We May Lose Freedom, but Probably Not Much Weight

Published August 9, 2009

A plastic surgery tax, a soda pop tax, and now, according to Fox News, even a video game tax are all being considered in the name of funding ObamaCare. Following close on the heels of their “sin” tax brethren, these “fat” taxes will continue to intrude into more and more areas of our lives.

The idea of taxing particular products in order to alter behavior is bad tax policy and an example of social engineering. These targeted tax increases will do little to reduce obesity rates, but they will give government more control over our lives, and give politicians some of the start-up funds they need for an expensive government-run health-care system.

Once these unreliable tax revenue streams dry up and costs continue to swell, Congress will be back for more taxes from us all. Taxpayers across the board will then feel the effects of both a wounded economy and hidden excise taxes, all for the sake of subsidizing a health-care system that will slow innovation and ration the care we receive.

John Nothdurft
The Heartland Institute

This letter to the editor was originally published in The Wall Street Journal.