Should there be a tax on foods high in saturated fats?
October 4th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Should there be a tax on foods high in saturated fats?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Hold that cheeseburger.

Across the pond in Europe, Denmark is becoming the first country in the world to impose a so-called fat tax on foods high in saturated fats.

That includes everything from cheeseburgers and pizza to butter, milk, cheese and oils. Many Danes stocked up on these yummy groceries before the tax went into effect his weekend.

How much the "fat tax" is depends on how much saturated fat is in any given food, but it comes out to about $3 for every 2 pounds of saturated fat.

Officials say the goal is to increase the average life expectancy in Denmark, since saturated fats can cause heart disease and cancer.

Denmark has been a leading country when it comes to tougher policies on unhealthy foods. They have higher taxes on sodas, cigarettes and alcohol beyond what's required by the European Union. And they've increased taxes on ice cream, chocolate and sweets by a whopping 25%. Also, it's illegal for any food to have more than 2% trans fats.

Critics say there's a "Big Brother" aspect to all this and the government has no right telling them what they should - or shouldn't - eat.

Others suggest that any tax hikes on fatty or sugary foods should be accompanied by measures that make nutritious foods more affordable.

Whatever Denmark's approach, it works. Danes are downright skinny compared with Americans: In Denmark, only about 10% of the population is obese. Here in the U.S., one-third of all adults and nearly 1 in 5 children are obese. And as a nation, we get fatter every day. It's disgusting.

Plus, it's not like we couldn't use the extra tax revenue these days.

Here’s my question to you: Should there be a tax on foods high in saturated fats?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Noel in New Mexico:
No. It's been said over and over and proven time and again you can't legislate morality. You can't legislate diet either. And if sales of fatty foods don't respond to taxes, what comes next? A Constitutional amendment prohibiting fat? Will I have to go to speakeasy to get a cheeseburger?

Stephen on Facebook:
Yes. They should make the tax as high as they want. It should be the same for tobacco and alcohol as well. People will complain, but they'll still pay for their fix like any other junkie will.

Our tax code should be designed to raise revenue, not for social engineering.

Coming from someone who has lost over 65 pounds and kept it off, I believe losing weight is a lifestyle and one has to really want it in order to be successful. I say we should tax foods high in fat, but then use that money to help people get nutritional and fitness counseling who really want it but may not have the money or resources to do so.

Curtis in Philadelphia:
Sure, if we have taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, why not unhealthy foods. Don't drink, don't smoke, no tax, don't eat saturated fat, no tax. But if you really want to make money, Jack, legalize weed and tax it too. Then watch all the potheads get stoned, pay tax, get the munchies and pay more taxes. Great revenue stream.

I thought after I grew up I wouldn't need a parent anymore. If I wanted someone else to run my life, I would have stayed with mom and dad.

Kent in Iowa City, Iowa:
No, as Americans it is our god-given right to eat ourselves to death.

That would be a super-sized McNo.

Posted by
Filed under: Obesity • On Jack's radar
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Larry -Denver

    When we this country just stop trying to make obese people thin? Why not tax sports cars that run too fast? Tax bigger animals because they require more pet food? How we stand by and allow our government make choices for us is beyond belief. Why dont we tax those politicians who cant pass a jobs bill?

    October 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  2. Ruth M., (Samson, AL)

    Oh, why not? If they can get this passed it could be the only new revenue we'll get! And if it helps with our health, that's good too!

    October 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  3. Jack-o-lantern Houston

    Not unless you are going to tax marijuana, which contributes to a veracious appetite and consumption of fatty pot-luck goodies, like brownies.

    October 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  4. Jayne in NH

    I would be in favor of a tax on foods that are bad for you only if the proceeds went toward funding healthcare for all.

    October 3, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  5. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    No. They are not the problem. Fat in the diet is only absorbed to the extent it is needed by the body. Every single available carb is absorbed however. If you tax anything, tax junk carbs and diet foods that replace fat with sugar.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  6. Jesse DFW

    Yes ... use the funds for the national Health Care Plan.

    Tea Party won't like the new Tax, after all they are Pigs anyway!

    October 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  7. Russ in PA

    Of course not! Why on earth should anyone other than politicians and those with an agenda believe that taxing saturated fat is the answer to obesity? How many children get bused to school rather than walk or take their bikes? How many people spend hours in front of the tv, rather than play outside with their kids?

    Please explain why saturated fat is so bad for you when your body stores fat preferentially as saturated? Is it because saturated fats don't become rancid in the body like polyunsaturated fats? Or because your heart is powered largely by saturated fats? Or because your hormones depend on availability of saturated fats for their production?

    Ron Paul in 2012... At least he would let us drink raw milk, and enjoy our morning omelets.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm |

    Why not? We're already taxing cigarettes to death. Maybe when being FAT becomes as much of a social stigma as smoking, things will change. Right now, having a rear end so wide you need three airline seats just doesn't seem to bother some people. I just don't get it.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  9. Loren

    Should there be a tax on walking across the street, after all pedestrians get hit by cars and killed? Not everyone reacts to saturated fats in food the same way, so it is up to the individual to regulate his intact. Government cannot protect people from themselves, nor should we expect it to do so. Whoever had this idea is an idiot.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  10. Pete from Georgia

    Why not ??
    It fits perfectly with the total brainwashing of America that taxes and regulations solve all of our problems, not personal behavior or accountability.
    It doesn't get any more lame than this.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  11. Doug

    No. There should be a Tax on products marked lite and low calories, because they take up shelf space. Doug.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  12. barbara in nc

    Hit the poor even harder?

    If there is a tax, it should go on the people that CREATE those foods, not the poor that have to buy them because it's all that's available or affordable.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  13. Matt in Vancouver

    Well we tax cigarettes and alcohol don't we? Seems only logical that we would tax something that is equally damaging when not consumed in moderation. Of course, you'd have to fight the agricultural lobbyists every step of the way to do it and most of Congress is bought and paid for by them.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  14. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Yes so the states can try to recoup some of the costs for the medical care of the morbidly obese! When fresh fruits and vegetables are cheaper than junk food maybe some will change their eating habits. Of course the purveyors of junk food will have their lobbyists kill the tax because it would reduce their sales. Just like they did in Washington State where the budget was balanced with 50/50 cuts to revenue but the soft drink and bottled water lobbyists killed the tax on their non-nutritional products.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  15. David in Tampa

    No, No, a thousand times No. Well marbled steak, pork chops, hamburger, etc., should not be taxed. The fat heads in Congress on the other hand, well that's a different question.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  16. Michael Norris

    The government should not be in the business of forcing people to eat healthy. Some people buy what they can afford and healthy foods are the most expensive.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  17. Rich McKinney, Texas

    That is an absurd idea. Jack this is America and despite some peoples opinions Americans can be as large and fat as they can afford to be. It is a constitutional right to be obese and if our government wants to tax fat people what's next? Stupid people? They could pay off our national debt on that one. You want to cause a rebellion just try taxing fat.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  18. Brad, Portland, OR

    Why are people so eager to raise taxes on things they don't approve of?

    If there are health consequences to certain foods, then people who eat them are already paying the price.

    There's no need to dog-pile on them to enforce your morality.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    No...........there should be restrictions placed on restaurant menu items, in regards to caloric and fat content, allowed. That need NOT be complicated. It can be quite simple.

    People will simply pay more to kill themselves, and gladly will do so. They are incapable of acting wisely.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  20. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack,Gee whiz come on get real of course NOT

    October 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  21. Luis Baerga from Massachusetts

    I understand the view of those that consider that high saturated fats foods should be taxed base on the consecuences those fats can cause in our bodies , however it worries me that this is done it will be like giving a free ride to law makers to start taxing anything they want using reasons like this, not to help the american people as we elected them for but rather to help the masive goverment they desperably want to keep despite all the talk talk of reducing goverment they alwas said what we like to hear but alwas do what they feel is best for them.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  22. jim claus

    hell no ,it just a moneything ,leave us alone
    jim in avilla mo

    October 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  23. Tom in Desoto, TX

    A prohibition of food. Hasn't something like that been tried before?

    October 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  24. Elizabeth From Toronto

    No. BUT food companies should be encouraged through tax credits to produce healthy goods and cut the darn salt!

    October 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  25. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    No there should not be a tax on saturated fats. It would affect the people who are already suffering the most. It is funny how our politicians can come up with ways to tax the people who can least afford it. But yet the republican party will protect the highest 2% of the wealthiest people in America from paying their fair share. Where is the justice?

    October 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  26. Ed in Harrisburg


    Not only should foods with high saturated fat be taxed, but so should food with unhealthy preservatives and extra volumes of salt which is not good for people cardiovascularly. Foods with growth hormones should also be taxed. If people want to eat that crap, let them pay the additional freight to drive down the cost of organic healthfully produced food that is more in in line with what nature has in mind for humans. Let healthy food be less expensive than unhealthy food in this country. People are dying of obesity related illnesses because fresh is more expensive than enhanced and processed which should be the other way around.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  27. Jack in Chicago

    Absolutely not. I am a minority in this country as I am under-weight and needs high fat foods.Big Brother needs to keep it's nose out of my kitchen.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  28. John from Alabama

    Jack: There should be no tax on foods high in saturated fats. Make companies label these foods as high in staurated fats, and also make them post a warning about saturated fats. Companies hate having to label their food products. There are ways to remove the saturated fats from foods, but it cost a little more. Plus food companies know people get hooked on saturated fats, and want it in their food they eat. Sale!! Sale!! regardless of the health consequences.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  29. Jk from Minnesota

    Only if the tax goes to cover health care costs.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  30. Gary H. Boyd

    Why not Jack, why not? After all, there's a tax on just about everything else. I'll go so far as to suggest, before too long, there will be a "get out of bed" tax and anyone seen on the street or in public will be subject to an immediate tax for having gotten out of bed to be where he or she might be at the time.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    October 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  31. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Why not? Herman Cain wants to tax everything with his 9/9/9 plan. I believe we need to buy him a shovel so he can help dig the whole that will bury people that make less than minimum wage even though they work hard and try to help others. So go for it.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  32. Gary H. Boyd

    Jack, you question isn't as dumb as it sounds. After all, there's a tax on just about everything else. Take the "View Tax"
    imposed upon citizens of Port Hueneme, California some years back if they could see the ocean from their residence.
    The city council imposed it and the storm of protest was so great it was later repealed. But, you get the idea.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    October 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  33. Pat in Michigan

    What would be the point Jack? The "Job Creators " would simply buy a politician to exempt anyone who makes more than $250,000 a year from paying the tax!

    October 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  34. Michelle

    YES! YES! AND YES!! But the tax should be collected to go towards county hospitals that will still be used for preventative and non-emergency health care, since this country doesn't believe that insurance should be offered to all.... this will help offset just a small portion of the rising health costs.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  35. chris

    no , no, and no this is american we have the rightt o eat what we ant to it is every americans responsibility to pick what they want to eat and the time as come to have aprents be responsible for their kids choices when they are young and no the govt does not need any addional revune thsi is a just to make mone at taxpayers expense we are american we cjhoose what we eat

    October 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  36. Annie, Atlanta

    Sure, why not. We tax alcohol and cigarettes, don't we? And while they're at it, sugar and high fructose corn syrup products should be added to the mix. Maybe all this taxing could result in lowering the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables. Well, one can hope, can't she?

    October 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  37. Ed from Texas

    No! But there should be a tax on financial transactions. If we're going to have to bail out Wall Street, then they should pay for, just like banks pay for FDIC protection.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  38. Arielle

    Absolutely... NOT. I understand that the government is supposed to look out for the broader public's greater interests, but I'm more than a hundred percent sure this is NOT what the founding fathers had in mind. Yes, perhaps we shouldn't be eating foods with a high concentration of fat, but every time the American public allows the government to step in and establish "penalties" or "fees" for making "wrong decisions", America is promoting government control of every aspect of our lives rather than promoting common sense through more positive means. Besides, I hardly find it acceptable that the FDA allows for aspartame, a chemical known to cause cancer in humans, to be legally used in every single product on the market, most notably with the highest concentration in baby food, and yet they're going to tell us we can't eat saturated fats? Talk about a democracy of hypocrisy.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  39. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, I will not quibble with a tax based on consumption. The consumer is totally empowered to make a decision about paying the tax and is not forced with a governmental threat of incarceration. Don't want to pay the tax? Don't purchase the product.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  40. Ron WPAFB

    Well, the tax would help, but it isn't the root problem, Jack. It's capitalism! Just look, there are now over four minutes of Sleazy Advertising, for ever 13 minutes of programing. And it's either selling fatty foods, Alcohol, or as in CNN, Exxon and other oil companies trying to tell us Fracking is safe, and it isn't! And even with the lies and gimmicks on advertisements, then there is also product placement in the TV shows!!! Everything we see in our waking hours is to overeat, overspend, or over drink and to trust those who are destroying the planet! All in the name of making money! Anything goes, nothing is off limits, as long as the Corporate CEO's can convince us to kill ourselves! A tax is not going to solve the problem, they'll simply raise the prices!!!!!! And as long as education is failing in this country, we're going to continue to be as dumb as Corporate America wants us!

    October 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  41. Noel Sivertson Roswell New Mexico.

    No. It's been said over and over and proven time and again you can't legislate morality. You can't legisate diet either. And if sales of fatty foods don't respond to taxes what comes next? A Constitutional amendment prohibiting fat? Will I have to go to speakeasy to get a cheeseburger?

    October 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  42. Dave - Phx, Az

    If we are going to do this, then we need to also tax those who are exempt at this time. Churches have started forcing themselves into our poilitcal system which clearly designates seperation of church and state. It's time to start taxing churches who are ruining our country with their whacko belief systems.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  43. curtis in philadelphia

    Sure, if we have taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, why not unhealthy foods. Don't drink, don't smoke, no tax, don't eat saturated fat, no tax. But if you really want to make money Jack, legalize weed, tax it too, then watch all the potheads get stoned, pay tax, get the munchies and pay more taxes. Great revenue stream.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    Should there be a tax on foods high in saturated fats?


    Why don't we tax the manufacturers of these products instead and make that not not passable to consumer.

    Roseville CA

    October 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  45. NJIE in Arlington Texas

    NO................whoever suggested this should be arrested for stupidity. If i want to eat what would kill me prematurely so be it. Parents should train their kids to eat healthy and frequently excercise. That's part of good parenting. I've never heard of anyone hurting another citizen after a cheese meal.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  46. Kent - Iowa City, Iowa

    No, as Americans it is our god given right to eat ourselves to death.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  47. Carolyn, Vancouver

    Although, on the surface, it sounds like another tax on the poor, yes, I think it's a sound and responsible idea. The proceeds could go to cardiac care, for the benefit of everybody. It's a myth that the poor can only afford fatty foods. I've been poor and I've been well off, and unprocessed foods have always been less expensive than Big Macs, pizzas and the Colonel's finger-lickin' chicken.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  48. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Absolutely there should be a tax on foods high in saturated fat but only on the top 1 % of the country's wealthiest.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  49. Jeff In Minnesota

    Talk about class warfare. According to studies, it's the poor that suffer the most from poor dietary choices. So this would be a regressive tax against the poor and lower middle class while the rest of us would hardly notice. Obesity just like parenting and other societal issues all come down to personal responsibility. We, as a society, no longer seem to hold people responsible for their poor decisions. The attitude that if it doesn't hurt directly me, it doesn't matter was a lie. Other people's poor decisions do hurt all of us when it comes to how those decisions influence health care costs, education costs, welfare costs, etc. However, should the tax code be used to punish people for their bad choices? I think that's a bad use of the tax code.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  50. Rick, Medina, OH


    This is dumb! It will be difficult for America to move beyond its problems until we all agree on a single principle: the purpose of the tax system is to raise money for the government ... Period!

    Medina, OH

    October 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  51. David Doherty

    Yes there should be, and it should go into a fund to give health care to the fat and uninsured. I don't have the numbers, but I'm willing to bet that 75% of the obese citizens of this country don't have the insurance to pay for their up coming heart attacks /strokes or diabetes. Those amputations or drugs don't come cheap, and then there's the life long hospital bills, that moneys got to come from some where. If Americans are going to continue to poison themselves, then they should start paying in advance for the care their going to need.
    Dave from New Hampshire

    October 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  52. Jane in CA

    Sin taxes have been popular for centuries. If the cost of a cheeseburger includes the cost of extra health care for saturated fat related diseases, it would be a lot higher than what they are proposing. Making the burger a luxury treat instead of an everyday meal would be better for everyone except the burger franchisees. Maybe we could use the money to fund education for children about the real effects of eating a high fat high calorie diet or to fund Roux-en-y's for them 20 years from now.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  53. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack I don't think Denmark is the answer to our problems. First off most toilets in Denmark are not squat toilets. The drinking water is of so poor quality most people drink beer instead including children because it is boiled and processed. After drinking all that beer remember most toilets in Denmark also require change to use so you better keep a few Krona in your pocket in case the urge to number 1 or 2 hits you. Denmark also has the highest tax rate in the world. It is about 50 percent of your income.

    October 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  54. Carla in Irondale

    The heck with taxing FOOD - fat or nonfat, it's getting too difficult for most Americans to afford groceries these days. I'd prefer to see a heavy tax on the FAT CATS instead. Tax those with an uncontrollable appetite for wealth at the expense of those of us who can barely get by. Why worry about saturated fat when we may wind up on street corners saying "Brother can you spare me a dime?"

    October 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  55. Bill of New Mexico

    I love home-made ice cream. I love it the way my mother used to make ice cream (hand cranked.)

    I love cheeses and yogurts.

    Tax the alcohols! Tax the tobacco!

    But, I cannot be for a tax on ice cream.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  56. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    When my wife and I visit the U. S. we often see whole families who are grossly overweight. Yes, everyone has the right to eat themselves to death, but they have no right to take their children with them. Tax it.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  57. Ken in NC

    There already is a tax on them. It is sometimes called a "Death Tax" and in some cases it is called ICU CHARGES. The Government gets one tax and Hospitals get the other.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  58. Lori - PA


    With the ever rising cost of food, the last thing the U.S. needs, given the high unemployment rate, is a higher tax on foods high in saturated fats. Why can't the focus be on making the things we like healthier? Oh, and affordable.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  59. Terry in Virginia

    Considering where I live there's already a 10% meals tax, so an extra "fat" tax will be one more reason not to eat out. How about taxing alcohol at a higher rate, say 50% or more, since alcohol causes impairment which may result in traffic accidents. I've lost 5 friends to drunk drivers and no amount of tax on alcohol will replace them and no amount of tax would've stopped my father from drinking himself to death. A doctor with a tv show once stated that one reason health insurance premiums are high is because runners need more knee and ankle replacements than the average person. So, let's tax runners, too. Where does it all end, Jack? It all amounts to personal accountability and not the government's nanny mentality. If I had my way, our politicians would be taxed for all the damage they've done to the country, our economy, and the American psyche. How about a 100% tax on them?

    October 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  60. Wess

    It would probably help quite a bit. But it won't happen, since enough people in this country are willing to fight to the death for their right to slowly kill themselves. All too often, long-term health is disregarded in favor of short-term economic benefit.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  61. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    While I feel that the extra tax revenue would be welcome in a time when the deficit is in serious need of payment, there will be critics of such a policy here, which will make it very difficult to impplement. We fought a war to escape a tax on tea, after all. If such a policy is implemented here, there may yet be another war fought.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  62. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Yes, Jack. Taxing vices is a proven approach to saving lives. Look at the cigarette taxes. There is a direct correlation between the tax rate and the number of people able to beat the addiction.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  63. fittinguy

    YES! These taxes could be used to support Universal Health Care. If we don't take personal responsibility, then we can pay the financial price. It is really voting with your dollars. Don't eat fatty foods, you won't pay the tax.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  64. JD

    A large majority of America's fixable problems can be traced to behavior-specific taxation. This is the cause of the lion's share of tax complexity, which in turn causes most business and financial complexity, which confuses voters and business decision-makers, which leads to many, many stupid behaviors.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  65. Conrad Shull

    Only acceptable new tax is a tax on those who advocate new taxes (me excepted, of course).

    October 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  66. rex in portland, or.

    We should tax fat. We should tax ugly, too. I personally would rather see a fat person walking down the street in a bikini, wiggling and jiggling, than see an ugly person all painted up. We should tax cosmetics – oh, wait, we already do that. I take it all back.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  67. lisa

    why not, call it the fat tax.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  68. bart

    Is it fair to tax alcohol and cigarettes? People say it is because of the health care expenses society has to bear. Why is this any different? Being fat causes medical problems. People who smoke say it is unfair, people who drink alcohol think their tax is unfair, just as glutenous, fatties say this tax is unfair. It's gross, just like smoking.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  69. Conrad Shull

    If enacted, I see a case before the Supreme Court: "Eskimos vs: the USA"

    October 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  70. Julnor

    Our tax code should designed to raise revenue, not for social engineering.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  71. Lisa

    Why don't we tax any foodmaker that puts high fructose corn syrup in their products?
    That is FAR FAR worse for you than saturated fat! But no...I do not believe that is the answer. What happened to "Home of the free" and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!?! Individuals process different foods different ways. Find out what makes YOU fat and DON'T EAT IT. Thank you, I'm done now.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  72. Jason in California

    No! If the government really has enough time to start telling citizens what they can and can't eat then it's too big.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  73. us1776

    Yes, this is a great idea.

    Saturated fat is every bit as bad for you as smoking tobacco.


    October 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  74. MyrnaMe

    People with Cystic Fibrosis require a high fat diet just to live (requiring in excess of 3000 calories per day for toddlers). You would essentially be saying to heavily tax people with genetic medical conditions. CF patients can eat all they want and never get fat. So I guess we need big brother to protect stupid people from themselves and thus punish the innocent?

    Fats are not problem even in normal society - it is the volume of food people eat and their lack of exercise. The taxes should be in the form of a higher medical insurance premium based on a person's BMI. Why do us healthy people have to subsidize the millions of diabetics who became diabetics simply due to their obesity and poor diets? People should have a choice to be fat/thin, healthy/unhealthy, stupid/smart - but they should have to pay for their decisions.

    Simply eating saturated fats is not a bad thing for the body - life everything else, moderation is the key.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  75. NocommentCNN

    LOL, the federal Government gives farmers tax breaks to grow the Corn that becomes corn syrup. Corn Syrup is what makes people fat. Plain old sugar is better for you. So we make the production of the stuff that makes you fat tax free and then on the back side tax it?

    October 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  76. Brian

    When the police see fat people in public they should issue them a ticket for being too fat.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  77. Shawn

    Tax fat people or raise their health premiums, don't punish those of us who moderate! I can understand the argument, obesity is a huge problem that we all end up paying for, but I don't think taxing the food will fix it. Focus on the unhealthy, stop subsidizing corn, and tobacco and for goodness sake make gym class a requirement again!

    October 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  78. A

    I person of normal weight. I don't smoke. Those two things...being overweight and smoking tax our healthcare system so heavily, it's crazy. All of the people the complain they don't want to "pay" for others that abuse the system... This is one big abuse of the system. I want the congressman with three chins to pay more for his healthcare, so I can pay less for mine.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  79. Jeff, Washington, DC

    This is an absurd proposal for the U.S. This nation already abuses its tax codes with its faulty social engineering efforts. What's next? A tax on large and plus sized clothes? Or public transit surcharges for heavy-weight persons?

    October 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  80. TaxThis

    Maybe we should tax our obese government instead, it's not healthy for any of us either.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  81. JDS, NM

    Why not just give tax breaks on healthy food? Instead of telling people what they can't eat, we should be rewarding people for potentially spending less time in our medical system.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  82. Michel Phillips

    A fat tax would NOT tell people what they "can" and "can't" eat. It would merely apportion cost where it belongs–on those who will likely cost more for taxpayers to care for via Medicare, Medicaid, and (if Obamacare should take effect in 2014 as now scheduled) private healthcare subsidies. In other words, it's a good idea.

    Also–it's pretty clear government policies are a significant cause of our obesity epidemic. Obesity skyrocketed after the Nixon-era agriculture reforms encouraged overproduction of corn, leading to the introduction of corn sweetener into many more foods. And government transportation policy has resulted in people driving more and walking/biking less in the last few decades. So it's only fitting that government should take steps to correct obesity.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  83. Benjamin

    We already tax alcohol and tobacco due to the financial burden their consumption places on our health care system. The excess consumption of salt, saturated fats, sugars, and carbohydrates already rival if no surpass that financial burden. It's only fair.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  84. Paul P.

    Its hard to not justify this step when it has already been taken on cigarettes and alcohol. Some of these fast foods are every bit as bad for you and contribute directly to increases in hospital visits. While I agree it is big brotherish in nature, I have to ask if we can continue to afford our own poor eating habits?

    October 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  85. Gigi Oregon

    I think it would be a great thing to tax and it could all (100%) go towards Obama health care. And it would probably more than pay for the health care and have a little left over to pay down the Bush years war debt.That should dry-up the tongue of the "they think their right" wingers.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  86. FauxNewz

    This has nothing to do with health. The tax is for a government running out of money.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  87. Patty

    tax all junk foods not just fats if they are, and while they are at it, take the subsidies off of foods that are used to make those junk foods. That would be a bit hypocritical. And I agree that they should make healthier foods more affordable, I never understood how an unprocessed pure whole food could be more expensive than something that has becomes so processed that it bears little resemble to what it once was. Stop subsidizing garbage and subsidize healthy foods then a junk food tax would have my vote. But a government should practice what it preaches.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  88. Cheryl Schneider

    This is just ridiculous. What small business needs is another tax to keep track of and remit. So are we now going to discourage people from drinking milk? Wasn't there just a study that came out that said whole milk is better for you than skim milk? Didn't they tell us margarine is bad for us and that butter in moderation is better? I have an idea, how about people use a little self control and just don't stuff themselves. But that wouldn't let the government expand and become a better job creator! Olney, MD

    October 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  89. ArtInChicago

    You can't legislate behavior. Prohibition tried that. People will do whatever people will do. It's funny how legislators are concern about saturated fat, but could give a rip about your mental health because they won't legislate ways to improve employment.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  90. Eric in Saint Louis

    Yes as long as food stamps entitlements are not increase proportionally to cover the cost of the tax and the tax is used for health care….

    October 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  91. Mike280

    Fat doesn't make you fat. Carbs do. To be specific, an excess of calories above your base metabolic rate makes you fat. If the Government is going to get this much into people's lives, why don't we just go "all in" and just install calorie meters on every American citizen. You get taxed on ever calorie you consume above what your body needs.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  92. Martin

    NO ! There should not be tax on foods like this. I am sick to death of the pathetic nanny state the US is turning into. Pretty soon they'll make us sign a waiver if we buy toilet paper that isn't super soft because of the incredible danger of a sore rear end if we wipe it with non-super soft toilet paper. Beyond any doubt I don't want the people making the decisions to tax things like this making ANY decisions for me. Let them live in their own little nanny state fascist world.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  93. Matt Stranko in CT

    It is not the saturated fat that is making us sick. It is animal foods. They are linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease along with many others. Taxing saturated fat will just be another distraction from the real culprit. Low-fat diets and foods haven't changed anything over the last 30 years and this wont either.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  94. Alex

    Add my vote to those who say "no". This will become another tax which will start as an insignificant amount but which will be raised on a regular basis once its in place–and it will not have the intended effect. I'm a skinny guy and I don't think its fair that I should pay a special tax when I want to have a meal the government determines is not healthy for me. I enjoy healthy food, but sometimes I want ice cream and burgers.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  95. Eric

    Absolutely not! This would be just another example of one group of people trying to tell the rest of us how to live, think and behave in our own families. I guess it would be alright, so long as those of us paying this tax get to tax the rest of society based on what we think they should read, watch and think. Only fair.

    October 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  96. What A Shame Barton MS

    jack i can't the point unless the GOPs trying to tax the poor and middle with more taxes.

    October 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  97. Samantha

    No Jack we should not until such time as we address the vast amounts of sugar added to all foods that we consume! Sugar is the culprit fat is just the result. People should learn more about their metabolic function by reading the APO E genetic diet and determine after testing how their body responds to saturated fat.

    October 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  98. MrFoobar2U

    Porky pig can't control themselves and jam whatever crap down their gullets and guess who gets to pay for it. ? It's you and me. They have insurance ? Guess who ends up with higher premiums ? They don't have insurance ? Guess who ends up paying if you do have insurance ? So, it's bad big brother when we tax them, but it's ok for you to take my money out of my pocket to pay for their medical bills. Nice.

    October 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  99. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    A vice tax on fat in foods does not go far enough. To fix the budget and reduce borrowing a value added tax should be added to all retail purchases. That way the tax applies equally to every consumer rich or poor.

    October 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  100. Joe R - Houston, TX

    There are still countries we haven't invaded. Without new taxes, how can we start new wars?

    October 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  101. Dennis north carolina

    NO NO

    October 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  102. Gary H. Boyd

    Now there's a tax the politicians have overlooked. - a tax on saturated food. How come they've overlooked that. After all, a few years back the Port Hueneme, California city council imposed a view tax on residents who could see the ocean from their residence. I say absolutely - let's tax fat food and, while we're at it, let's also tax fat people.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    October 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  103. Jim, Denver CO


    No. You cannot legislate this, and even if we tried it would be a nightmare to enforce and monitor. What should be done is enforce the rules that exist now and get both the manufacturers and vendors of these "fatty" foods to list them as such and allow consumers to make a choice. But also there needs to be a program put together by both government and private sector to educate people on healthy choices. Some will say this is a waste of money, but education and information have power. Give people the information and become educated then they will make the choices they need to, or not.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  104. Pat (Missouri)

    I don't see why not. One still has the freedom to choose and it will help to pay for thier health care. Look how many non smokers there are now after smoking got so expensive. It is merely incentive to act responsibly for the greater good.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  105. Weldon from Newmarket ON Canada

    Why not??? They do it for Tobacco products and Booze...

    October 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  106. Scott from Bellingham

    Yes, a fat tax makes sense, as does the tobacco tax. These taxes should be the funding source for the Healthcare Act. Make the fat tax large enough to cover the cost of Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke.

    The fat tax and tobacco tax should not be the source of funding for bank bailouts, wasted on $20 Million "pre-contracted" bonuses to failed big wigs.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  107. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    I'll admit that you are right on 1 count, Jack. Compared to the average American, Danes are downright skinny, but after that I must disagree. The Danish are only in the process of implementing this tax and all of those "skinny" Danes are stocking up on fatty foods right now to avoid the taxes. So if the tax isn't yet in effect, how do those great Danes keep their svelt figures. I submit that it may be due to lots of cold days and nights which make you burn calories by shivering. Plus a little cuddling and extracurriclar excercise to increase body heat doesn't hurt -which is probably helped by a populace containing lots of attractive blonds. 🙂

    October 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  108. Jeff Block

    we're already subsidizing the grains, meats, and potatoes pictured in the cheeseburger photo. So I guess I would say taking away the subsidies are the same thing as taxing. For those who responded "no" to taxation objecting in part because it's the government trying to manipulate behavior, do note that subsidies have already manipulated your behavior in favor of consuming unhealthy foods.

    October 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  109. Arthur Sayed

    Of course not. For one, there are lots of misconceptions about saturated fats and alternative arguments for what causes certain adverse health effects currently attributed to saturated fat consumption. For two, the government consumes enough of the citizenry's wealth by force as it is. And for three, the market is perfectly capable of deciding what it wants to eat. Even if saturated fat is unhealthy, no product or individual or corporation should be given a subsidy, not even a healthy food that gives you a 12-pack and increases your life expectancy by 50 years.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  110. Dan in Albuquerque

    Yes, Jack, there should be, but not on consumers. The onus should be on those who are providers of high-sugar, high fat and high calorie foods. They certainly have the means to make their products more healthy and they can control those outlandish portions you see in many places. Perhaps it could be done with enforceable guidelines instead of taxes.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  111. jeff in hawaii

    Give me a break Jack!
    Why don't you just ask if the Government will tax my Bill W meetings? We all travel down different roads. Want to be fat? Fine by me. Want to drink? Want to smoke? All OK by me. I'm getting rather tired of the Government imposing "sin taxes" . Just a little too close to church and state, if you take my meaning.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  112. Al, Lawrence KS

    Whatever the government taxes....I'm gonna try it. I figure if it's so good that they have to slap a tax on it, then I must be missing something.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  113. Ros.....Illinois

    No Jack, if anyone should pay tax on those things, let it be the Companies that make and sell them. I do think you are making this up just to stir the political pot, Jack

    October 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  114. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    No. They are not the problem. Fat in the diet is only absorbed to the extent it is needed by the body. Every single available carb is absorbed however. If you tax anything, tax junk carbs and diet foods that replace fat with sugar. Of course, big Ag will never go with that.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  115. marybeth, massachusetts


    On the one hand, I say yes, because we've already got "sin" taxes (alcohol, tobacco) and we could use the revenue generated from the fat tax to pay for healthcare. Additionally, wasn't there a study not too long ago that showed just how much more it costs for a fat person vs a normal weight person? It is a lot, considering that more than one third of adults in this country are obese.

    On the other hand, I say no, but not because I disagree with the gov't doing this. This isn't like Prohibition, which BANNED alcohol, but rather a tax on high fat foods that are causing poor health and contributing to the obesity epidemic in this country. I think there is a better way to get people to eat better, improve their health, and thus reduce the costs of healthcare. The high-fat, high-calorie, high-carb, PROCESSED foods are much, much cheaper than fresh fruits and vegetables, lunch meats are cheaper than buying a roast. The gov't is subsidizing corn farmers, and our processed foods are full of corn products for sweeteners, etc. If you want to get people to eat better, LOWER the costs of fresh produce, meats, etc. and RAISE the costs of the processed junk foods.

    I also think that if the U.S. were to implement a similar tax to Denmark's, it will disproportionately affect the poor, who have less money to spend on groceries (and thus buy whatever is cheapest and they can stretch the furthest) and who often have to shop at convenience stores because they lack transportation or public transportation doesn't extend to the supermarkets (located in the "better" neighborhoods) which carry fresh produce and meats.

    As usual, we have the cart before the horse.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  116. Dane Kantner

    In the US, we need to stop subsidizing corn and soy which are then converted into processed food products. Really that is the root of the problem. It also makes the farmers reliant on the big corporations and drives them out of business. If we are subsidizing anything, we should subsidize carrots and potatoes and other food that can be consumed. Not #2 corn, which can't even be eaten it MUST be processed to be edible.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  117. Daniel

    That would be a super-sized McNo

    October 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  118. Lynn Kief


    October 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  119. Sam Simms, Norwalk, CT

    Fat people take a financial toll on this country...why not tax the fatty foods that cause them to get fat in the first place?

    October 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  120. Ziev Dalsheim-Kahane

    Yes! Obesity is a big problem in this country. We should charge more for unhealthy foods, less for healthy foods, and also teach Americans how to have a healthy life style.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  121. Steve in Portland

    Why not find out what makes the Danes different politically from Americans that they don't mind the higher tax on things that are bad for them while Republicans in the U.S. keep trying to dismantle our representative government by demonizing it.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  122. Robert

    Absolutely. We need to get in shape and we need more money. It is a win win situation.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  123. Cindy Gee

    Yes, there should be a fat tax, and the revenue should go towards educating people about what a "healthy weight" is so that my relatives don't keep telling me I'm too skinny and need to eat something (something usually loaded with saturated fat)!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  124. Suzanne

    I thought after I grew up I wouldn't need a parent anymore. If I wanted someone else to run my life, I would have stayed with mom and dad.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  125. John Martin

    No. And you communists out there who think you have a right to tell me how to live my life via taxation, move to Europe where they railroad innocent women for murder. You cannot handle freedom so you don't deserve it. If you want to give away your freedom, fine. But don't give away mine just because you are arrogant. I can handle my own life. If you need the government to approve your every move, you are a mortal enemy of freedom and need to be treated as such.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  126. briggette baust

    tax away... please we are so fat its gross. i japan they measure your waist line every year and if you go up in size, your health insurance goes up! we should do that in american..

    October 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  127. Girard B. - Washington, D.C.

    A tax on foods high in saturated fat would have to be as enormous as we are. This is as much an issue of culture as it is of finance. We live to eat! We give ourselves enormous helpings of food and force ourselves to finish it. We live the country that coined the term "super size" and brought Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and competitive eating leagues to the world. A tax might generate revenue, but it won't make us healthy people.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  128. Angela

    Actually No... the only foods left that one can afford to buy, now and in this economy, are high fat, low grade, generic, and nearly expired. our options have simply exhausted its self.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  129. Crystal

    ABSOLUTELY!!! I've been on this rant for years! The food industry is due its day of reckoning for killing undereducated Americans. Any food that is nutrient-poor and junk-rich should TOTALLY be taxed. At the very least, people on food stamps shouldn't be allowed to buy crap. It just creates a Medicaid problem!! Also, foods that are healthy should be subsidized with the junk tax revenues!!! What a win that would be!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  130. Jose C Torres, GUAM USA

    YES! I just came from a trip to Paris. My sister and I walked and ran around, and ate SMALL portioned food and for the first time didn't gain any weight during a vacation. Also, we "looked" for any "fat" people... and we really didn't see a lot, except for some American tourist. Europeans walk, eat less and talk more during meal times.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  131. Pam

    Why in the world does anyone think that it is ok for the government to stick it's nose into what we eat? This is supposed to be a FREE country. The citizens are supposed to be able to make FREE choices and what I eat is my choice, not someone else's. When is this nonsense going to stop? If I choose to be unhealthy, then that is up to me, not you, or anyone else. MY choice in our FREE country. My oh my.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  132. christina abrams

    yes, absolutely! If we, through medicaid, have to pay for the medical care of someone who is obese then we should have a tax to pay for it. Why should someone abuse their body with no concern and expect us to pay for their health expenses.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  133. Jose Morton

    If I am supposed to help pay for the health problems I feel as though I should have some say in this tax proposal.
    Yes, count me in!


    October 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  134. Nicole from Massachusetts

    Absolutely! People are spending too much money on fast fatty food because its cheap. If it was more expensive, maybe people would think twice before blowing 20 bucks on McDonalds. Plus more tax revenue! It is a win win situation.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  135. Adel

    If your worried about big brother controlling what you eat then dont ask big brother to pay your hospital bill when you get a stroke

    October 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  136. Brandon from Alexandria, VA

    I would like to see healthier food more affordable rather than just taxing the bad stuff. The last thing that consumers need is higher food prices. If the healthier stuff is cheaper, people will flock to it.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  137. Dan Awalt

    Hey Jack

    Do you suppose that, if Denmark gets invaded and occuppied for a third time in the past 100 years, they'd insist that only countries with skinny populations can liberate their butts this time?

    Dan Awalt
    Bradenton, Florida

    October 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  138. John

    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    This assumes that saturated fat is actually what makes people fat. The main reason people are fat is because they eat too much, period... not because they eat too much saturated fat specifically. There are some people who are extremely healthy who go on low carb diets. They eat mainly fats as their source of energy, and they're fine. This is an ignorant attempt to solve a problem that policymakers clearly don't understand.
    And, as if that isn't enough, these are individual decisions. If someone wants to eat a cheesburger, why should they be taxed for it?

    October 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  139. Mark

    Why not just tax people for being obese, rather than tax those thing that may or may not contribute to weight gain?

    October 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  140. Chip

    Nope, not a fat tax. But,... a carbohydrate tax. Historically we've gotten much fatter with the advent of all of the simple, easy to digest carbs, thier cheap availability and the food pyramid that has told us for 5 decades that we're SUPPOSED to eat alot of these every day!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  141. matt

    i think its great idead maybe we wont be so fat of a country there gotta be time when we try what other country are doing god knows we arnt doing anything here right

    October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  142. Herb Roselle, Little River, SC

    As long as the government can take money from taxpayers for medical care for all, they can then require seat belts, limits smoking, eating, risky activities, etc. That's the other side of socialized medicine.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  143. Eric

    They tax or make illegal everything else that's enjoyable in life so why not tasty food as well?

    October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  144. Ty

    Jack if we tax high fat foods we should also tax sugar which health cost is as high if not higher than fatty foods. If we did not live in a Corporation run country this woulf be an easy decision.

    Ty Seattle WA

    October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  145. Elaine Bessette

    Yes. Tax these products and fund national health care with the tax.

    Look at the negative reaction to the possibility of Chris Christie running for president... People reacted to his weight and with good reason; he's a time bomb because of obesity and also a model of lack of restraint, which might play into his policies if elected.

    The idea of making healthy foods more affordable is also worth considering. The poor can hardly afford to eat a healthy diet. Maybe that is built into the system so that the poorest die off the quickest.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  146. Linda in Arizona

    A lot of people can't afford food as it is. Taxing foods for their saturated fat content is ridiculous anyway. Leave my butter ALONE!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  147. Robert

    No! No tax on fatty foods and here's why. I'm 57 and weigh the same as I did in high school.
    I eat well, lots of veggies, fruit, chicken and fish, but I also eat pleny of fatty foods.
    Heres the deal Jack, I can handle it, too many others can't.
    I shouldn't pay for others mistakes

    October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  148. J.D.

    Yes, I think there definetely should be a tax on foods high in fat.. If it weren't for all the unhealthy people in our country maybe our health care costs wouldn't be as high.. Not only that, but most of the over weight people I know, like my own brother for one are just generally lazy and unproductive.. Plus the extra tax revenue couldn't be a bad thing.. Thanks Jack, keep up the good work

    October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  149. Graeme, San Diego

    The government should stop telling us how to live our lives and solve the real issues that lower quality of life, like jobs and the economy.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  150. John in Austin

    Absolutely !! Many may argue why not tax expensive cars, and other opulent items. It's simple; We've become a nation of little self-restraint. The average american's lack of self-restaint from eating fatty foods is killing our health care system and our people. There needs to be a control method in place to curb the sale of fatty foods and the desire to purchase fatty foods in this country. I am in favor.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  151. Juan in Texas

    We need to change our mentality not our legislation. A simpler solution would be to make healthy organic food more affordable. Eating healthy in this country is not cheap. A fatty burger delivered through your car window is much more accessible. Lets park and get out of our cars for food, put local farmers back to work, and get America healthy again.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  152. Annette D

    Coming from someone who has lost over 65 pounds and kept it off, losing weight is a lifestyle and one has to really want it in order to be successful. I say we should tax foods high in fat, but then use that money to help people get nutritional and fitness counseling who really want it but may not have the money or resources to do so.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  153. Justinstl

    Yes they should be taxed as well as alchohol, cosmetics , perfumes, electronics, and everything else that is not a basic necessity in life. I have seen them target smokers for years. Its about time that others be targeted as well. Hell they should put a luxury tax on anything that is not a basic necessity!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  154. Rene, San Diego

    This problem goes much deeper! Someone might be surprised that Europeans love Fast Food. It is not the lower amount of fat in their diet, it is the daily physical activity that keeps them from getting fat. Unfortunately the public transportation (or the lack of) in the US makes people drive everywhere. No walking, biking or any other daily activity and you will get fat, no matter what. Start with a tax on fatty food, but invest the revenue in our infrastructure and public transportation system.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  155. Jerry

    No there should be no more taxes on anyone, The Radical Extreme Left Administration, and the Senate have done nothing but spend and try to tax almost everything to keep up with their spending. They will claim its for health reasons, But we want the government out of our health care, and out of our faces.The socialism push is coming to an end. Obama is a loser.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  156. kmuir

    A tax like that would be great for this country. Think of all of the problems smokers and overweight people cause to others. Secondhand smoke kills and many obese people are in the hospital getting medical treatment the they may have prevented. The tax money recieved would be amazing!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  157. Ann Yovan

    What the heck kind of question is this?! Do NOT put more burden/expense on the PEOPLE of this country. Impose the penalty on the BUSINESSES who make the decisions to exploit human weakness for junk foods. These fine, upstanding business execs who make boocoo bucks should pay the price of their BAD DECISIONS.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  158. Stephanie from Florida

    Tax the food corps producing foods that are unhealthy. A lot of families can't afford healthier food. Why make it more expensive for them to afford what is cheaper? The problem begins with the companies producing unhealthy products, not the person eating them because it is the most affordable. Educate people on healthy eating rather than scolding and punishing them for having a bad habit or for lacking the knowledge on how to eat healthier regardless of their income.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  159. Nygirl70

    Why does the working ppl have to suffer? Bad enough that much tax is being already taken out of our paychecks and being I would say MISUSED for purposes unnecessary. And why do we have to pay for the price of many Americans being obese? Learn to eat right, take the damn saturated fat from everything that is unhealthy in our food, but don't raise the tax when many poor people already are affected and have to pay the price. Literally, I don't know what this world is coming to, pretty soon many people are going to find places to go that don't necessarily have to deal with nonsense of having to pay high taxes!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  160. Thomas

    Absolutely not Jack, but to those that say government has too much control over our lives: If we think big business is going to do what's best and most healthy and in the best interest of the American people, you are dreaming or smoking something.
    There is not much more important for our government to do than to take care of the safety of our food and water. Terrorists could have a hay-day with those. Lets not make that just about money!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  161. Michael

    I suppose that there should be encouragement for people to eat healthier and avoid healthcare expenses which are a burden on society and a drain on our funds. If the Dane's goal is to extend the lifespan of their citizens, are they solvent enough to have enough social security funds to pay out to an ever increasing amount of older citizens?
    Michael, Pittsburgh, PA

    October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  162. Terrence

    What about giving Americans, such as myself, who workout, eat right, and are healthy a tax break? It's expensive to stay healthy!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  163. John

    No, a tax increase is not going to stop people from eating unhealthy, it's our choice to eat how we want. We need to educate people who are on a limited budget how to eat healthy. We have the freedom to choose what we eat, just don't ask me to pay for your health care when you have a stroke from eating 20 cheeseburgers

    October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  164. Don

    Yes. Use the funds to subsidize healthy alternatives and make them available at fast food cafes.

    Fast food is everywhere so put the alternative where the food is and make it affordable. even more affordable than the worst food. Subsidize it with the tax on bad fat food.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  165. Frank

    Tax, tax, tax! All Americans are taxed too much, except for the 1% IMHO. Food taxes sound like Al Gore's proposal for a tax on Co2, or better know to American people as THE AIR TAX! The government should NOT tell the people how to eat, what to eat or where to eat or drink. They should only set up guidlines and make more nutritious foods (ie Organic) much more cheaper! People are fat because the cheaper foods are the unhealthiest!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  166. Ryan Gallagher

    The government will tax anything it can get it's hands on these days. Many would even fight for the legalization of drugs so that the tax revenue can be harvested from it. No matter what kind of argument you can make about the benefits observed to peoples health you miss the overall message of a free society: individual responsibility. This is a simple underlying principle that has worked in this country for hundreds of year. The comparison with Denmark is a sickening apples and oranges equation that does not take into account the vastly greater population within the US as opposed to that tiny little nation barely the size of many of our states.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  167. Elizabeth Smith

    I eat butter every day & I'm not fat. I never eat sweets and exercise daily, I think there may be a connection.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  168. YES

    Last time I checked, no one is going to die if those cookies are to expensive to purchase. So yes, tax the junk food. Perhaps this is what this nation has been needing for quite some time. As for the rest of the people that are in denial about health risks related with junk food take a look at the increase of obesity in this nation as well as the rise of diabetes and heart disease. Sometimes it's not all genetic when it comes to bad health, what a person consumes can also be part of their health problems.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  169. Bill in Toronto

    Remember that in Denmark health care is provided to all and so unhealthy habits not only cost the individual with the bad habit, it hurts the pocket books of all because eventually these people will need medical attention.

    Also most if not all of the foods which will be affected by this tax are foods that we should all consider as treats and not something to eat with any regularity.

    French fries are not food as much as they are a special treat, we should all remember that.

    Real food is your friend!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  170. Miriam

    If there was a higher tax, many of the packaged food companies will try to find a way to make their products trans fat free. Then parents like us would be okay with our young ones eat their goods.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  171. John

    Jack - obesity is one issue that modern science doesn't seem to have figured out a "cure" for. So, if other restrictions that have been enacted by Denmark have worked, why not give it a try? Of course, adoption of such a tax in the US would require John Boehner and Eric Cantor to agree with someone else. Maybe we could urge their agreement by a lunch of a BigMac and Fries ???
    from: Kennett Square, PA

    October 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  172. Mike Fjelstad

    wake up! We are all paying a fat tax!! Its not predudice. Obese people, 33% in US, require far more medical help than thin people. Who do you think is paying for increased insurance costs, and tax dollars for the indigent? Everyone iis, That is a TAX.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  173. D

    I believe there should be a tax. Obese persons, most of them CHOOSE to eat and live with obesity, but the rest of us pay for it in the form of HIGHER insurance premiums because of obesity related illnesses which are prominent and abound. Furthermore, Lap band surgery and stomach stapling are VERY expensive and do not necessarily change a person's behavior in the end result. The list of chronic illnesses that come with obesity is quite considerable.

    I was forced to quite smoking because of group pressure from government and non-smokers. I am quite glad I did, however, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  174. Stephanie Toronto

    Yes, and to all those people who say the consumer be able to freely make healthy food choices....the consumer is ALREADY making these choices. Poorly! Overweight people add unnecessary cost to health care, business through missed workdays, children are seriously overweight. All this contributes to dollars lost from everyone's pocketbook. Perhaps determining which of these foods is unhealthy is the real problem, agriculture lobbyists will be on every corner. Every individual should not have to pay for the wrong choices of a few. The problem is that this tax is being "sold" as a punitive tax, instead of an incentive tax.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  175. gilles mauviel

    fat food is fast food and should be tax like gas is ; it would bring a revenue to take care of obesity which is created by themselves. AN OBESE PERSON DID NOT BECAME OBESE BY EATING GRAINS

    October 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  176. Tom

    Saturated fats are not the problem. The problem lies in the feed the animals that we're using for food ingest. Grain fed meat, such as today's mainstream feed lot type cattle, get poisoned by ingesting too much grain and corn which their bodies are not meant to digest, and neither are ours. They get sick due to too much Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3 fats in their diet, and in turn by people consuming this meat, get sick as well. Their fat does not have enough Omega-3 fatty acids, which their Grass-fed counter-products contain. Feed the cattle grass, and the people will get healthier and be less of a burden on our health care system - in turn not needing further taxes.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  177. Marie

    We should tax the companies that produce the foods high in saturated fats., use the revenue toward decreasing the cost of healthy food and health care .

    October 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  178. Beth Kirkpatrick

    No, give tax deductions for those who qualify each year with a simple basic wellness test that would include healthy parameters for body fat, blood pressure, cardio fitness, and low levels of cholesterol. Anyone improving their wellness year by year, would receive higher deductions. The more family members who qualify each year, the higher the deductions. Only then, will we see changes in our thinking of how important it is to live a healthy life! Drug companies will fight this. Test all kids in school as well.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  179. Lloyd Herman

    No The governments job is not to tell me what to eat. I know that most of you are going to start with "but the goverment and the people have to pay the price for what I eat". That is the second problume my health care is not the buisness of the government and the cost of my health care should not be placed upon the people. All this shit about the insurance companies needing to provide health care regardless of pre condishions is a bunch of crap. If you have car insurance and you have had 3 previous DUI"S why should you not be required to pay more. Why should health care be any different? Same for what you eat and your health conditions. I insurance companies should have the rite to evaluate health risk and charge accordingly. If we used that folicity what I eat would not matter to the average person. The cost of my lifestyle would be passed onto me.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  180. Sandra

    Jack, I'm not sure. We are still trying to figure out what is actually healthy. First, it's don't eat fat, then it's don't eat carbs, now we find out that we need fat to digest certain vitamins and minerals. Who knows? I think I will continue to stick with real food. My grandparents lived past 100 years eating meat and butter. But, they never ate prepackaged or fast foods. Maybe we should be taxing all those foods with ingredients we can't even pronounce.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  181. Tatty

    Yes, I think it's a good idea. Denmark has already proven it with a healthy population. People make themselves sick with bad food and cost the taxpayer later on anyway, so why not taxing unhealthy foods and put the proceeds into the healthcare fund? It would also make it an obvious choice to buy healthy food since many live on a bad diet simply because it's cheap.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  182. Dennis R. Atwood

    I agree to a point, a few decades past there was a war on poverty and starving children in the United States. I have memories of people in the coal fields of the east coast that looked like world war II prisoners. Frankly, it costs alot of money to eat correctly. Fine foods are priced high. The art of good cooking is not being past down to this generation of young adults, they can't afford it. With mothers being forced to work to create the standard of living most familys want does not leave time for parents to create meals, we buy it on the way home instead. Plus lets add the addition of high sugar items that is given to small children we have made our population sugar freaks. That is where our spare tires around our middles comes from.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  183. Miriam

    If they get Taxed they might find a way to make the foods trans fat free or with less trans fat. Food does not have to have trans fat to taste good.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  184. Ryan Fort Wayne IN

    In general I'm against government intervention and higher taxes. Having said that, we are disgustingly fat as a nation, and the people who don't take care of themselves will cost more in health care on the long run. If taxing the bad and incentivising the good shifts the balance towards being more healthy, I support it. I think the measures should include refined sugar too, and lower costs for fresh foods.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  185. John from Essex Junction, Vermont

    Come on, give me a BREAK! Why tax ANY kind of food that's provided for human consumption? Why not tax medicine while we're at it? After all, overuse of medicine can really make you sick. Those medicines could even kill you...and a lot faster than saturated fat!

    On the other hand, if there must be a tax on food, the tax should be on simple carbohydrates. After all, those darned sugars and starches are really bad for you. Probably much worse than the saturated fat because they're very so to consume in much greater quantities. Consider this: how easy (and how much more satisfying) is it to eat an 8-ounce bag of potato chips (that will get you about 1200 calories) than a 4-ounce stick of pure butter (that will get you about 800 calories)?

    It's the carbohydrates that contribute much more to weight problems than the fats in most people's diets. Let's take off the blinders and see food for what it is!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  186. Michael Romano

    c'mon Jack
    A "fat tax" would'nt make healthier foods cheaper. Once again the middle class and the poor would be hurt unless such a tax could be used to subsidize healthier alternatives.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  187. Alan Wright, NJ

    A tax on foods with high levels of saturated fats will eventually affect consumer behavior, so in that sense it could be an effective way to use tax policy for social engineering. But, it ultimately misses the point because it alone is insufficient to have an effect on American's waistlines.

    For instance, food subsidies to agribusiness artificially deflate the costs of American food at every stage of production, thus making the price-points too low to accurately reflect the true cost to the consumer- taxpayers. Likewise, a tax on unhealthy food only shifts costs back to the consumer... as compared with using regulations to require that producers make healthier food in the first place. Of course, that would require producers to spend more on R&D rather than paying out profits to shareholdres and executives, and it goes against free market principles of producers and consumers alike.

    Further, the healthcare costs and productivity costs of overweight Americans are not included in the price-point costs of unhealthy food. These are classic negative externalities which stem from our conspicuous consumption. Due to subsidies and other price controls, the actual "cost" of cheap, unhealthy food has much higher, hidden stealth costs over the long term.

    Lastly, saturated fats are a problem, but it's miniscule compared with carbohydrate-rich foods with simple sugars. The classic example is high-fructose corn syrup. Nutritionally, such carbo-heavy foods contribute more to obesity and obesity-related spectrum disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  188. Flyingwolf from Manchester, NH

    Yes, they should tax saturated fats in food. They should tax high fructose corn syrp because it's much worse than sugar and has probably led to so many people getting type 2 diabetes. They should tax meat because cattle ranchers are destroying the environment to find free food for their stupid cows because beef gives people high chlorestoral. Tax those people. What the government should support though, is fresh fruits and vegetables being sold in depressed neighborhoods and being served at public schools so that the poorest children can get good nutrition and have a decent chance to makes something of themselves.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  189. Natasha

    uncle sugar's gonna be the one paying for all the fat folks' medical care after they lose their feet from diabetes so i would say sure, why not. out of $15, a person buys a six pack of beer, a pack of cigarettes, and two gallons of gas. who cares...whoever the heck wants fatsnax won't even notice the fatsnaxtax.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  190. Curtis Helt

    I don't mind a little more tax on foods that are unhealthy for you, however I do have a question. I am on disability due to extreme obesity since I was 530 LBS (been a few years) and am curious if it is taxed more would my food stamps go up so I can afford to eat? I only like potato chips cheese burgers and pizza. I stay away from soda pop and candy bars due to the sugar and drink whole milk at almost every meal.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  191. joe in pa

    Due to an unemployment rate @ 9% plus...some unfortunately can only afford the less expennsive fat loaded & sodium loaded box dinners...now we will take even more off the less fortunate...give me a break on what food we buy now....we are trying to stay healthy & can hardly afford the health insurance to do so....ANOTHER SUBJECT ALL ITS OWN

    October 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  192. Randy

    Yes. Right after there is an Excessive wealth tax. With all the stealth class warfare the rich wage on the middle class and the poor, you would think we rode on private jets for a living and controlled the government.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  193. Harold from West Monroe, Louisiana

    Well we have taxes on booze and smokes, which aren't healthy; so a tax on crappy fast fat foods sounds in order,especially if the revenues are earmarked for health related programs

    October 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  194. AM

    YES! I agree with taxing saturated fat foods and anything that hinders health. Genetics are bad enough to fight and no choice to make there...the tax revenue should be applied to make healthy foods cheaper.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  195. Kathy O

    Sure, why not? How is this different that taxing cigarettes and alcohol and not taxing books? Taxes have been used to encourage and discourage behavior for years. This is nothing new... and neither is the "Government is trying to control us!" paranoia. No one is taking away your right to eat unhealthy food and drive yourself into an early grave... but at least pay an a little extra for it since your heath is burdening the system for all of us.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  196. Ed Hansen

    Oh, Jack,

    Certainly our government should use its resources to improve the lives of its citizens, but the political climate for any increase in government involvement in people's live (except for abortion, gay rights and the imposition of a theocracy) will not pass.

    Cheers n all,

    October 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  197. Jim Sluder

    Absolutely! And they should also put an added tax on gas-guzzlers, and an added tax on all animal products, and an added tax on all republicans...just call that one an idiot tax! It's not big brother...you have a choice, pay for it to use it or don't use it!

    October 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  198. Terry Wells -Hoosier Hillbilly-IN

    NO! Jack, your missing the main point – gov wants "US' to eat this stuff – we'll die young and they can continue to supply SS.
    Healthcare bill won't pass, so they'll also spend all their money on healthcare costs which I'm sure the gov has got their hands in. The lobbiest see to that!
    Federal mandated transpartation will increase since their using two seats
    and all fastfood restaurants will donate more to the presidential campaign.
    The dems & Reps "WILL HAVE IT THEIR WAY!"

    October 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  199. David, Jackson Hole

    I have been preaching this to my clients forever. We need tax revenue in this country and unhealthy foods and drinks have been poisoning americans for decades. If we learn to eat healthier and exercise our trillion dollar health care costs substantially decrease, our debt situation improves, insurance premiums get reduced, etc. If people are going to choose (it is a choice) to be unhealthy and eat and drink crap then they should be taxed for their choices. Most people are not self motivated and expect the government to take care of them when they get sick so why should the healthy people in this country shoulder the costs of their decisons? If we tax these foods and drinks, companies that knowingly produce them will make changes and produce healthier choices if they are motivated to do so. The problem lies in the mirror and our choices. We have had plenty of time to make these choices ourselves but we don't do it. Denmark should be praised and emulated by all countries. Lets hope our government finally does something productive to help americans be healthier and quit being the unhealthiest country on the planet

    October 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  200. LA Belle

    Why waste time with a fat tax. Let them put an extravagent tax on working people only. That way Congress would no longer need to fight and the country will be right where they want it; in the sewer.

    Ruby (Louisiana)

    October 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  201. MN in NY

    Yes, and extend it to all bad food, plus tobacco and alcohol. The US has a tendency to subsidize industries that are bad for people and the environment, including large meat-producing farms (factories). How is it that a burger is cheaper than an avocado? This food is making people sick – just watch the documentary Forks over Knives. Instead, local organic farmer's markets should be subsidized, and should take place in poorer neighborhoods. Also, having grown up in Scandinavia, keep in mind that the high – shared – medical costs there, for treating obesity and tobacco-related cancers. If people exercise the freedom to eat things that are bad for them, it makes sense that they pay a larger portion of the subsequent medical bill. It's time to start subsidizing the things that are good for people and the environment, and make the bad choices less attractive. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, realized the importance of healthy eating habits: "Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food."

    Jack Cafferty – so happy there is someone like you on CNN.

    October 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  202. Al

    Ridiculous that yet again the government is trying to tell the populace what they are/are not allowed to put in their own bodies. Even if it works, which it won't, and America becomes thin, when will the government step in and say "Americans are too thin, we need a higher tax on vegetables". I remember when they started taxing cigarettes, which at the time was quite the debate, and I thought to myself, "what's next, are they going to tax candy bars because it can cause health problems?" At the time it was an incredibly sarcastic comment...

    October 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  203. Tonie from OK

    They started taxing foods in other countries that contribute to health problems. Why not, it might make people live longer and healthier. Some people need a push.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm |