Thin end of the sugar wedge

H.L. Menken is quoted as saying that for every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.  But what about those who believe that for every complex problem the solution is more tax and more government?  Would it surprise Cats that it is Government and its agents that is advocating for more tax and more government.

The Orwellian named Obesity Policy Coalition has been and continues to advocate for a 20% tax on sugary drinks.  The Australian Medical Association also want a sugar tax.  But do you know what these organisations have in common?  Their constituency.

The Obesity Policy Coalition is funded by VicHealth.  The AMA is essentially a public sector union, representing its members who are all pretty much Medicare (funded) employees.  A government agency and a public sector union calling for tax rises.  Who would have thunk it.

The sugar tax battle seems to have been temporarily won (or lost depending on your perspective) with the Turnbull government saying it won’t support a sugar tax.  But like the plague infested rats hiding in the sewers waiting for the right opportunity to return, the sugar tax lobby will bide its time and wait for the opportunity to try again.  Its soldiers remain in the game.  They won’t go away.  They will wait for the right opportunity to return.

Start with Lennert Veerman channeling Treasurer Scott Morrisson in the Conversation.  Just like Treasurer Morrisson who claimed that the bank tax would increase productivity, the unfortunately named Dr Veerman claims that a sugar tax will increase productivity.

Hey Dr Veerman.  If a 20% sugar tax will increase productivity, why not have a 100% sugar tax.  Surely that will increase productivity more.  Hey.  Why not implement a 100% tax on the entire Australian economy.  That will obviously lead to Australia having the most productive economy in the world.

The Guardian is also on the job.  Who needs political parties when we have activist journalism.

But look no further than our American (trigger warning) brethren.  Sorry but Spartacus does not know what the female and/or non-gender specific equivalent of brethren.

In the lovely city of Seattle, the local authorities sought to implement their own version sugar tax by way of a soda (soft drink) tax.

When it was suggested to the then Mayor Ed Murray that a soda tax would have a disproportionately adverse effect on poor and colour people, Mayor Murray brought out the Social Justice Playbook (SJP – Sarah Jessica Parker – hmmmm).  And what play did Mayor Murray call?  He proposed to extend the tax to all sweetened drinks, including those without sugar; you know, the artificially sweetened ones.

Mayor Murray’s rationale:

Diet drinks were more likely to be consumed by “upper middle class white people.” …. It was “an issue of equity,” a way to tackle “white privileged institutionalized racism.”

Ahh.  But what about the revenue from the sweetened drinks tax you ask.  Mayor Murray expected that the tax would raise $16 million in the first year.  And what would be done with the taxes?  In addition to tacking white privileged institutionalized racism, the funds would be used to (among other things):

subsidize trips to the farmers market and pay for free community college.

Hooray.  Well meaning government in action bringing you more government action.

For those intellectuals who say a sugar tax will reduce obesity which in turn will reduce the cost of the health budget, why not advocate for a withdraw of health services from obese people?  In both cases there is collateral damage to those affected by the policy (unobese people who like sugary drinks and people obese not because of sugar consumption).  But one policy increases the size of government and the other reduces the size of government.   Could it be that this is not really about obesity but more about moralising and taxing.

As Thomas Jefferson said, the natural progress of things is for liberty to yeild, and government to gain ground.

Eternal vigilance citizens.  Eternal vigilance.  Let’s make sure the rats stay in the sewer.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

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30 Responses to Thin end of the sugar wedge

  1. H B Bear

    If the government was serious it would simply tax fat people directly.

    “Up on the scales lard arse.”
    “Ugh, uh … OK”
    “That’s 150 kilos m’aam. That will be $300. Please see the cashier on the way out.”

  2. Leo G

    Sorry but Spartacus does not know what the female and/or non-gender specific equivalent of brethren.

    Sibs/siblings.

  3. John Constantine

    The government confiscates your superannuation to pay to have you lap banded.

    Right now they just suggest this.

  4. Leo G

    If the government was serious it would simply tax fat people directly.

    Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    I can’t wait for the first news report of a massive illegal coke bust which turns out to be a massive illegal Coke bust.

  6. Aqinas

    No sympathy for fatties

  7. Spring is coming

    Anti-fa becomes?

  8. egg_

    The Australian Medical Association also want a sugar tax.

    The Doctors Wives Club doesn’t hold any sugar production shares?

  9. Dr Fred Lenin

    When is the government going to form the “truth in politics tribunal” ,with power to fi e. Confiscate family assets and impose long jail terms ? Do t use lack of prison facilities excuse you can fit three in a one person cell easily ,makes for more communal spirit .

  10. The proper solution would be to ban sugar, fat, salt etc in their entirety. I would like to know how many lives that would save?

    Here’s an example of a healthy eater and a not so healthy eater: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/738291d2e0e3680a92868ef40f1b20369722787a849b23f7ac5cbdf19987930b.jpg

  11. grumpy

    This is the effect of the Seattle sugar tax. A $16 dollar carton has a over $10 tax applied.

    http://www.thelasttradition.com/2018/01/how-libs-govern-seattle-soda-tax.html

  12. Rabz

    Sacré bleu – another bunch of imbeciles proving the truism that if your only solution to a supposed problem is a tax, then you’ve either run out of ideas or never had any in the first place.

    Now go away, you horrible little busybodies and wowsers.

  13. Rabz

    The proper solution would be to ban sugar, fat, salt etc in their entirety. I would like to know how many lives that would save?

    Not mine, I’d probably top myself if denied those simple pleasures.

  14. Sydney Boy

    There are only three things that make food taste good: sugar, salt, and fat.

  15. egg_

    There was a phat phvck* from the AMA pushing a sugar tax on Their ABCTV’s “Ask The Doctor” IIRC.

    *Irony bypass, obviously.

  16. Empire GTHO Phase III

    H B Bear
    #2613018, posted on January 18, 2018 at 5:43 pm
    If the government was serious it would simply tax fat people directly.

    I like it. It’s an evil idea, but I like it a lot.

    Sleetmute proposed welfare eligibility be linked to BMI. The Medicare levy could could have a lard premium component.

  17. Shy Ted

    Now that Maocolm has tackled youth justice in the NT, wife-beating and bullying, this week’ announcement will be the war on wobble-bottoms. And Magda will spearhead the campaign. But we need a new phobia… fatophobia, chunkophobia, Magdaphobia… yes, that’s it, the irrational fear of fat lezzers. White? Male? Married? Magdaphobic!!!

  18. Rob MW

    And what play did Mayor Murray call? He proposed to extend the tax to all sweetened drinks, including those without sugar; you know, the artificially sweetened ones.

    The rationale: an egg sandwich smells the same going in as it does coming out. Take the stairs, not the lift !!

  19. Sean

    Sugar is the main culprit behind the obesity epidemic.

    Why don’t they just change the eating guidelines? Tell people to eat more mono/poly fats and the food producers will follow.

  20. You’re all asleep on the job. We now have a soft drink and beer bottle/can tax in NSW which costs the consumer 15 cents per bottle/can – regardless of size or price or contents. The NSW Liberals, yes LIBERALS, proudly passed this green legislation and it is now in operation. There are allegedly places to hand these bottles in and collect 10 cents back. But they are mostly non-existent or “somewhere else”. The local councils in the responsible and proud of it, minister’s electorate, have been operating successful glass/plastic/can recycling systems for many years. These are all now scrapped. I live in a home unit without any junk space and would be described by the Daily Mail as elderly so how can I practically store empty bottles, cart them to the car, drive to the non-existent bottle “exchange” and collect my 10 cents? So instead of recycling, the bottles go into the general rubbish and I lose 15 cents (the retail cost) per bottle. Thanks Gladys (really Mike) and Gabrielle. You might also ask about forced E10 and the Manildra Company. Great lot the Liberals!

  21. Jimf

    The fact that some softcock govt will soon pass this tax into law and then commit the forecast $B’s into consolidated revenue tells us they don’t actually want us to stop hoovering sugar at all.Then again,maybe they just see revenue/expense forecasting as a bit of a laugh!!😂😂

  22. Jimf

    What about a horn-rim,Fitzroy,Darlinghurst,Ultimo, quinoa,kale,missy Higgins,craft beer and Waleed tax as well?

  23. Leo G

    Sugar is the main culprit behind the obesity epidemic.

    Research review articles don’t appear to regard sugar as the main culprit. Lep

  24. Nerblnob

    This needs to be group tested in an isolated control group, like the population of Alice Springs. Lesbians and indigenous bureaucrats, plenty of obesity

  25. JohnA

    For those intellectuals who say a sugar tax will reduce obesity which in turn will reduce the cost of the health budget, why not advocate for a withdraw of health services from obese people?

    Exactly. It is time to unravel the idiocy of Medicare Community Rating. I want incentives to encourage me to choose a healthy lifestyle.

  26. Eyrie

    Sugar is basically poison for humans. Should be removed or severely restricted as a food additive.
    Eating fat doesn’t make you fat and saturated fat is OK too. All carbohydrates quickly turn into sugar once eaten. Whole grain bread no no better than white.
    The sugar industry has contaminated the research on the topic for nearly 50 years. Amazing parallels to the global warming scam.
    The fact that Eskimos eat fat and don’t suffer problems has long been known as “the Eskimo anomaly”. Duh.
    Eskimos and Aborigines have severe problems with obesity and diabetes when fed the typical western diet. Again duh.
    The class action is gunna be huge against the dieticians and medical profession. Fuckers. No science in their recommendations, just bullshit. I hope Ancel Keys is burning in Hell.

  27. The Beer Whisperer

    Sugar is basically poison for humans.

    That’s the stupidest thing I’ve read today. And I read Twitter.

    All our energy is derived from food converted to sugar. All of it.

    Hint: If the left say it, then it is almost certainly a lie.

  28. Sean

    What about fats? We can use ketones made from fatty acids to fuel the brain or even glucose from proteins.

  29. Sean

    Research review articles don’t appear to regard sugar as the main culprit. Lep

    It’s all funded by industry and big government crap. We were all much better before the government decided to get into nutritional health and manage it like everything else they do. It has been a clusterfuck since then!

    Forget the studies, anyone overweight who cuts out sugars will improve their health.

  30. Rob MW

    I want incentives to encourage me to choose a healthy lifestyle.

    Yeah we would all like to have Christie Brinkley stop by every now and again but deep down we also know that our imagination is the closest any of us is going to get. Here’s a thought on the other hand, why don’t you just choose a healthy lifestyle because you want to, you know, free will and all that.

    So you agree that health services should be withdrawn from medicare levy paying taxpayers, who might also have private health insurance, based on the assumption that you think that, in your opinion, people who’s choices you disagree with are less deserving individuals and should have no right to representation in the health system and therefore the political system in which they pay their taxes into.

    Then again, we could probably agree that all healthcare services should be withdrawn from collectivised brainless twits that are on a mission to engineer society in their own image.

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