TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, November 29, 2018

What Is The Optimal Tax On Red Meat?

Red MeatHealth Motivated Taxes on Red and Processed Meat: A Modelling Study on Optimal Tax Levels and Associated Health Impacts:

The consumption of red and processed meat has been associated with increased mortality from chronic diseases, and as a result, it has been classified by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic (processed meat) and probably carcinogenic (red meat) to humans. One policy response is to regulate red and processed meat consumption similar to other carcinogens and foods of public health concerns. Here we describe a market-based approach of taxing red and processed meat according to its health impacts.

Cato At Liberty, Against A Highly Regressive “Meat Tax”:

Last week, a report by University of Oxford academics calculated supposedly “optimal tax rates” on red meat (lamb, beef and pork) and processed meats (sausages, bacon, salami etc.) For the U.S., the recommend rates were as high as 34 percent and 163 percent, respectively. Such taxes, the report claims, could save 52,500 American lives per year. ...

To an economist, this approach might make theoretical sense. ... Yet, in reality, the presence of external effects is no slam-dunk to justify taxes. One must also consider costs, unintended consequences and the ability of government to assess risk and harm accurately. In these areas, the meat tax advocates appear off-base. The result is their proposed tax rates look way too high, even in theory, and it’s doubtful they are the best means of improving economic welfare.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2018/11/what-is-the-optimal-tax-on-red-meat.html

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