By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON – Want to hit the poor where they live? Tax fast-food restaurants, big sugary drinks and other convenience food and beverage items deemed hazardous to your health.
That’s the take of Adam Hoffer, an assistant economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Hoffer recently co-authored an op-ed on the subject of poverty and fast-food taxes for USA Today.
In the piece, headlined “Big Brother declares war on consumption,” Hoffer and fellow professors William F. Shughart II and Michael D. Thomas assert targeted taxation or bans on fatty, salty, sugary and preserved-filled foods may be designed to go after America’s epidemic obesity problem, but it’s hurting the people who can least afford such “sin taxes” the most.
“Research in the new field of ‘behavioral economics’ generally supports such policies, but what scholars often overlook is the impact taxes and regulations have on the poorest members of society,” the economists write. “The simple fact is that poverty reduces the scope of choice.”
Obesity fighters have advocated taxing fast-food establishments for several years.
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