JUNK THIS FAT FARCE
AUSTRALIA. The land of the long weekend and more Nanny State laws than you can poke a stick at. The land where your bad decisions will be not only forgiven by the Government, but encouraged.
But not content with simply banning everything and penalising the many for the sins of the few, the Federal Government also sees a way to make a buck.
We already have the “vice” taxes on booze and smokes, and now sugar is in the firing line.
Cancer Council Queensland does fantastic work but it is pressuring the feds to implement a tax on soft drinks and to ban junk- food ads.
It recently cited a survey that showed 60 per cent of respondents supported a tax on sugary drinks. This is ridiculous. Firstly, anyone who agrees paying more for something is a good idea – especially by way of a tax – needs a serious talking to. Secondly, such measures unfairly penalise people who aren’t obese or unhealthy.
If you have a Mars bar and a can of Coke every day but ride your pushie to and from work, why should you have to pay the same tax as someone who does no exercise?
If 90 per cent of people can watch an ad for gambling, alcohol or junk food and not develop an addiction, why should the 10 per cent who can’t control themselves dictate to the rest what is acceptable?
It’s estimated that a sugar tax would increase the price of a 2L bottle of soft drink by 80c and reap $ 500 million in tax revenue.
But it would only cut consumption by 15 per cent. So like taxes on booze, fuel and smokes, it’s really just a blatant cash grab by a government that can’t balance its books.
If you want to eat a burger that drips grease down your forearms, and wash it down with a soft drink, you should be able to without being taxed.
By the same token, if you eat that stuff, don’t exercise and become a land whale, you shouldn’t have anyone to blame but yourself.
Universal healthcare plays a part because obesity- related illnesses and afflictions make up the bulk of health costs in Australia. This means you can become the size of a house and the Government will pay for your bad decisions.
A better method of government intervention would be to impose a copayment for all medical care, but especially treatment of alcohol, tobacco and obesity- related conditions.
So you can party hard now but you’ll have to pay later when your liver, lungs and heart give out.
Or you can party moderately, exercise regularly and not be a burden on the health system and keep some money in your pocket.
The other issue is that by not allowing freedom to advertise – and actively trying to reduce consumption of legal products – governments wander into unpalatable territory of limiting private profits, which threatens jobs. It also says to people: “It’s not your fault you can’t stop eating junk food, it’s those companies brainwashing you with their clever ads.”
It also realises a socialist ideal of the government taking care of everyone, and removes from people the responsibility to look after themselves.
The World Health Organisation estimates about 268 million children under the age of 15 will be overweight by 2025.
This is not primarily a government problem, it’s a parenting problem.
Almost everyone over the age of 35 today speaks fondly of a childhood where you didn’t come home until it was dark, and then pleaded with Mum to let you ride around the block one more time before tea.
The old footy’s stitching would be coming apart from overuse and games of tiggy could last for days.
Kids would be losing skin off knees, they were tanned and trim and had great hand- eye coordination.
Now far too many kids are allowed to sit inside on electronic devices. They can’t catch a ball, can’t throw, can’t kick, can’t run. Some kids just aren’t sporty, but that doesn’t mean they can’t ride a bike or walk the dog for a couple of hours a day.
A welcome government policy would be to make sports more affordable by offering vouchers for equipment and travel.
With wage growth stagnant and government- caused costs of living skyrocketing, such a practical measure would have multiple benefits, not least of all forgoing the need for yet another tax.