How About Putting a “Sin Tax” on Fast Food?

We already have taxes levied on cigarettes, purportedly to pay for education to stop smoking.  So, what’s so wrong with a tax on fast food to subsidize education about “eating less and moving more,” considering that two-thirds of the American population is fat or obese?

Lawmakers in New Jersey are considering such a tax, and planning to use the revenue from it to fund struggling hospitals.  Obviously, the old hat argument comes out that condemns such a tax as specifically aiming at the poor. When you want to budget money for eating, why not consider eating at home and brown-bagging it for lunch?  Everyone knows that this is a cheaper and more nutritious alternative.

As one taxpayer pointed out, “It costs $12.86 for fries and this little chicken wrap….” This taxpayer was complaining about adding a tax.  Yipes.  This taxpayer should have been complaining about how much money he’s wasting on such a menu.  He did also comment that “if they raise it [i.e., the price with a tax], I’ll stop buying it.”    Brilliant!  If it’s unhealthy, he’ll eat it.  If it has a “sin tax,” he’ll stop.  I think that’s a good enough reason for the tax.