Why an alcohol tax won’t beat the bulge
DON'T bother with a booze tax, just staple people's mouths shut.
Then see how slim they become when they can't drink whatever they like.
Does the concept of personal responsibility escape these so-called experts who are quick to boost government coffers by endorsing a levy on alcohol and are babbling about hiking the price of soft drinks next?
Yes, we have an obesity crisis. It's as plain as day. But taxing people to save them from themselves won't work.
A new report, the Assessing Cost-Effectiveness of Obesity Prevention Policies in Australia, argues the best way to beat the bulge is through levies - to the tune of 84c per standard alcoholic drink.
Like we aren't already paying enough to have a tipple? Taxes on wine, in particular, are astronomical - it's why you can buy many Australian drops cheaper in the United States, more than 15,000km away, than you can here. It's a rort.
Speaking of overseas, evidence from several countries that have slapped a tax on sugary drinks reveals the punitive measure to be a dismal failure.
France, Denmark, Mexico and Hungary have had no luck in decreasing the average body mass index of their peoples. In fact, it some cases it has gone up.
A study by the Mexico Institute of Technology's Centre for Economic Research found that a 1 percent increase in this tax would result in only six fewer calories being ingested per day.
And in the city of Berkeley, California, which implemented a one cent-per-ounce tax in 2014 - sending costs to the consumer skyrocketing by up to 75 per cent - the outcome on obesity was similarly unimpressive.
We can't expect any different result from a tax on booze.
The Australians who are likely to be hurt the most by price hikes are the ones who can least afford it, battlers who are already struggling with exorbitant costs of living.
Any fool can see that we urgently need a multi-pronged plan to target obesity, but these appropriately dubbed "sin taxes" should not be part of it.
And yes, Queensland's Health Minister Steven Miles needs to pull his finger out and establish the Healthy Futures Commission promised almost two years ago.
But a fat lot of good it will do if it's stacked with bureaucrats and boffins who don't live in the real world.