It is disappointing to note the posturing of what are called the key industry role players on the subject of taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages (The Mercury, December 7).
By claiming they understand the government’s rationale in combating obesity they fail to distinguish between the ostensible reason for the tax and the real reason for it. The insatiable demand of bloated, socialist governments for revenue is the reason they increasingly apply taxes more and more comprehensively. Sugar tax is just revenue greed.
By their own admission, nutritionists, dieticians and those in the health industry acknowledge that the general public is largely unaware and indifferent in attitude towards sugar taxation legislation. Sales of sugar-saturated soft drinks are as popular as ever, proving that sugar tax is not deterring consumption.
If the government was sincere in wanting to curb obesity it would educate the public on improving its knowledge of healthy nutrition. All processed foods, beer and wine have varying percentages of sugar.
Besides the government’s greed for more sources of revenue, what needs to be borne in mind is the increasing tendency of governments to regulate lives and lifestyles. The chief characteristic of a Nanny state is excessive regulation and prescription regarding all facets of life. And the way to enforce that is through progressively wider taxation.
George Harrison captured that tendency quite aptly in a verse from his 1966 song Taxman:
“If you drive a car, I’ll tax your street; If you try to sit I’ll tax your seat; If you get too cold, I’ll tax your heat; If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.”