Mark Bittman wrote an interesting article for the New York Times this week suggesting that we “turn the tables” on food subsidies and start taxing unhealthful junk foods. The idea is that the taxes would bring millions of dollars into the economy while at the same time reducing America’s staggering health care bill.
“A 20 percent increase in the price of sugary drinks nationally could result in about a 20 percent decrease in consumption, which in the next decade could prevent 1.5 million Americans from becoming obese and 400,000 cases of diabetes, saving about $30 billion.”
Countries like Hungary are already beginning such a program.
Also worth a read is a semi-related article in which the Times takes a look at another study related to what kinds of calories we consume and how not all calories are equal.
I don’t want to go into too much detail because the articles (specifically Bittman’s) really are worth a read, but I’d like to hear what people’s thoughts are on the subject. Personally I think it’s a good idea to help make healthy foods more affordable and to help scale back rising obesity and associated healthcare costs (which are said to reach $344 billion in the next seven years). There really is no good reason why it’s cheaper to buy fruit loops than real fruit.