January 18, 2018

EVERYONE WANTS INTO THE PIGOU CLUB:

The Case for the Health Taxes (David Leonhardt, JAN. 18, 2018, NY Times)

The argument for these taxes is compelling. Sweetened beverages are the single largest contributor to the obesity epidemic, scientists say, and that epidemic exacts a big toll, in both health problems and medical costs.

Soda taxes are modeled on tobacco taxes, which have been hugely successful in reducing smoking and improving public health. But even tobacco taxes are still not high enough, as the economist Robert H. Frank explained recently. And taxes on soda could do far more good if they were higher and more widespread.

Today, Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, and Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary, are announcing a new global group to advocate for these kinds of taxes. I think of them as "health taxes," and they can also cover alcohol and forms of sugar beyond soda. The group includes the president of Uruguay and the former prime minister of New Zealand, as well as leaders from Britain, China and Nigeria.

Consumers should pay for externalities.

Posted by at January 18, 2018 9:05 AM

  

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