Fat tax: new ways of oppressing people and building regulatory empires

It was, I suppose inevitable.

Hard on the heels of Philadelphia imposing a sugar tax on soft drinks to tax the fat poor in order to help them, along come The Greens revisiting their own policies of imposing a 20 per cent  tax on the demonised products in order  to tackle childhood obesity.

It seems that the Greens are far better than natural parents at caring and nurturing – perhaps they should set up kibbutzes to ensure that infants are also more adequately schooled in “safe sex”, the Great Barrier Reef’s disappearance and how cheap is renewable energy.  Oops, they already have those – they are called state schools!

Flushed with victory at taking down the tobacco industry the nanny staters are looking for fresh fields on which to impose their own righteous values.  Alcohol would be a great target but the support of many wineries for The Greens and their own members’ love of chardonnay rules that out.  So soft drinks it is.

But why stop there?  Soft drinks have a sugar content of 10-90 per cent.  But sweets are typically 70 per cent, dried apples 80 per cent, cakes 40-70 per cent.  You would surely need a graduated tax.  For fruits, this would place a high impost on apples, pineapples, grapes and mangoes but a low one on those wanting to chew limes, rhubarb and avocados.   A graduated tax would have the added value of requiring a vast new department of experts and enforcers to determine the appropriate rate for each of the tens of thousands of different fruits and their varieties before moving on to veggies, and other products.

As with all other interventionary policies favoured by The Greens and their acolytes, there is no end to the slippery slope.  The strategy is to start with the easiest target and move on – and when taxation is shown to have little effect the next step is a tightening of the screws by regulatory measures.

It is such a sad commentary on the state of the world that we have multitudes of busy-bodies wanting to dictate how we live – and it is even sadder that they find that their message resonates among increasing numbers of voters.

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51 Responses to Fat tax: new ways of oppressing people and building regulatory empires

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    The new food extremist:

    Man with ‘suicide belt’ of biscuits and salt triggers Brussels alert

    Deadly stuff…salt, fat and sugar. Good thing the authorities stopped him from eating them or he’d’ve done a Mr Creosote.

  2. Boambee John

    If the Left so-called “progressives” were serious about discouraging behaviour they regard as unhealthy, they would make Medicare and private health insurance (and the NDIS) genuine insurance systems, with rates linked to actuarial assessments of risk, as car and life insurance are.

    Suggesting this would, however, bring screams about regressive impositions on the “poor” from people who have no qualms about the regressive effects of their various sin taxes.

  3. Robbo

    The great scream of the left is we know what is best for you so just shut up, listen and obey. Everything will be wonderful when the entire populace embraces the position of having a government that controls them from cradle to grave. Anyone who is not on board is a non-person and not entitled to any protection from their masters. It has been a bit late arriving but 1984 has finally made it into the front line of Australian politics bearing the names of The Greens and the Socialist Alternative. The Australian Labor Party would love to be part of it but they haven’t the courage to stand up and say so. They are happy to sit back and let the others do their dirty work for them.

  4. Myrddin Seren

    …there is no end to the slippery slope. The strategy is to start with the easiest target and move on – and when taxation is shown to have little effect the next step is a tightening of the screws by regulatory measures.

    You will get a ration card, and the food industry from farm gate to supermarket with effectively be nationalised. Gerry Harvey is already firing up flares to signal to Canberra he’s the man they can trust on this ( “Thank You Government !” ).

    The Proles can’t be trusted to make the correct decisions for themselves – the Technocratic Elites in Capital City believe they can – they really do !

    In any conversation about bad dietary choices, throw in the wartime rationing in Britain and see what you get ?

    People are really excited about the health benefits of a mandated diet as per the British experience
    ( the bombers, U-boats and V-weapons aside ). Australians will be cheering for AustGrocery by the 2022 election at the latest.

  5. Dr Faustus

    Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher said a range of interventions was needed to tackle the scourge of childhood obesity such as nutrition education, promoting physical activities and preventative health programs.

    A sugar tax was not Labor policy at this point, she told reporters.

    [Subtext] But if a governing coalition with the Greens were to be on offer, that point would be a new (and entirely different) point that would require an evidence based approach that could lead to a pragmatic reappraisal of the public health benefits.

    We in the ALP will never apologise for improving the health of Australian children…

  6. A couple of packets of Iced VoVos and Tim Tams in my jacket pockets would be just the thing for my run down to the Big Smoke for my 2nd anniversary review of the heart transplant.

  7. Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    The War on Obesity is a huge problem- we’ll need to redesign train seats to fit the new sizes, and that will cost money! Rally round the flag, or be a traitor!

  8. H B Bear

    I nominate Sarah Hyphen-SeaPatrol for the 12 month Fat smart card trial.

    Once that totalitarian fatty is under 70 kilos come and talk to me.

  9. DavidA

    Sugar is a carbohydrate. A fitness buff who wants a 6 pack will avoid table sugar, soft drinks, bread, pasta, noodles, rice…

  10. Fat Tony

    Dunno bout the rest of you but when I go pick up the grandkids from school (primary & secondary), I don’t see any more fatties than when I went to school (1960s).

    The real problem now is that we have too many living off the work of others – years ago, these do-gooders would have had the choice – work or starve.

  11. Artist Formerly Known As Infidel Tiger

    Aren’t The Greens also into this “body proud” , anti-fat shaming baloney too?

    Make up your minds

  12. Myrddin Seren

    Fat Tony

    I don’t see any more fatties than when I went to school (1960s).

    Could be a clue in the name here

    joke, joke – just jokin’ 🙂

  13. Shelley

    Lots of clever, humourous comments in response to article. But it makes me so very angry how these totalitarian elites try (and so often succeed) in ruling over us.

  14. Notafan

    I’m thinking there is going to be conflict within the femnazis bloc and some stalinesque show trials.

    Looking forward to it.


    Trigglypuffs and ‘body positivity ‘

  15. Fat Tony

    Myrddin Seren

    My 6 pack from when I was in my 20’s & early 30’s somehow changed into a keg……..dunno how.
    (Definitely nothing to do with kegs 🙂 )

  16. Roger

    it is even sadder that they find that their message resonates among increasing numbers of voters.

    But does it?

    The Greens vote reached a historic high point in 2010 at 13% but declined by 5% in 2013 to slightly above their 2004 vote.

    And that with all the free air time the msm, especially their ABC, gives them.

    There may yet be hope that Australians are turning off the watermelons.

  17. John L

    Everything will be wonderful when the entire populace embraces the position of having a government that controls them from cradle to grave.

    The Europeans have already achieved it. It’s called European Union – paradise on earth.
    Only the silly Brits want Brexit!

  18. Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    Let’s get the Mohamedans in! A Fatwa on fat makes too much sense!

  19. Some History

    and when taxation is shown to have little effect

    The argument will be that the tax isn’t enough and should be hiked…. in addition to other more coercive measures.

    This is all from the Tobacco Control template. That outright prohibition of the target (e.g., tobacco) was never a possibility has been a boon for the moralizing, overbearing twonks. In chasing other “discouraging” measures short of prohibition, taxing the target is an early sought measure. It’s been wonderful for the sanctimonious weasels. Convince government that measures must be taken, particularly for The Children™. Tax has multiple benefits for all the wrong people. Once a “sin tax” has been implemented, it’s then easy for the busybodies to lay claim to some of the tax booty. Give us a share of the take to further “educate” the public which can keep the petty dictators in comfortable employment for lengthy periods of time, a career even.

    These “public health” groups that feed from the taxpayer all run on manufacturing hysteria; they operate on the same template; only the target varies. If funding dries up for one target, a simple name change for the organization will hook it up to another taxpayer teat.

    Tobacco Free Futures, which used to be Smokefree North West, are changing their name to Healthier Futures so they can get their snouts in the temperance and obesity troughs.

    You may recall that Smokefree South West tried a similar trick when they changed their name to Public Health Action. You may also recall the UK Centre for Tobacco Studies turning itself into the UK Centre for Alcohol and Tobacco Studies.

    How interesting to see activist groups turn from being predominantly about creating ‘smokefree’ places to making the country ‘tobacco free’ to laying into food and drink. No slippery slope, eh?
    http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/mission-creep-you-say.html

  20. Tel

    The Greens vote reached a historic high point in 2010 at 13% but declined by 5% in 2013 to slightly above their 2004 vote.

    The only reason the Greens did well was as a protest vote because the two major parties suck so bad and need a cleanup. Long ago the Greens forgot about their original purpose (something to do with the environment) and just got taken over by all purpose “I’m smarter and more moral than you” do gooders with every imaginable social program under the sun. The core of it is centralized power which has never on Earth been a good thing for the environment (just look at the horrible environmental record of the USSR and China).

    The problem remains that the two major parties still to this day suck bigtime, and don’t appear to be getting the message. Turnbull is almost certainly nodding along with this policy of stick it to those uneducated bogans. We all know Turnbull loves sitting out on the balcony sipping chardonnay in his upmarket suburb talking about how much better everyone’s life will be once he gets to tell them what to do. He’s really no different. The other choice is the union thugs and pocket stuffers who will entrench themselves as a permanent drain on all Australian industry.

  21. Myrddin Seren

    We all know Turnbull loves sitting out on the balcony sipping chardonnay in his upmarket suburb talking about how much better everyone’s life will be once he gets to tell them what to do.

    Lucy seems very keen on being Co-PM, with a strong emphasis on tearing up Federation and directly managing the major cities. Not too much of a leap to see managed food chains within
    her vision ( AustGrocery ).

  22. Gerard

    The Regulatory Impact Statement preceding the banning of incandescent lights contained wording to the effect that the ban had to be introduced because the general population could not work it out for themselves that CFLs were better and saved energy.

    On the food front, I have a suspicion that a large part of the obesity problem is the government itself – the recommendation that puts carbs at the base of the food pyramid – and greatly limits fat intake – when in fact the body needs fat for many basic functions and the absence of fat makes people hungry and therefore likely to overeat.

  23. Nathan

    I envisage row after row of those identified as fat by the Nanny State puffing away on treadmills connected to alternators pushing ‘renewable’ energy into the grid to work off unpaid ‘sin taxes’. A Nanny-stater dressed in a gimp outfit is yelling ‘mush’ and brandishing a stock whip behind them to keep them motivated.

    Gee I wish I could draw like Leak. What a cartoon that would make.

  24. Perth Trader

    Having sat in a aircraft for 4 hours..cattle class of course, behind overweight passengers I think a fatso tax on ‘fat arses’ is a great idea. The seats directly behind the ‘fatso’s’ can then be discounted in price to more slim built passengers. I’m sick of having my head beaten by hand luggage, by fatso’s walking up the aircraft aisles trying to get to there seat also. Bring on the fatso tax I say.

  25. JohnA

    As with all other interventionary policies favoured by The Greens and their acolytes, there is no end to the slippery slope. The strategy is to start with the easiest target and move on – and when taxation is shown to have little effect the next step is a tightening of the screws by regulatory measures.

    You have just explained why Sen. Cory Bernardi is so hated by the left including all those supporting the push for “gay mirage”. They don’t like to see the “slippery slope” argument used against themselves.

    Mind you, this is an excellent post for The Onion, despite the problem that you have now fed the Greens with a further plank in their chipboard recycled paper policy platform.

  26. Nathan

    I feel your pain Perth Trader. I’ve started a new gig recently where I am back and forth from Perth to Sydney a few times a month with Virgin and their narrow, reclining seats shit me to tears.

    I have half a mind to design a plane seat that reclines by having the seat pan slide forward and the head rest remain stationary. That way if the knob in front wants to recline they ‘spend’ their leg room and not your head room, especially now they have the funky little TVs in all the head rests. They are really hard to watch at a 45 degree angle 4 inches in front of your face.

  27. Fat Tony

    Perth Trader:I’m sick of having my head beaten by hand luggage, by fatso’s walking up the aircraft aisles trying to get to there seat also. Bring on the fatso tax I say.”

    Hey Perth Trader – some of us just have big stomach bones – no need to get personal.
    And do you know how hard it is to avoid stepping on some skinny stick person??
    The skinny stick people should all be stored in sound-proof racks in the aircraft hold, and leave all the seating space for us larger people to fly in comfort.

  28. Art Vandelay

    A graduated tax would have the added value of requiring a vast new department of experts and enforcers to determine the appropriate rate for each of the tens of thousands of different fruits and their varieties before moving on to veggies, and other products.

    When I come across someone who believes that ‘government experts’ are more intelligent and rational than the rest of us and should thus be given the power to determine how we live our lives, I suggest they spend some time sitting outside a government office building or Parliament.

    The passing parade of unhealthy, bloated bureaucrats and politicians (fat from the teat of the taxpayer) should be enough to dispel any delusion that these ‘experts’ know better than the rest of us and that they are capable of making wise decisions about health (or indeed anything else).

  29. MareeS

    So, tax hikes have not discouraged our 28yo daughter from smoking tobacco since her teens. Nor has parental disapproval. She just buys chopchop, and rolls her own, so no tax for the coffers. She is in a corporate job, btw.

    This is the same mistake Rudd and Co made about ready mix drinks back in the day. Our kids just bought a bottle of rum or vodka and mixed it themselves for much lower price.

    The harder the government sets tax, the more inventive people get about avoiding it

    As Kerry said….

  30. old bloke

    Perth Trader
    #2065315, posted on June 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm
    Having sat in a aircraft for 4 hours..cattle class of course, behind overweight passengers I think a fatso tax on ‘fat arses’ is a great idea.

    PT – you brought to mind my first flight in the early 1950’s, from Sydney to Canberra in a TAA DC3. All the passengers were assembled in the departure lounge, and they all had to stand on a set of scales. The airhostesses recorded the weight of every passenger and they were allocated their seats according to their weight, the heavier passengers sat towards the front of the plane, the lighter passengers (and skinny kids) sat in the tail end.

    It would be good if the airlines reinstated that procedure, you could sit in the rear seats with all the skinny girls. The only drawback – you would be surrounded by noisy, brattish kids.

  31. Matt

    You’re wrong on saying the tax would (or should) apply to to fresh fruit like apples etc. The body metabolises the fructose in a somewhat different way (modified by the fibre inherent in real food) than it does with sugar in water (soft drink). But of course, it’s much easier to blame the victim and not try and institute a public health policy that might actually help to improve health.

  32. Entropy

    This was previously planned about ten years ago and the design was the thrown out when it was shown to apply to fruit. Things move slowly in food nazi world.

  33. Diogenes

    when it was shown to apply to fruit.

    IIRC there was a comment made when the UK advertising standards for “junk” food were introduced, that it would have been illegal to advertise breastmilk as it was too high in sugar & fat.

  34. Tel

    Backed by Jamie Oliver:

    http://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/the-sugary-drinks-levy-your-questions-answered/

    Well that’s lowered my opinion of Jamie. If he wants to offer people the option of voluntarily learning how to cook healthy food, that’s entirely reasonable. Once he decides to pick up a gun and point it at other people’s head… then a line has been crossed. I would give him the benefit of the doubt that perhaps he doesn’t understand what a buffoon he is making of himself, maybe he has been misled as to how government operates,.

  35. Gab

    Helping people make better choices by educating them is fine.

    But this forcing a penalty via a tax is not democracy, it’s a dictatorship.

  36. Motelier

    Sooooo,

    My morning coffees (yes – many) with cream and no sugar is good. No?

  37. Tel

    I have honey in my coffee because it’s more natural than sugar, so all that stuff about diabetes doesn’t apply to me.

    Look, approx two generations ago the majority of people were doing manual work, traveling a lot more by foot (or horseback), only sitting at a desk for an hour a week to check the bills, write a letter, do their tax. Entertainment was going to the park, playing local sport, going to the beach, going to the pub for a drink (because everyone went to the pub).

    Where we have gone now is like this: manual work has been replaced by machines, most people sit at a desk most of the day. People are stressed all the time and sleep badly because work is highly complex, social interactions require constant attention to political correctness, every action you do has a dozen busy bodies checking that you did it exactly right (and ready to punish you for the slightest step wrong), and if you ever relax, let your guard down and tell a joke or give a genuine opinion you will immediately be set upon. Entertainment is television, or Internet, or watching professional sport, or sitting at home with a drink (because pubs have become loud, dangerous, dirty and expensive).

    Bitching about a spoon of sugar in your tea is ridiculous. The British have been spooning sugar in the tea for hundreds of years. Most all of India and Asia drinks sweet tea.

  38. Eyrie

    The problem with governments telling you what to eat is that they then HAVE to get it right.
    So far they have not.
    The “food pyramid” is a crock, making people obese and diabetic. The government conflates fat with sugar and promotes “low fat” foods. These are often made palatable with added sugar.
    Sugar is the bad actor along with carbohydrates. Cut the carbs, eat low fat and your pants fall down.
    Mrs Eyrie (former RN) has been doing a lot of research.
    Oh and that cholesterol – heart disease link is a crock of shit.
    I suggest Cats Google Dr Malcolm Kendrick for more andstart reading Karl Denninger http://www.themarket-ticker.org

  39. Matt

    If you think that honey is healthier than sugar Tel, then you are sadly mistaken. Once it’s inside the body, it’s metabolised exactly the same – and that goes for all the other so-called healthy alternatives – agave nectar, cane syrup etc.

    And I wouldn’t be relying on the Brits as exemplars – some of the worst dental health going round!

    But no-one is bitching about 1 teaspoon of sugar in your tea or coffee, it’s the 16 teaspoons of sugar in a 600ml Coke that is contributing to obesity, type II diabetes and dental problems.

  40. Perth Trader;

    Bring on the fatso tax I say.

    Why the airlines don’t charge a kilogram/kilometer rate is utterly beyond me. You’d think that this sort of pricing would be just the thing for the SJW to glom onto.
    Until you see who the SJW are.

  41. Matt

    Couldn’t agree more Eyrie (and Mrs Eyrie) – sugar is definitely the major contributor to many of these health problems, and the food pyramid and healthy eating/dietary recommendations from government promoting low-fat are seriously lacking in evidence. Read ‘Big Fat Surprise’ by Nina Teicholz for an interesting review on how these guidelines were developed.

  42. Eyrie

    Matt,
    That’s one of the books Mrs Eyrie read.
    Yudkin wrote “Pure white and deadly” a long time ago and got castigated for his troubles, lately he’s been found to be right.
    Also avoid PUFAs (Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids) found in margarine, sunflower oil, canola oil etc. That stuff is shit. Use a little olive oil as salad dressing but don’t cook with vege oils. Use butter or lard. Tastes better too.

  43. Eyrie

    Sorry my earlier post should have read “Cut the carbs, eat HIGH fat and your pants fall down”

  44. Blair

    Anyhow the tax won’t cost the consumer anything.
    “The tax would be paid by producers and importers, not retailers.”

  45. .

    This is all nonsense.

    The effect on the body of highly refined flour is worse than a candied apple (with the same total caloric intake) yet, which one gets taxed more?

  46. Snoopy

    It’s curious that the Greens consider the poor have sufficient funds to pay a regressive fat tax but simultaneously are too poor to pay a very modest Medicare co-payment.

  47. J.H.

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Show a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime…. Regulate that fishery and you feed a bureaucratic class at the expense of everyone else.

    Some people just don’t want to catch their own fish.

  48. Muddy

    It’s curious that the Greens consider the poor have sufficient funds to pay a regressive fat tax but simultaneously are too poor to pay a very modest Medicare co-payment.

    Except they won’t have to. They will be compensated because of ‘fairness.’ As will the morbidly obese who can argue to the HREOC that they have been discriminated against and their human rights breached. Only those ‘who can afford’ to pay will have to do so. In the meantime, the administrative costs for compensating the ‘victims’ will suck up much of what the tax that has raised.

  49. Muddy

    An extraneous word there, but I’m sure you get my drift.

  50. Blair

    ” They will be compensated because of ‘fairness.’ ”
    If they are compensated for the higher cost of sugary drinks then they will continue to buy the drinks at the higher price. So no improvement in their health.

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