‘…To micro-manage our lives, more like,’ says Dr Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute regarding a proposed tax on fizzy drinks. In his blog post, Butler is adamant that taxing sugary drinks is disadvantageous on multiple levels. For one, ‘the average person gets about 2% of their calories from fizzy drinks, so even if a tax did make people drink less, it would have no noticeable effect on the weight of the nation’.
The proposed 20% tax is far too little to make a measurable difference, says Butler, arguing that the tax would have to be very large. If that were the case, however, a disparity would be created as the tax would likely hit poor families the hardest. Additionally, there is no guarantee that consumer behaviour would change, and that consumers would not just switch to alternative sugary drinks that are not taxed.
That said, who and what is to decide what is ‘sugary’ enough to be taxed?
In the end, Butler is positive that the best way to make people live a healthier lifestyle is through education, rather than dictating what they should or should not consume.
The whole article is available here.