Frum: Do 'fat taxes' actually work?
November 4th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: David Frum, a CNN contributor, is a contributing editor at The Daily Beast. He is the author of eight books, including a new novel, "Patriots," and a post-election e-book, "Why Romney Lost." Frum was a special assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002.

The Mexican Senate has just passed, 72-2, an 8% tax on candy, chips and other high-calorie foods. It continues to debate a special additional tax of about 8 cents per liter on sugary soda.

You can understand why Mexican leaders are worried about their nation's eating habits. Mexicans consume more sugary soft drinks per person than any other people on earth. Mexico suffers the highest incidence of diabetes among the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Mexicans are more likely to be obese even than Americans, the next runner-up.

Taxes on junk foods constitute just a part of a vast fiscal reform proposed by Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto. The overall plan aims to rationalize tax collections, curtail tax evasion and shift Mexico away from dependence on oil revenues. That's all a topic for another day.

The question for today is: Will fat taxes work?

Read - Can sugar tax help Mexico's obesity epidemic?



soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Lynwood Burmside

    There are some attention-grabbing closing dates on this article however I don�t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There may be some validity however I'll take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as properly

    December 20, 2013 at 3:19 am |
  2. Coralee Ramage

    There are some fascinating points in time on this article however I don�t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There's some validity however I'll take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like extra! Added to FeedBurner as properly

    December 15, 2013 at 6:39 am |
  3. Chris

    It's a good policy if the tax money is going to health care services. Don't think it will make much impact on curbing junk food consumption, though.

    November 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  4. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    It's not just the poor that eat that cr@p.

    November 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • No, it won't work

      That's quite a moniquer you've got there, Annie. lol

      November 7, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  5. No, it won't work

    So the idea is to tax the poor so they can't afford to eat badly. That's worked well in the US & UK so far. [end sarcasm] How 'bout taxing the sh!t out of the producers of these foods, too? Course that hasn't worked too in the tobacco industry has it? Strong lobby = tiny taxes.

    I guess the bottom line is self-destructive people are going to do whatever they want to abuse their bodies no matter how much it costs.

    November 5, 2013 at 7:06 am |
    • VladT

      I abhor the idea of smoking, but did you honestly just state that the tobacco industry is not heavily taxed? Really? Go buy a pack of cigarettes with a friend, and see how much of the total cost is for the cigs, and how much is tax

      November 7, 2013 at 9:39 am |
      • No, it won't work

        Sorry to see you failed your reading comprehension class.

        November 7, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • bghamby

      Economics shows that most of the tax on producers will be passed on to consumers in the form of a higher price. Likewise a tax on consumers will be passed back to the producers in the form of a lower net price for their goods. But taxes (on either the producer or the consumer) tend to reduce demand for anything that is non-essential.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
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