Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Goodwin on The French Fry Tax

GoodwinInteresting post by Michele Goodwin (DePaul) on, Forget Cheeseburger Lawsuits--Try The French Fry Tax:

A French fry tax, either a tax on the industry profiting from its contribution to the national health crisis, or a tax on the consumer who can go to the local market and buy a small bag of chips for twenty-five cents, while the healthier orange may cost fifty cents. The tax revenue generated could go directly into increasing existing public health coverage.

While it can be argued that this potato chip tax is paternalistic, might financially burden economically distressed communities, and government intervention where the government does not belong, this option is one possible answer to the question about resources to fund health care interventions. The precedent for this type of public policy and taxation has already been established with the cigarette tax. Why not expand it?

Public health impacts us all. The human, economic, and social tolls in African American communities are too great to ignore. Imagine if the French fry tax could do what the cigarette tax has already done—consumption might decrease, public health awareness would increase, and the revenues generated could expand coverage to the 45.5 million Americans who are presently without.

For more on such taxes, see:

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