There obviously seems to be a correlation between consumption and corpulence. But as much as this approach makes sense on paper, is it the most sensible strategy toward battling obesity and promoting good eating habits? These sorts of “sin taxes” are often viewed as overly moral and far too dogmatic to actually take. It also runs the risk of being overly paternal and dictatorial in tone (“You can’t have your dessert until you eat all of your growing food”), which may well result in feelings of persecution and objectification by the underprivileged. Maybe a better tact would be making the inherent value of the food stamps (or more commonly known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) to be greater when used in the purchase of healthier whole foods, rather than sodas and junk foods. Some critics of this proposed plan see it as a potential PR disaster, as well as a logistical nightmare waiting to happen, and are more eager to propose alternate options, like a calorie cap.
Regardless of whether or not this proposal takes and effectively restricts the flow of calorie-rich sodas to food stamp recipients, there remains a serious and significant health and obesity crisis in this country. Do you feel these sort of government sponsored measures, making soda an out of pocket expense, do much to address the problem? Is this just infantilizing a portion of the population? Or should we resort to a “by any means” necessary line of attack when contending with our national heath and obesity crisis?