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The Fresca Rebellion

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the comparing-soft-drinks-to-the-holocaust dept.

Government 776

theodp writes "They can ban the Marlboros, tax the Cokes, and zone the Whoppers, says Slate's William Saletan on the subject of today's morality cops. But it's time to put the brakes on the paternalistic overreaching of the food police, Saletan argues, when they come after his editor's beloved Fresca ('there are concerns that diet beverages may increase calorie consumption by justifying consumption of other caloric foods'), which will have to be pried from his cold, dead hands. '40 states have enacted special taxes on soda or junk food. And the soda taxers are becoming ever bolder. Their latest manifesto is an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, co-authored by the health commissioner of New York City, the surgeon general of Arkansas, and several others. It declares soda fair game for government intervention (PDF) on the grounds that "market failures" in this area are causing "less-than-optimal production and consumption."' Where do we draw the line?"

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taxes (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555551)

As an avid soda drinker, I don't have any problem with a 'soda' tax. I have much more of a problem when the government outright bans something. Keep it legal and tax it, I say. I would much rather the government got income through 'sin' taxes than through the income tax.

I'm not in favor of higher taxes in general, but I would like to shift taxes. Carbon taxes would be much more efficient than income tax, for example.

Re:taxes (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555595)

Sin taxes are stupid. They allow rich people to "sin" more.

Sin taxes and the rich (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555739)

Bad argument, since rich people can also afford more medical treatment.

Not that sin taxes are a good idea - but this particular argument against them doesn't work well.

Re:taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555771)

A true sin tax will be on tobacco, alcohol, and the other things kids aren't allowed to consume. You can even put a hefty tax on gambling, something else kids aren't allowed to do, while calling it a sin tax.

But, to place a sin tax on soda and other junk food, just seems sort of stupid. One can argue you want people to smoke less, drink less alcohol, and gamble less, as there are ills associated with those things. But, soda, well, it's in a grey area.

If the government is increasing the tax to fill in budget shortfalls, what happens when people cut down on consumption? Would someone's lack of consumption necessarily save the government money? I'd rather see an across the board income tax hike, depending on whether we're talking about the feds or the state government. If the feds, well, that's fine, since a sin tax tends to tax the poor more proportional to income I believe, meaning a slight proportional income tax probably grabs more from the rich.

Correct me if I'm wrong. Please, since I may be wrong.

Re:taxes (4, Informative)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555845)

I would much rather the government got income through 'sin' taxes than through the income tax.

Except they do both. You know, in the land of freedom, adults over 18, etc.

Re:taxes (2, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#29556041)

A high enough tax is a de facto ban.

Great! (5, Insightful)

xmarkd400x (1120317) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555563)

Instead of people choosing their foods based on preference, we'll have politicians picking our foods based on how much money is contributed to their campaigns!

I, for one, welcome our politician overlords.

Wait...

Re:Great! (2, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555619)

Instead of people choosing their foods based on preference, we'll have politicians picking our foods based on how much money is contributed to their campaigns!

Clearly, then, we need to ensure Food Neutrality to prevent exactly that problem!

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555893)

I guess that's the politics interpretation of the ellipsis in those list:
1.
2.
3. ... = TAX
4. Profit!

Brawndo... it's what plants crave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555911)

Brawndo, the thirst mutilator. It's got electrolytes.

Re:Great! (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#29556043)

Nothing new, most of the sweeteners used in soda are derived from corn, resulting from a combination of sugar tariffs and corn subsidies.

(I think sucrose and HFCS are equally unhealthy, I just think sucrose tastes better, so would prefer to see it used more in soda)

makes sense (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555565)

the more the government becomes responsible for taking care of us, the more motivated they are to regulate our behavior to keep the costs of said care down.

Re:makes sense (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555695)

If government doesn't take care of the unwashed masses, corporate interests will step up to the plate. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the nanny be the one without the profit motive.

Re:makes sense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555805)

To each his own... I'd much rather interact with those who DO have a profit motive: it gives them some incentive to cater to *my* interests (else I'll take my business elsewhere), rather than cramming *their* preferences down my throats and telling me to like it.

It's like healthcare - everyone moans about how terrible it is to make a profit off of sick people... but which is more important: food or medicine? I'd say food, since everyone needs food on a daily basis, yet many people can go decades without significant medical care. Yet we allow the food chain to be driven by profits - no one worries about the immorality of Kroger making a profit off of hungry people - and the overall system works pretty damn well. I suspect that relatively few farmers would do their jobs if they weren't making money out of it, and so on all the way up the food chain.

Re:makes sense (1)

zippyspringboard (1483595) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555999)

To each his own... I'd much rather interact with those who DO have a profit motive: it gives them some incentive to cater to *my* interests ...

Yet we allow the food chain to be driven by profits - no one worries about the immorality of Kroger making a profit off of hungry people - and the overall system works pretty damn well.

Give the food industry the same sort of controls that the current health care system has, and you will witness immoral profits being made off hungry people. Our health care system (U.S.) is hardly operating on a market as free as the food industry currently is. And our food industry is trending towards more consolidation and controls.... Speaking as a us citizen I find the statement " I'd much rather interact with those who DO have a profit motive: it gives them some incentive to cater to *my* interests" Pretty laughable viewed in the light of health care. They certainly have a profit motive, but I see no incentive to cater to my interests.

Re:makes sense (1)

mcornelius (1007881) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555867)

Yes, it makes so much more sense when you take out the profit motive in name. Take money from people you think harm society, in order to help with the needs of lobbyists. That is such a bullshit argument. Just because government does something, does not take out the profit motive out of it; it makes it compulsory.

Re:makes sense (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555947)

but I'd rather have the nanny be the one without the profit motive.

That's pretty naive... everyone has a profit motive.

Re:makes sense (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555983)

If government doesn't take care of the unwashed masses, corporate interests will step up to the plate. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the nanny be the one without the profit motive.

The choice is between the government forcing us to eat healthy, or corporations offering us a selection of food ranging from healthy to junk food. I know which one I'll pick... I enjoy good food but I do want to indulge in a burger and fries every now and then; it does makes sense to advise me not to overdo it. But I see very little justification for anyone ordering me to...

By the way, if you are looking for purity of motives in politicians, you'll be sorely disappointed. How about we let the unwashed masses take care of themselves, and stop all this nanny crap? Treat people like infants and they will start behaving like infants.

Herd health management (1, Interesting)

ewg (158266) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555705)

Waiting for the science fiction movie that takes this principle to its logical extreme: widespread application of herd health management practices, developed for livestock, to humans.

Re:Herd health management (2, Informative)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555835)

Um... Gattaca, Soylent Green, The Matrix series and about a dozen others I can't remember the titles to right now.

Re:makes sense (0, Flamebait)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555813)

Yep.

Which is why people are up in arms over health care "reform" here in the States. Pretty much all of the leftist ideas being pushed currently on health care reform are little more than thinly disguised socialized medicine.

People are pissed off about it because they know that once bureaucrats run health care, they run your life. What you can eat, when you can eat it, how much you can eat, when, where and what kind of exercise you will do, when you get up, when you sleep. and (if all that wasn't frightening enough) Who lives, who dies, and when they die.

Sounds like Slavery to me. All that's missing is the whip.

But hey, they're doing it "For The Children!"(tm) and "For The Poor!"(tm) so all of us Eeeevil "Rethuglican Neocon Racists" should just shut up and go away. Riiiiight?

(Remember, "-1 Troll" and "-1 Flamebait" do not equal "I disagree with you." If you disagree, post your disagreement. Don't hide behind mod points like a coward.)

Re:makes sense (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555831)

People are pissed off about it because they know that once bureaucrats run health care, they run your life.

Who runs healthcare now? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Re:makes sense (0, Flamebait)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555931)

People run their own health care and make thier own free choices.

The whole "Insurance bureaucrats control people's lives" is a strawman argument based on a lie.

Research how private insurance works from someplace other than a Michael Moore approved source and you will begin to understand. I don't intend to waste the time explaining it to an obvious Troll.

You make no sense (1, Interesting)

poptones (653660) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555945)

Slavery? Get a grip. What we have NOW is fascism - how is socialism any worse? What we have now is corporations running unfettered through society keeping us addicted to whatever they can keep legal while our health disintegrates - which they then try to patch up by selling us even more shit to fix the problems THEIR SHIT CAUSED. And when someone can't pay for their shit who pays for it?

YOU AND ME.

Every time we go to the hospital and pay 500 bucks for an ER visit, 50 bucks for an aspirin, 5 grand for an operating room and 8 grand for an anaesthesiologist.

Being held accountable for your behavior toward society is not socialism, it's what freaking Jefferson wrote about.

Re:makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555987)

Sounds like Slavery to me. All that's missing is the whip.

It sounds like slavery to you because you're an idiot. According to you, Canadians and most citizens of first world countries are slaves.

Re:makes sense (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555871)

the more the government becomes responsible for taking care of us, the more motivated they are to regulate our behavior to keep the costs of said care down.

The same applies to everyone who shares the burden and cost of your health care.

Your boss will listen when the HMO tells him to ditch the cigarette machines and sugared sodas.

Your wife will have even more to say when the next physical exam threatens to put you and your family in the high-risk pool.

Re:makes sense (0, Troll)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555943)

You can change jobs and divorce your wife.

What do you do about a power hungry out of control government bent on controlling as many aspects of your life as possible?

Re:makes sense (1, Troll)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555913)

Hooray! Liberal utopia. Take care of me, I can't handle myself.

But consider... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555989)

If we tax luxury items (including sugary food with little-to-no nutritional value) we can then subsidize the basic necessities (such as bread and canned veggies), thus making it much easier for the poor to survive.

This, in turn, prevents them from having to turn to crime in order to eat, and thus everyone benefits from living in a safer place.

Market Failure (1)

Darylium (1015809) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555575)

I fail to see what market failure has to do with this. People want big hamburgers with fries and a diet coke, and they get it. Seems like a healthy market to me. Its the people that are less then healthy, not the market.

Re:Market Failure (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555741)

i wanted to write the same exact thing.

instead of the disennguous "market failure" call it what it really is. it's not a market failure, it's a market success. the problem is the consumer. they should probably start taxing people according to weight, taking into account height, age, and other factors, for their impact on health care resource use or something.

they could still tax the soda makers, but call it what it really is.

Re:Market Failure (3, Informative)

uuddlrlrab (1617237) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555821)

Read this...: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_failure [wikipedia.org] ...then, just to make sure, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externalities [wikipedia.org] Basically, the premise is that because of indifference from both the drink manufacturers and consumers overall on the possible* negative impact on health nationwide of softdrinks & similar items, the government should step in. *qualifier in b4 everyone screams "IT'S NOT PROVEN!" at me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-fructose_corn_syrup#Health_effects [wikipedia.org]

Re:Market Failure (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555969)

But that has nothing to do with the market. That is just consumers placing a greater value on flavor, quantity, and price than on their long-term health. Haven't you ever eaten a doughnut? Is a doughnut shop a market failure?

Re:Market Failure (1, Informative)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#29556035)

Market Failure: A term coined by the Utilitarians which were part of a larger body of thought that was related to and gave rise to modern socialism and communism. The term has been used most prominently by the progressive movement of the late 19th century and early 20th century and is used widely by socialists, neo-communists and communists to excuse massive government intervention in the Market.

In other words, it's bullshit.

The only time The Market fails is when the government gets in the way. ANY OTHER RESULT is a market success. Period.

Re:Market Failure (2, Informative)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555963)

[rant]
The problem isn't the market, or even necessarily the food. The problem is that there are a lot of people who shove more in their mouths than they should. I can't believe that such a simple equation like "what you eat, minus what you burn, is what you wear on your ass and thighs" doesn't make sense to people. More likely, it makes sense, but they still can't or won't force themselves to change.

To whom is may concern, a few words of wisdom:

"You are what you eat" - The government shouldn't have to tell you what you can and can't eat any more than it should have to wipe your ass for you. Grow a brain stem and stop ruining things for those of who manage to eat right, but still enjoy the occasional culinary sin. Which brings me to my next point:

"All things in moderation" - There is nothing wrong with having a Whopper, fries, and soda. There is everything wrong with doing it often. Oh, and moderation applies to sitting on your ass, too. Get out there and walk some.

And finally: "Monkey see, monkey do" - Parents, exercise some judgment and self-control. If not for your own health, for your kids. Teach your kids to live with some healthy discipline in their lives. Get some exercise in with them. Kill the TV every now and then. Keep the McD's to a minimum, and make them drink juice, milk, and water at home. It's not that hard, trust me. If a numskull like myself can do a halfway decent job at it, so can you.
[/rant]

None of this is new. We all know it because it's common sense, and it's been said over and over. It's bad enough some people can't do their own thinking. It gets worse when the government believes that gives them the duty to think for all of us.

Drink now, Citizen! (3, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555579)

It declares soda fair game for government intervention (PDF) on the grounds that "market failures" in this area are causing "less-than-optimal production and consumption."

So the government thinks that soda companies are too important to fail? And they think that government soda five-year plans will certainly cause optimal production and consumption. I don't really want the government to ensure that I am consuming soda optimally.

Re:Drink now, Citizen! (2, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555763)

The economist's big idea is that the "invisible hand" of market forces will lead us to an ideal world. In this case, someone's idea of an ideal world is one where you can drink soda in moderate amounts, but not to the extent that you ruin your health.

When letting the market decide things doesn't result in the desired effect (who's desire?), instead of saying that this isn't something markets solve, economists call it a "market failure", and suggest ways that the state could intervene to make the market work again.

This isn't always stupid. Commodity markets with healthy competition do tend towards a fair market price. Insider trading can break that system (market failure). Laws against insider trading allow the market to work properly.

But sometimes it is stupid. Sometimes if you want to control people, you just have to grit your teeth and admit that it's your aim.

Diet sodas (0, Troll)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555583)

Diet sodas make your body expect energy. That energy does not arrive. Therefore your body makes you feel hungry to provide for the already ramped up production.

Sugarfree gum and diet soda is therefore something that will never find their way into my hands.

Re:Diet sodas (1)

TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555615)

Sounds interesting: any links to back that up?

Re:Diet sodas (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555657)

"Therefore your body makes you feel hungry to provide for the already ramped up production.'

So do not eat more, even if you are a bit hungry. What's the problem?

I've lost 20 pounds during the recent 4 months, just by eating less (i.e. limiting calories intake). And as a part of eating less energetic food I've switched to diet Coke. Read the 'Hacker's Diet', it's enlightening.

Re:Diet sodas (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555675)

"Sugar substitute" is an oxymoron.

Re:Diet sodas (3, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555713)

Diet sodas make your body expect energy.

Why?

I could accept the same argument for just about anything else, but a liquid?

Evolutionarily, our bodies "expect" exactly one substance to enter our bodies when we drink - Water. And water has no calories.

That does segue into one of my own objections to the topic, however...


"there are concerns that diet beverages may increase calorie consumption by justifying consumption of other caloric foods"...

Well, yeah! I started drinking diet soda (despite a preference for real sugared sodas) primarily because I don't prefer the sugared version enough to give up literally one meal a day to offset the calories. What next, will they regulate going to the gym because of "concerns" that people might actually exercise solely so they can have an extra serving of dessert after dinner?

I don't eat more as a result of diet sodas... I just don't have to eat less.

Re:Diet sodas (4, Insightful)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555817)

I'm suspecting that the reasoning comes from the taste. Artificially sweetened thing enters mouth, activates omg-here-come-the-calorie taste buds, the body gears up for it... and waits... and waits... and there are no calories to be had.

Re:Diet sodas (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#29556025)

I don't eat more as a result of diet sodas...

Are you sure? Research on rats suggests that diet sodas throw off the body's ability to judge caloric intake from flavor, and so you eat more other food in response. Unless you are carefully counting calories, you very well might be eating more as a result of that diet soda.

I know that I've replaced soda and juice with flavored seltzer water and seen my own weight drop.

I'll tell you where (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555601)

when we hang the last burocrat with the intestines of the last congressman.

sorry for the shocking opening statement, but the matter of fact is that as a whole, the western societies are slowly forgeting who actually wields the power and giving carreer politicians and burocrats on the government too much leeway. it's time to take it back and let those people know where the limits are.

left unchecked, these government institutions won't stop untill we're back in the dark ages, withe high taxation, no representation and no freedom at all.

disclaimer: I'm an anarchist.

Re:I'll tell you where (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555635)

when we hang the last burocrat with the intestines of the last congressman.

sorry for the shocking opening statement, but the matter of fact is that as a whole, the western societies are slowly forgeting who actually wields the power and giving carreer politicians and burocrats on the government too much leeway. it's time to take it back and let those people know where the limits are.

left unchecked, these government institutions won't stop untill we're back in the dark ages, withe high taxation, no representation and no freedom at all.

disclaimer: I'm an anarchist.

well said....i agree with you 100%

Re:I'll tell you where (3, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555699)

While I may disagree with you on the whole "anarchy" thing, I think we can find common ground in our healthy dislike of Big Government.

About the only thing Big Government is good at is enslaving people and destroying wealth and value.

I prefer Limited (as in limited powers) Representative government that does NOT try and take care of (and thus control) everyone.

And yes Lefties, we can still have fire departments and police and roads and a military with a Limited Representative government. Those things are considered part of the duties of every government, Limited or otherwise.

But we need to stop putting so much faith in governments and bureaucrats to take care of all of us like children. That's the road to slavery, pure and simple.

Re:I'll tell you where (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555785)

Your posting is the road to slavery.

Re:I'll tell you where (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555879)

Well said... This practically incorporates all my political beliefs in seven sentences.

Money (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555603)

Yet another example on how the government screws us out of money. There is nothing in this but the money, come on Taxing pop, banning pop, what will that actually do that serves anyone. Will this stop world hunger, cure world wide aids, or more so (and the right answer) get the governors and the soda makes bigger cars and houses.

Re:Money (1)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555629)

Well, it just might help prevent millions of cases of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer -- thereby easing the burden on our pricey healthcare system.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555777)

Most of the things we enjoy aren't "good for us." Maybe we should just ban everything enjoyable and be good little worker robots for our corporate overlords.

Re:Money (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555819)

Thats a pretty big long shot, I Drink a case a coke a week easily and I mean a 24, so far I've seen nothing happen to me, even the the doctor didn't find anything. I'm not just going to use my self as an example, all the coke / pepsi or just soda drinks I know that drink pop fairly heavy, out of all of them NONE, 0 of them have any health problems related to it. If it's not good for the person drinking then they should be the ones not drinking it, don't punish us, the non effected soda lovers.

Enjoying your hope and change yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555621)

Enjoying your hope and change yet?

paternalistic overreaching ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555643)

Right, its ok to make drugs illegal. Its ok to have anti-sodomy laws. Its ok to have laws that stop two people that love one another from getting married. But when it come to soda filled with high fructose corn syrup (which also contains mercury) its "government needs to stop interfering in our lives"

Re:paternalistic overreaching ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555697)

Right, its ok to make drugs illegal. Its ok to have anti-sodomy laws. Its ok to have laws that stop two people that love one another from getting married. But when it come to soda filled with high fructose corn syrup (which also contains mercury) its "government needs to stop interfering in our lives"

Howsabout having government stop interfering in sugar importation and subsidized corn production so we can get sodas made with real sugar again?

Re:paternalistic overreaching ? (1)

mcornelius (1007881) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555933)

and have cheaper ethanol!

Good policy (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555655)

Try this exercise:

Imagine your wife or girlfriend.

Now imagine your wife or girlfriend, with a can of soda constantly in her hand, weighing 300 pounds.

(Next exercise: Imagine your wife or girlfriend imagining you with a can of soda constantly in your hand, weighing 300 pounds.)

Re:Good policy (1)

Agamous Child (538344) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555743)

Your assumption is that slashdotters have wives or girlfriends, so the whole argument is moot.

Try this exercise:

Imagine your wife or girlfriend.

Now imagine your wife or girlfriend, with a can of soda constantly in her hand, weighing 300 pounds.

(Next exercise: Imagine your wife or girlfriend imagining you with a can of soda constantly in your hand, weighing 300 pounds.)

Re:Good policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555991)

We slashdotters have what?

In soviet Russia, the food taxes you... Oh wait.

Re:Good policy (2, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555769)

Serious question: what if 300 pound women is your thing?

Re:Good policy (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#29556045)

what if 300 pound women is your thing?

We should keep Texas as a protected wildlife grazing reserve.

Re:Good policy (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555801)

Imagine your wife or girlfriend. Now imagine your wife or girlfriend, with a can of soda constantly in her hand, weighing 300 pounds.

Imagine myself with a can of soda constantly in my hand, weighing 160 pounds; reasonably trim. Not everyone has a broken metabolism.

Re:Good policy (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555967)

Now imagine your wife or girlfriend, with a can of soda constantly in her hand, weighing 300 pounds
 
Besides this horrible image, what, exactly, is your point? So the person in this situation doesn't care about themselves enough to exercise and/or eat properly, the spouse is unable or unwilling to intervene enough, so your solution is that the government has to do it? Why, oh why, do we need government to protect us from ourselves??? Let her be 300lbs or on the way there, and she and her family must deal with it. Not everyone else. It does NOT take a village to enforce thinness.

Re:Good policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29556007)

C'mon - this is slashdot - all we have are imaginary wives/girlfriends!

And if she's imaginary anyway, no way she's going to weigh 300 pounds!

Re:Good policy (2, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#29556049)

Imagine you and your wife looking fit as a fiddle, but with short tempers, twitchy eyebrows and a serious case of the munchies all day, because the government allows you to have only weak tea, raw carrot and soybean pudding?

Fix your own damn diet, and don't go looking for excuses to have it fixed for you and everybody else.

Good idea, or overstepping (1)

uuddlrlrab (1617237) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555665)

Coffee fanatic here, and I'm honestly not sure. The tax is definitely more acceptable/reasonable than bans, the latter being something left to the FDA when it finds that something actually contains cyanide or some nasty bull$#!^. At least this is a step in the right direction, but they need to tread very lightly when it comes to what *adults* *choose* to drink (see 1st Amendment) and focus more on institutions that supply food to kids (see schools, after-school programs, etc), diet education programs, etc... Also, manufacturers of beverages should be required to help fund both long & short term studies that evaluate the effects of high fructose (or whatever all the "bad" ingredients are) drinks on various aspects of health across a variety of ages (overseen by FDA of course, to reduce bias), then make publicly available said results. If the drinks are really that bad, maybe soda cans will start carrying a Surgeon Generals warning just like cigarettes.

Re:Good idea, or overstepping (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555907)

1st amendment? What does taxing beverages have to do with freedom of speech? In any case, America already has an awful lot of laws about what slightly harmful, slightly addictive things adults are allowed to consume.

And yet they do nothing to discourage the car (4, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555667)

dependence culture in the US. I've lived in both East Asia and Europe for the past 6 years of my life and every time I come back home I am just shocked at the utter disdain towards people who don't drive. In much of Europe(and a lesser extent in Japan), cyclists are treated with respect when they are on the road and there are a lot of facilities set up for cyclists to commute, futhermore in residential areas there are plenty of pedestrian areas. As a result kids(and adults) can work exercise into their daily routine safely and easily. Now compare that with most of the United States, where if there are any pedestrian signals at all, they last for a very short period of time(I was in Phoenix and I swear the walk signal only lasted for 15 seconds when crossing a 6 lane road), there are few special paths for pedestrians, and anyone that doesn't drive a car is treated as if they are worthless as a human being. I've heard tons of stories from cyclists in the US detailing how people in vehicles purposely drive as close as possible to them, cut them off, throw things at them etc.

As a result most Americans never walk anywhere simply because it isn't safe to do so. We only walk from our front door to the car and from the parking lot to the office. Its no wonder why Americans are the fattest people in the world. We need a radical cultural shift away from this whole notion that people who don't drive are worthless human beings and away from this dependence on cars

Re:And yet they do nothing to discourage the car (1)

tippen (704534) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555791)

No, most Americans don't walk/bike because most cities in the US are spread out. Cities here just aren't as dense as in Europe. In the southern US, there's also the additional weather factor. Walking/biking in Phoenix?!

Re:And yet they do nothing to discourage the car (2, Funny)

mcornelius (1007881) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555965)

In the southern US, there's also the additional weather factor. Walking/biking in Phoenix?!

Yeah because walking around Buffalo in January would be so much better!

Re:And yet they do nothing to discourage the car (0, Troll)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555861)

I've heard tons of stories from cyclists in the US detailing how people in vehicles purposely drive as close as possible to them, cut them off, throw things at them etc.

Let me guess, they were cycling at 17mph two-abreast on a 45mph road at sundown without proper reflective gear or flashing lights? American cyclists are predominantly stupid and ignore traffic laws to their own detriment. They are far safer on sidewalks than on the roads.

Re:And yet they do nothing to discourage the car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555925)

Let's see...
No helmet.
Talking on a cell phone (regardless of legality, it's a distraction).
Riding on the wrong side of the road, whether on the sidewalk or in a bike lane.
Riding at night without a bike light as required by law.
Running red lights.
Of course, motorists are no better when it comes to obeying or disobeying traffic laws.

Re:And yet they do nothing to discourage the car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555865)

I live in Phoenix. The walk may last 15 seconds, but the flashing "don't walk" before the light changes is almost always set to the amount of time it takes to cross the street at a walking pace.

The walk time might get cut into by a dedicated two way left situation but I'd say 15 seconds for people to *start* walking across is more than enough.

Re:And yet they do nothing to discourage the car (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#29556037)

I've heard tons of stories from cyclists in the US detailing how people in vehicles purposely drive as close as possible to them, cut them off, throw things at them etc.

First, I agree with you in spirit... I fully believe that the US having such poor pedestrian and cycling accommodations largely ties in with the current obesity epidemic (though I would point out that the latter doesn't exist solely as a US phenomenon).

That said, you have to understand that American cyclists, for the most part, ride like complete assholes. Despite a legal obligation to obey the exact same rules of the road as cars, they completely ignore 99% of those rules. They don't feel a need to obey speed limits (in either direction - They'll blow through a 15mph zone as fast as their bike can go, and they'll crawl along in a 45mph zone as though on a leisurely ride in the park). They routinely ignore traffic signals, running red lights and stop signs whenever convenient. They make no strong distinction between "road", "median", and "sidewalk", using whichever will get them to their destination quickest (ie, they'll pass a half mile line of cars in the right shoulder, only to proceed to run the light at the intersection all those cars have waited for). I've actually had my mirror clipped by a cyclist trying to squeeze up to a light between two lanes of traffic (and the bastard had the nerve to try to accuse me of queuing up at the light too close to the other lane!).

Now, as with any generalization, this doesn't hold true of all cyclists. But I've seen a hell of a lot more of them behaving as I describe above, than I have obeying traffic laws. When you wonder why Americans generally hold cyclists in low regard, you now have your answer.

Either way we lose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555671)

We have two package deals of crazy to choose from in this country.

We have the religious right with their false gods and forced patriotism for war and loyalty.

And we have the religious left with their irrational hatred of hydrocarbons their false gods of socialism and failed urbanism and rectums every bit as puckered as the right despite their endless lecture on tolerance and multiculturalism.

No matter who we vote for, we get shit.

Wah wah wah... complaining about soda, honestly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555679)

Last I heard they would only be adding like a 5 cent tax. Are we seriously such a nation of whiners that something non-essential as soda if we see the price go from $1.50 to $1.55 for a 2 liter bottle all of a sudden they're trampling on our rights to consume products that are bad for us while simultaneously ensuring that our next doctor visit costs us hundreds of dollars less potentially of out of pocket money?
 
Seriously just look at the logic, look at the math. It all adds up reasonably well when you also consider how the prices of soda has raised in the last 10-15 years without any special tax. I recall a 20 ounce cold soda used to cost $1.00... now its common to see it for about $1.50 at a gas station. I doubt any other products out there have seen a 50% inflation rate in just 10 years.

We subsidize soda (5, Insightful)

jonsmirl (114798) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555707)

Random Google search says US spent $4,920,813,719 subsidizing corn production in 2006. Corn gets turned into HFC (High Fructose Corn) Syrup. HFC is what makes most sodas and candies sweet. Fresh berries are $6.00 a pint in my grocery store. Make me president and I'll switch that $5B from corn to subsidizing the production of fresh produce.

Re:We subsidize soda (1)

Agamous Child (538344) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555751)

But what about the poor corn farmers???!????

Re:We subsidize soda (2, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555895)

But what about the poor corn farmers???!????

There's an oxymoron!

Re:We subsidize soda (2, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555915)

But what about the poor corn farmers???!????

Their subsides basically end up in the pockets of the big grain companies. In the first section of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" [amazon.com] , there's a farmer who explains how the government subsidies actually has distorted the relationship between supply and demand pushing prices down and down. Basically, the farmer gets less for his corn, has to produce more to get paid more and get more subsidies, which then because of greater supply, the price falls, so the farmer having to make payments, produces even more corn, and down and down we go. The benefits go to the HFC/Corn processors. They're getting cheap corn at the expense of the tax payers.

I can't remember the farmer's name, but he actually wants the subsidies to end because it will allow corn prices to increase - at least when he was interviewed.

Re:We subsidize soda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555883)

Tax corn instead of subsidizing it. Problem solved.

Re:We subsidize soda (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555887)

You're thinking inside the box. Moving subsidy from here to there. Spend the money on this instead of that.

The truly radical thing would be to just stop spending the money.

That is the biggest problem with the left (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555901)

They just can't see anything good coming without the help of government.

People are already showing themselves willing to pay a premium for slow, local sustainable, foods.

What these people need is to be left alone to grow their produce and their markets.

Not new rules of production that create barriers of entry to small growers that only corporate farms can afford.

And the idea of subsidize make things cheaper is a laugh. These are payoffs to special interest groups.

Under your plans, they;ll be paying people not to grow produce to keep the prices propped up.

Re:We subsidize soda (1)

DusterBar (881355) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555953)

That is just too logical for a US congress to go along with. I mean, really, how would ADM survive? And how would candidates get their big donations from ADM and related down stream industries?

Re:We subsidize soda (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555997)

Just give it back to the taxpayer. The subsidies mostly go to major agribusiness which needs no subsidies. Many nations operate just fine without farm subsidies. Definitely not voting for you, who wants to continue stealing my money to no end.

LIBERTY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555725)

government is people
and people need to GTFO MY FRIDGE!

LOOK UP THE WORD LIBERTY!

MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS!
CHOOSE NOT TO DRINK DIET SODAS!
CHOOSE TO DRINK ALL YOU WANT!
CHOOSE TO DRINK YOUR OWN URINE FOR ALL I CARE!
STOP MAKING DECISIONS FOR EVERYONE ELSE!

don't make us put a jihad on your asses.

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." -- Thomas Jefferson

Waistline tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555765)

BMI doesn't work. Most athletes like heavy weight boxers and weight lifters are technically morbidly obese even if they have 7% body fat. Make anyone with under a 34" waist for men as an example exempt from the tax and everyone over pays on a sliding scale. If you have a 42" waist that cheese burger comes with an extra $10 in tax. Yes it is silly and any sin tax is rediculous since people still won't change their behavior. Cigarettes have hefty taxes and plenty of people still smoke. We do have a serious problem though. I've been seeing people in their 30s riding the scooters because they are too fat to walk. The real question is should society pay for your bad behavior? Lately there have been a lot of attacks on people for being too thin but when's the last time you heard people attacked on the news for being too fat? Anorexia is their fault but overeating isn't? Removing the stigma isn't a good thing. The little scooters were a rare sight 10 years ago but today they are commonplace and the majority I see aren't because of extreme age they are because people are too overweight. The people in Walle aren't as much our future as they are becoming our present.

Big Brother Loves Me!!! (4, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555783)

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

Thoughts (4, Insightful)

cluge (114877) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555809)

As the government pumps more money into the economy - it looks for more items/services to tax to try to make up for the insane amount of deficit spending. This cycle is a bit part of the reason the great depression lasted so long (ie until WWII). This tax is partly driven by "health" concerns and partly driven by a need for funds to cover the massive amount of deficit spending. A happy coincidence - win win for everyone (Notice the position of tongue and cheek)

Here is the irony of this sort of taxation behavior. If you are successful and get people to stop buying soda - your tax revenue goes away. This creates another problem because the revenue starts being counted on (see cigarette and alcohol taxes for example) and the vicious cycle continues with the government looking for other things to tax (all in the name of your well being mind you) to make up for the loss of the revenue which should have been expected. When the taxation goes too far you start to create an underground economy in the taxed product and enforcement of taxation starts to take up a signifigant amount of the revenue. A quote from the DOJ budget

"The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requests $1,120,772,000 for FY 2010, including $1,114,772,000 in Direct Salaries and Expenses and 5,025 full time equivalents (FTE) and $6,000,000 for construction of explosives ranges at the ATF National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR). Specifically, ATF requests $1,077,783,000 and 4,979 FTE for current services, $17,989,000 and 46 FTE for Southwest Border enforcement efforts, and $19,000,000 for operations and infrastructure costs associated with the NCETR."

Can you imagine what the Bureau of healthy food enforcement budget will look like in 20 years? Considering all the hyperbole that we have to suffer through regarding foods (first it's good for you, then it's bad, then it steals your wife, then it's a miracle diet food, etc, etc, etc) who has any faith that the regulations dreamed up with the contradictory drivers of increasing tax revenue and eating healthy compounded by several special interest groups will produce anything but a mess?

These are hard times and the government needs to SHRINK just like every other sector of the economy. Why should the government not feel the same pain and be forced to make hard decisions that every other entity is? It shouldn't. Here is a simple rule - does the law proposed increase or decrease liberty? If it decreases liberty it probably is a bad law and should not be passed.

-cluge

Let's just become the biggest nanny-state there is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555853)

Ya know, we could become the biggest Nanny-state in the world. Just how far do the American people want this to continue? I know I have had enough.

People are getting fatter from diet foods? (1)

bmartin (1181965) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555877)

The tax idea doesn't make sense. It's not likely to happen. Corn is already subsidized and used to sweeten soda.

The idea that discouraging people from drinking diet soda is going to stop them from binging on a box of chips ahoy or fig newtons is stupid. Does soda stimulate the appetite? The miniscule amount of caffeine would suppress the appetite, if anything, and the liquid in the stomach would make you full sooner. Is not drinking soda gonna stop people from eating twinkies or a bag of doritos? No.

Flat taxes put more burden on the lower classes. The majority of us can afford whatever stupid tax they decide to levy; I feel bad for the poor people who are already having a hard time scraping together enough for food, clothing, gas and rent. The rest of us will have to listen to their kids whining at the store because they can't have soda due to some stupid tax they can't afford.

Whether or not you can afford another tax, it's not going to happen and it wouldn't help with anything except raising tax revenue.

Something stupid like this... (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555881)

will be the start of a violent revolt in this country. I can't wait.

Politicians continue to reach for self-validating programs and in the end it is going to come back and bite them hard.

I just have a feeling...

Sick of Nanny-state (1)

benvec (100944) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555903)

Ya know, we could become the biggest Nanny-state in the world. Just how far do the American people want this to continue? I know I have had enough.

Maybe some slogans will help the cause... (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 3 years ago | (#29555927)

Nuke the Fat Soda Drinkers for Jesus! Guns Don't Kill People, Sugar Kills People! Give Me Liberty or Give Me Healthcare!

There are more fatties in Norway than in the USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555975)

The Folk Institute of Health [www.fhi.no]

"Over half of adult men in Norway are overweight or obese, according to BMI-values. The same applies to adult women, except in the 30 year age group where the proportion is somewhat lower. (..) Today, 32 per cent of children and adolescents in USA are overweight or obese, since 2000 the proportion has not increased (Ogden 2008)"

So don't feel too bad, a lot of the "Americans are fatties" is just America-bashing ;)

They don't call it the Bureau of STF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29555993)

For nothing. (Bureau of Soft Drinks, Tobacco and Firearms [wikipedia.org] ).

Be well? Be fucked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29556009)

I'm the enemy because I like to think. I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I'm the kind of guy that could sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs or the side order of gravy fries? I want high cholesterol. I would eat bacon and butter and buckets of cheese. Okay? I want to smoke Cuban cigars the size of Cincinnati in the nonsmoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-O all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I might suddenly feel the need to. Okay, pal?

"Where do we draw the line?" (-1, Flamebait)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#29556021)

What line? The government is going to pay for your health care (whether you like it or not) and it is going to damn well see to it that you don't cost it money by behaving in an unhealthy manner. Damn uppity sheeple.

Save us from Optimal Production! (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 3 years ago | (#29556031)

'Government intervention ... on the grounds that "market failures" in this area are causing "less-than-optimal production and consumption."'

Thank God we don't have optimal production [wikipedia.org] , whether government-mandated or otherwise!

For a contrarian alternative, see Frank Herbert's Bureau of Sabotage [slashdot.org] .

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