Junk Food Tax

Topic's posts
Posts in total: 43
I absolutely hate the idea of a Junk Food Tax. 

--> @Club
People would still buy it but it would cost more. It would impact the poor more because they have less money which would take a higher percentage of their earnings to buy junk food.

I am against bad food but I am also against bad ideas to get people off bad food. If the aim of the junk food tax was to reduce the amount of people eating junk food drastically then I doubt that would occur but if it is used as another way for the government to gain money through taxation then it would be a win. 

The result would depend on the aim of the junk food tax and I have laid out the best two examples of the aim and what the result would be. My opinion if you haven't realized so don't take this as fact. We would have to wait to see the data on the impact of a junk food tax in order to say objectively what happened. 
--> @omar2345
I completely agree with you. I would like to bring up a  new point though. Even though the tax may seems like it works, it probably won't. You see, the problem of obesity and heart disease is too complicated for just a tax to fix.

--> @omar2345, @Club
This is an example of pigovian taxation. The closest parallel which you can base its possible effects are the various soda taxes implemented across the world. The results of which have generally been reductions of soda consumption.


Even though the tax may seems like it works, it probably won't. You see, the problem of obesity and heart disease is too complicated for just a tax to fix.
Could you elaborate? If you have a set of factors that are directed correlated with a problem, and you minimize those set of factors, the occurrence of that problem should decrease right?
--> @dustryder, @Club
To dustryder:
This is an example of pigovian taxation. The closest parallel which you can base its possible effects are the various soda taxes implemented across the world. The results of which have generally been reductions of soda consumption.

Can you provide me a source instead of wikipedia? Something like a pew research study.

If you are able to can you provide evidence of before and after the impact of a soda tax? Preferably from a professional in that specific field. Don't know who would be helpful in determining what went on. Could be an economist to see if soda was bought less or some other professional that is more helpful. I don't know. Guess you have to figure it out if you want to.  

To club:
I completely agree with you. I would like to bring up a  new point though. Even though the tax may seems like it works, it probably won't. You see, the problem of obesity and heart disease is too complicated for just a tax to fix.
I don't really know about my position now. If something akin to a junk food tax has worked and hasn't impacted society in a detrimental way then I got to change my position.
I do love a home cooked meal.
--> @omar2345
Wikipedia articles are backed up by multiple sources of the type you are describing. If you want to examine the claims made in a Wikipedia argument more in depth, the superscript footnote numbers will link to the relevant articles and studies.


Junk food, the unhealthiest food that you could possibly eat. 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! (describe in less detail)
    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. (use quotes in rebuttal, describe in less detail) Also a report from the Tax Policy Center said that nutrition taxes are understudied, so it’s very risky to implement this tax.
   

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. (only use quotes in rebuttal)
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! (only say first and second sentences)
Obesity is too intricate and elaborate of a problem for a mere tax to solve, the “junk food tax” is just a way for the government to get more money Just look at the public’s opinion, 59% of the public are opposed to the junk food tax  while only 32% like it, the junk food tax will only make people unhappy. (say this in the rebuttal)

Diabetes is the smaller problem compared to the consequential problem of more people growing poorer and poorer everyday, because the food (junk food) that used to be cheap, costs more! 49.1 million people suffer from financial problems, only 25. million people suffer from diabetes. So, conspicuously we should deal with the more substantial problem first. Even though health is more important than money, it costs money to have better health! You don’t want more people to live in poverty do you? If we install a junk food tax more poverty will strike America, and we will regret our decision to enforce a junk food tax.
Junk food doesn’t necessarily cause diabetes. Even the American Diabetes Association says so “Unfortunately, many people think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.” (type 2 diabetes means there is higher sugar in your blood) (junk food causes you to have more weight). IN ORDER TO SUM UP WHAT WERE SAYING WE’VE CREATED A SCENARIO FOR YOU ALL:
Evangelina  has diabetes, and, like many other people suffering from diabetes, she is in severe poverty. She would love to eat good organic greens, but she can not afford to buy them and also support her family. She has tried to et a better job, but she has little education and has to work 3 jobs to afford to feed her 3 children. Putting a tax on the food that she can afford will not make her buy fresh veggies, it will put her family in a headlock, unable to afford what the government so dearly wants her and her children to eat. Now, imagine 10.4 million families like Evangelina’s. We are targeting the wrong thing. Even though it was proposed with good intentions, a junk food tax will only put Evangelina and her three children in a spot where THEY CAN’T AFFORD TO EAT! After 300 years of existence, America still has not figured out how to implement social change without forcing the poor into homelessness, and worse.  
REBUTTAL:

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.  Also, where are your sources?
The Tax Policy Center also said that penny per ounce soft drinks generate about 10 billion dollars a year. This tax is so bad, we are risking billions of dollars, for a tax that might not even work.
(say what you didn’t finish in introduction)
CONCLUSION
The junk food tax is a horrible idea, that people hate, causes poverty, and is useless. The tax shouldn’t be enforced anywhere in the U.S.
 

http://discoverer.prod.sirs.com/discoweb/disco/do/article?urn=urn%3Asirs%3AUS%3BARTICLE%3BART%3B0000299371
http://www.independent.org/news/article.asp?id=9057
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmhttp://discoverer.prod.sirs.com/discoweb/disco/do/article?urn=urn%3Asirs%3AUS%3BARTICLE%3BART%3B0000299371c/articles/PMC3828689/
http://go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=T003&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchResultsType=MultiTab&searchType=BasicSearchForm&currentPosition=2&docId=GALE%7CA255968437&docType=Brief+article&sort=RELEVANCE-SORT&contentSegment=&prodId=MSIC&contentSet=GALE%7CA255968437&searchId=R2&userGroupName=elli13047&inPS=true
http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/how-many-people-are-poor-united-states
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/myths/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/arleneweintraub/2018/01/10/should-we-tax-junk-foods-to-curb-obesity/#1eeb024d7df6
http://www.howmanyarethere.us/how-many-people-have-diabetes-in-the-us/
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170223006278/en/26-Billion-Potato-Chips-Market-Global-Industry
https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/candy-market
CHOICE January 2017 edition.
https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/frito-lay-names-cmo-100547/
https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/why-is-junk-food-so-addictive
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306919215000561
https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/should-we-tax-unhealthy-foods-and-drinks/full
https://www.yelp.com/biz/everything-plastic-philadelphia?adjust_creative=bing&utm_campaign=yelp_feed&utm_medium=feed_v2&utm_source=bing

The following was the planning for an in-person debate regarding the Junk Food Tax. You may see notes saying like where to say something, because of this very same reason. 


--> @dustryder, @omar2345
I don't really know about my position now. If something akin to a junk food tax has worked and hasn't impacted society in a detrimental way then I got to change my position.
If you read the above statements you will see that it hasn't worked for anything. 

Wikipedia articles are backed up by multiple sources of the type you are describing. If you want to examine the claims made in a Wikipedia argument more in depth, the superscript footnote numbers will link to the relevant articles and studies.
Nevertheless, there are still some "wacko" people who put false information without sources on Wikipedia. 
#clubwhenhewasclueless

--> @Club
You've conflated junk food with fat food. The Danish "fat tax" included among other products meat, dairy and cooking oils. I don't consider these products to be junk food and using it as an example against a junk food tax is misleading.

The rest of the arguments made against a junk food tax seem to be predicated on poor implementation and reliance on the nirvana fallacy. They just aren't very good.

What about Poverty rates?
--> @dustryder
Wikipedia articles are backed up by multiple sources of the type you are describing. If you want to examine the claims made in a Wikipedia argument more in depth, the superscript footnote numbers will link to the relevant articles and studies.
Yes but how many are relevant in answering if a tax on food consumption would work? I am sure the person who gave the source would be able to find the data at a much faster rate than someone who hasn't actually looked at the data.

--> @dustryder
I'd also like to point out that I conceded to the debate in the first few sentences. 

--> @Club
What about Poverty rates?
To me this is an implementation detail. If you are taxing junk food in a bid to increase overall health, a reasonable plan to promote healthy options instead of just discouraging unhealthy options would be to then use those taxed dollars to subsidise healthy options. 
--> @dustryder

Poor implementation comes with taxes such as these. Most of the places that experimented with this idea implemented it wrong. The basic idea has multiple "trip-ups" before reaching the ultimate goal. And also what about the true problem? The junk food advertisement. I mentioned that
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 government had already tried to make reasonable planning and advertising of healthy foods. It just doesn't work.
--> @dustryder
I  created a Junk Food tax group debate, I feel like you would be the best choice for the "Pro" side.
--> @Club
good topic!  I like the idea of some kind of round robin debate although implementation and scoring could be tricky.

Since this is a public policy debate we should be specific about which government and how implemented.  The US Fed does not tax food although it does subsidize the production of much of the salt, sugar, and fat that goes into junk food- the most famously over-subsidized being corn almost entirely due to the fact that Iowa votes first in the primaries.  Generations of federal over-subsidization of corn has created massive overproduction of corn and the plasticization of corn into non-traditional food roles like corn syrup substitutes for more traditional cane or beet sugars.  Govt. over-subsidization led to corn overproduction which led to food product innovations designed to exploit hyper-cheap corn. For example, corn starch and corn syrup for breakfast in kid's cereal, corn syrup substitutes for milk, sugar, and maple syrup.  Think about a McDonald's McNugget: made from a chicken almost exclusively force-fed corn for its life, breaded in cornstarch and cornmeal, dipped in flavored corn syrup-- McNuggets are almost entirely made from super cheap government corn.  The number one ingredient in most soft drinks is corn.  If corn were not so cheap and overproduced would we have likely seen the overproduction of cheap, high-calorie, low-nutrition foods like fritos, cheetos, doritios, coke, pepsi, etc?

A huge portion of the junk food problem would be resolved by removing US Federal interference in the corn markets, making junk food far more expensive relative to nutritional food.

State and local govt. could further correct for market inefficiencies by tying grocery tax exemptions to nutrition.  Much of what Frito-Lay and Coca-Cola lobbyists call a fat tax is in fact just state and local efforts to remove some junk foods from traditional grocery tax exemptions.   The argument being that the point of grocery tax exemptions was to make human nutrition cheaper, products with little to no discernible nutritional value aren't really food, they are just makework for human digestion, and so don't qualify for tax exemption.

I generally like the idea of Pigovian Taxes- addressing market inefficiencies by calculating the social costs not resolved by producers and seeking compensation from out of the resulting over-consumption.
--> @Club
Poor implementation comes with taxes such as these. Most of the places that experimented with this idea implemented it wrong.
If that's the case you haven't demonstrated it as such. It's hard to describe the danish fat tax as being applicable and you haven't mentioned any other food taxes that have failed.

On the other hand there are multiple examples of implementations of a soda tax, a subset of a junk food tax which have shown to be effective

And also what about the true problem? The junk food advertisement. I mentioned that
Junk food advertisements are related to overall population health but they are not an argument against junk food taxes in and of themselves. This relates back to the nirvana fallacy that I mentioned before. You seem to think that because food taxes aren't a perfect solution to health and obesity they should be ignored

--> @dustryder
Ah, yes the nirvana fallacy...
But in this case, the food tax would do more harm than good and create more problems. Sure, the tax is one of the only solutions against obesity, but it creates MUCH MORE PROBLEMS. And it targets those in poverty, one of the biggest problems with this world. Would you rather make those in poverty suffer, or stop those rich people who stuff their faces with junk food?

(proposed) RESOLVED:  The US Federal Govt. should implement a national excise tax on junk food

US Federal Government: the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the president, and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court. (Wikipedia)

Excise tax in the United States is an indirect tax on listed items. Excise taxes can be and are made by federal, state and local governments and are not uniform throughout the United States. Some excise taxes are collected from the producer or retailer and not paid directly by the consumer, and as such often remain "hidden" in the price of a product or service, rather than being listed separately. (Wikipedia)

Junk food is a pejorative term, dating back at least to the 1950's, describing food that is high in calories from sugar or fat, with little dietary fiber, protein, vitamins or minerals.