Mother Government?

Editor’s note: I wanted to let everyone know how thankful we are here at channel 4 for the e-mails complementary of our coverage last week during one of the city’s darkest chapters in recent memory. We’re not out there to win emmys when things like this occur, but the hundreds of e-mails tell me that we struck just the right tone as a news organization during a time of tragedy. I personally received so many wonderful e-mails from viewers that I am a little overwhelmed, although it says to me that we as broadcasters are not the far removed from you – the viewer – in terms of  how we feel when these things happen. Once again, thank you!

There were a number of items that, understandably, slipped through the cracks last week. One of them was a plan being considered by Maine and New York state that would tax all carbonated beverages by 10% ( soda, pop, soft drink … you pick the name ). The idea is that such drinks have some much sugar that people, especially children, become obese and this contributes to their unhealthy lifestyle. By making it more expensive to buy, the hope is fewer people will purchase the item … and choose healthier fare instead.

The idea of  taxing things that are “bad” for you is nothing new. Just a couple of weeks ago, the feds imposed new taxes on tobacco products … some increase the price of various tobacco products by 1000%.  The thinking is if you can make smoking more expensive, fewer people will choose to do it.

That’s great … except for a couple of things. Last I checked, there are many people who drink soda who are not obese. In fact, some use diet soda as part of their weight-loss plan. Also, in this economy, should we penalize profitable companies like Pepsi and Coke because some people cannot control what their kids drink?

soft_drinksIn other words, since when did the Federal Government start playing the role of parent? This has always been a country of choice, and when the government starts to tell us what’s good for us then we begin to lose what makes a democracy a democracy.

Look, I’m not in favor of smoking. I find it a disgusting habit and one of the biggest turn-offs in the world. Still, I don’t think we should penalize smokers because they choose to smoke. It’s their right. However, when they invariably get sick and develop lung cancer, let’s not given the access to medicaid and other government-based medical funding.

The same is true with soft drinks. Don’t penalize the person who buys soft drinks by taxing them. Instead, why not subsidize healthier food and make it cheaper for us to buy. I think people often buy soft drinks because it winds up being cheaper than some healthier drinks. Let’s bring down the price of the food that’s good for us rather than raising the cost of those things that are not so good.

Overall, I’m not into government intervention into such areas of our lives. I think people need to make these decisions on their own and if they choose wrong, then let them deal with the consequences. Most adults left home when they were 18. We don’t need to government serving as parent for us … when we become parents.

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