New York Times Editorial: Yes on Soda Tax
A New York Times editorial from June 3, 2009, concluded by saying: “All consumers — not just those lucky enough to live near farms or large grocery stores — should be able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. While we wait, Congress could impose an excise tax on sugary drinks — one of the main culprits in the obesity epidemic.”
That’s a good idea, but the Times, and anyone else, should really think through the allocation of the funds. To truly recover the external costs to society of soda, most, if not all, of the tax revenue needs to be allocated toward those costs. These include obesity, but also diabetes and tooth decay.
Furthermore, as was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in April 2009, a poll of New York State residents found that 52% supported a “soda tax,” but the number rose to 72% when respondents were told that the revenue would be used for obesity prevention.