Growing Waistlines and Shrinking Budgets. What’s a Politician to Do?

Published December 21, 2007

Remember those feel-good Coca Cola TV ads from years ago? A group of youth sway to and fro, holding candles and merrily singing “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.”

If you buy that Coke in San Francisco, be prepared to pay higher taxes. Mayor Gavin Newsom is considering placing a tax on drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, which he claims is responsible for an obesity crisis. The additional tax dollars will fund Shape Up San Francisco, an organization created to “promote healthy eating and active living.”

As more politicians play Richard Simmons, one must ask: Are they more concerned about their constituents’ growing waistlines or their city’s shrinking bank accounts?

The following links provide background information and commentary on the growing trend to control–and tax–what we put in our bodies.

Slim Doors to Block Fatties
The British Medical Association has a solution: Keep the obese out of restaurants with narrower doors.

Detroit Mayor Ponders Tax on Fast Foods
The Motor City Mayor wants to take a bigger bite out of taxpayers’ wallets.

Junk the Junk Food Tax
An op-ed from the Canadian Taxpayers’ Association.

What You Eat Is Your Business
Radley Balko is a policy analyst for the Cato Institute.

Biography on Michael Jacobson
The executive director of The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a full menu of food he’d like to tax.

Nick Baker ([email protected]) is a legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute.