They’re Talking About Fat Taxes Assiduously at Slate
On Monday, in “Let Them Drink Water!,” Daniel Engber talked about the regressive nature of selective taxes on soda and junk food.
Then, on Tuesday, William Saletan discussed his unease about the growing ambitions of the food police:
You can ban the Marlboros, tax the Cokes, and zone the Whoppers. But you’ll get [my] Fresca when you pry it from [my] cold, dead hands.
He argues that paternalistic tax policies concern the left and the right, except in different ways. While the right wants to regulate what you do in the bedroom, the left wants to regulate what you have long been allowed to do in public (e.g., smoking clove cigarettes).
Saletan observes that, in the context of the fat tax debate, the left and the right have swapped their usual talking points:
To justify taxes on unhealthy food, the lifestyle regulators are stretching the evidence about obesity and addiction. […] Liberals like to talk about a Republican war on science, but it turns out that they’re just as willing to bend facts. In wars of piety, science has no friends.