Twinkie Tax Tactic

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The global anti-obesity strategy presented at the World Health Organization meeting in Geneva today includes special taxes on "less-healthy foods." Soon we'll forget this policy proposal began as a joke.

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  1. Joe-

    You’re nothing but an “Urban-plano-fascist.” You want a world-wide “Joeocracy” based on the will of your primitive “urban god.” 🙂

  2. for a second there i thought you’d written “urban-piano-fascist” which sounds kind of neat. the logo could be a bundle of ivory keys.

  3. See, now thoreau made a joke and thus it is only a matter of time before all joe’s whims become law of the land.

    joe: Since you’re now the “presumptive” ruler, why don’t you just tell me what to think. Is it the corn subsidies or the tax scheme that I should fear most? Oh, right. As the Serpent pointed out, I have nothing to fear now that a benevolent force protecting me from my formerly-misguided desires.

  4. ps– I love it when you call me Nancy.

  5. I don’t really give a rat’s ass how you feel about things, Nancy.

  6. How many calories are in a rat’s ass?

  7. Dunno, but it’s probably low-carb and low-to-no trans fats.

  8. joe: Where’s that famous compassion? Perhaps you reserve that sentiment for those whose silence you interpret as need?

    Would you care to make your case in favor of variable taxes? Obviously (I think), a sales tax doesn’t work since it makes food for the poor more expensive. But, if you don’t engineer on the comsumption side, people will still choose cheap starch with their limited funds. Perhaps if we put the starch merchants at the edge of town, far from transit stops, the poor would be forced to get some walking exercise in the process of buying potato chips.

  9. I just remembered that Mohammed Atta had an urban planning degree. I guess he wasn’t an “Islamo-fascist.” He was actually an “urban-plano-fascist” trying to clear some lots in Manhattan.

    Now we see what joe and his buddies have in store for the world…. 🙂

  10. Mark, I believe he’s calling you ‘Nancy’ because the internet is the only forum where he could actually call another man Nancy and not have his ass handed to him.

  11. At least he’s not calling you Shirley. 🙂

  12. Another problem with this proposed tax is that people who do NOT have problems will have to suffer for the people who do. I’ve been underweight my whole life (except for this one weird year in high school when my Growth Spurt moved out instead of up); seriously, would somebody tell me why I must pay more for the one or two donuts I eat in a week, because the Homer Simpsons of the world are incapable of opening their mouths without shoving said donuts into them?

    On a similar thread some weeks ago I posted a link about a New Haven public school which has banned ALL junk food; kids can’t even bring it in from home. The article said that 15 percent of the kids there are fat. So one hundred percent of the kids must suffer?

    By the way, in America even poor people can afford to buy healthy, low-cal foods like fruits and vegetables and oddly colored loaves of bread.
    Also, as much as I disagree with Joe on this one I’d rather debate with him than throw insulting names his way.

  13. as much as I disagree with Joe on this one I’d rather debate with him than throw insulting names his way

    In case you didn’t notice, my “urban-plano-fascist” and “joeocracy” posts all had smiley faces in them.

  14. Thoreau-
    Yeah, I know. I wasn’t actually referring to you in that comment. I don’t buy into most slippery slop arguments; it IS in fact possible to have a society that has restrictive taxes on certain government-disapproved items yet still offers a remarkable amount of freedom in other areas. If this idiot tax passes it will piss me off, but it’s not necessarily the death knell to personal freedom.

  15. By the way, having stood up for Joe and those who agree with him, I’d still like them to tell me why I must pay more for my occasional donut or cookie.

    According to height-weight charts, I’d need to gain about 50 pounds to be considered dangerously obese; to be considered dangerously malnourished I’d only have to lose 15. Thus we see that I am more than three times closer to starvation than to fathood, so why should my grocery bill be made higher?

  16. I have actually heard the argument made that the poor have to be fat because they can not afford healthier food.

    Now even if this was the case … the answer is still obvious: EAT LESS. If you eat less calories than you burn, regardless of what you eat, you will lose weight (call me old fashioned).

    Oh sure it may not be a healthy diet but the bottom line is you will not be fat.

    Besides as has been mentioned many fruits and vegetables are fairly cheap too. It is true that they are not as cheap on a per calorie basis as fast food. But if you are overweight excessive calories is a large part of the problem to begin with.

  17. Is anyone but me embarrassed that a B-list movie (specifically “Demolition Man”) has turned out to be prophetic?

    Taco Bell anyone?

  18. It’s a good thing to know that the libertarian activists at Bureaucrash were there flying the flag of freedom — http://bureaucrash.com/modules/news/index.php?storytopic=17

  19. Gunner Hegel: Is anyone but me embarrassed that a B-list movie (specifically “Demolition Man”) has turned out to be prophetic?

    Didn?t that film also predict a President Schwarzenegger?

  20. Would the WHO rather have people who don’t get enough food, or would they rather have people who don’t get fat. Or are they really just playing both ends off the middle? As noted in previous threads, one of the major reasons that poor people, in the US at least, are obese is that the cheaper foods are also the ones with ‘less nutritional value’, commonly taken to mean they are fairly dense in calories, fat, and refined carbohydrates (if people were starving, wouldn’t these be high in nutritional value?). So, the reasons that poorer people get fat is they consume these foods which they can afford, both in materials cost and labor cost (less preparation time). What’s the answer then? According to the WHO, it’s to put a tax on those foods that these poorer people are eating more than the remainder of the people. I don’t remember any type of ‘progressive’ organization advocating such a regressive tax as such, but apparently it’s ok when you’re ‘fighting fatness’.

    My hopes for the day that NGO’s like this come to the realization that (at least some) people should take their own responsibilities fade daily.

  21. Sullum sez, “Soon we’ll forget this policy proposal began as a joke.”

    Merritt sez, “Go back a couple of decades, Jacob, to old comedy routines — maybe try Monty Python, or Firesign Theatre; or the ‘Future News’ predictions of Laugh-In; or the comedy movies Americathon, TunnelVision, or Groove Tube. There are probably hundreds of examples. A LOT of what we accept as routine today started out as a reductio ad absurdum type of joke in some comedy sketch.”

    Reality does the comedians one better every time. Better pay attention to today’s jokesters. Whether they know it or not, many of them aren’t joking.

  22. All the same, I would prefer that corn subsidies be eliminated. Those subsidies, in effect, serve as a negative tax on starch and sugar; eliminating the subsidies would be economically equivalent to taxing most junk food.

  23. A lot of states tax groceries. Why NOT vary the tax rates?

  24. Because taxing some foods more than others in social engineering, which most of us don’t like.

  25. ‘Andy Briscoe, president of the Sugar Association in Washington, D.C., disagrees with the proposal. “Over the last 30 years, the per capita consumption of sugar ? sucrose ? has gone down from 72 pounds per person to 45 pounds per person a year. If sugar intake has gone down, then it’s not as a significant contributing factor to the obesity issue as some people have made it out to be.”‘

    Sugar intake has not gone down. Cane sugar has been largely been replaced with “high fructose corn sugar” in most Americans’ diets. Corn sugar made from subsidized corn. Think about that – even given the subsidies to Big Sugar, and the greater processing required to get the same amount of sugar from corn as from cane, the level of corn subsidy is so high that corn sugar is still cheaper.

    Dr. Pepper is the only major soda made with cane sugar. That’s why your mouth doesn’t get that sticky “smack smack smack” sensation after drinking it.

  26. Why NOT vary the tax rates?

    Joe-

    I admit that taxing cola at a somewhat higher rate than celery wouldn’t be a disaster for freedom on the scale of the Drug War or the income tax or Jim Crow or whatever. I still think it would be a bad idea for a few reasons.

    First, the more complicated the tax code, the more it distorts the market. OK, a little inefficiency in the cola vs. celery market isn’t anything compared with, say, farm subsidies, but it still isn’t something we should actively seek.

    Much more importantly, selective taxation for allegedly noble goals rapidly turns into selective taxation for whatever special interest groups have the most clout. We shouldn’t be surprised if cattle ranchers in a swing state get burgers exempted from the “fat tax” on the grounds that beef is part of the Atkins diet or whatever. And similar boondoggles inevitably follow.

    Finally, and you can call this an ad hominem argument or whatever, I don’t want the “fat warriors” to get a victory in their social engineering crusade. If it would start and end with $0.10 extra on a can of soda I wouldn’t be too bent out of shape. But we’ve seen the lawsuits. More will come. They want precedents for diets to be a suitable subject of public policy. I don’t claim that any judges will cite a soda tax as precedent when ruling in favor of the plaintiff in “Banzhaf vs. Ben and Jerry” or whatever. I’m more afraid of them getting legislative momentum to aid the eventual “Banzhaf vs. Ben and Jerry.”

  27. madog: Because taxing some foods more than others in social engineering, which most of us don’t like.

    ?and ?

    Thoreau: I don’t want the “fat warriors” to get a victory in their social engineering crusade.

    Maybe the (?noble? and ?superior?) social engineers are trying to protect you from the horrible Fate of ?Ceasing to exist??

    Or at very least they are attempting to delay it.

    Smoking is a mortal sin. So is anything that is ?bad? for your physical body.

    Hail the gods of materialism. Embrace the intolerant Theocracy. Resistance is futile! 😉

  28. Joe,

    I believe another factor that benefits corn syrup over cane sugar is protection tariffs on imported sugar.

  29. Coming soon from a nanny-stater near you:

    The World Health Organization today concluded their conference entitled “Stick Play: Harmless Childhood Game or Serious Life-long Ocular Threat?”.

  30. joe’s values of health and compassion will not be satisfied until we all live under his choices. I would make more wisecracks about the coming joeocracy, but I do not want it to come true.

  31. Mr. Merritt,

    A lot of what we think started as absurd jokes in comedy routines were only extensions into the adult world of what’s already been going on in schools, the incubators of social experiments.

  32. Mark Fox: zero to panic in 4.3 seconds. What was it that spooked you, Nancy, the question about tax rates or the factual description of corn subsidies?

  33. Nothing wrong with being skinny, Jennifer. Its just that we don’t need to hear about it every week.

  34. I don’t think “joeocracy” or “urban-plano-fascist” are insulting titles. My comments were sharply worded, but it isn’t like I called joe a fat fucktard. Nor did I presume he lacks the essential mental capacity and will to control his personal donut consumption. I’m not clear on his, or anyone’s, standing and qualifications to manipulate Jennifer’s donut intake.

  35. Joe-
    I never said there’s something wrong with being skinny, and you still did not answer my question: why should I have to pay more for the fattening things I eat?

  36. jennifer, jennifer, jennifer… you have to pay more as part of your obligation to this great society that we live in. you have been blessed and fortunate to have a metabolism and body type that allows you to maintain a healthy physique. others, less fortunate than you, need your help. it is time for you to contribute your fair share, to give something back to society in return for all that you have been given. jennifer, if you are uncomfortable doing this for society, then, do it for the children!

  37. “Mark, I believe he’s calling you ‘Nancy’ because the internet is the only forum where he could actually call another man Nancy and not have his ass handed to him.”

    oh please. there are millions of total wusses out there. and lots of them congregate here. and i’m sure most of them could be called nancy without anything bad happening.

    especially the ones who would get bent out of shape for being called by a girls name (because they might catch TEH GAY!)

    you know they couldn’t fight for shit.

  38. I get much more pleasure from tales of Jennifer’s slenderness than from joe’s lefty mewlings or Rick Barton’s diatribes.

    Generally, it seems the squalling few have driven debate from the H&R sandbox. It used to be fun when joe could use one of state planning’s rare successes to force me into an uncomfortable choice. Or when Jean Bart gave lectures on global political history without making Israel the culprit for everything. thoreau used to crack wise about being at war; now we have Walter Wallis beating that drum without the same wry smile. Lonewacko’s one-trick pony doesn’t measure up to the way Raimondo used to occasionally blow some fiery stink into these threads. Those were the days.

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