Tax meat and dairy products |

Tax meat and dairy products

During this tax season, everyone’s attention turns to the tax burden that weighs heavily on us all. Republicans promise tax cuts, but run up the defense budget and the national debt for our children. Democrats oppose tax cuts and favor funding social services and reducing the national debt.

But here are ways to reduce the income tax burden that both Democrats and Republicans can support:

1. Reduce federal subsidies for meat and dairy products that contribute to the deaths of 1.3 million Americans annually.

2. Tax these products to compensate federal and state governments for their costs of treating the victims under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Last December, U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher estimated that diseases associated with obesity alone were accountable for 300,000 deaths annually and a national cost of $117 billion. Extrapolating this equation of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases, which have been linked conclusively with consumption of animal fat and meat, brings the annual number of American deaths to 1.3 million and the associated national cost to around $500 billion. That works out to roughly $5,000 annually per household.

The concept of taxing animal fat and meat may sound radical today, but so did the idea of taxing alcohol and tobacco products at one time. At least 17 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted taxes on soft drinks or other junk foods. Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for consumers who choose to harm their and their family’s health.

Mark Twain said that nothing is certain except death and taxes. However, one can be delayed and the other reduced by avoiding the consumption of recognized health hazards like animal fat and meat. Taxing these products would encourage consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Paul Kennedy

Grass Valley

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