'Fat Tax' Is Really a Poor Tax

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 22, 2009 1:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – With Congress contemplating a trillion dollar health care bill, the idea of the “fat tax” has come back into vogue as a way to slim down Americans. Supporters say junk food is every bit the addictive drug that cigarettes are, designed by food scientists to be “hyperpalatable,” and nigh-irresistible. “It’s hard to draw a line, though, between foods that are drugs and foods that are merely delicious,” writes Daniel Engber of Slate.

Let's face it, many gourmands happily ignore the butter filling the sauces of Michelin’s finest. In other words, “Doughnuts are a drug; brioche is a treat. Some tastes are more equal than others,” Engber writes. A fat tax would discriminate between the delights of the poor and the rich. It might redistribute wealth—it definitely “will redistribute pleasure.”

The rich will not be eating this hyperpalatable lunch anytime soon.
The rich will not be eating this hyperpalatable lunch anytime soon.   (Shutterstock)
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Soda is like a designer drug layered with seductive elements—sweetness for a burst of dopamine, bubbles to prick the trigeminal nerve. - Daniel Engber

What about the folks who can't afford a $5 bottle of POM? No big deal, say the academics, they can always drink from a faucet. So much for Let them eat cake.
- Daniel Engber

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