Note to a Twit, I Mean NYS Governor Paterson

Dear Governor Paterson:

On Tuesday, May 25, 2010, you sent out your plea to your constituents to understand and embrace your “new and improve” modified sugar sweetened beverage tax package of “one cent per ounce excise tax [to] be added to sugary soft-drinks, bottled coffee and tea drinks with added sugar . . .  [while] eliminat[ing] the sales tax for bottled water and low-calorie drinks that have 10 or fewer calories per 8 oz. sugar-sweetened drinks.”

Later that same day,  I sat and watched a morbidly obese woman eating a ginormous bag of potato chips for lunch. And what was she washing those greasy chips down with? A liter of Diet Coke.

I don’t deny that there is an obesity epidemic in this country, but Governor, c’mon.

Photo by Todd Pitt/PictureGroup at Flickr.com

I understand your stated intentions, but who do you think you are kidding here? Truth be told, drinks that contain aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are not any healthier for people than drinks that contain sugar.

Your proposition is doomed to fail because the  premise upon which it rests is that in charging people more, you will somehow teach them to change their behavior. This is just like the cigarette tax. Did it stop people from smoking? Not so much: Nicotine fiends still find the money to get their smokes.

The same is true here. Fat or thin, people with poor eating habits will continue to make the same choices. No one is going to change his or her behavior because their favorite sugary drink costs a few extra nickels and dimes here or there. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: I know plenty of people who feel like because they drink diet soda they are earning “brownie points” – literally. Like the woman eating the bag of chips, I know folks who feel they can eat that extra slice of pie or that extra cookie because they are washing it down with diet soda. By gosh, they’ve earned it.

Oooh, I have an idea! Why don’t you tax items like chips, cookies, cakes, donuts and all fast food items in addition to sugary drinks. Yes, this is a good idea! Why stop with just the drinks? You aren’t thinking broadly enough.

You say that it is necessary to “take steps to help all New Yorkers adopt healthier lifestyles.” I’m all about helping people adopt healthier lifestyles, but a government tax on soda will not make people skinny or healthier; good diet and exercise by individuals will.

Listen, a lot of us are fat. We know. It’s kind of hard to miss. But that isn’t really what this is about, is it? Clearly, the State needs money, right? Why be so underhanded? Just tell the good people of New York that you need to raise taxes, but don’t pretend to care about the obesity problem in the country. Seriously, you don’t think that taxing sugary drinks is the answer, do you? Or . . . do you?

Could adding taxes on sugary drinks help curb obesity?

6 responses to “Note to a Twit, I Mean NYS Governor Paterson

  1. How about spending some money on school lunch programs so we don’t teach kids about nutrition in health class and then send them to the cafeteria where they can’t even practice what they just learned?

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  2. I so agree with you, and let me tell you why. I smoke. I know, I can hear the gasps from here. I quit for 7 years while I had babies, but after my divorce, I went back. I smoke about 6 cigarettes a day, not too big a deal compared to others, so why do I even do it , you ask, it’s an addiction. I hate the smell, hate the taste, but at 9 pm when all the kids are in bed, I have a cigarette. Now seriously, how many taxes are on cigarettes? A million! I used to pay $1.25, now it’s up to $8! But I pay it.

    It’s the same with “food/beverage” taxes, people will pay it, and that’s why the government does it. I agree why pretend to care, they don’t give a shit; it’s like Phillip Morris caring helping fund cancer research! The only thing they care about is their pockets getting fatter, or “looking” as if they care.

    Also, just a side note, some obese people drink diet sodas because they have diabetes (because they are fat) and think drinking diet soda will help their sugar levels. Little do they know that the bag of chips they are eating probably does more damage. I say send Jillian Michaels into every home. That will whip some asses into shape. I know it would mine🙂

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  3. I guess all the people who think it’s too expensive to buy healthy foods can stop complaining because fruits and vegetables will be cheaper than Coke!

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  4. I am very impressed with Michelle Obama’s fight for children to lose weight. I was one of those children, even though I am an adult now. Not too long ago, I decided it was time to do something about it. I went on a healthy diet, and I am very proud of my results. Not only did I lose weight, I no longer need Metformin, and my snoring has stopped so I do not have to wear a mask at night. I stopped drinking sodas – especially diet soda – and drank water. I enjoy playing table tennis and find it a great way to lose weight.

    A person who has goals can successfully have a good, healthy life. You just have to make your mind up…what’s important. To tax something like soda or etc…. is not the answer: Educating people and motivating them to be inspired to lose weight is the correct way. So eat your fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, fish, chicken, and watch those portions.

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  5. They tried to put a soda tax on drinks in Philadelphia but people were up in arms. I found it quite funny and very sad that people were so passionate about not having their soda taxed. I agree with Leonard that we need to do better in the school cafeterias. I have a client that works in a middle school cafeteria and I am shocked at what they are allowed to serve. Every single day there is at least one fried food option for the kids. Often it’s more than one. Fries of some sort can be had every day – what’s nutritious about that? Add in chicken fingers or something of that sort and that’s a meal many kids will choose. We need to change school lunch menus to teach kids how to eat so when they are adults they know how to make better choices.

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  6. My new infant blog will be humor and I have figured out that making the political statement here and there may alienate followers, but sometimes it has to be done. I think Cervantes, Voltaire, and Gibbon did it well masked in their particular times and Mark Twain and Will Rogers were artful at it in their time. I have taken a political stand in the humor of my very last post and I hope people get it!

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