This morning, an MSN headline caught my eye: “Should junk food be taxed?” I clicked on the link with only mild interest, and the link took me to a message board where people were debating taxing junk food and if junk food should be purchasable with food stamps.
It got me thinking: What would the effects be? Maybe people would eat less junk, so decreasing the more than 30 percent obesity rate in America. Maybe it would prompt the government to decrease a different tax (yeah, right). Maybe a junk food tax would just make people more aware of their spending habits and drive them to formulate long- and short-term financial plans.
But then I remembered that there are a lot of fat, greedy, letter-after-C-bags out there who will eat junk, tax or not.
A junk food tax is a horrible idea; throw it in the junk pile.
The most obvious problem is what defines “junk food.” Chips, cookies, pop, candy, cake? So, then it’s basically anything found in the Observatory. What about popcorn? You know, if you forgo butter and limit salt, then popcorn can be a relatively healthy snack.
What about cereal? Certainly Multi-Grain Cheerios and Special K flaunt their “diet-food” status, but what about sugary children’s cereals such as Lucky Charms, Trix and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (so, basically any cereal available in Dillin)?
Perhaps a better way to address this would be to define junk food based on sugar, calories and fat content. Well, that would make being diabetic suck even more, wouldn’t it?
Then there’s the more important point: If people who are in such need that they require food stamps and are using those stamps to buy junk food, then a tax really isn’t going to prevent them or people who can already afford junk food from buying it.
Basically, I’m saying no, there shouldn’t be a junk food tax. I don’t want to pay more for my once-a-month increased chocolate expenditure. Also, I just don’t believe in taxes. Sure, it’s how the government makes money; sure, America is still more than 10 trillion dollars in debt with already high taxes.
I think the government really just needs to take five Godzilla steps back from, well, everything. But that’s not exactly realistic, and taxes aren’t going to go away anytime soon. So, government, here are some money-raising options other than a junk food tax: Stop spending so much money.
Those people who are spending their food stamps on junk food obviously shouldn’t be given food stamps.
Collect all gem-crusted necklaces that involve giant letters of the alphabet.
I believe in a flat tax, but because that is clearly not going happen under this administration, cap CEO incomes. Oh wait, we already did that. Then how about capping the incomes of anyone who has ever appeared on MTV’s “Cribs.”
Finally, legalize marijuana and tax it. Trust me, people will buy it, and if we’re purchasing and taxing substances such as cigarettes and alcohol, which are blatantly harmful, we might as well legalize and tax something that’s only side effects are reduced pain, child-like happiness and deep, philosophical conversations about why stop lights turn green but stop signs never do.
Now give me my untaxed Swedish Fish, and stuff your mouth with untaxed marshmallows so I don’t have to hear any more about this.