Thursday, March 03, 2011

Letter in Support of a Soda Tax

Dear members of Congress,

According to a summary of the Annual Reports of the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees, "...the aging population will result in SMI (Supplementary Medical Insurance) costs growing rapidly from 1.9 percent of GDP in to 2009 to 3.5 percent of GDP in 2040; about three-quarters of these costs will be financed from general revenues".

SMI, just one little piece of Medicare, 75% funded by our tax dollars, will hit 3.5% of our Nation's gross domestic product in less than 30 years, and that's just based on an aging population! Has anyone done the math on what happens when a population gets not only old, but fat too? Americans are living longer and getting fatter, and at the rate we're going 30 years out we might look back at that 3.5% of GDP as wishful thinking.

You won't teach Americans to eat right by taxing soda, but you can help offset some of the rising medical costs the American people are expected to foot the bill for, many of which are associated with poor diet. Our nation is in debt up to our eyeballs, and I for one am sick of my tax dollars going to support public medical costs associated with poor choices. Selective taxation like this is easy enough to avoid for those who choose to. If we can tax my beer, and the next guy's smokes, we should be able to tax that 2 liter bottle of sugar water...

I also don't think we should class Coke and Pepsi as food with regards to Food Stamps, or what we feed prison inmates, etc. Between 2007 and 2009 Oregon spent nearly $775,000 on pop to serve to prisoners at meal time! Why the hell was Oregon subsidizing the beverage industry buying Mountain Dew for convicts?!?! Maybe we should buy them all X-Boxes as well. Is this going on in your state, what about at the federal level? Okay, off on a tangent there. This is about a soda tax.

I'm not a fan of taxes, but if our General Fund is expected to pay for rising medical costs associated with America getting fat, taxing products that contribute to those costs makes more sense to me than further taxing my paycheck, or cutting funding for schools.

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