On October 1, Denmark became the first country in the world to introduce a “fat tax” surcharge on unhealthy foods that are high in saturated fat in hopes of curbing bad eating habits.
Denmark is a country known for its high quality butter and bacon, so it comes as a bit of a shock that in order to encourage healthier eating on the part of its citizenry, its political class, probably stuffed to the gills on butter and bacon itself, has brought the happiest country in the world a tax on foods containing more than 2.3 percent saturated fat. Perhaps they felt that there was too much happiness? The new tax will be levied on foods, such as butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and other processed foods.
Once again, some fool believes that behavior can be legislated and he or she has convinced a collection of other like-minded fools to pass such a law. What rubbish! The last time an attempt was made in the United States to legislate behavior it became the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, popularly known as Prohibition. One of the many things we learned is that the more you legislate against something, the more people want it. We also learned about the Law of Unintended Consequences; Prohibition birthed Organized Crime permitting its growth, maturity and eventual permanence amongst us.
As with all things political, the solutions to problems are bassackwards. If you want someone not to do something, you must make it painful for him or her to do it. In America, pain equals cost in dollars. So if the eejits in Congress wanted to prevent Americans from consuming food stuffs that obesity and thus healthcare cost, they need to levy a tax on all healthcare insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, that is linked to body mass index or BMI. If your BMI is 25 percent, you will be taxed 5 percent of the policy value. If your BMI is 25-30 percent your tax will be 15 percent and so on. As for Medicaid, appropriate allowances would be reduced. In other words, make people personally responsible for that which they put in their own mouths.
We all know that such a law would never pass here. One only has to look at that act of lunacy, the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, which parenthetically is neither. There have been more than 1,300 waivers granted to companies and unions with respect to this law. One of the initial waivers was to MacDonald’s, a hamburger company selling saturated fat, though much reduced in last several years. Even Mrs. Pelosi has sought waivers for her constituents (I guess she now knows what’s in the Bill). So now, can you imagine taxing pizza, tacos, fried chicken and fried potatoes? Every food company would be up in arms.
Americans don’t need a nanny. They need to re-learn personal responsibility and they have to have skin in the game when it comes to paying for healthcare. Anything less is sheer folly, burdensome and a waste of money; all things at which politicians excel.