Wednesday, November 14, 2012

FAIL: World's First Fat-Sugar Tax In Denmark To Be Dismantled

Photo: Asbjørn Kristensen Høgsbro
Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

Some would say you can't tax people into good health, but an unfazed Denmark tried to set a Utopian example for the rest of the world last year when they began taxing fatty junk foods and chocolate ... also called the fat-sugar tax.

To the Danish, it seemed like a win-win for all. It would deter obesity-prone people from overindulging, and would further line the country's coffers if citizens lacked restraint.

Maybe it would lighten the healthcare burdens. And while many consumers cried "unfair", everyone expected it to work. It was only a slight discomfort for the greater good, after all. Not an outright form of abuse, right?

After one experimental year, it turned out to be an economic backfire largely unheard 'round the world. Consumer disapproval ensued and, according to Raw Story, the measure did nothing to change eating habits. Additionally,
The fat tax and the extension of the chocolate tax — the so-called sugar tax — has been criticised for increasing prices for consumers, increasing companies’ administrative costs and putting Danish jobs at risk, the Danish tax ministry said in a statement.
The mandate caused consumers to take their money elsewhere -- across the border to purchase their favorite foods. "The Danish Food Workers Union told Food Navigator recently that the measure had led to a loss of 1,300 retail and manufacturing jobs there." (Source)


So, Denmark's government is cancelling the fat tax and will not introduce taxes on chocolate either. Some food chains will drop prices accordingly, most likely to aid in recovery and regain patrons.

The British Medical Journal actually concluded that prices on targeted foods would have to rise by 20% in order to be uncomfortable enough to cut consumption enough to affect obesity rates. And they suggested that the move would need to be coupled with government subsidies on fruit and vegetable produce in order to easily replace unhealthy cheap options with healthier eating.

Hey, there's a thought.

While cigarette smoking has dropped off -- yeah, prices rose about 50% in the last 10 years -- plenty of people still need their fix and pay dearly for it. Time will tell if New York's soda measures, as well as other countries' experiments, will benefit -- but the Danish fiasco should cause officials to pause and rethink the approach.

Is that even possible?

Another problem with letting health be dictated by bureaucracy is that they are far removed from each individual's needs and desires, so they are generally ignorant by design. Many are starting to realize that the war on all fat was a farce and that the complete lack thereof damages health. How can it be said that differing amounts of pizza and butter will make all people equally obese? More dieticians and health experts are actually embracing natural fats as a necessary part of a whole foods regimen.

It doesn't appear that public health consciousness is at the forefront of government initiatives; otherwise:
And, of course, the old-time "conventional" medical community was largely in support (thanks to corporate backing) of the addictive substances now believed to harm us. Just as it is now with Big Pharma Warbucks.

In dystopian novels like 1984, the quality drops in consumer products, prices and taxes inflate, and rationing is mandated. You probably remember it symbolized with Victory Gin and Victory Chocolate, as though the Proles had some freedom of choice. And they scrambled for the overpriced swill (while the elites enjoyed the good stuff), and those caught with black market "luxuries" were arrested and re-educated to believe they weren't worth it. Nearly the same thing happened to Russians living during the Bolshevik takeover and onto the creation of the Soviet Union.


So why after government-run agencies and corporate interests spent years getting people addicted and fat on garbage, calling it nutritious, would they all support taxing people into oblivion for those very same things? Is it really just about exploiting the consumer for money? Being the boss of what's good for you? Is it a symbolically bigger picture of herding people like fattened cattle?

Why after the induced addictions would world governments want to suddenly ween the masses off the choice of their little creature comforts?

Please leave your thoughts below.

Read other articles by Heather Callaghan Here


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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

These infringements on private liberties have nothing to do with "improving" our lives. It's ALL about control

Anonymous said...

Good on the Danish for defeating it. You wouldn't read about it but they're already laying the groundwork for a similar tax here in Australia. Just like the frikkin Carbon Con, the psychopathic money changers will try anything to make a buck at the expense of the people...

chris from oz

http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/fat-tax-time-to-weigh-in-on-a-decision-20121106-28v5x.html

Anonymous said...

"It doesn't appear that public health consciousness is at the forefront of government initiatives"
Good list - probably there are more to add to it, but it's pretty comprehensive of the worst government abuses. And congresscritters who dine in luxury, know Nothing about "consciousness", "public health" or otherwise - they're just a bunch of money+power-grabbing, richguys who know nothing of nothing. Get rid of them all - we don't need them, we can determine our quality of our lives by ourselves !!

Anonymous said...

The government concluded that fat and sugar are bad for you and scientists have concluded that fat and sugars are essential for life. Hmmmm! Which group is likely to be right???

Anonymous said...

Great article, just shows how weak bureaucracy is. Great job Denmark!

Unknown said...

I keep telling Americans they have the power to change stupid laws here as well. Stop flying, stop buying into tax hikes, do without and cause harm by not spending a dime.
All I get is told I'm stupid. Go figure.
I guess Americans are far too lazy, greedy, stubborn and won't "upset" their lavish lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. It would just be nice if we were actually told the truth and could make our own informed choices on what we eat, instead of being told this poisonous rubbish is good for us.

And if you've ever looked at the organic sections on supermarkets, well it's laughably pretty much non existent.

Still there is the good old illusion of choice offered to us . . . .

FatandSassy said...

Obesity and smoking are 2 VERY different phenomena. Smoking was never responsible for the survival of the species as fat was. What we don't realize is that fat has a protective value. Some people gain weight because their bodies are overburdened with pollution. Extreme weight gain can be a symptom of something gone wrong, but w/o fixing the real problem, weight loss is not beneficial. And weight never has been, never will be just about calories in vs out no matter how many times propagandist repeat it in MSM

Anonymous said...

(Real) Chocolate is by far the best source of antioxidants on earth. It is good for the heart and good for the teeth. Plus a great anti-depressant to boot.

It really pisses me off when people say that "we need to eat less" or "we need to eat less meat". Speak for yourself! I have to eat ludicrous amounts of the greasiest foods available to stabilize my weight although my waist size is 26". Have these people never heard of physically demanding work? People never believe me when I say that natural fat does not necessarily make you fat. The anti fat campaign was started before it was known that carbs could be converted to fat in the body. Fat is a sign of affluence. I like a luxuriant female body rather than a waif.

Unknown said...

Get government out, period.

L. Lee Coyne Ph.D. said...

I considered this good news. I wrote this in Nov 2011
http://leanseekers.com/Blog/EntryId/133/Denmark-Fat-Tax-Not-good-Science

The problem with a "fat tax" is it is based
on bad science and faulty assumptions. North Americans eat less fat today than at any time in history but we double obesity every 5 years - fat is not the problem.. There are only 2 kinds of bad fat 1. Man made trans fat and 2. Rancid fat. Saturated fat is natures fat -- the outdated assumptions that fat is bad are based on bad science.

Anonymous said...

Let's just clarify.

Sugar and fat are not equally bad.

There are different types of fat. Natural fat from animal and plant sources, which has not been processed or messed with (for longer shelf-life etc) is vital for good health. Any other fat - i.e not in its natural state, will be harmful.

Sugar on the other hand is only natural when it is found in fruit and veg. Once the juice has been separated from the fibre it is no longer natural. Processed sugar is the worst thing to ever happen to the human race.

So, Sugar is evil, unless found in its natural state (in very small quantities), and fat is good if it is natural, bad if it is processed.

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