The Sugar Tax

The sugar tax is becoming increasingly advocated for in government and promoted by most health professionals and doctors to increase government taxes on such things as sugar and cigarettes. Just because they are correlated to bad health problems. The reality that taxing such things to prohibit intake is otherwise wrong. What about substitute goods and the freedom of the consumer? We should for the benefit of everyone in society not be promoting such silly ideas. Read this article on End the Sugar Tax by Garry Galles explaining how sugar is just a substitute good of sweetener and if producers find sugar now heavily taxed making it too expensive, producers switch to using sweeteners. 

If your a nutritionist or aware of the negatives both sugar and sweeteners can have on health then you should be aware of how taxes on either or both affects negatively on consumers. Taxes create a dead-weight loss for society. These taxes end up going back into industries which produce unhealthy products, in particular government subsidizes research into the negative effects of sugar in order to promote increasing taxes, see my article on the Negative Externalities of Agriculture Industry.

Jamie Oliver has also, appeared campaigning outside the UK House of Commons, arguing for it being implemented, though quite hypocritical as his many recipes themselves have sugar in the ingredients. News and media who report on these types of stories are very bias where none seem to find qualified and experienced people (who are not producers of sugary foods) who disagree to the taxes, see this article by the Financial Review calling Australians into accepting a sugar tax and many more like it. It has been spoken about recently in the news as it has been part of the 2016 UK budget.

Where there are special interests ignoring the economics that as the costs of factors of production rise the businesses with sugar in their products will look at cutting back on costs, such as laying off workers. If not then would be forced to drive up the cost of their products and let the consumers pay the tax, either hurting the poor with high costs or it may decrease their demand hurting the businesses. “It is the simple path that leads to least resistance: Textbook Publishers : Teachers :: A) pharmaceutical companies : doctors [B)] corporations : congressmen D) all of the above” (Lockhart, 2009). The taxman is there at every stage of production and he will eat into everyone’s dinner through taxes, see this article my the Mises Institute, by Ralph Reiland. In summary, consumers should have the freedom to choose based on their expected costs and benefits to themselves able to choose between substitute goods. Where there is increased consumer awareness for both market and government issues surrounding such areas.


Reference List (American Psychological Association)

Lockhart, Paul. (2009). A Mathematicians Lament. Bellevue Literary Review: United States of America. Retrieved [19/03/2016] from <https://www.maa.org/external_archive/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf>.

Resources

Murphy, R. (2006). Soda and the Sin Tax. Mises Institute. Retrieved [18/03/2016] from <https://mises.org/library/soda-and-sin-tax>.

Featured image supplied from Unsplash.

Copyright © 2016 Zoë-Marie Beesley

Creative Commons License Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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