Several experts are suggesting taxes on bad behavior, including a $2 dollar tax on a pack of cigarettes and a higher excise tax on alcohol.
Politico reports that the ranking Republican on the committee, Senator Chuck Grassley is nixing the idea of taxing soda and sugary drinks. But it’s easy to see why so-called sin taxes are appealing — taxing cigarettes, junk foods and alcohol could raise $600 billion over 10 years.
A recent poll found support among Americans for imposing such taxes to help pay for health care reform. The Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows 61 percent of those polled say they would be in favor of raising taxes on items that are thought to be unhealthy — like cigarettes, alcohol, junk food and soda. 37 percent are opposed.
When asked about specific items, there’s more support for taxing cigarettes and alcohol than snack foods and soda.
But before you start hoarding your beer and chips, Congress is also looking at other ways to pay for reform — like eliminating the tax-free status of company health benefits along with non-health related options like capping the deduction on charitable donations.
Here’s my question to you: Is taxing cigarettes, alcohol and
junk food a good way to pay for health care reform?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
S. in St. Louis, Missouri
Dear Jack, Every time they want to raise taxes, they stick it to little guy; lower-income people at the poverty level are the ones who will feel the brunt of this taxation.
Scott from Freeport, Illinois writes:
Jack, I’m a smoker and I agree that we should enforce higher taxes on cigarettes, junk food and soda. These are things that are not good for us and maybe it’ll keep us healthier in the long run by thinking twice about buying these items. Health care is essential for all Americans and if this will allow us to pay for and afford health care, then why not.
Gail from St. Paul, Minnesota writes:
Jack, Smokers are already taxed to the max. My husband and I became addicted to cigarettes when we were teenagers in the 1960s. Cigarettes were cheap, and the government was generously subsidizing tobacco growers. We have tried repeatedly to quit. As you know, addiction is a disease. Anyone who says he or she quit easily wasn’t addicted. So we’re among the chosen scapegoats