To keep with our theme this week of letting others do the "talking" on a potential soda tax to help pay for health care reform - remember, it's only a concept at this point, not formalized in a piece of proposed legislation - we thought we'd share the views of some experts. These experts include nutritionists, economists and public policy experts.
"While everyone can agree that drinking too much of any sweetened beverage will lead to weight gain, we cannot make any one food or beverage the scapegoat for our weight issues...Obesity is a complex issue that won't be solved with a tax hike on regular soft drinks," Kathy Warwick, registered dietitian.
"I think that artificial sweeteners and sugar can be part of a healthy diet. But I think that moderation is (important) too. I think a lot of time that government tries to treat the symptom, rather than the cause. Education treats the cause," Aubre LeFever, dietitian.
"A tax on soft drinks and alcohol will hamstring important - and relatively strong - parts of our otherwise faltering national economy in pursuit of public health benefits that aren't likely to materialize. Worse, it will impinge upon some of our most basic rights as consumers. The Senate should let this proposed soda tax fizzle away," Sally C. Pipes, president and CEO, Pacific Research Institute.
"It has all sorts of unintended consequences. You're really, with this tax, going after some of the poorest people. Those the people Obama said he was never going to tax," Marta Mossburg, Maryland Public Policy Institute.
"They're very good at raising revenue - at least in the short run, but it breaks the President's promise not to raise taxes on the middle class," Robert Moffitt, Heritage Foundation.
"Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages soft drinks do not necessarily advance the overall public interest, may be regressive in nature, and hardly ever work as intended. The (bottom line) is not sufficient to make 'fat taxes' a viable tool to lower obesity," Richard Williams and Katelyn Christ, Mercatus Center, George Mason University.
Just some of the thoughts from experts out there. Health care reform is a worthy pursuit. But singling out one set of consumer products to help pay for it is just the wrong public policy for such a complex problem.