Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
search  
 
Subscribe   Subscribe   MI on Facebook Find us on Twitter Find us on Instagram      
 
 
   
 
     
 

California Healthline

 

Education, Incentives Are Best Choices

September 09, 2011

By David Gratzer

The hot idea in the war on obesity? Taxes.

In Arizona, policymakers are considering a tax on obese Medicaid patients. In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter launched his second attempt to impose a city soda tax weeks ago. President Obama’s debt commission has championed the idea. In California, Assembly member William Monning (D-Carmel), the Assembly Health Committee chair, introduced a bill in February to tax soda.

It’s not just here. Across the Atlantic, France just levied a soda tax. Denmark’s new tax on fat takes effect in October; and the Swedes are considering a calorie tax.

Among these different tax proposals -- the soda tax clearly being the most popular -- one common idea emerges: if people are eating too many calories, hit them in the wallet.

But call me a fat tax skeptic. By all accounts, even the most favorable studies argue that dietary taxes have to be very high -- in the 18% to 25% range -- before they’ll have any real impact on consumers. Even then it’s not clear that people will eat healthier; they may just shift their calories. People may put down the root beer when it’s taxed heavily and pick up the potato chips.

The approach is overly simplistic. Coke isn’t the reason why Americans are too heavy. It’s our entire diet -- and lack of exercise.

What then is to be done?

At a time of rising obesity rates, we should emphasize physical education in our schools and better food in their cafeterias.

Washington, D.C., spends billions of dollars subsidizing big business and bad health choices through agricultural subsidies. It’s difficult to ever see the justification for this, but, at a time of record deficits, there is none.

Health insurance needs to move from a model of sick care to one that promotes wellness. That means, yes, incentives for better health choices.

And, finally, we need to practice more restraint in our eating habits.

Original Source: http://www.californiahealthline.org/think-tank/2011/how-should-policymakers-deal-with-the-fattening-of-california.aspx#David Gratzer#ixzz1XxYKwLYY

 

 
PRINTER FRIENDLY
 
LATEST FROM OUR SCHOLARS

Warning: Disability Insurance Is Hitting The Wall
Charles Blahous, 01-15-15

Transcending King v. Burwell
Avik Roy, 01-15-15

The District Attorney Vs. Prop. 47
Ben Boychuk, 01-14-15

Global Losers - Jihadis War On Our Cities First
Nicole Gelinas, 01-12-15

Obama's Free Community College Plan: Why It Could Hurt More Than Help
Judah Bellin, 01-09-15

Keystone XL And Two Other Things That Won't Happen In 2015
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, 01-09-15

New York City’s ‘Enron’ Peril
Nicole Gelinas, 01-06-15

Bratton Must Stop the Feud Between NYPD, de Blasio
Daniel DiSalvo, 01-06-15

 
 
 

The Manhattan Institute, a 501(c)(3), is a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas
that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.

Copyright © 2015 Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Inc. All rights reserved.

52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017
phone (212) 599-7000 / fax (212) 599-3494