Monday, October 24, 2011

Fat Tax on Danish

Marion Nestle calls attention to the new fat tax promulgated in Denmark, which is designed to raise money but also to discourage consumption of unhealthy foods. Her analysis is by and large pretty good, with one exception. She says, "Leaving aside the usual criticisms, such as the impact on poorer people, I have a different reason for being troubled by tax interventions. They aim to change individual behaviour, but do little to change the behaviour of corporations that make and market unhealthful products, spending vast fortunes to make them available, desirable and socially acceptable."

Taxes, by raising prices, discourage consumption, it's true, but you know what? Consumption makes a difference for producers, too: if they aren't selling anything, profits go down. That's hitting corporations where it matters most.

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