The UK's British Heart Forum makes a reasoned, nuanced case for imposing taxes on unhealthy foods, but I'm not sure it moves the needle.
Here's the thing about Bloomberg's idea to ban sales of large sodas: He's actually acting!
Yes, the ban has holes in it, such as not covering every conceivable high-sugar beverage. And no, if it works to perfection, it will barely dent the obesity problem in only one part of the world. But any sort of success would endorse trying the same or similar measures elsewhere.
Bloomberg sees the same problem we all do, and he's *doing* something, which already has moved more focus to the problem, and to solutions.
In an editorial published [Wednesday] in the journal Nature, University of California at San Francisco doctors Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt, and Claire Brindis argue that the ballooning rates — and costs — of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases, mean it’s time for regulators to lump sugar into the same category as booze and cigarettes and put similar restrictions on its sale and availability. — ABC News
So it turns out that when I wrote yesterday about the Jane Brody squib in the Times yesterday, referred there by my friend Ron-the-voracious-reader, I had actually been referred slightly elsewhere, to the mainbar of what Brody wrote. She was reporting the release of a series of reports in the British medical periodical The Lancet that address the growing obesity epidemic.
If anyone out there is proposing a tax on sugary sodas, you can be sure the "Center for Consumer Freedom" will be nearby, trying to distract from any real discussion.
With this post, it returns to Philadelphia, where the mayor is again proposing a soda tax, even after beverage industry lobbyists pledged to give $10 million to the city's Children's Hospital, in the middle of a debate on a soda tax, so it could expand obesity-prevention efforts. Any reasonable person would consider that civic bribery, but let's skip over that right now.
In this dispatch from foodnavigator-usa.com, the soda industry is reported to complain that New York City's effort to bar food stamps' use for sugary beverages is discriminatory.
To which I say, "Of course it is! But what's your point?"
This time it's the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Health Organisation, as related by the Daily Mail newspaper:
"A ‘fat tax’ on unhealthy foods, restrictions on junk food advertising and better labelling are the most cost-effective ways to cut obesity," a study finds.
Can I just say it's exciting to disagree with someone of a different stripe for a change? The someone in question is George Miranda, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16, which represents 120,000 workers in greater New York. I assume, totally without facts, that he and I might be on the same side of many issues. But not today.