Tax Federal 'Sin Taxes:' To Research Proposal

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Sugary sodas contain corn syrup, but the American Agricultural Department subsidizes American farmers for growing corn, and this is one of the reasons that high-fructose corn syrup is so ubiquitous in the food supply. We are taxing corn syrup and subsidizing it at the same time, in other words. "The bigger issue, which the industry neither can nor particularly cares to rebut, is that the product [corn syrup] exists at all. We pump absurd quantities of cash into subsidizing corn (we also have a huge tariff on Brazilian sugar cane, incidentally). Over the past 10 years alone, Congress has appropriated more than $50 billion to encourage farmers to grow the stuff. But people don't want to eat $50 billion in subsidized corn. And if the cobs just sat around developing mold, Congress would cut off the spigot. Enter high fructose corn syrup, which sucks up the subsidies and created a world in which calories from a sweet, highly caloric additive have become the cheapest of all energy sources" (Klein 2008). One hand of the government 'slaps' the public for drinking liquefied corn, while the government continues to subsidize corn and an industry that generates a highly sweetened, dangerously processed product. A final, general criticism of sin taxes is that they are regressive -- poorer people tend to smoke, gamble, consume alcohol, and eat processed foods more than the wealthy, in terms of the percentage of income these products claim. All consumption taxes, including sales taxes are regressive as the poor tend to spend a larger percentage of their income on goods and services, as they do not have the luxury of saving it in the bank. The idea that the poor are being discouraged...


However, it is also possible to argue that the working poor and lower middle-class might benefit more from healthcare reform.
This tax could educate many Americans, poor and rich, by highlighting the true nutritional content of many foods they consume and take for granted. Few Americans might know just how damaging regular soda on a regular basis can be to the waistline, and feel moved to consult the back label when they hear it is taxed as a hazardous product. "The beverage-tax proposal would apply to drinks that many Americans don't consider unhealthy -- such as PepsiCo's Gatorade and Kraft's Capri Sun -- based on their calorie content" (Adamy 2009). Unfortunately, the relatively small of tax of three cents for every 12 ounce can will only draw a small percentage of the needed revenue for the sweeping healthcare reform the Administration proposes (Adamy 2009). However, despite the inevitable difficulties with a consumption 'sin' tax the bill seems to have greater potential to do good than harm.

Works Cited

Adamy, Jane. "Soda Tax Weighed to Pay for Health Care." The Wall Street Journal. May 12,


Klein, Ezra. "The Problem with Corn Syrup. The American Prospect. 2008.

Montopoli, Brian. "Senate Considers Federal Tax On Soda." May 12, 2009. CBS.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Adamy, Jane. "Soda Tax Weighed to Pay for Health Care." The Wall Street Journal. May 12,


Klein, Ezra. "The Problem with Corn Syrup. The American Prospect. 2008.

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