business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the possibility of a tax of soft drinks in San Francisco, one MNB user wrote:

The point is not to decrease soft drink consumption but to tax an 'evil' product to provide revenue to teach about good food. 

I'd love to know how they did they their study - what it correlates to and where those numbers come from?

I've been chubby, fat, obese - whatever you want to call it -  my whole adult life and news flash, I don't drink soda. I eat well, exercise, work out with a trainer in fact, choose organic, etc. etc. and I'M FAT.

The riddle that is obesity isn't that simple and simply being fat doesn't mean you're riddled with disease.

Besides childhood obesity rates are on the decline. I think the more interesting thing is to follow the money drug companies, diet companies and hospitals make on treating obesity in an of itself as a disease. 

I questioned yesterday whether a tax that increases porches would actually affect consumption. One MNB reader wrote:

Perhaps the price increase will do nothing to change people's behavior (I'm inclined to believe that's true, too), BUT if the money does indeed go to nutrition and recreation programs, perhaps it will increase the number of people who "are only going to do things like reduce soft drink consumption if they decide that doing so is good for their health."  I'm just sayin'…

From another:

Does anyone believe politicians can drive healthy behavior through legislation?  Are soft drinks the leading cause of obesity?  Why single out soft drinks?  What about salty snacks, cookies, cakes and candy bars?  Let’s impose additional taxes on every food that might lead to obesity.  Once we’ve racked up those wins, we can discuss taxing people who don’t go to the gym, or watch too much television, or spend too much time on their computers.  Open season on unhealthy behavior!  Wait…do we want that much government in our lives?  Are these proposed taxes on soft drinks opening the door for new revenue streams that continue to fund bad behavior by government?

One reader thinks it is a pretty good idea:

I would agree with you that it probably won't have a big impact on behavior, eg. Tobacco tax. But I love the funding idea!  If it doesn't work it could create a positive impact on funding. Very creative.

Another reader chimed in

I hope that referendum passes as I would love to see the extent of the likely result - huge increases in soda and sugared soft drink sales in the areas adjacent to the city of San Francisco.  Wonder if it would apply to internet sales deliveries into SF?  I am sure fruit juices and sweetened chocolate milks will be exempt though that is an illogical distinction from a dietary standpoint.

From MNB reader Brian Polk:

More overreaching by government. No surprise this initiative is in California. Somehow, the high speed rail program will become a health issue that this tax can be used to support.

I get really tired of people bashing California, which, while it has had a tough few years, seems to be enjoying a resurgence.

I love California. I love the geography, the people, the climate, and the diversity. Sure, it has its share of negatives … but so does every state.

On another subject, MNB reader Mark Delaney wrote:

You may have grown tired of the Southwest story but I have to take issue with one of the respondents who believes they’re still different. I was one of their first converts – largely due to convenient and on-time flights from Islip ( regional on Long Island ) to Chicago where I have a lot of business. I was one of their preferred “A List” members for quite some time – until the flight crews became less friendly, they got rid of directs to Chicago – now they want me to go to LaGuardia and if I’m going to put up with that heck on earth I have many more options especially given they’re often no longer cheaper – and they are as delayed out of LGA as any other carrier. Charging for bags would simply be another fall down the ladder from what they started as which was a pleasant, cheaper alternative to the other carriers. Many smarter than me would agree that it takes a lot of effort and investment to distinguish your brand from the others, it looks like they’re willing to risk giving that away and it may be very hard to get back – if they even can…
KC's View: