From the latest issue of Self magazine:
Increased taxes on liquor make a night out more expensive, but that heftier tab saves lives, the American Journal of Public Health finds. Higher alcohol taxes in Alaska cut drinking-related ailments such as oral cancer and liver disease by one third. Cheers to that!
I agree — so why was it that New York Governor David Patterson’s idea of a soda tax went nowhere fast? This was a lesson we learned with smoking. Taxing the cigarettes to high heaven was one of the — if not the — major health advances this century. Americans stopped buying as many. Smoking related cancers and other ailments fell off significantly. Well now we have just as big a health problem in this country: Obesity. Add up what it costs us in visits to the doctor and other medical procedures — which I did a few years ago for Money magazine — and you’ll see, they are staggering.
We need to raise money in this country. Why not do it in a way that will lead our behavior in the right direction. I know there are probably many of you for whom this is simply too much big brother — much like automating contributions into 401(k) plans rather than asking people whether or not they want to be in — I live with one of them. Not for me. When it doesn’t work to tell people what’s good for them, nudge them toward what’s good for them by using the most powerful weapon you have: Your wallet.