave me a relatively compelling harm: that the poor will be forced to spend more and this is on balance harmful. Pro gave no real compelling harm, and no real justified reason to implement the tax. Both the “only harms the poor a little”, and “it lowers income tax” were both unconvincing and unjustified: and both covered by con.
Saying this, con needs to focus more on the food security, food cost and food availability aspects of the tax for it to be compelling: imo.
As a result of the above, however, I have to give this one to con: as they showed the clear harm in the absence of a clear tangible benefit.
#1
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
This argument devolved into an argument over whether a 20% tax is significant for the average poor person.
Pro starts off by saying that the tax would not hurt the poor when trying to purchase junk food, and that even if it did, it would cause healthier eating. They also state that the poor do not eat junk food more than the rich. Pro, I might have bought this point, but Con gave some evidence as to why poor people will be addicted to junk food and pay a larger price for it, hence hurting them economically. You could have given counter-evidence to delink the argument, but all you tried to do was dampen the impact. You said a 20% tax is not significant for a poor person, and that for me was not an intuitive argument. You also said they could work more, but I have a hard time buying the idea that all poor people have a job in the first place, much less are able to get more hours. The links weren't clear and so I must award this argument to Con.
Next, Pro presents an argument that the income tax would decrease as a result of this tax, which becomes his main argument in favor. This was a much more intuitive argument against Con's case, as he spends the whole time refuting the idea of the tax reducing obesity. Con, you need to make sure to directly address Pro's arguments BEFORE the final speeches! I must award this argument to Pro because you did not get to it until final speech, when new arguments are not allowed.
However, Pro: I did not see a clear link between a junk food tax and a decreased income tax. Who is to say the taxes would necessarily decrease at all? Why would it be that particular tax, and not something like the estate tax?
Thus, I must weigh two uncontested arguments: the tax hurting poor people vs. a decrease in income tax.
Neither side gives me a weighing mechanism, so therefore I must go by which argument is most intuitively convincing.
Con could provide me a numerical value of how much poor people would get hurt by the tax: $520 more per year.
Pro could not guarantee me the benefit of a decrease in income tax nor quantify how much that decrease would be.
Thus, I must award this debate to Con.