July 29th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should fattening foods be taxed?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Slapping a tax on fattening foods could help pay for health care reform while also combating the nation's growing obesity epidemic. A new study by the non-partisan Urban Institute says a 10-percent tax on fatty foods could raise more than $500-billion over the next 10-years.

They liken it to the steep taxes on tobacco, which helped dramatically reduce the number of smokers in this country.

However, taxes alone won't do the job when it comes to battling obesity. The study also recommends banning advertising of fattening foods to children and better labeling these products.

Restaurants and beverage groups have already waged a multimillion-dollar media campaign against any new taxes on food or drinks. They say it's no time to add taxes on "the simple pleasures we all enjoy" and argue this tax would be unfair since it soaks the poor.

But the authors of the study say that as much as $180 billion of revenue raised could be used to subsidize poor families' purchase of fruits and vegetables; and to help make healthier foods available to them.

There's no question something has to be done. At the rate we're going, this study says 40-percent of adults will be obese by 2015. And it's costing us a fortune. Obesity-related issues like diabetes and high blood pressure cost more than $200 billion a year - half of which is paid by taxpayers, whether they're fat or not.

Here’s my question to you: Should fattening foods be taxed like tobacco?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Rudy from Irvington, New York writes:
Why can't the government get the companies that sell this junk to act more responsibly? Fast food fat promoters lure customers into buying their caloric-laden goods from the time consumers are children. "Here, why not have a mondo-sized order of fries with that double cheeseburger with mayonnaise? Oh, and don't forget your gallon sized soft drink." Don't tax those who don't know any better. Tax those who are making a lucrative profit from other people's handicaps.

Seth writes:
They should absolutely be taxed. If people are going to destroy their own health by consuming junk food, they should be taxed in order to help pay for their own massive health care bills later in life.

Max writes:
No and here is why: taxing something never solves a problem, it creates more problems. Jack, if you want a Twinkie, you’re gonna buy it… Being obese is a choice, period. We don't need the government playing parent.

David writes:
Not the food, the people. Overweight people should pay more for health insurance. The only way Americans make the changes 'they' should make is through their wallet.

Melissa writes:
If you'd like to make life harder for poor people, sure, tax away. I'm sure they're willing to pay up. The simple reality is that most fattening foods are cheaper then their healthier counterparts. Just visit any food pantry and see what's on the shelves - it's highly-processed, high fat, high sodium foods that are cheap to produce.

Jason in Schenectady, New York writes:
Absolutely! Talk about a win-win tax. Promotes health and helps pay for health reform. Perfect.

Samir from Florida writes:
Why even bother living? Go ahead, tax my donuts and fries. Let's tax your celery and bananas because the increase in demand will cause a shortage of natural foods and we'll have to stimulate the farmers.

Filed under: Obesity • Taxes
soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. Mike in NYC

    New taxes to save people from themselves. Liberals to the rescue, again.

    "Calorie dense" is a better description than "fattening." Other than water, tea, coffee, and vegetables, most everything is fattening if you eat enough of it.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  2. Ruie - Brownstown, MI

    Dear Jack: Absolutely not. The states instituted high taxes on cigarettes under the guise of doing it for our health, when in reality they did it to get a little extra money for their pet projects. Once they all jumped on that band wagon – there was no stopping them. This is just another black hole to put our money in. If they were really concerned about the health of the American people – they'd pass that health bill NOW and concentrate on preventative care! Besides, what about my pursuit of happiness. (Happiness is a hot fudge sundae in my book - and please load on the whipped cream)!

    July 29, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  3. AspenFreePress

    If the "fattening foods," contain trans fats, they should be banned. Or is it okay to sell foods that can imperil people's health, so long as these foods don't make people high?
    Sterling Greenwood/Aspen Free Press

    July 29, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  4. mark pribble, anna il.

    If they tax fatty foods, then tax all things that can hurt us, guns,cars boats,cell phones use while driving. where will it end. taxes should be fair and spread out evenly for all, not just one thing singled out.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  5. Roland-St.George,UT

    No. We should have a national sales tax of 2% on everything and that is how we should pay for national health care. But we should exempt prescription medicines and most grocery items such as produce and fresh meat, canned goods, dairy products and frozen foods. The stuff in the food pyramid that is not considered "junk" or snack food. But there should be enough tax on consumption of regular other items such as clothing, gas, tobacco/alcohol and entertainment and fast food/restaurants, etc.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  6. Frank from Connellsville, PA

    More to the point they should tax portions. Restaurants serve two or three meals as a single serving, and mocha-frappe-whipped-carmel-with-sprinkles coffee has enough calories for one person to march across the country. One doughnut for breakfast isn't fattening by itself – a dozen on the other hand.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  7. Kelby, In Houston, Texas

    No, but beer and liquor most certainly should be. How is it nobody considered taxing beer and liquor?

    July 29, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  8. apark

    Yes junkfood should be taxed. It will help advocate a healthier lifstyle

    July 29, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  9. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    I say add a tax on fatty food, if and only if, the price on healthy foods is lowered a commensurate amount. Part of the problem with trying to eat healthy, is that the foods you need to eat are among the most expensive to buy. I'd rather see money go toward lowering the cost of the good foods and give people a chance to try those expensive items, and find out that they like them and can afford them as well.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  10. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: In most states, food is already taxed. It looks like when our leaders want to improve on health and wellness--a tax is in order. We are already taxed to death as it is---and even when we die-–there is a "death tax." How much can you continue to burden the American people with "taxes,"--it is the second most popular word in the English--next to "Sale."

    July 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  11. Leslie

    Fatty foods should be taxed just like we tax tabacco its just as addictive. I think that instead of taxing we should give incentives on those fast food chains that produce low fat healthy foods. Places like Mcdonalds and Jack in the box were not ment to feed the children of this country but as we spend less time as families its seems they are and they have a responsibility to the public. I think higher tax on fatty foods and lower tax on health foods.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  12. Ethel, Keys

    Yes Jack. With America being the fattest nation, We'd make a killing.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  13. Profull Gupta

    Yes. Obesity is much a killer as cancer form smoking .

    July 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  14. Rick OH


    Part of the health issue is the lack of consumer involvement ... my employer pays the bills, so I just do what I want. It's all backwards. We've had this debate about pre-existing conditions ... we should have another about preventing future conditions.

    We need to find a way to standardize insurance rates, and introduce discounts to people who do smart things ... like avoiding tobacco and recreational drugs, keeping their weight within ranges, and otherwise working to maintain their health. Just like education, good health begins in the home.

    Rick, OH

    July 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  15. Kevin, FL

    Jack, here we go again......The "Greenies" trying to make it impossible for me to enjoy ANYTHING fun in life. Tell you what , lets tax their Tofu, Evian bottled water , and Carrot sticks by 75% and see what that does to their Ideals!! By the way, as Im writing this message....I'm enjoying a smoke.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Aaron Ky

    I do not understand how anyone can think this is really a good idea, unless they are the type of person that enjoys butting their nose where it doesn't belong. This is government intervention of the worst kind, as with any sin tax, violating the constitution and passing laws to affect a specific portion of the population. If fatty foods are deemed enough of a risk to tax them extra, what's to keep the gov from deciding some of them are unsafe altogether?

    July 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  17. Ryan


    Ryan form Victoria

    July 29, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  18. featheriver

    Yes, I think fattening foods should be taxed because it would tend to reduce health endangering results. I would concur that the tax revenue be used to offset the costs of healthcare reform. I also think marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed to help pay for healthcare reform. Additionally reduce spending in the Military Industrial Complex (i.e., F-22 fighter planes) and shift the savings over to healthcare reform.
    –Jack, Pahrump, NV.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  19. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    What a great idea. Can we appoint a Food Czar to tell us what foods are bad for us and dictate our daily diet to us? He can also classify the foods as "junk" vs "good"? Are Americans really stupid enough to allow the government to tell them what they can eat? How much freedom are we willing to give up?

    July 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  20. Bob S. Racine, WI

    It should be taxed, however we should make sure that plenty of foods are still untaxed, familes are struggling more than ever, lets tax fast food, chocolate, chips, ice cream, and soda. Leave everything else alone

    July 29, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  21. Todd S.

    I 100% agree. Tax those fatty foods! Make it a luxury item that people have to dish out extra cash for. Maybe that way the masses will be turned off by the idea of paying extra for that donut and instead get some blueberries. I love blueberries Jack. If donuts were more expensive I would eat lots more blueberries just because it would be more cost effective.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  22. Dennis in Grand Rapids, MI

    We don't need more taxes. What we need is the economy to grow again. Part of that could be accomplished by putting in high speed rail between US cities. Also to help the environment we could make urban centers more friendly to walking / riding a bike versus hopping in a car?

    How about we tax all of the lobbyists contributions to our Congress? I'm sure that'd raise a heck of a lot more money.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  23. Judy from Canada

    It is a simple to understand fact fast food is of little or no nutritional value. Why not tax it It will not change eating habits. North Americans have become morbidly obese. Simple problem calories in are more than calories burned. period. No magic bullet no pill etc You cannot legeslate common sense Untill people deceide they need to get off their bottoms and even walk nothing will help. Unfortunately fast food is chep if it is taxed who will suffer the most the poor.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  24. Kyle Irvine, CA

    Taxing fattening foods is a bad idea because it will give the government more power and interference in our daily lives. The government should better educate the public about fatty foods and schools should be teaching physical education programs to promote health and fitness to children.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  25. Jennifer - Winnipeg

    Before giving a definite answer to this question, I would like to know just what foods/drinks would be on the taxable list. It's one thing if you’re talking chips and chocolate bars, but where does it end? Pork, ham, ground beef, prepared foods like sausage and salami, etc. ... all fattening, but many of these are staples in a low-income home. Plus the fact the people who are obese aren't necessarily over-eaters. There are many medical reasons for people to gain weight. Prescription drugs to combat thyroid, diabetes and bipolar disease and clinical depression, to name a few, make you gain weight even if you are on a diet. Putting a tax on so-called 'fattening' foods sounds like over-kill to me.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  26. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    The idea is not bad. But as history has shown the Politicians will NEVER take the money and use it for Health Care Costs. They will use it to plug gaps in the Budget Process.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  27. John

    Yes, Jack. Obesity is something we can't afford.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  28. Lenny, Dallas, TX

    Absolutely, fattening foods should be taxed. If you intend to eat yourself to death, the government might as well get some money upfront to deal with the cost of obesity and diabetes especially if you are on Medicare or Medicaid.

    Secondly, if unhealthy foods are taxed, it will encourage people to eat healthy foods and maybe we will become a healthier country with lower health care costs.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  29. Jared , Dayton, Virginia

    Ronald McDonald must be shaking in his shoes!!! Of course restaurants are against this, it would be less revunue for them. Why not start serving more healthy food?

    July 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  30. Joe in MO

    Yes. Obesity adds to health problems. Tax certain very fatty or sugary goods and use the money for health care reform.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  31. Clifford

    And like they won't find away to waste this money on pork barrel projects, or us it as a corporate bailout.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  32. Stephanie from AZ

    No and for a few reasons and I will use McDonalds as an example:

    1. A Big Mac costs an average of $3.57 in the US and we are number one in obesity. Well, a Big Mac costs around $7.88 in Norway and they are # 26. It is only $1.33 in China and they didn't even make to obesity list. So, price really doesn't matter if people want a Big Mac, they will have one.

    2. If the US does tax the foods and business declines at the fast food chains, what happens when they close? You will have more in line at the unemployment office...like me need more people without jobs.

    3. Sadly, there are some parents that only feed their children fast food and quick fix meals that are considered fattening. If the prices go up and the parents can't afford healthier foods or have the time to actually cook, what happens to the starving child?

    We need to do like Japan. There is a national waist size for ages 40-74. Males need a 33.5 in waist and females 35.4 in. You are given 3 months to get to that size or you will be put on a special diet and possibly fined if you fail to meet and maintain the standard. I would hate to be fined for being overweight and so every other American.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  33. Jeannine

    Waldwick, NJ – YES!!! It has always boggled my mind. Why is it cheaper to eat junk? Maybe it would be another way to help our "super sized" society slim down.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  34. Ted

    A tax on fattening foods will help generate revenue, but I don't believe it will help with obesity. Too many people would rather buy take out (for various reasons) than to prepare a healthier meal at home. And if this is true, I doubt they make time to exercise a few times a week.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  35. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    Thank You again Jack for discussing an importatnt topic, OBESITY. However, it just seems wrong to tax foods for their abuse potential. ALthough, I can hardly fault it nor its objective. But, then shouldn't we tax granulated sugar and soda pop?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  36. Ross from Redlands, CA

    Wow! Behavior Modification through taxation – what an idea.
    Tell us how many Tacos you order at the drive through window Jack. Give us a number.

    We should tax the corporations who make this junk food and spend billions marketing it to Americans. There is behavior Modification for you pal.

    Then we can tax untruthful politicians – A gold mine.
    Then the bolemic, bald, short in stature, those with Carpal Tunnel,
    where does this behavior modification end. Thought taxation?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  37. John from Los Angeles

    As Socrates said, "Everything in moderation."

    It's not the food that's fattening. Its the way we eat too much of it when we should be filling up with something else.

    Salty food is bad for you too. Should we also tax them, Jack?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  38. Melissa S.

    If you'd like to make life harder for poor people, sure, tax away. I'm sure they're willing to pay up. The simple reality is that most fattening foods are cheaper then their healthier counterparts. Just visit any food pantry and see what's on the shelves – it's highly processed, high fat, high sodium foods that are cheap to produce.

    Melissa S.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  39. Ronald Holst

    Jack Jack Jack tax OMG the Republicans will be crying dooms day will come if they have to pay another cent to help any one else out. .

    July 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  40. michael armstrong sr.

    Mike from TX. Thats right Jack lets start taxing fast food places out of buisness causing more unimployment .

    July 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  41. Jason

    Absolutely! Talk about a win-win tax. Promotes health and helps pay for health reform. Perfect.

    Schenectady, NY

    July 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  42. Rick St Augustine Fla

    YES.....By all means

    July 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  43. James

    That won't ever happen because "fatty food" is too ambiguous a term. There are good fats like omega-3 fatty acids.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  44. seeksense

    It's way to easy to drive through and get a bagful of fat filled, empty calorie food for a few bucks.

    Look at the people in line with you... (I'm guilty)... at the drive through and tell me they can't afford to eat one less super-size order of fries.

    Tax the fat = Health care for everyone.
    Best idea I've heard!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  45. Trista

    Perhaps the government should cut out the corn subsidies which makes High Fructose Corn Syrup and makes fattening sugary foods cheap. If we add a tax to that cheap, high sugar, high fat food, we're just paying for the subsidies. It makes NO sense. We're taxing with the left hand, and subsidizing with the right. If we stopped giving that subsidy away, we could take that cash and put it towards healthcare.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  46. Ken in NC

    Not a bad idea Jack. We tax guns and ammo that kill, tobacco products that kill so why not tax fattening foods that kill too. Is there anything left that I have not included? Why not a tax on the taxes we can’t afford to pay. Would that cover everything? “YOU BETCHA”.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  47. Claire, Melbourne, FL

    Hello Jack,

    AMEN..!!! Tax the fattening foods – some people have no concept on how to eat healthy – we need a wake up call asap!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  48. Bob Southfield, MI

    What a great idea. Maybe we should have scales linked to computers at the check out at grocery stores and restaurants to establish the tax on each individual who orders fat food. If they're skinny they'll get a rebate on the cost of the food. Our government geniuses at work. How about a tax on .... oh never mind – someone may do it.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  49. Seth McDermott (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)

    They should absolutely be taxed. If people are going to destroy their own health by consuming junk food, they should be taxed in order to help pay for their own massive healthcare bills later in life.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  50. Regina

    NO. We are taxed enough. This is ludicrous. Instead of thinking of new ways to tax why not cut back on unnecessary spending?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  51. Dave Marshall

    No. Absolutely Not! Instead, tax toiltetpaper by the square inch. That way everyone pays their fair share.


    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  52. steve - Midland, TX

    Tax them. The bleep out of them. If people can't practice restraint from these foods on their own, maybe a little penalty will help. I bust my rear daily staying in shape and I pay for my own health insurance. I am certain I'm paying through the nose due to the people living through their mouth and now they need to pony up. We're all in this together and EVERYONE needs to take some responsibility in helping this problem.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  53. Bettye

    Absolutely!! Taxing fatty foods and non-nutritious drinks would help with reducing obesity and help pay for the consequences of the consumption of these foods.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  54. Vergie

    Yes, anything that continues to produce unhealthy people should be taxed because they are the most likely to need medical care.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  55. floss from Philly

    Why don't they just tax the air we breathe, this is America if people want to eat themselves to death, let them, it may be the only thing we have to save social security

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  56. Connie

    Simple. YES. It makes sense to increase taxes on non-essentials which degrade our national health. YES.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  57. Ralph Nelson

    ABSOLUTELY ! It's not only a way pay for health care by taxing those who are abusing their health the most, but a way all of us can participate and feel proud for doing our part. Three cents-to-a nickle on a candy bar, bottle of pop, starch laden (body turns starch to sugar) prepared meals...It's a great idea. We are all going to eat ourselves into our graves the way we are going. Do you really think people are going to stop drinking a soda pop because it now costs $1.34 rather than $1.29? Of course not, the money is peanuts, but helps pay for national health care. We need our government to ask us to sacrifice more and help out. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  58. C.K. of Colorado

    I say yes, increase taxes on fatty foods, but decrease the cost of the healthy food. Fruits and vegetables are outrageously expensive, and I can barely afford to buy them. Increasing tax on bad food will (hopefully) encourage people to buy apples instead of apple pie.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  59. Miss Bell

    I don't see anything wrong with taxing fatty foods & drinks. I'm obese myself, and I tell you 1 thing....a higher tax WILL keep me away. Besides, I always wondered why the most fattening, unhealthy foods are always the cheapest. At the grocery store, fast food places, etc.....Shouldn't it be the other way around?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  60. Kerry Florida

    I think that's a great idea Jack. If it drives people to eat less fatty foods as the tax on tobacco it would be a win win for America...If we became a healthier country with less obesity it would help in bringing down health costs for all of us. And in the meantime the extra tax on fatty foods and tobacco for those who continue to buy them would give our government more money for all of us and our kids.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  61. Deborah in Grain Valley MO

    Yes, but I think we should levy the tax against the fatty food industry itself. Let them penalize their own customers for purchasing unhealthy products by raising their prices to compensate. Talk about killing two fat birds with one healthy stone!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  62. Patrick Dreyer

    This is great, tax fat people to pay for fat peoples problems

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  63. Paul San Antonio, TX

    Jack, if we as a nation taxed fattening food, I would be out of a job. I work for a local fast food chain, and slapping a tax onto the product would drive away a lot of customers, and that's something we can't afford... ever. We shouldn't be taxing fatty foods. We should be pushing healthy choices early on in a child's life so they can develop a healthy diet and active lives that don't revolve around video games and the TV.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  64. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Don't tax the food.....tax the companies that are producing all of the fattening food that is making us obese. The poor shouldn't have to take on another tax burden by being penalized for buying the food that they can only afford to buy!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  65. Dorothy

    Yes! Fatty foods should be taxed! It would help fund health care reform and help people become healthier.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  66. Lois in Minneapolis

    Yes! Fatterning foods should be taxed. We can't seem to restrain ourselves so we need help - a tax should do it.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  67. robert slaughter

    so now the goverment wants to tax foods to pay for healthcare? maybe they should just start taxing the air we breathe. many of the things they tax for a specific purpose does not come to pass and that money goes elswhere...

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  68. Dianne

    ABSOLUTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Health costs for fat related illness is costing us all far more than that of cigarettee use. Tax restaurants for serving unhealthy fatty foods and give tax credits to restaurants for healthy menus.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  69. Angela from Wadesboro, NC

    Yes. Not that I'm eager for more taxes, but the cost is worth it if the nation's overall health is improved. A community is only as strong as its weakest link, and if thousands of U.S. citizens are in poor health because of obesity, it's the least we can do Thanks for asking!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  70. Mary Herrick

    Of couse all fatten foods should be taxed but then that would include all foods because all foods if eaten in excess will cause weight gain.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  71. Linda in Arizona

    Yes, I think it's a great idea. And while we're at it, let's close all fast-food restaurants until they provide caloric and fat content figures for all of their "happy" meals. It wouldn't bother me one bit because I haven't consumed anything, not even a coke, that came from a fast-food restaurant since 1983. Go for it.!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  72. Derek

    No, although that might help to slow their sales. A better alternative is to subsidize healthy foods like fruits and vegetables–make them cheaper, and most people will purchase them instead of the crap they eat every day. Part of the problem is that soda and chips are substantially cheaper than milk and an apple.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  73. Michael

    Should fattening foods be taxed? Absolutely. Not only that, the FDA should do thorough research on their effects on our bodies. The amount of synthetics in our food is astonishing. We aren't robots, we don't need synthetics.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  74. Zelda Liu

    Right after marijuana is legalized and taxed, we can begin discussing taxing fattening foods.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  75. Anthony S

    YES YES YES...Taxing the foods might just be the thing to curb appitites for buying these foods and in turn mabe america wont be the fattest nation in the word any more

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  76. M in CA

    Absolutely tax those types of foods. We tax cigarettes and booze and that does a few things, slows the use of those poisonous products without preventing someone from their right to use them, and helps pay for their effects on society and the very people that use them. Obesity is a serious problem and serious measures are needed to combat it. Tax the junk food and junk beverages, use the money for education, and health care.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  77. Anthony Nelson

    I think that taxing fattening foods like tobacco would be a great idea. It will help provide funding for heathcare reform as well as steer americans to a more healthy lifestyle!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  78. MrWatt

    Taxing things that are only making health worse can't be all bad. Most of the people against it aren't against what they're proposing to tax, they are against extra taxes period.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  79. Lucy

    I find it funny that this is your question as I was just ranting to my parents about this a few weeks ago. I think of course they should be taxed. My reasoning for this is not financial, but health. I would hope that people would be dissuaded to purchase unhealthy foods b/c of the tax in favor of healthier options. However, this would raise concerns in impoverished neighborhoods, where there IS NO healthier option. Ideally, I would love to see things start to emerge like healthy fast food chains and health food stores even in the ghettos.
    Lucy, SF, CA

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  80. marcia

    if we are serious about our health as a nation and reducing health costs this is a no brain-er! Maybe people would stop for ONE second before scoffing down a one pound FAT BURGER!!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  81. Craig

    thats just the beginning of taxation for healthcare..........next the reducing of services will take in account the tax's went up but still not enough to cover the bill!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  82. Yvonne

    No, fatty foods should not be taxed. If they are, we should also add more tax on people who sky dive, ski, race drivers; anything in our society that causes us to have to go to a doctor or hospital.

    This would also include those who have dangerous jobs.

    Where do we put an end to it.


    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  83. Jeremy

    I think a tax on junk food, coupled with subsidies to help needy families afford healthier foods is perfectly fair and reasonable. Junk food is a luxury, and if we want to buy it we should be willing to pay for the pleasure.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  84. Steven

    Count me in Jack! Since I retired from the Marine Corp, I've gain more than 45 lbs. I work out, but I'm hooked on junk, fatty foods. Give me an excuse to push back from the junk. Tax me, please!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  85. Jeff

    Why do we just Tax by the pound? That would ensure the poor stay poor dumb and fat

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  86. RusRus

    Jack I am so tired of profits by some in exchange for the misery of others. Of course we should tax unhealthy foods, in addition we should help the smaler farms to grow healthy fruits and vegetables which do the opposite of the unhealthy foods. It has been a long time since special interests (large wealthy corporations) have not been able to have their way with the American people, lets hope we can change this culture of greed one tax at a time.


    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  87. Joseph Kraatz

    Here we go again with our nanny society. Under the ruse of health we will have another tax source. Give me a break!! If we really cared about this issue we would tax the fatties. I am not responsible for their stupid eating habits. It is scary to think what this society will be in 50 years with government intrusion into every facet of our lives.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  88. DodgenVA

    Taxing fatty foods is not the solution to the problem. If the government taxes the producers of fatty foods then the cost gets passed on to the consumer. If the government taxes the consumers on their purchases then the consumer is still hurt. It's a lose lose situation either way. How about the government keeps their hands out of my pocket!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  89. Chat B

    Yes, they should be taxed like tobacco. This discourages unhealthy lifestyles. The ad camaign states these as 'simple pleasures'. If they are really simple they should not be consumed too much and so an average person will not be affected too much.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  90. michael

    Jack the govt taxes everything we eat already. Can I please decide for myself what to eat what to drink and if I want health insurance which I choose not to have.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  91. Anna in Chicago

    I do not hear anybody saying that we need to put huge tax on guns and ammunition. They are contributing to the cost of health care. Most of those people that get shot are in poor areas that do not have health insurance so we have to pay for their hospital care.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  92. Ann

    No, absolutely not. What will be next....artery clogging meat, pork & liver? What needs to be taxed is the computer games, Wii, Playstations, and all the other things that keep children & adults sedentary and not moving.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  93. Catharine Kempson

    Why not? We regulate alcohol and cigarettes...
    "Taxing our simple pleasures?" Boloney! it's just as pleasant to eat a peach.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  94. Kat

    No. There is just a point where this whole thing goes too far. Heavily taxing alcohol and cigarettes is bad enough - and I don't use either. We can't have government running everything in our lives. Medical care is an issue and many diseases are brought on or aggravated by weight. But the larger problem for me as far as cost is the number of folks using emergency rooms in place of regular office visits. The fact that they do it because they don't have insurance is a big issue -- why not arrange for office visits in certain clinics that don't cost as much as an ER visit so they'll go to clinics instead of ERs? Makes more sense to me. Folks need health treatment. If everyone has access to regular medical treatment you will preempt a lot of these "weight-related" diseases before they become a problem!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  95. Jimi

    Combining a tax on junk food with one on legalized pot will end the recession!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  96. John Rasile Jr.

    The government has no right to tax items without the consent of the people. We seem to have no say in any of this.
    I think it's called taxation without representation, and that's bad!
    Also unconstitutional.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  97. Lewis

    THIS IS A NO BRAINER! at times these foods that are killing the citizens of this country can be satisfying, im willing to pay the extra money to enjoy it. the tabacco industry is doing fine. Lets get real America

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  98. Don Dollar

    Something has to be done to get the fattening foods out of the American diet. I would like to know what the % of people going to the hospital that taxpayers pay for are overweight versus those that aren't. I'll bet it would boggle all our minds. The cure to the health care cost problem is getting rid of the fatty foods and ought to be implemented into Obama's health care coverage proposal.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  99. Nell Browning

    A tax on soda – great! (not on pure juice products). Tax on fatty foods – maybe on anything with a fat content exceeding 50% – great!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  100. Annie - Lilburn GA

    That's a great idea! It will help promote a much healthier lifestyle.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  101. vJ

    Absolutely Jack. Not only fattening foods but also diet sweet drinks and sugar. we can live without it.
    Hayward, Calif.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  102. Jarvis F.

    Jack, this could be the best idea Congress had in years. Taxing the foods and drinks that people use to abuse their health is exactly what our overweight country needs.

    Pittsburgh, PA

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  103. Elisabeth in Massachusetts

    Yes, and give a good portion of the proceeds from the junk food tax to organic farmers and to promote locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  104. Modi

    Of course bad fatty foods should be taxed. It is cheaper to make and sell crappy foods then the food that is good for you. If people on food stamps could get quality food cheaper than unhealthy foods it would also help the health care crisis. How many times have you seen a family at Mcdonalds? It is less for the quality and more for the quantity of food you get for 20$.


    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  105. Liz

    Yes, I think that is an excellent idea! We'd be helping one solution while trying to solve another simultaneously. All to improve good health care.
    (Stamford, CT)

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  106. Bobbie Johnson

    Not only should fatty foods be taxed but also, beer, wine, liquor and ammunition. If the smokers of the world got it put to them, then everyone should too.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  107. Roxyanne Burrus

    Why do we always want to target the consumer. What about the perpetrator-the ones who make and produce the fattening foods. Let's regulate the ingredients they use in foods and let's regulate how food is processed.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  108. Sophia, Oakland California

    No. Fast food has been around for awhile now, but childhood obesity is just now becoming a problem. The only change I see is the lack of activity amongst the youth, not an increase in junk food. Video Games, Myspace etc. are the REAL problem. P.E. must be taken seriously by educators and kids must learn how to play outside again!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  109. Geoff- WV

    Fattening foods should be taxed. Better yet, individual ingredients causing obesity should be targeted. High fructose corn syrup should be the first thing taxed due to it being a major ingredient in most fattening foods. If it was not for the powerful corn lobby, high fructose corn syrup would be easier to tax and hopefully help to lower obesity and raise revenue.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  110. Rattosh51

    Sure, why not, taxing the hell out of tobacco has really reduced healthcare costs, right? yeah right...and provided stable revenue, right? Yeah, right. Get a grip!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  111. Tati Chin

    I think this tax would actually be very effiecient..to a certain extent.
    Fattening foods are of course a key cause in the American obesity epidemic, so putting a tax on these foods may be good in the sense of discouraging the consumation of unhealthy foods. This is very similair to the tobacco tax on certain products. On the other hand- I know that we enjoy many great foods, and many people who can keep in moderation would like it to stay that way (without being taxed). It all really ties in with the situations of those in need who may not be able to afford fresh foods. Maybe part of the revenue taken in by the gov't can be used to subsidize, but will that be enough?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  112. Arnie

    Hey Jack ! Yes I think Fattening foods should be taxes higher, but as well if you want peopleto eat healthy You have to lower the prices of organic and healthy foods so people can afford to eat healthy and not become obese. Ill sure miss those fries.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  113. Al Meyer

    No. The last thing we need is more government involvement. While we are speeding towards socialism we are not yet a socialist country. If we truly want to make health care affordable lets put a cap on settlements for malpractice lawsuits. That is one of the biggest reasons for the unreasonable cost of health care. When something goes wrong we sue and the courts award millions of dollars to people. As the amounts of these settlements go up the doctors malpractice insurance goes up and the doctors fees go up. This is the proper starting point for health care reform.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  114. jimmy

    NO!!!!! All I've heard for 7 months since what's his name moved into the White House is tax and spend, bailouts and stimulus.


    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  115. JustMe

    What will it take for everyone to realize not everyone can eat fruits and vegetables??? And that this would only affect the poor and lower middle class as everyone else can pay for whatever they want. This is food for pete sake and people should not be punished for eating when so many have to eat whatever they can. Even water with a straw is painful for me but some foods and drinks are MORE painful like fruits and vegetables as much as I love them they will make my mouth sores worse and cause extreme pain!! Let me eat whatever I can eat in peace please since after all I do have to eat and by the way all the meds they tried me on either made me worse or did not help!!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  116. Bruce

    This is a two edged sword. While taxing the fatty foods may help the health of our country it could also hurt many families with lower incomes,
    It is unfortunate that fatty foods are also the least expensive foods

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  117. Marion in Cleveland, Oh

    How about instead of taxing "junk" food, we make healthy choices more affordable. Lower the price on fresh fruits & vegetables. I love fish, but, hamburger is still less expensive.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  118. Begum

    Americans do not want to take responsibility for anything. They want to live off of government hand outs any way they can. They should take responsibility for their health. we cannot be made to pay for that. Or they should pay higher rates for their health costs.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  119. ginger Blymyer

    Hi Jack, It won't work. It would be great to tax, but there is more involved, lots of emotional eating. It is once again all about education. How will that be helped? Eating is social and sweets a great accomplishment for people to make and eat. Humans,even babies naturally go for the sweets. Some fat is necessary, but has to be vegetable like olive oil. I know all the information but still have a hard time eating "right". GingerI

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  120. The Broker.

    From my experience with my own kids long ago. If it goes down easy, it must be good. Peas and Carrots don't go down that easy. But they could.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  121. D Mac

    Please, please, please.....Smoking is addicting, yet is taxed so heavily. Why not tax fast food even heavier, since more Americans eat fast food than smoke. Bigger lobby for fast food though, and not as much of a stigma involved, so highly doubt it will get anywhere...

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  122. David Clark

    Makes sense to me, Jack. To avoid adverse effects on the poor they should be able to exempt lower income areas from the tax or do something to encourage more healthy food sales in these areas... after all, the goal isn't just care for the sick.. it's STAYING WELL.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  123. Aaron, Fontana, Ca

    YES YES YES YES YES!!!! It's high time people start taking some responsibility for their own cirmumstances. If a person is going to trample over their own health we can't expect the government to keep picking up the tab. Health care dollars should be going to people who really need it, victims of accidents and cancer patients etc., not people who CHOOSE to be an expensive burden on the rest of us due to their own GLUTTONY!!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  124. Frank, FL

    Who really believes that soda is one of life's simple pleasures? Tax these self-indulgent products, so the system doesn't have to handle the burden of so many people's bad health.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  125. Robyn Morris

    Sure, tax "fattening foods" such as processed, boxed packaged mixes, but do not tax "whole" foods such as whole milk, real butter, real eggs, and real cheese. I would rather see so-called "no fat cheese" be taxed than a real and wholesome product such as real dairy cheese. If we ate real foods in appropriate quantities, we would be better off than our attempt to fake out our minds and bodies with processed and packaged foods that imitate the original.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  126. mark

    I vote we tax fat people since the actual amount of caloric intake is what makes you fat. Common sense should be rewarded. Fat is good for the body in moderation. Tax laziness why you are at it. Exercise reduces body fat. This whole conversation is just people behaving stupidly.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  127. Linda Hoffman

    I see no problem with taxing fattening foods....but let's go one better than that....let's tax alcohol in extreme amounts like we do cigarettes...the justification for taxing cigarettes is the damage they cause medically.....how about the people injured or killed by drunk drivers and the hospital bills for abused women.....isn't that a good enough reason to limit alcohol consumption....and bring in tax dollars...??? (Let's see Congress vote for that....right?)

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  128. DoubleOKool in Missouri


    Its a shame that obesity has become a problem in the US. Those statistics of 40% of Americans being obest in the next 6 years is alarming. It is time for fat people to take responsibility of their over eating and either push themselves away from the table or pay more tax on fatty foods that blow them up like a hot air ballon. Its a lot of big women and men out there.....and they wonder why they can't find love. Look in the mirror....who wants a overweight mate.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  129. Todd from Ohio

    Maybe if people had to pay more for junk food and fast food, they would make better choices. You can buy a box of cookies cheaper than a bag of spinach.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  130. David Johnson

    I think that fatty foods should be taxed. It will discourage people from buying these products, which will lead to a decrease in the obesity epidemic.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  131. John Rasile Jr.

    And by the way Jack, raising prices on cigs does not stop people from smoking, they just buy cheaper smokes.
    What does raising the price on heroin do?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  132. Stupid Hillbilly

    I sur do hope those smart peeples in the capital put a new tax on bad food. Me just a stupid redneck hillbilly out here in Utah and me too stupid to decide what I should and shouldn't eat. It would be just great if those smart peeples in the capital saved me from my bad decisions and just told me what to eat. I not know tobacco was bad fur me until those ads on the TV told me so over and over and over and over again. Thank the Lord we have so many great peeples watching out for stupid folk like me.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  133. Dominique

    I think taxing fatty foods is an idiodic idea, even if the funds raised are used to help fund healthcare. With a pre-teen in my home, fatty, snack foods are all I really buy.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  134. Michael

    Yes, I think foods that have little nutritive value should be taxed to reduce consumption. Heck, it might even influence more food vendors to move toward something more healthy. Of course, one big question is, "what makes food health versus not?" I'm assuming cupcakes, ice cream and pudding are fattening and carrots and celery are probably not. But what about bagels and white bread? They're not very high in fat, but some nutritionists believe they contribute to obesity. Regardless of the arguments and the details, some change is better than no change. A wise person recently told me that "incremental improvement is better than postponed perfection."

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  135. J.R.

    No fatty foods should not be taxed!! That isn't fair. This may raise some money to help pay bills for lazy Americans who can't pay there bills. But this will not stop people from being fat. Just as exercise can become addicting for healthy people, sitting around stuffing ones face with fries and Oreos all day is also addicting. Therefore peoples habits will not change. I see it everyday at my job. Someone who consumes 8 candy bars and 6 donuts a day will never change, until it kills them.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  136. Dick Harp

    ABSO DOGGONE LUTELY!!! It would not only help but likely would help me identify them whenI buy groceries. I was a smoker when they started seriously taxing tobacco and it actually led me to quit smoking. I especially like the helping low income people with the subsidizing for fruits and vegetables.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  137. Liz in Tennessee

    They are concentrating on only one problem. Instead of such a high tax on just one type of food have a lesser tax and include any food with high fructose corn syrup or sugar. They are what are really killing us.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  138. Ariel

    Absolutely! Hopefully a tax on fatty foods will encourage people to eat healthy, something that's actually not that difficult if you put any effort into it. It's not right for Americans to have to front the bill for obesity-related medical conditions. Obesity is preventable, and a tax on fatty foods can hopefully sway people to start making the right decisions about their health.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  139. Ralph

    Yes, Yes, Yes...We need to tax those things that make us unhealthy. Why should a company be allowed to make huge profits every year, off of products that harm us. they call it JunkFood for a reason. Its Junk! And if you want to harm yourself, by eating it than you need to pay for the health problems that you cause yourself. and this will pay for it.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  140. Sandi

    I am trying to figure out how this is going to make 'poor' people eat healthier. Most 'poor' people use food stamps, and food bought with food stamps isn't taxed.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  141. Pete Montano

    NO...instead fined a way to give people who live a healty lifestyle a break on medical insurance premiums. Who wants to be taxed so that people who smoke, eat fatty foods, are overweight and don't exercise have medical coverage?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  142. laurie

    would not be necessary if the fattening foods were banned, or restricted to a very small portion, from food stamps and replaced by healthy foods requirements. fruits and vegatables are available, however many poor choose to fill their carts with cookies, chips, etc. while the rest of us foot the bill–to the extent that they need a motorized cart to buy it all because they are so heavy. I feel that by restricting the amount of snacks allowed on food stamps, the rate of obesity would begin to decrease

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  143. CJ In San Francisco

    Of course..the way I see it is either to pay it now in taxes or pay it later in higher health care costs.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  144. Sharon

    People should be taxed according to their body mass index rather than their income.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  145. janni stewart

    no fattening foods should not be taxed. like it or not, this is the only food poor people can afford or have access to–no farmer's market nearby poor people. rather, vendors should sell nutritious foods at reasonable prices..

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  146. mike

    Yes I do feel there should be some sort of tax on fatty foods, but at the cost of working towards lowering prices on healthier foods. How can the average american afford to eat healthy when these foods are so costly. My household of two spend about $250 a month on eating healthy.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  147. Beth Hartford-DeRoos

    We already reward the producers of unhealthy foods with massive farm subsidies. Treat them like crack or cocaine dealers. Their junk causes illness and high healthcare costs. And their ads on tv about taxing the 'treats' we enjoy are a joke. A 'treat' is an occasional happening. The items they make are not used as 'treats' but as daily items.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  148. Linda Patterson

    No more taxes! No vouchers for fruits and vegetables! We are losing our freedoms daily. Don't give subsidies to obese individuals, and charge them more for health care. As a responsible taxpayer, I am tired of having to pay for everyone else's sins.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  149. George Wilson

    Oh, definitely yes!!! The food industry got us into the bad habit of liking and actually preferring junk food. Now they can pay to extract us from this deadly pandemic.

    George Wilson

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  150. Jim in Arkansas

    In Arkansas, they have a tax for cigarettes to fund a new trauma center, (which should really go to a cancer center). Speeders, no seatbelt, no wearing helmet, & violent offenders/criminals should pay for a trauma center; and a fat food tax should pay for overall health costs since healthy people tend not to have to go to the hospital.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  151. Phil - Long Beach, Ca

    No! No! No! It's time to stop trying to legislate every aspect of our behavior. Where I live, the air is smoggy. Should I be taxed on the air I breathe because of the potential health costs? Enough with the Nanny Legislation!!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  152. Mary WV

    Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of maintaining weight. but, it's a fact that fresh foods are costly. Fatty foods are a substance purchased to hold down costs and put food on the table of families. It might make more sense to attack supermarkets for the high cost of food and it rises weekly.

    I do not hear anyone discussing how to hold down the cost of rising foods during this economic crisis we are facing. My fruits and vegetable come from South American countries, does this have anything to do with our costs?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  153. Ivan Blume

    I am all for restricting or even taxing foods like the corn syrup that makes many foods addictive, but care should be taken to avoid hurting one metabolic group more than another. For example while my wife does very well by restricting fat to loose weight, my metabolism works better with a carb restriction. How do you tax that?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  154. Larry

    No, Jack. Don't give burger joints another reason to layoff workers or cut insurance due to a slow down in sales. I'd rather have Vegas style gambling, but I've got to admit the fight and lobbying of congress over what does and does not make the list would be must see TV.

    Does Pizza make the list? What if it has low-fat cheese and a whole wheat crust. Who decides?

    Palm Beach

    July 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  155. Margaret Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Americans should not tax fatty foods because that is too difficult to implement but what Americans can and should do is increase taxes on cigarettes. In Canada a pack of smokes cost 9.64 the price rose 5.00 and it all goes to health care costs. Canada now has 22% lestssmokers and this initiative has helped our overall health. I love my government sponsored health care system I can see a doctor anytime I want and I can have anything I want to have done regarding my health. I am a healthy and happy Canadian, Americans deserve the same!


    July 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  156. Maggie Williams, RN

    It is very clear that while taxing fattening foods would likely have little effect on the atrocious eating habits, it absolutely makes sense to tax foods that have a clear link to obesity and which have little or no nutritional value. Things like soft drinks and chips we know contribute little to the diet except for calories and sugar or salt and the taxes would definitely help to finance covering the under and uninsured. But more important than taxes are industries which are largely responsible for our poor health, like the Corn Lobby. We are subsidizing this industry with millions and millions of $$ and much of this corn winds as a hidden entity in your average daily diet and you don’t even know it. If you just start looking at the labels of all the foods we eat you will find that it is very difficult to eliminate corn syrup from your diet (ask anyone who has a corn allergy). If you want to subsidize agriculture, subsidize the Family Farms in America along with the distribution of locally grown whole foods so that many more people would have access to the kinds of foods that maintain health.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  157. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    Before we tax fattening foods, we need to remove the subsidy for producing them. Making corn more expensive will make soda more expensive and will have the same effect as a tax.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  158. m.wentink

    The argument that a tax on fatty foods (like fast foods) burdens the poor does not make sense. Has anyone paid attention to the prices at the fastfood restaurants lately? Making a healthy meal at home is a lot more economical than buying junk food. Maybe some those aditional taxt funds should be used to educate people about healthy foods and economics.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  159. Jim from Orlando

    Should fatty foods be taxed? Absolutely!! We have known about the dangers of these foods for sometime, but still a majority of Americans continue to gorge themselves and their children with garbage. I'm sorry to be the one to say this, but there are a lot of stupid people out there that don't care about their health or the health of their children, and the growing obesity epidemic is testament to this. Taking care of yourself is a paramount responisbility, but many people chose to ignore this. I know I'm not the only one who is sick and tired of seeing obese people almost everywhere I go, not to mention dealing with the strain they cause on our already overstressed healthcare system, and if this could possibly reduce the obeseity problem and balance the budget, it would be win-win!
    And to those who say this is an invasion on our freedom, remember the retoric we've been fed for years: "Freedom isn't free"

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  160. getsteppin

    Heart Disease, Strokes leaving people in the worse kind of health than they ever had before, Spinal Problems of many kinds, foot problems, Diabetes, Thyroid Problems, Coronary Problems...etc are causes of BAD CHOLESTOROL.

    A smoker of 30 years + can quit smoking for 1 week and his/her lungs will begin to rejuvinate back to what they were 25 years earlier.
    The trick is getting US to quit the one week.

    YES!!! Tax the socks off of BAD CHOLESTEROL contaNing foods!!!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  161. Mike Shay

    We talk about health care reform but are only packaging universal health coverage, which just doesn't cut it. They need to fundamentally change the health care delivery system, especially when it comes to fee for service and pharmaceuticals

    The idea of taxing fatty foods to help pay the cost of universal insurance makes a lot of sense. The people that consume large quantities of this stuff are mostly overweight which leads to other heath issues, such as diabetes. Like cigarettes, this food needs to be taxed to help pay for the cost of health care for those that eat it. It's certainly makes more sense than taxing people at certain income levels to pay for others bad habits. I think you're on to something.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  162. stacey c.

    Why tax foods (we already pay tax on so many of them).
    If the federal government would LEGALIZE MARUJUANA, it would create jobs....it would benefit farmers...and the governement could take theri share, as they do with cigarettes and liquor!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  163. Mark

    Hey Jack, if we tax foods that make americans fat, who will be left to appear on the obese dating show? We don't want to limit our networks to show showing healthy people do we?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  164. Stephanie - AZ

    What about the THIN people with diabetes and heart issues??? What are you going to tax them on???

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  165. Cheryl Matta

    Vancouver WA – Yes, fatty and other detrimental foods to one's health should be taxed to help pay for the health care costs that they eventually cause. There are plenty of foods that are healthy but not costly like – beans & rice for instance, fruit in season etc. Poor people can make better choices. They would, however, need some education. The tax would just give them a little push in the right direction. Who knows, maybe it could save some lives too.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  166. maruchi

    Fabulous idea!!!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  167. Cindy Jensen, Fort St. John, BC

    Yes, but I think media has the potential to have a much bigger impact. People look to the media to find out what normal is, plus the potential to be repetitive through commercials etc. So take the tax dollars and put it into the media.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  168. Matt G

    No. It's not a matter of making bad foods MORE expensive as it is to make healthy foods LESS expensive. Trendy health food markets have made it expensive to eat anything good other than raw fruits and vegtables. It's faster, easier, and cheaper to grab something of off the dollar menu.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  169. KAREN

    Sure you can tax them, right after you add a health tax to alcohol, cigarettes and illegal drugs all of which cost the taxpayers hundreds of billions a year.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  170. cindy

    yes, by all means. tax soda, sweet drinks, chips etc...just like tobacco is being taxed. this is nothing new and something that is useful.
    People who say we cant do this in a time of recession because people are sad, is a poor excuse for drinking and eating that unhealthy stuff....

    July 29, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  171. zoe Rastegar

    An excellent idea. Those who are opposed to taxing the fatty food it is not because of poor people but their own pocket. Why wouldn't we want the poor people eat healthier? If they feel it is more expensive, they will buy less of it.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  172. Joanne Scarcelli

    Why not? This 72 year old woman has observed during my growing up years (late teens to the present) the astounding increase in greater amounts of Cokes and Pepsis consumed : kids drinking them on the way to school (in place of breakfast), drinking them at lunch, and (my own personal favorite) with pizza which came heavily onto the scene during my college years. Now they are available everywhere:, machines, fast-food places, growcery stores, gas stations. ad infinitum. Fortunately, I was raised on a farm where we consumed copius amounts of veggies with very little of these luxuries. I can only remember one or two kids in any of my school classes being fat. Now, it seems, kids are often either obese or anorexic!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  173. Susannah

    I want to point out that some people require a high fat (ketogenic) diet for health reasons. It is unfair to tax fatty foods when they are already usually more expensive. I used to eat a "healthy" diet, and watched in despair as my weight went up and up, out of control, even though I ate very little, and everything I ate was very "healthy". I lost 98 pounds and am now back to a healthy weight after going on a low carb, high fat diet. Most of what we are taught about nutrition is simply inaccurate. If I go an entire day eating nothing but bacon, I always lose a couple of pounds, and all my tests show that my health has vastly improved since going on this diet a few years ago. If I ever eat "healthy" food like whole grains, I always get sick and gain weight. The problem is not that Americans eat fatty foods, but rather, that Americans eat a diet high in flour, sugar, and other ingredients which our bodies simply did not evolve to eat, and when we combine that with a sedentary lifestyle, the result is obsesity. In contrast, even without increasing how much I exercise, going on Neanderthin (the diet I used) has yielded nothing but positive results (other than it being very hard to have dinner out when there are so many common foods which I can no longer eat). Finally, I'd like to point out that the categories on the Food Pyramid of Nutrition very closely resemble the food production and lobbies in Washington. I can't imagine that this is a coincidence. Eating a diet rich in fatty foods has turned my health around for the better, and I hope more people will come to realize that the key to better health isn't low-fat foods, but rather, the right kinds of fat, and a whole new philosophy. Fat does not make you fat, and eliminating grains, legumes, beans, potatoes, dairy, and sugar from your diet is probably the best thing you can do for your health.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  174. Connie Moore

    Why don't we use the money spent on the never ending war on drugs to help pay for health care for everyone. If we cannot keep drugs out of secure prisons, we won't stop them anywhere, Just don't tell anyone we are quiting the war and no one will notice.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  175. Jeanie Barron

    Absolutely! Americans need something to make them stop and think about what is actually in the food they purchase. If it takes a tax to do that, let's get it on! You only have to look around you to see that most folks give very little thought to what they put into their bodies, and I don't want to pay for someone else's bad choices.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  176. Martin in Shoreline, WA

    The stupidity of Americans seems to be increasing at an exponential rate. I think we are doomed to extinction. I cannot believe the comments I am seeing here. Can’t Americans think of anything in terms other than “me”? How ’bout we charge the people who are using healthcare services to pay for healthcare? There would be a novel idea. Hypochondriacs cost our healthcare system more than anything.

    We have to drop the idea of taxing behavior, just because some opinionated waste of carbon thinks it is socially unacceptable. It is not consistent with the concept of freedom. Just because corrupt politicians cannot balance the budget, doesn’t mean we have to start persecuting people who like Coke. Our government could provide all of the services we need at half the price; if Americans would simply wake up and start throwing corrupt incumbents out of office.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  177. Andrea

    No. Eliminate the multi-million dollar federal subsidies to corn producing agribusiness. Then the cost of high fructose corn syrup would naturally increase and the purchase of junk food would go down.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  178. George Wilson

    Yeah, we don't need more taxes ... let's just have a little more death! To people who are more concerned with dry "principles" (no taxes, no regulation, no one is the boss-of-me), you left one out: concern for the public health and welfare. Who can out-think Madison Avenue? Look at it this way ... look at all the advertising dollars the junk food companies would save!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  179. lisa

    I LOVE the idea of taxing FAT....I mean FAST Food. Better yet, give us FIT peeps a tax CREDIT.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  180. Brad Nelson

    I think your question misses a very important point: Fat is not necessarily the culprit in obesity, just the end result. Calories, especially in the form of simple carbohydrates (think soft drinks fast food) are probably the biggest contributor. This would amount to a tax on the poor and probably wouldn't fix anything.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  181. anna

    The really fatty foods are just as dangerous if not more dangerous than cigaretts. There is substantial research that indicates that such fatty foods as well as sugary foods are addictive as are cigaretts. This combination encompassing addiction with these unhealthy foods makes for an extremely costly medical situation.

    Tax the hell out of fried chicken with french fries, slaw and a soda and you might get more people eating grilled chicken and a green salad dressed with olive oil. Tax the ranch dressing while you're at it. There is an entire generation of kids who think they are eating a healthy veggie option when they eat either crudities smothered in ranch or salad doused in ranch dressing. It's just nuts.

    Give 'em tough love through taxation. Then channel the tax revenues into the public option health system.


    July 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  182. Marybeth, Hudson, Massachusetts

    The poorest people in this country eat fatty foods because they are the cheapest, a result fast food's monopoly on agriculture in the United States. Taxing "fatty" food would essentially be a poor tax. Taxing bad food doesn't solve the problem that deregulation of the food industry has created. It punishes the consumers when it's the producers that have done the damage. Tax the things people both don't need and are detrimental to their health: cigarettes, alcohol, and (why in the world haven't we done this yet) marijuana!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  183. Bruce Colyer

    I am overweight but not from food, however I have to buy the cheapest foods due I am on limited income and Social Security.
    Taxing fatty foods would mean I will have to by less each month with my $67.00 food stamps.
    I wrote the President last week aqnd told him that if SS had an exercise program a lot of us would be off SS and working, paying taxes and SS would save my $700.00 a month. If I feel this way I know that a million more on SS would join the program. Just think of that $700.000,000.00 $ a month to help pay for Health Plan.
    I am on Oxygen now it is too late for me but there are others out there.
    So taxing fatty foods would only hurt people like me. Where is the starting at bottom and working up Obama promised durning campaign?
    Help people get back to work save $ in Medicare and get more taxes from workers that would be put back in service.
    Washington State

    July 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  184. Nadine

    I would agree to the tax.

    It's no going to prevent people from buying food that's not healthy. For those who choose the unhealthy life style and who drive our health system rates up because they require more medical attention, it's a deliberate choice to continue to endanger their own lives. But I resent having to see my health insurance go up each year when I have no health problems and just to cover the medical costs of those who choose the unhealthy life style. I feel punished for trying to live healthy.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  185. Betty Jerome

    You mean "foods taxed more!" No, no, no! what you need to do is do away with all these "all you can eat" buffets. Have you noticed the size of the people that go there. I think everyone is taxed enough all ready. Lets see the Congress give a little by cutting their salaries, and expenses as all of us tax payers have had to do. Also I hope that they will be obligated to have the same health reform as the rest of us. If it isn't good enough for them than it is not good enough for those who pay their salaries and buy them their health insurance.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  186. joyce

    yes. watching lunches for children in our public schools go down hill over the years has been more than sad. It seems only cheap food is served. therefore let us make healthy food cheaper.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  187. Horace

    The problem won't be resolved until refined sugar is recognized as a drug. That's exactly what it is. I am 65 years old and haven't eaten it for over 20 years. My weight and waist size are what they were when I was 20 (30", 145). I can sit beside people eating cake,pie, ice cream, soda pop, etc. and feel neither hunger pangs nor desire to eat them. Refined sugar is a drug pure and simple. Treat overweight and obesity as a drug problem, and you might get somewhere. Get Healthy Get Clean.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  188. Michael

    yes Jack. The era has now changed to conscious health and taking responsibility for ones health. The restaurant industry, pharmacies, hospitals are the ones profiting from the Kevorkian culture food. Participants religiously feed themselves and their children for comfort and pleasure ,continuing this death culture.

    Increase the taxes on unhealthy fatty foods and lower the cost on health beneficial foods like fuuits and vegetables, will break the fat cycle in our society.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  189. Tony

    When are they going to stop taxing the poor people to pay for the taxes the rich don't pay? The poor can't afford the "healthy" foods. When are they going to start a $2000 tax on luxury cars or $500 tax on caviar?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  190. Michelle in St. Charles

    Yes, fattening foods should be taxed to high heaven. If you can't keep your face out of a Doritos bag, then you are contributing to the health care crisis and should help pay for the consequences. You would still be free to indulge in eating such foods if you like; they are not being banned, merely taxed. If you cannot exercise a modicum of self control, then you can use your own wallet as a motivation tool.

    As for the argument about indulging in high risk activities, you probably DO pay extra for that by way of higher insurance premiums or more hospital bills should you have an accident.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  191. Adam

    The producer of the fatty foods should be taxed not the people buying them. It is almost as easy to buy a bottle of oil and a potato and fry them your self. On the tobacco subject, Nightshade vegetables contain a type of nicotine, are they going to be taxed as well? Eating healthy is a choice and i have seen local markets everywhere that sell in-expensive produce. People should be able to exercise their rights to make their own decisions, and not have to worry about people making these decisions for them.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  192. Don Moore

    Lets get the terminology straight. All food is "fattening" if you overeat! Its calories in versus calories out! The issue is "high-fat" foods, "fatty" foods, and "empty-calorie" foods versus healthy foods and healthy habits.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  193. Michael Roepke - Dallas, TX

    Should polluters be taxed to clean up their pollution? Should speeders be fined for the accidents they will cause? We don't even ask these questions anymore. So why is taxing the type of food that almost guarantees obesity and results in at least 10% of our health care cost any controversy at all?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  194. Nick in Lubbock TX

    I don't know if a tax on fatty foods would do much to keep us from buying fatty foods or soft drinks. I know I need my daily fix of soda, and no tax would stop me from getting it. But these foods aren't really nourishment as much as they are pleasure items. Why shouldn't we tax unnecessary and unhealthy food items, when we put sales tax on health items like toothpaste or soap? If the issue is health, there's no issue here. You can debate it from an economic position all day long, but it should be clear that there is little nutritional value to these foods which would warrant them being tax-free.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  195. Tommy

    Pittsburgh, PA

    There's a big dilemma with taxing fatty foods. The people who buy most of the fatty foods are poor and working-class. Unlike vegetables, junk food is cheap, filling, and satisfying, and it can sustain whole families (though not keep them very healthy). In light of this, taxing such foods in order to save the people who are buying them simply sounds silly to me, especially since these people turn to these foods in the first place because they are struggling financially. On the other hand, I'm all for taxing tobacco. It's not cheap or filling and it certainly doesn't sustain any family's diet.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  196. Jeff

    Tax fattening foods? ALL FOOD IS FATTENING!
    People eat more calories than they use, so they get fat.

    My Question is... Are Americans now so stupid that we are going to allow the government to punish us for eating a cookie? I am adult, I will eat what I choose, when I choose to, and it is none of the government's or anyone else's business.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  197. Stephanie - AZ

    What about the THIN people with diabetes and heart issues??? What are you going to tax them on???

    Before economy issues, we ate healthy. (Family of 6) Now, I depend on the less healthy for cost reasons to feed my family. Food no! Sugar drinks, fine those are just wasted calories. Treats, perhaps but not like cigaretts!! Geez... Oh and by the way, my family has not taken anything from the government, we pay our own way... It's just getting harder and harder.

    Lower the cost for healthy alternatives and I'll not squak about the tax! 🙂

    July 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  198. Bryan from Colorado

    No But any union employee should have their health benefits taxed.
    What a joke this congress is Baccus wants to tax health care and exempt union emplyees from paying there fair share. This whole tax
    thing is a total joke.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  199. Amy from Ohio

    Yes, tax junk food depending on ingredients to pay for healthcare. We CAN find good fresh food at the farmer's markets...frequent them and develop a healthy lifestyle with quality of life, without paying a fortune. There is one in your area, find it.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  200. Stats

    Just don't take away the dollar the menu.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  201. Connie

    Perhaps taxing fattening food is not the answer. However–more and more food stamps are being used. As a former cashier in a large grocery it never ceased to amaze me at what was bought with the often very neccesary food stamps. There were people who would buy $80. worth of pop at a time. Huge birthday cakes, convienence foods. One lady once told me happily her kids deserved every thing they wanted for their birthday party, however not one of the cashiers there could afford the same cake. Another lady actually had a fit because she could not purchase a toy/candy item for her chid to have on their trip to a vacation spot.While they can buy any type of food they like, they cannot purchase things like soap, laundry detergent, toothpaste or toliet paper. Less pop and sugary snacks and more of the basics are needed..... And yes I am still at the same grocery store– just needed a break from cashiering!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  202. Amy Elkridge,MD

    Absolutely they should tax fatty foods.

    It's just smart, any way you slice it.
    (No pun intended.)

    I am a 43 yr old low-income single mom... and my daughter and I eat fruits and vegetables and NEVER FAST FOOD !!! She's a vegetarian by choice. I don't eat beef or pork. We are both very active. As a result we are healthy and lean.

    More Americans need to force themselves to eat better and be more active.

    Maybe, this is just the incentive they need to do so.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  203. Tim in Texas

    I would suggest that food stamps could only be used to buy certain types of products. That would encourage those inner-city grocery stores to stock healthier foods & poorer folks to buy them. And Jack, after reading some of the comments here, I think you need to let your viewers know that there is no "taxation without representation" in the US. You have a representitive for your district in the House, and two for your State in the senate.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  204. Henya

    Absolutely tax fatty food. and soda it is not real food any way. This why those people have so many health problems. they do not have health Ins, We all need to support our President on health care reform.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  205. BJZ@NC

    Yes, yes, yes! Tax, tax, tax! Make those fattty, unhealthy, addictive foods and drinks expensive and perhaps people will rethink what they put into their bodies and we won't reach that 40% obesity rate!
    Put that money into the health care package. Call it the Twinkie defense!

    July 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  206. michael armstrong sr.

    Mike from TX. Hey people how about this read my lips no new taxes.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  207. James

    I couldn't agree MORE with a tax on unhealthy foods, but I would suggest that the revenue go towards education and not subsidies. As it stands, fruits and vegetables are extremely cheap! It costs more to eat unhealthy foods than it does to eat healthy foods, and any poor person with a brain would know that he can't afford "simple pleasures like juice drinks and soda."

    The truth of the matter is that few Americans realize how poor their diets really are, and many that do know how bad it is do not care. I believe this problem is something that is handed down from parents to children, so even parents must be properly informed in order to truly fight obesity.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  208. Margaret Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Americans should not tax fatty foods because that is too difficult to implement but what Americans can and should do is increase taxes on cigarettes. In Canada a pack of smokes cost 9.64 the price rose 5.00 and it all goes to health care costs. Canada now has 22% less smokers and this initiative has helped our overall health. I love my government sponsored health care system I can see a doctor anytime I want and I can have anything I want to have done regarding my health. I am a healthy and happy Canadian, Americans deserve the same!


    July 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  209. Emmet Wilson

    No taxes passed on to the public buying these fatty products. Tax the companies producing the products. Force the companies to use non-fatty food products to make their foods. It is the taste people are buying. As we have gone after bad chloresterol we can go after sugar and related fatty material and exhange it for low or no calorie substances, with the same taste.
    It is the poorest side of the population who buy the most of these high calorie and fatty products. Change the product composition, do not tax them. These people cannot afford another tax.
    Fernley, nv.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  210. james a shaw


    Excuse me sir, please step on the scales over there. Well what for – I only
    want the super max meal, yea double everything you got. Well to
    complete your order, I need your weight so I can calculate your "FAT TAX"
    as required per the health care plan.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  211. Diana

    I support this. I don't feel that our country has done much to curtail the obesity epidemic. I think the tax is worth a try.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  212. nancy

    Hi Jack. I'm a dietitian and I see many people who are over weight or obese in large part due to the food on the market. Instead of taxing these foods, why don't we get rid of farm subsidies on crops these processed foods are made from since these subsidies are the main reason these foods are so cheap.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  213. David Warnock

    Let's cut to the chase. We don't need saving from overselves near as bad as we need help care.

    Legalize and tax Cannabis and release all prisoners being held on possession charges.

    The tax revenues, the lowered law enforcement costs and the reduction of prison costs ought to cover the health care costs with nothing else needed.

    David in Milledgeville, Ga

    July 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  214. Larry Porche

    Jack, there may indeed be some merit to taxing highly-fattening foods, as long as it is implemented in a way that encourages the producers of these products to work on reducing the negative dietary impact. Basing this tax on the overall percentage of fats and sugar would give these companies an incentive to make their products healthier, which could ultimately help their bottom line, both by avoiding the tax altogether, as well as by offering tasty, healthier, better-formulated products to the public. Another important issue which needs to be addressed here is how many of these items are marketed at the retail level. How about some guidelines to keep retailers from placing the highest sugar and fat containing ceraels on the bottom shelves, right at eye level for children? How about not placing candy, chip, and pastry snack racks right at the cash registers? There is a LOT more that can be done in addition to, or possibly instead of added taxes.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  215. John S

    Welcome to Change...where the wise politicians will take care of the stupid little people. Of course, with compulsory government health care, the politicians will feel obligated to regulate what we eat and how much we workout. If you think that government run health care is such a good idea ask a vet what he thinks of the V.A.. That is perhaps the greatest reason AGAINST the government running health care.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  216. Dick from Indiana

    yes. yes. yes. tax fatty foods. But first let's set up a committee to determine how much fat is too much fat. Then let's have a panel decide how we should determine how much to tax the predetermined fatty foods. After that we should let Congress decide how the tax should be implemented and collected and where the money should be spent. We should then give fatty food manufacturers a period of time to present their case followed by a period of time to make their food more healthy. At that point in time we would have to reconvene the panel to determine if the healthier food was still considered to contain too much fat.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  217. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Yes, I feel fattening foods should be taxed but, how would you go about it? Do you tax the carbohydrate level (that includes sugars) or the cholesterol level. That would include fatty dressing, but also meat. It might be easier and more cost-effective to stop subsidizing the meat producers along with their evil little puppet, the Bureau of Land Mismanagement and the agribusinesses that put out such vile non-essentials such as high fructose corn syrup that addicts everybody to any product containing it.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  218. Rita

    Although I think a tax on fattening foods is not a bad idea and there are some clear culprits like high sugar foods and drinks but there is so much more than that that is fattening. We know that if someone eats too much white flour products the body will just turn that into sugar and have the same effect as a can of sugary soda. That would include bread and pasta. How do you combat that? If someone buys high fat meat because it's cheaper than lean meat, what do you do about that? Would sugary cereals be on that list? Where would the list end? There are so many ways to eat unhealthy I think putting a higher tax on things will only cause more companies to lose business and more jobs will be lost. Maybe we should put a higher tax on video games and cable usage. If people can't sit around and watch tv or play video games, maybe they'll get up and get some exercise.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  219. Mark

    Taxes are necessaryt to support any government. The question is always what to tax. Logically, one should place taxes that raise sufficient revenue while discouraging behaviour that is costly to scoiety as a whole, while encouraging that whish is beneficial. so, yes. Tax it the way tobacco and alcohol are taxed.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  220. Jacquie Olympia Washington

    Get real people-not all fattening food only comes from Mickey-D's The low income mother feeding her kids macaroni and cheese would undoubtably prefer to give them a grilled chicken breast and salad. Is everybody out there just sipping their bottled water, eating their vegan meals and patting themselves on the back for their great insight? Maybe the government should ban food altogether and restrict all intake to water, fruit juice (unsweetened) and vegetable juice.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  221. Dee

    Growing up in the '50's, we did not eat much junk food – partly because there was not as much as there is now and partly because my mother could buy a chicken and a sack of potatoes and make homemade fried chicken and french fries for far less than they would have cost at KFC, and the homemade versions tasted so much better. The issue in serving 'good food' is not just cost, it is also learning how to cook it, and actually doing it. Yes, definitely tax unhealthy fast food, junk food, and soft drinks to raise its price and fund its health costs , but an AmeriCorps-type program to help families (poor or not) understand proper nutrition and teach them to cook, if necessary, would also be a positive step.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  222. Dennis North Carolina

    yes, why should we exclude anything that harms our health. tobacco is not the only product that harms our health, so if we are going to tax it than we should tax all the other items that are killing us and not just food which is taking our health care to the point that only the rich will be able to afford insurance. we must make sure that the tax money goes toward the health care of all citizen not the elected officials and other uses like the 250,000,000,000 dollars tobacco had to pay the states by the courts though law suits on heath care. very little of that money went for health care but did go to pet projects of the states.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  223. Cam

    Yes, junk foods should be taxed! Obesity is a major part of why our health care is so expensive. I like the idea of taxing junk food to help subsidize lower income families to afford healthier foods.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  224. todd


    If taxing fatty foods will lower the overall costs associated with health care, then why not? It would seem that better physical well-being would out- weigh businesses lining their own pockets. What will it take for America to wake up and do the right thing, not only about this issue but on numerous fronts?
    On another note, why is it that foods considered better for us are much more expensive that others? They should cost less. Why does it cost more to leave the fat or sugar out of a product? Jack, please check this issue out for us.
    Boone, NC

    July 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  225. Joe


    This is such a complicated issue because you could really make a legitimant argument for both sides.

    Taxing high fat foods would mostly hurt the poor because they are the demographic that consumes much of it through fast food chains because it is a cheap meal.

    On the other hand, these same people consume this food knowing how bad it is for their bodies. Just as smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol has its negative effects, so can the food you eat.

    As a result of our freedom to choose what we consume, we have to expect the high cost medical expenses that come along with that freedom.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  226. Dawn

    I agree that fattening foods should be taxed for 3 reasons:
    1. it will force fast food places to implement more healthy choices
    2. soda companies who peddle their sugar water might produce healthier choices
    3. high fat sugar snacks making people fat by their convienent packaging might rethink the ingrediants
    ay feel the pinch parents who feed their kids fat and sugar on a regular basis will feel the pinch in their pocketbook and make better choices.

    Its ridiculous to to pay more money to eat healthy. Thre are alot of healthy foods, drinks, snacks, etc.. that are more expensive than the junk thats out there. What is the government going to do about the prices we pay for a consistent diet of healthy food??

    July 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  227. Roy - Chicago

    How about the idea of taxing the manufacturers of these fatty foods until they make the ingredients healthier, and not allow them to pass any tax on to the consumer? it is well known that mice will gorge themselves until they die in controlled experiments.....why don't we make the producers of these fatty products share responsibility with the consumers?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  228. nora CC TXAS

    This is slowly becomming the land of the not so free!!! It would not surprise me if they do this, it is not like we really have a say or a choice. Someone in the position to make choices like this for everyone will do it and we will live with the consequences like we do with everything else that is being imposed on us now.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  229. Lyn

    Eating healthy or unhealthy is a personal choice. In our house we eat all fresh foods, very little processed foods. In my opinion, it is cheaper to eat fresh fruits and vegtables rather than processed foods. I just purchased 6 ears of corn on the cob for $1.50. That is not expensive.

    Processed foods taste horrible and are expensive. I don't understand why people can't just do what is right for their health without being paid or forced by money.

    No one is suggesting that people run 30 miles a week. All it takes is self control and doing what is right for yourself, your family and to help out with health care costs.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  230. Matt

    Dear Jack –

    So much store-bought food and fast food has cheap, fattening ingredients that the food industry should be held accountable. Hydorgenated oils are pure poison and create cholesterol, arterial plaque and heart disease. The high salt levels in prepared foods is poison too. McDonalds, Kraft, Conagra are killing us and have run wild without responsible regulation during the Bush years.

    Save citizens from themselves and slap the food industry hard for crimes against humanity and intentionally failing to support healthy food and eating habits.

    Matt in Houston

    July 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  231. slater jeffrey

    yes, tax the fatty foods since the move is likely to induce consumers to develop a habit for leaner foods leading to savings from the harm that fatty foods bring.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm |

    Why not? We tax the crap out of everything now. Why stop now.
    We pay just for a drink of clean water.
    Remember, we can't let the poor get on thier feet and we must keep the middle class from gaining any momentum on the quality of life.
    The rich will pay $1000.00 for a spoonful of caviar. They don't care.
    So, I say go for it. We're used to the punishment.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  233. Linda Morgan

    No. No more taxes! People, who are struggling as it is, will be paying more taxes. Who is going to manage the revenue and see to that it is used to fight obesity. It will result in more cost to the people but who knows what the money will really be used for.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  234. Dee in sunny Florida

    Taxing fatty foods will not be the answer, although it may slow the intake of fatty foods to those who can least afford it! Has taxing cigarettes heavily STOPPED smokers?

    A tax on fatty foods would be asking the consumer to self regulate. If the consumer could self-regulate, the consumer would not already be fat as a pig.

    Which brings up another reason for obesity, and one that might have more effect than just fatty foods.

    What do you think happens to all the additives that are fed to our livestock to "fatten" them up? I am betting that the additives remain in the meat of the animals, and are then consumed by humans.

    No wonder we are getting fattened up!

    A tax would be just one step in trying to deal with obesity. Reducing or banning additives in our foods would be another. Maybe free gym memberships would be another, and probably cheaper than health care for sick fat people.

    But the bottom line is, maybe we need to figure out WHY people eat what they do, and in the huge quantities they do. Anyone ever been to an all-you-can-eat restaurant?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  235. Margaret Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Americans should not tax fatty foods because that is too difficult to implement but what Americans can and should do is increase taxes on cigarettes. In Canada a pack of smokes cost 9.64 the price was increased by the federal and provincial government by 5.00 and the extra taxes all go to health care costs. Canada now has 22% less smokers and this initiative has helped our overall health. America it's time to take the "business" out of health care and focus on the basic human right to be healthy. I love my government sponsored health care system I can see a doctor anytime I want and I can have anything I want to have done regarding my health. I am a healthy and happy Canadian, Americans deserve the same!


    July 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  236. Joanne Scarcelli

    I should have added to my previous comment: I feel that the addition of soft drinks to our diets has served to over-stimulate our appeties for fatty foods.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:43 pm |

    If it contains trans fatty acids. While they are at it they should tax the wealthy, as that is where the biggest problem lies.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  238. Julie, Houston, TX

    Yes, fattening food should be taxed. Health care costs for the obese are skyrocketing – and it's easily controllable. Slap a sin tax on them like is done on cigarettes and alcohol.

    Houston, TX

    July 29, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  239. BJZ@NC

    I just have to reply to Stephanie from AZ!
    1. China's burgers don't cost that much because the standard of living in China is way below the West! $1.33 is quite a bit of money there. And their food is naturally much healthier! I've had Chinese hamburgers! Trust me, they are NOT as fatty as ours!
    2. Free enterprise! Adapt or die! Just look at McCafe! They are not stupid at McDonalds! They will adapt as a savvy business.
    3. So it's ok for poor parents to just keep fattening their kids like they have a Swiftian modest proposal in mind? Kids won't starve because they're not eating a Big Mac and fries every night! Notice how the schools' anti tobacco lessons have kids making their parents quit smoking?
    4. Japan! Like someone against a tax on dangerously fattening foods wants a Japanese law about waist sizes? Like that would happen here! Talk about government control! (Personally, I love the idea of a rule on how fat you're allowed to be in a rational society. They aren't in danger of 40% obesity in 6 years!)

    July 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  240. Peter

    Taxing fatty foods is not a bad idea. This may help curb the rate of obesity. However aren't we taxed enough. Pretty soon the government will be taxing the air we breathe.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  241. Wezzie

    As things stand now a lot of people can only buy fatty foods (McD's, Buger King) have sales on their bugers and fries.
    So where should we tax let's try ALCOHOL, it's the one sure thing I know that kills!! Not only the drinker (after years of drinking and their liver is shot) but I'd like someone to PLEASE tell me how many people die on the roadways from a smoking driver?? Maybe 1-3 a year we know hundreds die every year because a moron drank too much, got behind the wheel and thought they could drive home safty, but ended up killing people in crashes, and more than not the drunk walks away with maybe a scratch.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  242. Rob

    Yes, but I think another idea would be to offer some sort of tax credit to people who eat healthy foods. That way more people would have an incentive to eat healthy.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  243. Karl Carey

    What would america be if it were not for our double deep fried twinkies in chocolate sauce or our breakfast waffles wrapped in sausage covered in syrup. Im certainly not a fan of these things but that is what makes america great. I dont have to agree with your decision to realize that freedoms must be protected. And jack, while it may seem minuscule, the right to have fatty foods is a right that shouldn't be taken away.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  244. Kay in Pennsylvania

    I am nearing 60, have been obese all my life and have NEVER had high blood pressure or diabetes. In fact, my blood pressure has always remained normal as have my sugars, and I have only had the need to even see my doctor for regular checkups and rare sore throats. Since this discussion has opened up, I wonder if those who see me on the street just assume I have all those problems and am costing them money. Not all overweight people are "built" alike. The "problem" of weight for many is more complex than just putting down a doughnut (which, by the way, I don't even like). Please, let’s not just demonize those with weight problems.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  245. Barbara; Spring Grove, IL

    Where does it stop? If they are really serious about getting us all to a healthy weight, we could all weigh in before we eat to determine our body mass index, and that would determine which foods we would be allowed to eat. Talk about "Big Brother!"

    If they are truly interested in our health why isn't this tied in to health care reform; cheaper premiums for healthier bodies?

    July 29, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  246. Gary In Lexington

    Absolutely! Smokers are not near the health threat that obese people are, and they got hammered with a huge tax increase this year, and as usual, it hit the low income folks the hardest. While they are at it, the same should be done with the boozers and the hypocondriacts, those that go to the doctor more than two or three times a year. Also, let's add a significant tax to the "legal" drug addicts scripts and a huge surcharge on the negligent doctors who write all those ridiculously unnecessary scripts. NOW that would be real reform.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:48 pm |