No taxation without nectarization

The latest craze among those determined to tell the world how to live is the idea that unhealthy food should be taxed at a higher rate. The latest manifestation of this is proposed sin taxes on non-diet soft drinks.

Rick Robins has some interesting thoughts regarding this idea:

This proposed tax on sugary drinks has other problems beyond those of most sin taxes. For starters, what exactly is a ‘sugary drink’? Obviously most regular sodas would qualify as being in that category. However, in recent years consumers have already been turning away from regular sodas in favor of healthier options such as diet sodas, flavored waters and the varieties of teas now available. Energy drinks could also qualify for this category given that most of them contain large amounts of sugar and caffeine. Some might even suggest that coffee could qualify as a sugary drink but that is not necessarily true. During a recent trip to McDonalds I ordered a large coffee and asked for two creams and two sugars be put in it. Another customer also ordered a large coffee but he asked to have eight sugars and four creams in his. Just hearing that order made my teeth start to ache! But therein lies yet another dilemma – would the tax on his super-sugary coffee be higher than my slightly-sugary one? And if it were, would I have to begin a “No taxation without nectarization” protest movement?

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