Taxing to solve obesity is poor public policy. Not only are beverage taxes wildly unpopular, they are ineffective.

Matt Winesett, a student at the University of Virginia, writing for The Cavalier Daily dissected some of the problems with beverage taxes, including their regressive nature – “In other words, they harm the poor far more than the rich… This will happen regardless of whether or not an individual is even at risk of becoming obese. Given that this proposal may not achieve its stated goal of reducing obesity, it’s worth considering whether forcing the poor to bear the brunt of the burden is praiseworthy, patronizing or simply cruel.”

Regressive taxes also harm small businesses - they cause an economic strain that leads to higher prices on common grocery store items and job loss.

Ticking down the list of unintended consequences caused by beverage taxes, Winesett concludes “a government cannot coerce its citizens into health, and when the costs of action are unknown or unpalatable, it should be hesitant to try.”

To learn more about why soda taxes do not work, check out The Truth About Beverage Taxes.