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California City May Tax Sugary Drinks Like Cigarettes

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the protecting-us-from-ourselves dept.

Medicine 842

Hugh Pickens writes "Voters in Richmond, California are set to decide in November whether to make the Bay Area city the nation's first municipality to tax soda and other sugary beverages to help fight childhood obesity. The penny-per-ounce tax, projected to raise between $2 million and $8 million, would go to soccer fields, school gardens and programs to treat diabetes and fight obesity. Councilman Jeff Ritterman, a doctor who proposed the measure, says soda is a prime culprit behind high childhood obesity rates in Richmond, where nearly 20 percent of residents live below the poverty line. 'If you look at where most of our added sugar is coming, it's coming from the sugar-sweetened beverages,' says Ritterman. 'It's actually a poison for you, because your liver can't handle that huge amount of fructose.' Not everyone is pleased by the proposed license fee on businesses selling sweetened drinks. It would require owners of bodegas, theaters, convenience stores and other outlets to tally ounces sold and, presumably, pass the cost on to customers. Soda taxes have failed elsewhere — most notably in Philadelphia, where Mayor Michael A. Nutter's attempts to impose a 2-cents-per-ounce charge on sugary drinks have sputtered twice. However, Dr. Bibbins-Domingo says similar taxes on cigarettes have had a dramatic effect on public health. 'It was a few decades ago when we had high rates of tobacco and we had high rates of tobacco-related illnesses. Those measures really turned the tide and really led to lower rates of tobacco across the country.'"

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Hew (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256631)

Nearly four months ago, I noticed that my internet connection was very sluggish. Eventually getting fed up with it, I began to seek out software that would speed up the gigabits in my router. After an hour of searching, I found what at first appeared to be a very promising piece of software. Not only did it claim it would speed up my internet connection, but that it would overclock my power supply, speed up my gigabits, and remove any viruses from my computer! "This is a fantastic opportunity that I simply can't pass up," I thought. I immediately downloaded the software and began the installation, all the while laughing like a small child. I was highly anticipating a future where the speed of my internet connection would leave everyone else's in the dust.

I was horribly, horribly naive. Immediately upon the completion of the software's installation, various messages popped up on my screen about how I needed to buy software to remove a virus that I wasn't aware I had from a software company I'd never once heard of. The strange software also blocked me from doing anything except buying the software it was advertising. Being that I was a computer whiz (I had taken a computer essentials class in high school that taught me how to use Microsoft Office, and was quite adept at accessing my Facebook account), I was immediately able to conclude that the software I'd downloaded was, in fact, a virus, and that it was slowing down my gigabits at an exponential rate. "I can't let this insanity proceed any further," I thought.

As I was often called a computer genius, I was confident at the time that I could get rid of the virus with my own two hands. I tried numerous things: restarting the computer, pressing random keys on the keyboard, throwing the mouse across the room, and even flipping an orange switch on the back of the tower and turning the computer back on. My efforts were all in vain; the virus persisted, and my gigabits were running slower than ever! "This cannot be! What is this!? I've never once seen such a vicious virus in my entire life!" I was dumbfounded that I, a computer genius, was unable to remove the virus using the methods I described. Upon coming to terms with my failure, I decided to take my computer to a PC repair shop for repair.

I drove to a nearby computer repair shop and entered the building with my computer in hand. The inside of the building was quite large, neat, and organized, and the employees all seemed very kind and knowledgeable. They laughed upon hearing my embarrassing story, and told me that they saw this kind of thing on a daily basis. They then accepted the job, and told me that in the worst case, it'd be fixed in three days from now. I left with a smile, and felt confident in my decision to leave the computer repairs to the experts.

A week later, they still hadn't called back. Visibly angry, I tried calling them countless times, but not a single time did they answer the phone. Their negligence and irresponsibility infuriated me, and sent me into a state of insanity that caused me to punch a gigantic hole in the wall. Being that I would require my computer for work soon, I decided to head over to the computer repair shop to find out exactly what the problem was.

Upon entering the building, I was shocked by the state of its interior; it looked as if a tornado had tore through the entire building! Countless broken computers were scattered all about the floor, desks were flipped over, the walls had holes in them, there was a puddle of blood on the floor, and worst of all, I saw that my computer was sitting in the middle of the room laying on its side! Absolutely unforgivable! I soon noticed one of the employees sitting behind one of the tipped over desks (the one that had previously had the cash register on top of it); he was shaking uncontrollably and sobbing. Despite being furious about my computer being tipped over, seeing him in that state still managed to make me less unforgiving. I decided to ask him what happened.

A few moments passed where the entire room was silent and nothing was said. Eventually, he pointed at my computer and said to me, "The virus... it cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped!" Realizing that he was trying to tell me that they were unable to repair my computer (the task I'd given them), I flew into a blind fury and beat him senseless. Not caring about what would happen to him any longer, I collected my computer, ignored the bodies of the two other employees that had committed suicide, and left the building. After a few moments of pondering about what to do and clearing my head, I theorized that their failure to repair my computer probably simply meant that they were unqualified to do the job, and decided to take my computer to another computer repair shop.

I repeated that same process about four times before finally giving up. Each time I took it to a PC repair shop, the result was the same: all the employees either went completely insane, or they committed suicide. Not a single person was able to even do so much as damage the virus. I was able to talk some sense into one of the employees that had gone mad and got them to tell me how they were attempting to fix the problem. They told me that they tried everything from reinstalling the operating system to installing another operating system and trying to get rid of the virus on the other one, but absolutely all of it was to no avail. Having seen numerous attempts by professionals to remove the virus end in failure, I managed to delude myself into believing that my first failure was simply a fluke and that I was the only one on the planet qualified to fix the computer. With renewed vigor, I once again took up the frighteningly dangerous task of defeating the evil, nightmarish virus once and for all with my own two hands.

In my attempts to fix the problem, I'd even resorted to buying another computer. However, the virus used its WiFi capabilities to hack into the gigabits of my new computer and infect it. Following each failed attempt, I grew more and more depressed. I had already beaten my wife and children five times in order to relieve some of my stress, but even that (which had become my only pleasure after failing to remove the virus the first time), did nothing for me any longer. That's right: my last remaining pleasure in life had stopped being able to improve my mood, and I had not a single thing left that I cared about. I sank into a bottomless ocean of depression, barricaded myself in my room, and cried myself to sleep for days on end. Overcome with insanity, vengefulness, and despair, there is not a single doubt that if this had continued for much longer, I would have committed suicide.

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It's not a tax, it's an improvement (4, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256645)

It's nice to see so many cities are willing to help us out by telling us what to buy [slashdot.org] , then moving those funds to "help people" and "create jobs". The rhetoric is unending and unhelpful. I really don't care if this helps kids for five minutes, because ten minutes from now they'll switch to cheap artificially sweetened drinks that are cancerous. We don't need to talk about that though, just the fact's ma'am.

Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (-1, Offtopic)

PureAss (2657833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256667)

About eight months ago, I was searching around the internet to find out why my computer was running so slowly (it normally ran quite fast, but had gradually gotten slower over time). After a few minutes, I found a piece of software claiming that it could speed up my PC and make it run like new again. Being that I was dangerously ignorant about technology in general (even more so than I am now), I downloaded the software and began the installation. Mere moments after doing so, my desktop background image was changed and warnings that appeared to originate from Windows appeared all over the screen telling me to buy strange software from an unknown company in order to remove a virus it claimed I had.

I may have been ignorant about technology, but I wasn't that naive. I immediately concluded that the software I'd downloaded was, in fact, a virus. In my rage, I broke numerous objects, punched a hole in the wall, and cursed the world at the top of my lungs. I eventually calmed down, cleared my head, and realized that the only remedy for this problem was a carefully thought out plan. After a few moments of pondering about how to handle this situation, I decided that since I barely knew how to properly handle a computer, I should turn it over to the professionals and let them fix the issue.

Soon after making the decision, I drove to a local computer repair shop and entered the building with my computer in hand. They greeted me with a smile and stayed attentive the entire time that I was explaining the problem to them. They laughed as if they'd heard it all before, told me that I'm not the only one who has trouble operating computers, and then gave me a date for when the computer would be fixed. Not only had they told me that the computer would be completely repaired in at most two days, but the price for their services was surprisingly low, and to top it all off, they even gave me advice for how to avoid viruses in the future! I left the building feeling confident in my decision to seek professional help and satisfied knowing that such kind-hearted people were the ones doing the job.

The very next day, I received a phone call from the computer repair shop whilst I was at a local library researching computer viruses. I had stumbled upon a piece of software that appeared to be very promising, and I was about to do more research on it, but seeing as how I required my computer as soon as possible, I decided to put the matter on hold. Upon answering the phone and cheerfully greeting the person on the other end, I was greeted with a high-pitched shriek. Startled, I asked what was wrong. A few moments passed where nothing was said, and suddenly, the person on the other end said to me, in a low voice oozing with paranoia, "Come pick up your computer." They hung up immediately after saying that, and I couldn't help but notice that they sounded as if they were on the verge of tears. I briefly wondered if it was due to stress from work, and then drove to the computer repair shop to acquire my computer.

I was positively dismayed upon entering the building. The inside of the computer repair shop looked nothing like the image from my memories. There were broken computer parts scattered throughout the room, ceiling tiles all over the floor, blood splattered in every direction I looked, and even a human toe on the ground. After processing this disturbing information, I began panicking and frantically looking around for my computer. I spotted an employee covered in blood sitting up against the wall, and noticed that his wrists had been slashed open. Thinking quickly, I ran up to him, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, shook him around, and began screaming, "Where is it!? Where is my computer!?" After a moment of silence, he passed away, completely shattering my expectations. Such a thing! "What a meaningless individual," I thought.

Enraged, I tore the building up even further than it already had been in my desperate search for my computer. Eventually I discovered a door leading to an area that was normally only accessible to employees. I entered without hesitation and was met with a long, skinny hallway that a single person would have trouble moving about freely in. I proceeded down the dark hallway and bumped into the body of an employee hanging from a rope tied to something on the ceiling. I screamed, "Not only do you people have the gall to allow my computer to be endangered, but even in death you intend to block my path!?" After finally managing to push aside the worthless obstacle, I traveled down the hallway and came to a small black door. I entered without a moment's notice, and in the middle of the dark and dreary room, I spotted my computer; it was completely unharmed. With a sigh of relief, I picked it up, left the building, and drove home as if nothing of importance had occurred there.

Upon returning home and hooking up the computer (whilst wearing a cheerful expression the entire time), I, to my horror, discovered that the computer hadn't been repaired. There was nothing in the world that could have contained my fiery anger at that point. I broke almost every single one of my possessions, smashed all the windows on my house, physically abused my family, and then drove back to the computer repair shop to defile the dead lumps of meat that had failed to carry out the task I had given them. After realizing that I shouldn't be meaninglessly wasting my time with such worthless pieces of trash, I remembered the piece of software that I'd discovered earlier. With renewed confidence, I blissfully visited the local library, downloaded the software, and took it home to install on my computer.

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Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (2, Insightful)

aztrailerpunk (1971174) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256719)

because ten minutes from now they'll switch to cheap artificially sweetened drinks that are cancerous. .

Don't worry citizen, California is already preparing a label for that.

Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256987)

Don't worry tax slave, California is already preparing a label for that.
 
Fixed that for you.

People should pay for their choices (3, Informative)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256771)

If you choose to be fat, if you choose to smoke, if you choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, you should be the one to pay for your healthcare expenses. The tax allows the government to charge the people who are running up the healthcare expenses and this is an excellent idea for a state which provides universal coverage.

The people with the bad habits should shut up and pay the tax or better maybe the government can simply cut them off healthcare entirely and let them die? Which is it? All I know is the rest of us shouldn't have to pay for their choices.

Re:People should pay for their choices (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256875)

Even those of us without socialized medicine still pay higher premiums for other people using more healthcare when they have problems. I don't want to work harder to subsidize people's bad habits. And weight issues are a big problem in this country that started with the introduction of large drinks, HFCS, and fast food.

Even Ohio has a sales tax on beverages. Michigan has a 10 cent aluminum can 'tax' that you get back when you recycle that every other state should adopt.

Re:People should pay for their choices (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256923)

If you get it back, it's a deposit not a tax.

Re:People should pay for their choices (3, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256937)

I'd say sedentary lifestyle has just as much to do with it. When you were a farmer, you could have a gigantic breakfast, huge lunch, and crazy dinner. Thing was because you were outside moving around all day, you'd just burn those calories up and it wouldn't be an issue.

Re:People should pay for their choices (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257077)

I'd say sedentary lifestyle has just as much to do with it. When you were a farmer, you could have a gigantic breakfast, huge lunch, and crazy dinner. Thing was because you were outside moving around all day, you'd just burn those calories up and it wouldn't be an issue.

If you are a farmer who smokes and drinks soda you'll still get fat and sick, just not as quickly.

Re:People should pay for their choices (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256911)

Those of us responsible enough to try to keep the population in check shouldn't have to pay for educating your voluntarily-produced crotchfruit either.

Re:People should pay for their choices (4, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256941)

Then perhaps healthcare shouldn't be a public burden. Why should anyone pay for anyone else's life choices? The options are two: remove public healthcare or remove the choices. Our society is moving rapidly toward the latter. The logical continuation is to determine an optimal course of action for every person at every point in time, and to punish them if they attempt to deviate from their orders. We will eat what we're told to and nothing else. We will sleep and wake when we're told to and at no other time. We will exercise, work, and entertain ourselves in the exact manner which we are instructed to. To do anything else would be selfish, increasing the cost to society. Think of the children!

Re:People should pay for their choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256955)

"If you choose to be fat, if you choose to smoke, if you choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, you should be the one to pay for your healthcare expenses."

So, you're an intrusive nannying moronic asshole, I assume you intend to pay for the broken nose I give you when you stick it in my business?

What's funny, is that you assholes pass laws to force me to accept government health care then try to use that as a bludgeon to get me to live the way you want.

It's called tyranny of the majority for as reason, and you and your kind are the worst example of it.

Please (0, Flamebait)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257093)

Hurry and move to your libertarian paradise of Costa Rica, your violent, hateful attitudes are not well received in America.

Re:People should pay for their choices (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257095)

"If you choose to be fat, if you choose to smoke, if you choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, you should be the one to pay for your healthcare expenses."

So, you're an intrusive nannying moronic asshole, I assume you intend to pay for the broken nose I give you when you stick it in my business?

What's funny, is that you assholes pass laws to force me to accept government health care then try to use that as a bludgeon to get me to live the way you want.

It's called tyranny of the majority for as reason, and you and your kind are the worst example of it.

If its your business then pay for your own healthcare. If you want taxes or other people to pool their money to pay into your healthcare the least you can do is care about your health.

Re:People should pay for their choices (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256957)

"The rest of us" shouldn't have to pay for anybody's choices. How about everybody pays for their own healthcare expenses? Gosh, what a concept!

Only the rich should have health care? (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257021)

"The rest of us" shouldn't have to pay for anybody's choices. How about everybody pays for their own healthcare expenses? Gosh, what a concept!

Tell me how well that works out for you when you have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer treatment out of pocket.

We have insurance to spread the risk, not to encourage people to take stupid risks and make intentionally bad choices.

Re:People should pay for their choices (5, Insightful)

codewarren (927270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257003)

In what world do most obese children "choose" to be fat? Most children are unaware of the nuances of dieting, the dangers of obesity, and the difficulty in losing weight once gained. They don't choose their parents or the culture they're born into either.

Re:People should pay for their choices (2)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257111)

In what world do most obese children "choose" to be fat? Most children are unaware of the nuances of dieting, the dangers of obesity, and the difficulty in losing weight once gained. They don't choose their parents or the culture they're born into either.

That is why we need the tax. The parents are making them fat to catch sales and save money.

Re:People should pay for their choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257015)

If you drive too! I'm fed up for subsidizing dangerous transportation habits.

Re:People should pay for their choices (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257057)

How many people really choose to be fat? Or choose to be unhealthy, most people start smoking when they are young and stupid, and can't quit.

Let's just make laws that exclude the poor, in writting, because the reason they are not rich is because the choose to be poor.

Re:People should pay for their choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257171)

If you choose to be fat, if you choose to smoke, if you choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, you should be the one to pay for your healthcare expenses. The tax allows the government to charge the people who are running up the healthcare expenses and this is an excellent idea for a state which provides universal coverage.

The people with the bad habits should shut up and pay the tax or better maybe the government can simply cut them off healthcare entirely and let them die? Which is it? All I know is the rest of us shouldn't have to pay for their choices.

Actually, healthcare costs of smokers are lower over their lifetime than those of non-smokers. Get your facts straight before poasting.

Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256837)

"because ten minutes from now they'll switch to cheap artificially sweetened drinks that are cancerous."
please name a study that actual shows they are cancerous.

There is no good evidence of that.

Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (5, Insightful)

codewarren (927270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256885)

I understand the sentiment of not needing the government to tell us what to buy, but I am really tired of the myth that "artificial" sweeteners cause cancer and "natural" sugar is somehow safe. Consuming sugar is known to greatly increase your risk of obesity (and thereby a host of other health issues like heart disease and diabetes). Whereas the least safe of all of the no calorie or low calorie sweeteners in use, aspartame, has not been demonstrated to be a carcinogen at all.

Even if there is a clear line between "natural" and "artificial" it does not follow that the former is in any way safe. Much of nature is out to kill you.

Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (1)

Stachybotris (936861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256943)

I just want to know how this congresscritter somehow turned the biology of "excess energy (sugar) gets converted into a convenient, high-energy-density molecule (fat) and stored for later use" into "It's actually a poison for you, because your liver can't handle that huge amount of fructose.". An excess of a non-poison does not make it a poison.

Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257135)

I just want to know how this congresscritter somehow turned the biology of "excess energy (sugar) gets converted into a convenient, high-energy-density molecule (fat) and stored for later use" into "It's actually a poison for you, because your liver can't handle that huge amount of fructose.". An excess of a non-poison does not make it a poison.

You are exactly wrong. Ever heard of water poisoning? But no, we don't need to look at a different example, let's stay focused on THIS example. Calling such high levels of fructose poison is correct - it overwhelms the liver and damages it, and may cause significant health problems or even death.

That's poisoning. Stop being a semantic moron. I think you just wrote that embarrassingly stupid comment because you don't like politicians. Well, boo fucking hoo, it doesn't change the facts.

Paracelsus (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257153)

An excess of a non-poison does not make it a poison.

Paracelsus: "Everything is poison, there is poison in everything. Only the dose makes a thing not a poison."

Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256969)

Probably will hurt kids in the long run, as they will be paying more for their drinks.

Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256981)

Question? How many lbs on the average does soda add to the obesity problem?
I admit I am overweight but I drink only a little bit of soda. Like once a month. I get the funny feeling that Soda is less of an issue and more to the fact that people are afraid of their neighbors and never leave the house.
Poorer people live in more dangerous areas so they will stay inside more, as well they rent so they will not have to preform outside main thence. Also they are not willing to buy gym membership.
Parents in order to protect their kids are not allowing them to go out and play so they get use to staying inside.

Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257007)

I really don't care if this helps kids for five minutes, because ten minutes from now they'll switch to cheap artificially sweetened drinks that are cancerous

Public health is all about relative risk. If the population-level harm caused by mass consumption of sugary drinks is far, far outweighed by the (speculative and unproven) risk of added cancers in that same population. (This is why policies more-or-less mandating vaccination are good: the risk to a population (even relative risk for individuals) of vaccine-related complications is drastically lower than the risk of the diseases the vaccines combat. "We don't need to talk about that though, just the facts, ma'am.")

Who knows, maybe people won't substitute HFCS-sweetened drinks for "diet" versions of the same 1:1. Maybe it'll be lower than that, and maybe some will just give it up altogether. In the meantime, the policy influences (not mandates) consumer decisions in a favorable way.

Few more taxes (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256651)

Tax driving, because it can kill you.

Tax running because it can cause joint problems.

Tax all non-"organic" foods because they contain neurotoxins.

It's for our own good.

Re:Few more taxes (-1, Offtopic)

MomoolaSupreme (2657835) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256695)

Around a year ago, I was mindlessly surfing the internet (as I often do) when I came across an enigmatic web page. The page, which looked like a warning from my web browser, informed me that I had a virus installed on my computer and that to fix it, I should install a strange anti-virus program that I'd never heard of (which I found peculiar considering the fact that I already had anti-virus software installed on my computer). Despite having reservations about installing it, I did so anyway (since it appeared to be a legitimate warning).

I cannot even fathom what I was thinking at that time. Soon after attempting to install the so-called anti-virus software, my desktop background image changed into a large red warning sign, warnings about malware began making appearances all over the screen, and a strange program I'd never seen before began nagging me to buy a program to remove the viruses. What should have been obvious previously then became clear to me: that software was a virus. Frustrated by my own stupidity, I began tossing objects around the room and cursing at no one in particular.

After I calmed down, I reluctantly took my computer to a local PC repair shop and steeled myself for the incoming fee. When I entered, I noticed that there were four men working there, and all of them seemed incredibly nice (the shop itself was clean and stylish, too). After I described the situation to them, they gave me a big smile (as if they'd seen and heard it all before), accepted the job, and told me that the computer would be working like new again in a few days. At the time, I was confident that their words held a great degree of truth to them.

The very next day, while I was using a local library's computer and browsing the internet, I came across a website dedicated to a certain piece of software. It claimed that it could fix up my PC and make it run like new again. I knew, right then, merely from viewing a single page on the website, that it was telling the truth. I cursed myself for not discovering this excellent piece of software before I had taken my PC to the PC repair shop. "It would've saved me money. Oh, well. I'm sure they'll get the job done just fine. I can always use this software in the future to conserve money." Those were my honest thoughts at the time.

Two days later, my phone rang after I returned home from work. I immediately was able to identify the number: it was the PC repair shop's phone number. Once I answered, something strange occurred; the one on the other end of the line spoke, in a small, tormented voice, "Return. Return. Return. Return. Return." No matter what I said to him, he would not stop repeating that one word. Unsettled by this odd occurrence, I traveled to the PC repair shop to find out exactly what happened.

Upon arriving inside the building, I looked upon the shop, which was a shadow of its former self, in shock. There were countless wires all over the floor, smashed computer parts scattered in every direction I looked, fallen shelves on the ground, desks flipped over on the ground, and, to make matters even worse, there was blood splattered all over the wall. Being the reasonable, upstanding, college-educated citizen that I was, I immediately concluded that the current state of the shop was due to none other than an employee's stress from work. I looked around a bit more, spotted three bodies sitting against the wall, and in the middle of the room, I spotted my computer. "Ah. There it is." Directly next to it was the shop's owner, sitting on the ground in the fetal position.

When I questioned him, he kept repeating a single thing again and again: "Cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped!" I could not get him to tell me what was wrong, but after a bit of pondering, I quickly figured out precisely what happened: they were unable to fix my computer like they had promised. Disgusted by their failure, I turned to the shop's owner (who I now noticed had a gun to his head), and spat in his general direction. I then turned my back to him as if I was attempting to say that nothing behind me was worth my attention, and said to him, "Pathetic. Absolutely, positively pathetic. I asked you to do a single thing for me, and yet you failed even at that. Were I you, I'd be disgusted by myself, and I'd probably even take my own life. Such a worthless existence isn't even worthy of receiving my gaze!"

After saying that, I left the shop with my computer as if absolutely nothing had occurred there. And, indeed, there was nothing in that shop that was worthy of my attention. Still understandably disgusted by their inability to fulfill the promise, I said to myself, "I'll have to take this into my own hands." After getting into my car to drive home, I heard a gun shot from inside the repair shop. Being that it originated from the worthless owner of that shop, I promptly decided to ignore it.

Once I returned home, I, filled to the brim with confidence, immediately installed the software that I'd found a few days ago: MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . The results were exactly what I expected, and yet, I was still absolutely in awe of MyCleanPC's [mycleanpc.com] wonderful performance. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] removed every last virus from my computer in the span of a few seconds. I simply couldn't believe it; MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] accomplished in moments what "professionals" had failed to accomplish after days of work!

MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colours where no one else could! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my system, and increased my speed!

If you're having computer troubles, I highly recommend the use of MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . Don't rely on worthless "professionals" to fix up your PC! Use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] if you want your PC to be overclocking, if you want your gigabits to be zippin' and zoomin', and if you want your PC to be virus-free.

Even if you aren't having any visible problems with your PC, I still wholeheartedly recommend the use of MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . You could still be infected by a virus that isn't directly visible to you, and MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] will fix that right up. What do you have to lose? In addition to fixing any problems, MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] will, of course, speed up all of your gigabits until every component on your PC is overclocking like new!

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Apples to HFCS Orange Flavored Drink (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256821)

Tax driving, because it can kill you.

Uh, I think a lot of counties and states do tax driving. Property taxes on vehicles, taxes in the form of registration, fines if you're caught without insurance (to pay for said deaths), the list goes on and on in that respect. So that's already been taken care of.

Tax running because it can cause joint problems.

In this case, I think any study would find that the benefits of running (on average) far outweigh joint problems. I'm pretty sure runners live a lot longer than non-runners and experience far less negative health effects than sedentary individuals.

Tax all non-"organic" foods because they contain neurotoxins.

It's for our own good.

You are so full of shit, it's hilarious. All non-"organic" food contains neurotoxins? Bananas? Potatoes? Horseshit. You know as well as I do that the FDA and a number of other watchdog groups keep their eyes on what you will actually find in a supermarket and that those pesticides and crap they do find are put through rigorous tests on other mammals to ascertain their safety. And, yes, the company responsible will find a very steep "tax" should that link ever arise -- just look at what happens in the cases of tainted produce that somehow make it through the processes involved to ensure they are safe.

What you don't seem to understand is that sweeteners have enjoyed an artificially low price due to subsidies [dailyfinance.com] and these subsidies are the reason why you can buy a big gulp at 7 eleven for pennies when there are 744 calories in that thing. Just like smoking, cities should be able to decide what measures need to be taken when lobbyist groups cause soda to be less expensive than water and this "tax" is actually an adjustment to reflect the true cost of these products. If you think that you're not being taxed already to pay for subsidies to make people fat that in turn drives up health care costs to everyone, you just can't comprehend the big picture.

Don't even get me started on how US corn subsidies and NAFTA have destroyed Mexico's farming and forced millions to turn to other crops like drugs.

Re:Apples to HFCS Orange Flavored Drink (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256891)

subsidies are there to maintain a stable food market...and it works. Soda are marginally cheaper because of it. Less then a penny a liter.

"Don't even get me started on how US corn subsidies and NAFTA have destroyed Mexico's farming and forced millions to turn to other crops like drugs."
Since it isn't true, there is nothing to start.

Re:Apples to HFCS Orange Flavored Drink (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256935)

I think any study would find that the benefits of running (on average) far outweigh joint problems. I'm pretty sure runners live a lot longer than non-runners and experience far less negative health effects than sedentary individuals.

Tell that to Jim Fixx...

Re:Apples to HFCS Orange Flavored Drink (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257011)

Is this a common practice, to tax a subsidy?

Re:Apples to HFCS Orange Flavored Drink (1)

bitt3n (941736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257103)

I'm pretty sure runners live a lot longer than non-runners

Studies suggest that you need to take into account what they're running from. For example, people running from lions have a much lower life expectancy than sedentary individuals.

Re:Few more taxes (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257125)

Lovely strawman arguments you throw out there. But you are neglecting the cost-benefit analysis that would need to accompany such a policy. Driving, for better or worse, is an essential element of our economy and sense of freedom; it provides an overwhelming good compared to its costs (like the fact that it can kill you). Running is far more beneficial to you than the potential joint problems - a cost that largely effects you and isn't a tremendous cost to society at large.

I think you'd have a hard time making the case that HFCS-laden sodas have more benefits than costs. What potential good do they serve that could outweight the staggering societal costs in terms of poor nutrition, rising obesity, idiotic agricultural policy. What is wrong with taxing things that are bad for you and society? You discourage the activity/behavior, and generate a revenue stream to combat the harm it causes. For the conservatives and libertarians, this is a much better course than outright banning sodas. Consumers still have a choice; they just have a better accounting of that choice.

What a terrible idea (4, Interesting)

hsmith (818216) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256671)

Much like taxing cigarettes. If cigarettes are so bad for the individual (as the government states - and anyone with a fucking brain knows) why is the government in the cigarette business? And try to be honest with yourself - the government is in the cigarette business when they make 20x the profit on a pack, compared to the cigarette company.

Taxing soda won't do anything but hand over more money to the government. It won't stop a thing and people know it.

Want to stop children drinking soda? then simply make it illegal for them to do so. (Which I don't agree with)

Re:What a terrible idea (-1, Offtopic)

RapeIsOkayToday (2657837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256731)

A few weeks ago, I foolishly ran a strange executable file that one of my acquaintances sent me by email. As someone who doesn't know much about computers, at the time, I thought nothing of it. "Why would my acquaintance want to hurt me?" Following this line of thought, I ran the file without question.

How naive I was. Despite having what was supposedly the best anti-virus software out right then, a virus took over my computer and held it hostage. It was pretending to be a warning from Windows telling me to buy some strange anti-virus software I'd never heard of from a company I'd never heard of to remove the virus.

This immediately set alarm bells off in my head. "How could this happen? My anti-virus is supposed to be second to none!" Faced with this harsh reality, I decided to take it to a PC repair shop for repair. They gladly accepted the job, told me it'd be fixed in a few days, and sent me off with a smile.

A few days later, they called me and told me to come pick up my computer. At the time, I noticed that they sounded like whimpering animals, but I concluded that it must just be stress from work. When I arrived, they, with tears in their eyes, told me that the virus was so awful and merciless that they were unable to remove it. "Ah," I thought. "That must be why they sounded so frustrated and pathetic over the phone. Their failure must have truly ruined their pride as professionals." I later found out that two of them had committed suicide.

After returning home, I tried to fix it myself (despite the fact that even the professionals couldn't do it). After about a day or so, I was losing my very mind. I stopped going to work, stopped eating, was depressed, and I would very frequently throw my precious belongings across the room and break them; that is how bad this virus was.

That's when it happened: I found MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] ! I installed MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] , ran a scan, and let it remove all the viruses! They were removed in precisely 2.892 seconds. Wow! Such a thing! I can't even believe this as such never before! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colors where no one else could!

MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my system, and increased my speed! If you're having computer problems, or even if you aren't having any obvious problems, I recommend that you use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . As a user, it did more for me that any so-called "professional." It'll even boost your PC & internet speed!

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Re:What a terrible idea (4, Informative)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256735)

Much like taxing cigarettes. If cigarettes are so bad for the individual (as the government states - and anyone with a fucking brain knows) why is the government in the cigarette business? And try to be honest with yourself - the government is in the cigarette business when they make 20x the profit on a pack, compared to the cigarette company.

Taxing soda won't do anything but hand over more money to the government. It won't stop a thing and people know it.

Want to stop children drinking soda? then simply make it illegal for them to do so. (Which I don't agree with)

California has universal healthcare. Sick people cost more money than healthy people which means your taxes go up paying for smokers and soda drinkers. Make them pay the extra dollar and suddenly they have to pay for their own bad habits.

Re:What a terrible idea (5, Insightful)

ifwm (687373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256985)

Sick people cost more money than healthy people which means your taxes go up paying for smokers and soda drinkers.

That's your fault for voting for policies that require you to pay for those people. There's something tyrannical about using the majority to force people to accept healthcare from you, then using the healthcare you forced them to accept as a tool to change their behavior.

Re:What a terrible idea (1)

cribera (2560179) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256807)

Much like taxing cigarettes. If cigarettes are so bad for the individual (as the government states - and anyone with a fucking brain knows) why is the government in the cigarette business? And try to be honest with yourself - the government is in the cigarette business when they make 20x the profit on a pack, compared to the cigarette company. Taxing soda won't do anything but hand over more money to the government. It won't stop a thing and people know it. Want to stop children drinking soda? then simply make it illegal for them to do so. (Which I don't agree with)

In most cases, making things illegal won't work, as seen with the current dope traffic.

Taxing any irresponsibleattitude should be the way.

If you want to be irresponsible, fine, suit yourself, but don't expect that your attitude is subsidized by the rest of the taxpayers, so pay in advance the problems your attitude will cause (public health bills, for instance).

Re:What a terrible idea (1)

Supermike68 (2535978) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256867)

High fructose corn syrup is subsidized by the government. This means that all Americans pay taxes on HCFC already, whether they like it or not. If the corn industry stopped being subsidized then the price would go up on its own and there'd be no need for an additional tax. That way your tax dollars could go to something worth while and people wouldn't be double paying for HCFC products. I see no down side.

Re:What a terrible idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256873)

Sounds like a great idea, can we start with taxing sports?

I don't know how many times I see people with sports injuries in hospital. It makes me sick to see people abusing their bodies like that. Hockey has to be one of the worst offenders, causing children permanent brain damage. At least the fat kids get a chance to be normal adults for a while. But sports! Destroys the rest of their life.

Re:What a terrible idea (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256979)

In most cases, making things illegal won't work, as seen with the current dope traffic."
define work.

Fewer people drank during prohibition..as a side note, domestic crime was reduced to just about 0 during the prohibition. All crime not involved with liquor went down.

So if you're goal was to reduce crime overall, prohibition worked.

If you define work as 'fewer people using it' then, yes prohibition works.

If by work you mean no one will do it again, ever. then no.

Prohibition didn't work the first time (2)

sjbe (173966) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256869)

Much like taxing cigarettes. If cigarettes are so bad for the individual (as the government states - and anyone with a fucking brain knows) why is the government in the cigarette business?

Because the government learned its lesson from Prohibition. Banning it doesn't work but taxing it does apparently mitigate the problem. If you can't beat 'em, tax 'em.

Taxing soda won't do anything but hand over more money to the government. It won't stop a thing and people know it.

Actually the really perverse bit is that sugar is subsidized [cato.org] by the government. A lot of the obesity problem we have arguably stem from that subsidy. So we're taxing something that we're subsidizing? Why not just eliminate the subsidy? You'll accomplish much the same thing with a lot less overhead.

Want to stop children drinking soda? then simply make it illegal for them to do so. (Which I don't agree with)

We tried something like that in the 1920s. Didn't work then. Won't work now.

Re:What a terrible idea (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256927)

"Taxing soda won't do anything but hand over more money to the government. It won't stop a thing and people know it. "
Since all other evidence points to taxing items does lead to fewer people using it.

The government has constantly worked to try and reduce smoking. TO say otherwise is, at best, willful ignorance.

It's all in how you sell it. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256677)

Talking about tax money as going somewhere specific is really meaningless, as money is perfectly interchangeable by definition. But it certainly helps to get public support!

Fructose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256699)

This is the real problem. HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is not good for you. I'm lucky to live in a country where they use plain refined cane sugar.

Re:Fructose (3, Insightful)

littlebigbot (2493634) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256827)

I think drinking enough soda to become obese is terrible for you whether its made with HFCS or sugar.

Re:Fructose (0)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257041)

Perhaps you are right, but I guarantee the person drinking soda full of HFCS will have a LOT more health problems than the person drinking soda flavored with cane sugar. They may both be overweight but the odds are heavily stacked against HFCS.

I'm also lucky enough to live in a country not infected by this shit called HFCS.

Re:Fructose (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256919)

I'm lucky to live in a country where they use plain refined cane sugar.

So do I, but if we have twice as much sugar as they have fructose we are equally fucked if not more so. Fructose is itself is not the problem. Using a LOT of it is the problem, and a lot of cane sugar (sucrose) breaks down to half glucose (metabolised all over the place) and half fructose (liver only so bad news in large quanitites in small children).
Another part of the high fructose corn syrup problem is apparently that more is used than you would use cane sugar to get the same level of sweetness.

While the HFCS situation in the USA is an insane consequence of protectionism of their now tiny cane sugar industry (Brazil, Jamaca, Cuba etc could all sell the US cane sugar cheaper than HFCS), there are still a lot of people getting fat and apparently having liver problems in other parts of the world. Many Pacific islands have obesity problems approaching those of the USA on cane sugar.

Good way to cut healthcare taxes. (4, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256707)

Why should everyone else have to pay higher taxes because some people like to drink poison or smoke fiberglass particles?

It may be their choice but they should have to pay for their choice and not make everyone else pay.

Re:Good way to cut healthcare taxes. (1)

GenmaKun (821817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256819)

If smoking really made people less healthy and was a factor in the cost of health insurance and life insurance, then the insurance companies would charge higher rates for people who smoke. And if sugary drinks make people fat and that really made people less healthy, maybe insurance companies would check fat content to charge a higher rate to less healthy people. Oh wait. They do. The problem is that the government is getting into the business of providing health care. The goverment solution is to find creative ways to fund their unaffordable health care costs. I think a good solution would be for the government to not pay for health care costs and let smokers and people who drink sugar sodas get their own health care. Problem solved.

Re:Good way to cut healthcare taxes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257037)

The problem is that the government is getting into the business of providing health care. The goverment solution is to find creative ways to fund their unaffordable health care costs. I think a good solution would be for the government to not pay for health care costs and let smokers and people who drink sugar sodas get their own health care. Problem solved.

Yeah, if only the government would man up, stick to Darwinian-libertarian principles, and let people die.

Caring for the citizens? It just coddles the weak, and that ruins the life of guys Randian ubermensch.

Or maybe your sociopathic ideals really aren't what most people genuinely want. For themselves or others. Yes, I know in your selfish me-first world, that's unthinkable. Empathy is alien to you, especially when combined with compassion.

But believe it or not, people don't actually find your paradise an actual utopia. They realize it will be a horrific and oppressive dystopia, even if your intentions were genuine. Not that people like you ever are.

You're as corrupt and venal as can be. You won't even pretend to the values of others.

Re:Good way to cut healthcare taxes. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257121)

Or maybe your sociopathic ideals

I think this word is a bit overused here. Disagree with me? Sociopath. Don't care about a specific group of people? Sociopath. Don't let other people's emotions forever control your actions? Sociopath. Care about some people, but not others? Sociopath. Care about people, but not enough to let their emotions stop you from doing what you feel needs to be done? Sociopath. Everything makes one a sociopath/means they don't have empathy for anyone.

Re:Good way to cut healthcare taxes. (2)

cob666 (656740) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257055)

I don't know where you live, but in the US, non-group insurances plans ARE move expensive for people who smoke.

Re:Good way to cut healthcare taxes. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257083)

"would charge higher rates for people who smoke"
sometime they do, but more often that cost is spread across all customers to have a competitive market.
who you want to talk to is actuaries. All of them cna show smoker health issues.

"Problem solved."
Except the people most at risk for smoking and eating poorly are the pour.

Having areas that don't have health care become incubators for disease.

" fund their unaffordable health care costs."
of course, this has nothing to do with that, but go ahead an let you ignorance be the driver for you emotional piss ass decisions.

They health care program pays for it's self. Read that damn thing. If it's 'too long' for you then either you are illiterate or don't actually care about the issue. In either case, shut the fuck up.

Re:Good way to cut healthcare taxes. (1)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257109)

If only that were the case. The problem is that the higher costs are spread throughout the entire insurance risk pool (that is, everybody, even if the perpetrators are uninsured, oddly enough). If you smoke, I end up paying for it, one way or another. And IMO your right to your own particular lifestyle ought to end at my wallet.

Personally, I think smokers should be forced to waive any insurance or government benefits for treating the diseases they're foisting on themselves, period.

Re:Good way to cut healthcare taxes. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256835)

Why is it that if what you do affects someone else inadvertently, it must be taxed/banned? That pretty much includes everything. Ice skating? Useless, and people could get hurt. Sports? Useless, and people could get hurt (and they often do). Boxing? Wrestling? Various other activities? Ban/tax them all because I don't feel like paying higher taxes for people getting hurt doing things that I personally don't agree with!

Why is it that we can't accept paying for others' problems as a trade off of living in a free society where everything you do isn't taxed just because someone else wanted socialized health care but doesn't want to pay higher taxes for one of the things you do?

Why stop there? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256859)

Ride a bike, pay more taxes.

Ride a motorcycle, pay double!

You like to bungee jump? What about parachuting? Rock climber? Do you walk in the city? Do you...

Its so easy to make other people pay isn't it, well it is when you have the force of government to make people do what is good for them. After all, you know what is good for them don't you. You should fear people who know what is good for you because your next.

Re:Good way to cut healthcare taxes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256921)

Why should everyone else have to pay higher taxes because some people like to drink poison or smoke fiberglass particles?

It may be their choice but they should have to pay for their choice and not make everyone else pay.

I agree, it is sad we have worked ourselves into a position where entirely remove, and in some cases, reward bad decisions.

Would go to soccer fields, school... uh-huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256713)

"between $2 million and $8 million, would go to soccer fields, school gardens and programs to treat diabetes and fight obesity."

Of course it would, we all believe you.

In theory...in practice - General Fund (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256801)

That's the biggest problems with this kind of tax - it just ends up in the General Fund and they use it for whatever. It's like lottery proceeds, which are supposed to go to the schools. Well, they do. Except that as a result they don't have to pay as much out of the general fund for schools - it's not like they determine a realistic budget for schools, and then say "and we have $3 Billion extra from the lottery, so we're going to so these special projects this year."

Their idea is sound, but in three years it will just be another revenue source.

My question is if they'll try to pull a tobacco settlement out of this: tax the problem, then double dip by suing the product makers for the public healthcare costs.

Kalifornistan (-1, Offtopic)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256715)

What a total incompently run state. Socialism at its best.
They make George Orwell's animal farm seem like a day at the amusement park.

Re:Kalifornistan (1)

stewbee (1019450) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256947)

That's pretty funny that you would invoke Orwell, who was a known Socialist

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_orwell#Political_views [wikipedia.org]

It makes me think you don't actually know what the word means, hmm? Or even what Animal Farm was about, which was more of a statement about the ills Stalinism and communism. But you know, go ahead and carry on about how much you don't know.

I am all for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256725)

poor fat kids paying for my sporting amenities. Jo sixpack is happy too.

What really worked for tobacco? (5, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256729)

Dr. Bibbins-Domingo credits the taxation of tobacco products with being the sole cause of decreased smoking. But it seems to me that I grew up with no desire to try cigarettes after spending my childhood watching PSA after PSA pointing out that it would cause all sorts of horrible diseases. Taxation never figured into it for me...and it also seems that taxation only matters after you're hooked on cigarettes, too. I smoke cigars occasionally, but whatever added cost comes from the taxes don't matter, since it's a rare occurrence. The taxes would matter only if I were regularly spending money on them, like habitual cigarette smokers do. And I've seen how hard it is for smokers to stop, once they are hooked...it's incredibly hard. So I doubt that taxation was the main cause of the decrease in smoking.

Re:What really worked for tobacco? (0)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256805)

Dr. Bibbins-Domingo credits the taxation of tobacco products with being the sole cause of decreased smoking. But it seems to me that I grew up with no desire to try cigarettes after spending my childhood watching PSA after PSA pointing out that it would cause all sorts of horrible diseases. Taxation never figured into it for me...and it also seems that taxation only matters after you're hooked on cigarettes, too. I smoke cigars occasionally, but whatever added cost comes from the taxes don't matter, since it's a rare occurrence. The taxes would matter only if I were regularly spending money on them, like habitual cigarette smokers do. And I've seen how hard it is for smokers to stop, once they are hooked...it's incredibly hard. So I doubt that taxation was the main cause of the decrease in smoking.

You know why? Smokers are draining societies resources in the form of expensive healthcare. Sugar addicts are among the worst, diabetes risk, cancer risk, heart disease risk, etc. It's perfectly rational to tax people who choose to make bad choices which will lead to higher health care costs for everyone else.

Re:What really worked for tobacco? (3, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257051)

It's perfectly rational to tax people who choose to make bad choices which will lead to higher health care costs for everyone else.

Now, I know this is a radical thought, but how about you pay for your healthcare, I'll pay for mine, and you can keep your damn nose out of whatever the hell I want to do.

This is why political conservatives oppose state-funded health care; not because they hate poor people, but because it's the camel's nose in the tent. And pretty soon, the damn camel's telling you what you're allowed to do, not do, eat drink and breathe.

Also, I'd like actual stats on those health care costs of yours. Dying is expensive, no matter what it's from. Most of my elderly relatives don't suffer from diabetes or heart disease, and yet they're in and out of hospitals regularly. When my grandfather died, it was after being in hospital for months, and he was basically just dying of old age. The cheapest way to go would actually be one big coronary or stroke in middle age.

Re:What really worked for tobacco? (1)

bloggerhater (2439270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257061)

Dr. Bibbins-Domingo credits the taxation of tobacco products with being the sole cause of decreased smoking. But it seems to me that I grew up with no desire to try cigarettes after spending my childhood watching PSA after PSA pointing out that it would cause all sorts of horrible diseases. Taxation never figured into it for me...and it also seems that taxation only matters after you're hooked on cigarettes, too. I smoke cigars occasionally, but whatever added cost comes from the taxes don't matter, since it's a rare occurrence. The taxes would matter only if I were regularly spending money on them, like habitual cigarette smokers do. And I've seen how hard it is for smokers to stop, once they are hooked...it's incredibly hard. So I doubt that taxation was the main cause of the decrease in smoking.

You know why? Smokers are draining societies resources in the form of expensive healthcare. Sugar addicts are among the worst, diabetes risk, cancer risk, heart disease risk, etc. It's perfectly rational to tax people who choose to make bad choices which will lead to higher health care costs for everyone else.

Another way to look at it is that the government is going to tax people for being addicted to a substance that is VERY difficult to quit. The only way these taxes will stop people from consuming these products is if you make the product entirely unaffordable. Otherwise these people will just be nicked and dimed just a little more, and continue dying, while uncle Sam makes a killing.

Refined sugar products, just like tobacco products, will not be taxed into obscurity any time soon. Mainly because of the dramatic impact it would have on the economy.

Re:What really worked for tobacco? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257099)

>Sugar addicts

sugar is one of the only two things brain needs: oxygen and sugar. Using the same terminology for sugar (and sex) and products that are not necessity for humans - alcohol, drugs - is misleading.

In real additction (the latter row), one has to completely withdraw to be able to fight it. Addcits should never consume the product, otherwise additcion will return.

For sugar and sex "addicts" sugar and sex continues to be a necessity.

Re:What really worked for tobacco? (0)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257033)

And the tax to habitual soda drinkers, who enjoy the odd drink from time to time, won't hurt them much. The tax is going to hurt those who drink it to excess, like those who smoke to excess.

That's who the tax is targeted at. The person who drinks a soda at a party isn't going to have obesity or diabetes issues, it's the person who has it for breakfast, dinner, tea and supper.

Also a tax is a way of treating the inevitable outcome. If you wanted people to stop altogether, you'd ban it. Taxing it means that the people who don't drink soda don't have to pay for treating the people who drink it to excess and cause a burden on the medical system as a result.

I would completely support a system like the above. If these people had A) A financial reason to stop or B) More help to quit, then the problem will go away.

Just sit and think about how the HFCS drinks came into being. Someone figured that if they put enough sweetness into their product, people would be incapable of resisting it, because it is a basic need in humans to crave high energy foods, because we are taught to expect an oncoming famine, when food will be scarce. Now that the famine is for all intents and purposes gone, there is absolutely no need to make high energy drinks (unless you are an athlete, and I'm even dubious about their usefulness), and to do so now is just to make people addicted to a product that really is poisonous in the quantities they serve them.

Now we could also take a stand against the alcohol industry ... but wait, they're taxed too! Soda is a luxury product, luxury and dangerous to your health in any significant quantity. It should have been taxed everywhere long ago.

Taxing the taxes (4, Insightful)

Supermike68 (2535978) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256761)

The sugar in these drinks is high fructose corn syrup which we all know comes from corn. Corn farming in the united states is subsidized by the federal government.

So taxing products that contain high fructose corn syrup is taxing something that people already pay taxes on!

Re:Taxing the taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256879)

Yeah, but the problem is the corn subsidies aren't under California or New York's control. The corn subsidies are put in the budget by politicians from loser red states that need handouts to survive, then NY and CA have to pay for it.

Re:Taxing the taxes (1)

Supermike68 (2535978) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257001)

I recognize that is a problem but having people double down on taxes isn't the solution.

Re:Taxing the taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256967)

Exactly! Instead of attacking the effect we should attack the cause.

Re:Taxing the taxes (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257147)

wrong.
We pay taxes for corn subsidies to maintain a stable food supply.
The US used to just buy excess corn and store it. It turns out paying subsidies have the same effect, but are cheaper the warehousing silos of rotting corn.

Only one cent? (0)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256809)

If they're really serious about taxing this for health reasons, they should make it one dollar per ounce so that the can of coke's price skyrockets. A penny per ounce of sugar is just an excuse to raise some tax money on low earners. They might as well run a lottery for the same effect.

Re:Only one cent? (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256983)

They might as well run a lottery for the same effect.

They've already been doing that for > 20 years.

Farm subsidies (5, Interesting)

Andrio (2580551) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256833)

If we really want to combat obesity (and not just childhood obesity), the single best thing we can do is take away farm subsidies. The cost of corn (and other things, of course) would double overnight, leading to a massive increase in the prices of unhealthy foods. Colas in particular would be hit hard since HFCS would no longer be so cheap. The key thing is that prices of soda won't necessarily go up, but serving sizes will go down. Notice how small the classic coca-cola bottles are? 6 fl oz. That's what people drank back in the day before subsidized corn allowed cheap sweeteners. Now we have 12 oz cans and 22 oz bottles available everywhere. That's what they did with the cheap sweeteners--they didn't lower the prices of colas, they just sold us more per unit.

Here come the "responsiblity" blowhards. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256847)

For everyone furiously typing their post that includes words like "choice" "responsibility" and other good words you've cynically crafted in to politically charged euphamisims.

1. There is an obesity problem
2. It is linked to sugary drinks
3. The price of sugary drinks is artificially low due to government subsidies
4. Why do you support government handouts that hurt the public?

Re:Here come the "responsiblity" blowhards. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257151)

For everyone furiously typing their post that includes words like "choice" "responsibility" and other good words you've cynically crafted in to politically charged euphamisims.

1. There is an obesity problem
2. It is linked to sugary drinks
3. The price of sugary drinks is artificially low due to government subsidies
4. Why do you support government handouts that hurt the public?

Because it's easier to tax sugar than to end subsidies for sugar.

Monumentally stupid idea (0)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256861)

Aside from the f*cking nanny statist bullsh*t that this is, what's really wrong with it is that there's money involved. When the cigarette taxes were levied and sold to the uneducated electorate with the notion that the money would be spent on early childhood development programs or some other program, what they didn't realize is they just added to the parasitic economy. As cigarette sales dropped, so did the money available to spend on these programs which continued to grow. Then these same do-gooders whined that their precious bullsh*t social programs didn't have any money so other tax money had to be allocated to them which inevitable leads to higher taxes.

This scheme is no different.

Re:Monumentally stupid idea (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257031)

Aside from the f*cking nanny statist bullsh*t that this is, what's really wrong with it is that there's money involved. When the cigarette taxes were levied and sold to the uneducated electorate with the notion that the money would be spent on early childhood development programs or some other program, what they didn't realize is they just added to the parasitic economy. As cigarette sales dropped, so did the money available to spend on these programs which continued to grow. Then these same do-gooders whined that their precious bullsh*t social programs didn't have any money so other tax money had to be allocated to them which inevitable leads to higher taxes.

This scheme is no different.

However, the people of the city of Richmond, California have the right to decide if they want it, your anger not withstanding.

MOAR MONEY ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256965)

Yup, because the high price of illicit drugs is surely the reason folks limit their use :|

-facepalm-

People like their soft-drinks. Not good for you at all, but still we like them. Personally I think the city knows
folks will continue drinking them anyway, regardless of what tax they put on them. As a result, the real underlying
reason is to rake in more money. Apparently any way they can these days . . .

Atleast theya are thinking taxing sugar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256991)

In Finland, where I live, they implemented "Candy tax" so all candies etc. have extra tax on it. The funny thing is that also every carbonated beverage is taxated so even mineral water has this extra tax and all sugarless beverages like light cola. It's *ucking stupid.

Fix deeper causes: stop subsidies, quotas, tariffs (4, Interesting)

kasper_souren (1577647) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256993)

I couldn't believe it when I was in the US last year, checking the bread section, not a single bread without high-fructose corn syrup! I don't think taxing sodas will fix the this deeper issue. Maybe it's easier to preach for some good old free market solution to fix this issue? "Factors for this include governmental production quotas of domestic sugar, subsidies of U.S. corn, and an import tariff on foreign sugar; all of which combine to raise the price of sucrose to levels above those of the rest of the world, making HFCS less costly for many sweetener applications." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-fructose_corn_syrup [wikipedia.org]

Damn socialist nanny state (1)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257023)

You commie liberals won't tell me what I can and cannot eat, drink, inhale, ingest, imbibe, consume, quaff, or absorb! I'm sick of government intrusion! So what if I drive up health care costs for everybody? I pay enough taxes already - too much in fact, for everything I get, without you whiny tards telling me what's good for me! If I want to sit on my front porch and eat an entire stick of butter in one sitting one day, you better stay the hell away! When I finally get up, if my knees can take it, you'll be looking down the barrel of my shotgun! YOU WILL TAKE MY FREEDOM BUTTER WHEN YOU PRY MY COLD DEAD FINGERS FROM IT !!!!1!!!!!

Iron Triangle not worried about being fat (2)

Wingfat (911988) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257079)

I think Richmond should work on crime first. Updating the roads, and schools before they start messing with what people can and can not drink. i mean really now. get with it people. -also not as big of a problem in Mexico where they DO NOT use High Fruitose Corn Suryp in their soads.. hmm makes you think. When did HFCS get big, yep you got it, in the 80s when New Coke came out. that was the first main brand drink in the US to use the HFCS junk. when they then moved back to coke classic they kept using the fake sugar and didnt go back to real sugar. since then has anyone else noticed how people are now getting larger and dying of more cancers?

What Else Do We Do? (4, Interesting)

jdev (227251) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257097)

Yes, this on the surface seems like an overreaching nanny state tax. Consider this though.

So what do you do about this? Let people eat up our healthcare system with obesity related illnesses (no pun intended), or try things out to fix the problem? The government has run educational programs before with little success. Taxing sugar almost seems like a reasonable alternative at this point.

2 things (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257113)

the amount is too little.
The taxes should be based on something easier to calculate for the merchants.
a dollar for every groups of 12 ounce.

Making a soda cost 12 cents more for a can, won't do much.

Won't work (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257139)

People are already paying $2.00 for a soda at restaurants when the restaurants get the same soda for $0.10
I really doubt forcing patrons to pay $2.32 will change anyone's behavior. And what about refills at fast food places? Honor bar (thus only those who carry change pay)?

complicate much? (2, Interesting)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40257165)

How about instead of taxing them we end the god damn subsidies instead? The god damn corn farmers are ridiculously subsidized which is why we can afford super cheap soda with super cheap corn syrup in it. Soda so cheap because we paid for it with our tax dollars already! End the god damn subsidy instead of adding yet another retarded tax.

Same god damn gasoline. Oil producers are heavily subsidized, so our gas is only $3/gal because we collectively pay HUGE subsidies to the oil industry to make it cheap. On top of that there's a tax too! Why so complicated? Holy batman, end the god damn subsidies!

oh... and all these "taxed enough already" tea party fuckers are all for "reduce taxes, reduce government spending" are against cutting subsidies! A subsidy is a tax that we pay to private businesses. Oil subsidy = oil industry's tax on people. Corn farming subsidy = corn farmer's tax on people. Stupid.

Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40257179)

This comment really isn't going to add anything to the discussion, I guess, but I just can't help it anymore. This country is truly f*cked.

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