Researchers: How About A Per Calorie Tax To Curb Obesity


New research on obesity will likely be music to the ears of progressive bureaucratic busybodies who favor high taxes and controlling every aspect of citizens’ lives: Scientists at the National Bureau of Economic Research say the answer to America’s growing obesity problem is a policy of jacking up food prices with higher taxes.


In their study, the researchers contend that making Americans pay a sort of per calorie tax on the foods they purchase would encourage national weight loss. They said that a 10 percent hike in the cost of a calorie could lower the percentage of body fat in youths about 8 percent or 9 percent.

“An increase in the price of a calorie regardless of its source would improve obesity outcomes,” according to the nonprofit’s research.

The report strengthens the arguments of people who say that increasing prices on fast food would help with obesity.

“A calorie tax would get you the biggest bang for the buck,” Abigail Okrent, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said of the research. “It’s the most direct way of taxing obesity.”

The idea of a calorie tax, however, would likely not be a hit with the public. The Washington Post, which initially hyped the obesity tax, polled its readers on the issue, finding a majority opposed to the suggestion.

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • Harold Olsen

    Just because someone eats things that are not really healthy, does not mean they are overweight. What put’s people overweight is the lack of exercise. Diet means very little if the person just sits on his butt all day and does nothing. I’ll be 64 in a couple of weeks and I’ve been a junk food junkie all my life. I’m 5’10” and keep my weight around 160. In the summer time, it hovers between 152 and 162. I exercise. No, I don’t do formal exercises. I walk just about everywhere I go. Also, being overweight can be healthful. Back in the eighties, I had cancer and my usual weight back them was around 140. My doctor told me that if I did not put on weight the chemo-therapy would not do me any good. He gave me some pill to enhance my appetite. One of the effects it had on me was to make me queasy when my stomach got empty. So, I was eating all the time and in about a month my weight shot up to around 190. This idea is just another one of Obama’s lamebrain plans to regulate every aspect of our lives. What’s next Tax us for the way we look? Tax someone who is perceived as ugly or unattractive by certain people? Tax people who are bald? Tax people who have too much hair on their heads? Where does it stop?

  • Cerebus23

    How about exercise more eat less. Since even us thin people like our bacon cheese burgers and dont need financial thuggery to encourage us to keep fit.

    Or are we gong to weigh people when they enter mcdonalds so we can properly apply the tax to fat people?

    My dislike for obesity in general still would not let me support trying to force people to eat right thru taxing them, never mind that it does nothing to get people to walk/jog do aerobics, take the stairs, etc that you really need to do to raise your metabolism burn more calories then your taking in to actually drop them excess pounds.

    • Over21

      My son would not agree with you. He takes long walks, watches his fats and sugars and carbs and is still not losing weight. I tell him he is still benefiting on the inside so he doesn’t get discouraged and quit. He has also cut out a LOT of his actual eating and life is not a one-size-fits-all rule.

  • Andy

    Hello, people–this is NOT about weight control. It is about stealing more of our money for our out-of-control government. They DO NOT care about your health and/or welfare–please remember this one fact. It is ALWAYS about getting your money. They cloak these thefts under the guise of “doing good”–if the government really cared about the citizens, would they all be living like kings and queens while they continue to rob us blind and ignore the rising unemployment rate, out of sight taxes, high gas prices, and on and on…OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE!

    • Over21

      …and wouldn’t they disband Monsanto and the like if they actually cared about the people’s girth? I think it’s all bs. Do these people that want to force these stupid rules on people actually have to live in this world they have created for us?

      • Ted Crawford

        They may live rather ‘next to it’! As Pelosi might posit” Our job is so demanding and so critical we, in Congress, must be granted waivers to allow us the much needed additional caloric intake to enable us to do the People harm….AH …ERR…., I mean the People’s business!”

  • Chris

    Next move? Mandatory pay toilets in every home so you can pay a tax per flush.

  • Han Solo

    Because contrary to popular belief knows that “a calorie is not a calorie”. How about we tax the real obesity problem in America, grams of sugar, and carbohydrates.

  • JimH

    Instead of calories, tax inches on waistlines. It puts a whole new meaning to the term,”tightening the belt”.

  • freedombooster

    This idea of a calorie tax is diversionary tactic so commonly used by gummint. The idea is to seed the populace with an idea that will cause the masses to divide into various factions that argue endlessly about the seeded idea while the schemers use this “crisis” to do another piece of idiotic legislation to resolve the “problem.” Divide and conquer. It is used all the time and never fails to work, Americans are pretty gullible and never bother to ask pointed questions to those in positions of authority. It could be too that a lot of people don’t expect brilliance from those in high political positions, Look at what Mayor Bloomberg has tried to do in NYC in the last year. Pure idiocy. We got a bunch of losers throughout the government these days.