There are many good arguments against adding another tax to the rolls in the United States. As a psychologist, though, I'm more interested in one bad argument that is often made against such sin taxes: the willpower argument.
This is a blog for the Mental Health Policy Class at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.
November 6, 2009
Opinion Piece by a Houston Psychologist (Example of Effective Communication of Science)
As they look for ways to pay for health care reform, members of Congress are considering a tax on sugary soft drinks. The logic is straightforward: Sugary drinks add substantial calories to people's diets and those calories contribute to the large number of people in the United States who are overweight and obese. Because obesity often causes expensive health problems, a tax on soft drinks has two possible benefits: It may provide revenue that can be directed toward health care and healthy eating, and it might dissuade people from drinking sugary beverages.