Taxing the Poor

I’m cranking on a project involving Medicare and cost reduction — and my research keeps stumbling over one Leftist solution to diabetes: Tax the poor. If you punish them enough, the theory goes, they’ll stop behaving badly. So the implementation of per-ounce taxes on beverages will hurt the poor so badly, financially, they they will reduce their consumption of these beverages. Here’s an abstract of one paper:

Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major contributor to the US obesity and diabetes epidemics. Using the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, we examined the potential impact on health and health spending of a nationwide penny-per-ounce excise tax on these beverages. We found that the tax would reduce consumption of these beverages by 15 percent among adults ages 25–64. Over the period 2010–20, the tax was estimated to prevent 2.4 million diabetes person-years, 95,000 coronary heart events, 8,000 strokes, and 26,000 premature deaths, while avoiding more than $17 billion in medical costs. In addition to generating approximately $13 billion in annual tax revenue, a modest tax on sugar-sweetened beverages could reduce the adverse health and cost burdens of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

Note that the proposed tax costs the poor about eight times as much (11x$13b) as it would reduce medical costs ($17b). In other words, it’s a new regressive tax on poor people — the target the Left pretends to support with words but harms with action.

They’ve been doing this for many years with gasoline taxes — pretending to focus on changing behavior, but in reality raising lots of money on the backs of people most harmed. Far more cash goes to US governments (at federal/state/local levels) from oil revenues than to oil company profits.

You can think of this as national union dues, perhaps.  Perhaps unions dues, too, will “necessarily skyrocket” — the phrase Candidate Obama used when describing how he would implement new taxes (on electricity costs, again most harming poor people), all in the effort to change people’s behavior.  And raise government cash at their expense, of course.

===|===============/ Keith DeHavelle