Sunday, 21st December 2014

Should The Big G Be Your Sugar Daddy?

Posted on 04. Feb, 2012 by in Current Events, Politics

sugarydeath1 236x300 Should The Big G Be Your Sugar Daddy?

Sweet, sweet sucrose-injected, fructose-laced damnation awaits us all, at least according to a recent article in Nature magazine. Three researchers in California have produced a report that shows the toxic danger of sugar, eventually going on to suggest that it should be regulated by federal governments as a controlled substance.

I would like to sidestep all the typical (though entirely valid) nanny-state-run-amok critiques. If you want those, please feel free to type the word sugar into news.google.com, where you will get a small mountain of such attacks, peppered liberally (oh, I love a good double entendre!) with articles espousing that the federal government should regulate everything, down to bowel movements.

The main method of regulation being proposed to control sugar mania is taxation. If we have to pay more for sugary things, then we will have less of them, right?

Have you ever talked to a smoker about the price of cigarettes? I used to work with a guy who told me that, back in the late 1970s, he swore up and down that he would quit smoking if the price of a pack of cigarettes went over 50 cents. Well, I can tell you that, as of at least 2006, he was still smoking Marlboros.

The same follows for liquor. Constantly upping the sin tax on Canadian Club and Bud Light will never, ever get people to cut back on consumption. They will simply grumble about the price and take money from other parts of their budget in order to get the thing they really, really want.

So, with these examples in mind, can anyone realistically believe that charging more for Dr. Pepper will result in people drinking less of it? Never. All that will happen is that the government will get more money to waste, and everyone else will get more diabetes.

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  • JazzQuipster

    Cries of “nanny-state” be damned, the government does and should play a role in protecting its citizens from dangerous products. Obesity and diabetes which goes hand-in-hand with it are epidemic in this country. The cost that we all bear, both the personal cost for those afflicted and the cost to society for the increased price of health insurance and treatment, are enormous and growing at a rapid rate. 

    Contrary to the narrative of this column, the education and taxation approach taken by the government with tobacco products has been extremely effective.

    In 1964 the federal government first publicized the findings of thousands of research studies that showed links between smoking and an assortment of deadly diseases including lung cancer and cardio-vascular disease. At the time that these findings were made public over 42% of the adult population smoked. 

    The education of the public on the dangers of smoking have been ongoing since 1964. At some point in the late 60s or early 70s cigarette advertising on television was banned. Over the years taxes have been added to the price of cigarettes. All of these tactics have had the desired affect. Today only 19% of the adult population are smokers. And smoking has gone from an accepted practice in homes, on airplanes, trains and in offices to a “shameful vice” relegated to outdoors away from the non-smoking public. 

    Prohibition doesn’t work. Education and taxation practiced over time can change the dangerous behavior of many people. 

  • RichardW

    Just for the record, regarding “The Noble Experiment” of Prohibition, it did result in overall decreased alcohol consumption.  It’s also true that it turned gangsters and mobsters into millionaires.  So for some it did have its desired effect, but for most the benefits were outweighed by the unwanted consequences.