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Danish “Fat Tax” Gets Scrapped

English: Animation of U.S. Obesity Trends by S...

English: Animation of U.S. Obesity Trends by State 1985–2008. (%of people with BMI >30) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thomas P.M. Barnett on Denmark’s so-called “fat tax”. The best method for government to combat obesity is to subsidize some of the production costs of healthy food. Policy recommendation: shift subsidies from grains to vegetables, fruits and lean meat. 

Human bodies are designed to crave fat, especially when we’re stressed.  The body is telling us to store up because things seem dangerous.  This is evolution talking:  if things are going south, better to stockpile fat now for the bad days ahead.

Problem is, modern life creates all sorts of stresses and modern food companies love moving this sort of product, because it nets them the highest profits.

End result:  an obesity epidemic.  The food companies know how to trigger our interest, and life provides all manner of stimuli that triggers our desire.  The cost is pushed downstream.




3 thoughts on “Danish “Fat Tax” Gets Scrapped

  1. Shifting subsidies seems like a much better approach than fax taxes or soda bans. NPR’s story explained that the Danes could just go shopping in Germany for their junk food, hurting local businesses in Holland.

    Posted by reasoningpolitics | November 20, 2012, 1:35 am
    • That’s another good point. I guess the idea here was similar to a “gas tax” or “plastic bag tax”, but I guess people just weren’t with the government on this effort. Wonder if they simply didn’t want the government telling them how to eat or if they were just mad about rising prices.

      Posted by ottoborden | November 20, 2012, 5:40 pm
      • If I remember the story correctly, I believe it was both. I like your idea though: incentives to eat better have less unintended consequences than disincentives to eat poorly.

        Posted by reasoningpolitics | November 20, 2012, 6:58 pm

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