Monday, December 17, 2007

Am I Missing Something Here?

The City of San Francisco is considering a tax on caffeine. It's part of the mayor's "Shape up San Francisco" program. Excess caffeine is bad for your health so I do understand a tax on caffeine being proposed in that package. But the thing that strikes me as odd is that the defense given for the tax is that the tax on caffeine will curb obesity. WHAT?! Taxing one of the main ingredients in over-the-counter diet pills is going to help the fight against obesity? It would appear that they really want to target high sugar drinks. Why then do they propose to tax caffeine instead? Wouldn't a sugar threshold make a lot more sense? Something is odd here. What am I missing? (And note that the typical answer of "Dirty politicians are trying to get money anywhere they can." only gets to be used only as a last resort.)


dadvocate said...

I'm sick of the government micro-managing my diet. BTW - drinking coffee has plenty of health benefits.

Corwyn said...

Yeah, I've got to go with Dadvocate on this one. It's just more quasi-socialist nanny-state "We know what's better for you than you do" San Franciscan politics meddling in the personal lives of it's citizens. AND on top of that, caffeine has no proven links to obesity on it's own, if anything, it's been shown to supercharge metabolisms; the only correlation that has thus far been found is how the presence of caffeine AND sugar metabolizes the sugar into fat.

The "problem" (and I use the term loosely as I think it's a red herring anyway) is all the other crap that combine to make a simple cup of coffee a 4000 calorie sugar rush. Not that they should be taxing that, either. I'm just sayin'...

Of course, that would require politicians to have brains in their heads and actually use them.

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Dante said...

I like my coffee like I like my women: ground up and in the freezer.

Zingers aside, I don't like the government micromanaging diets either, but it's been going on to some extent for a while now and only looks to be getting worse. The only difference is the focus is switching from sin and luxury to health.

One thing I've been rolling around in my head is what drinks other than coffee have caffeine but not a lot of sugar? That pretty much leaves you with diet soda and tea. A good chunk of the collateral damage from caffeine taxation will be those who are drinking diet drinks and artificially* sweetened tea. What a blow to obesity!

* I really hate that term. What's so artificial about nutrasweet or any of the other non-sugar sweeteners?