So what gives with the Fat Tax? Does our current government really believe that such a tax is going to deter people from making junk foods their main source of sustenance? Really?
Okay then, introducing a price hike or tax has long been used as a way of socially engineering populations into doing what a government either wants them to do or not to do but in doing so it removes the option of free choice. Personally I feel this is wrong and in many cases it doesn’t work anyway because the section of the population being targetted over whatever it is that government wants to change will inevitably find a way around it. As individuals, we are going to make our own decisions and those who knowingly opt for the wrong ones need to be the ones to wear the fallout. It used to be called taking responsibility for your own actions, a good one as people having to step up usually learnt from the experience but this has been sidelined for quite a while now as progressive government-type departments have created all kinds of excuses for people to fall back on so they don’t have to cop the flak themselves.
In the case of junk foods (and some vague figure has jumped into the debate wanting the tax to be attached to confectionery and soft drinks as well) those who have chosen McDonald’s, KFC and the like as their main foodlines are not going to suddenly turn around and buy fruit and vegies because the other stuff has become too expensive for daily consumption. What they will do is cut back on genuine essentials so they can still manage to retain the funds for their regular fix! But hey, that is their choice and even if it’s the wrong choice (and they know it is), they should still be able to make it for themselves. If their health is a mess as a result, well, that’s the fallout. Can’t blame anyone else for that one. With the right encouragement they’ll try though.
Sure, a lot people should make better nutritional choices and common sense really does specify what those choices should be but the fact remains that some people would rather stick pins in their eyes than shop for the right stuff and then go home and cook it. Even without the price hike, takeaway on a regular daily basis works out to be more costly than dining daily on a better alternative but those who opt for the former do so by choice and making them pay more for it will not force them into swapping the junk for the better deal. But it will make them give some serious thought about what to drop from their lives so they can still afford fried chicken, chips and hamburgers every day and this is where the whole exercise will fail.
Certainly the health of a nation’s population is important and those in power are responsible for ensuring the country thrives on all levels but popping a tax on particular items that will affect the entire population in order to force a percentage of it to change it’s ways will not stop people from eating the wrong things and ruining their health. Trying to “assist” by engineering people away from unhealthy food choices will not solve the nation’s obesity problem. Help lines spouting nutritional info won’t either as, believe it or not, people really do know what the healthy alternative is, they have just opted not to take advantage of it. Letting them wear the consequences of their own laziness and stupidity will do it though. Especially when the message hits home that they cannot foist the blame onto anyone or anything else and can’t claim any form of compensation for their own bad choices either.
That one inevitably works, every time.