Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Forget "What's the matter with Kansas" - what's the matter with the Nanny State?

Thomas Frank wrote the famously clueless book, What's The Matter With Kansas, mewing doe-eyed* about why the voters of Kansas kept voting for Republicans when it was "clearly in their economic interest" to vote for Democrats.  He didn't understand that the people of Kansas knew what he didn't, which is that this is nonsense on stilts.  The Democrats are terrible to the working class, speaking in economic terms.

As Reagan liked to say, there they go again:

Medical scientists in San Francisco have sent a chill wind blowing through the IT industry as they issue a call for swingeing taxes on "soda, fruit punch, sweet tea, sports drinks, and other sweetened beverages".

A collection of health profs and other researchers led by Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo (associate professor of medicine and of epidemiology and biostatistics at California uni's San Francisco campus) say they have now put numbers on the horrific toll exacted as Americans poison themselves with no less than 13.8 billion gallons* of disgustful pop annually. Furthermore they say that huge numbers of lives would be saved if only the government would slap a hefty tax on the sugar-laden beverages of death - to the tune of a cent per fluid ounce.

They estimate that such a "penny-per-ounce" tax on sweetened beverages would prevent nearly 100,000 cases of heart disease, 8,000 strokes, and 26,000 deaths every year. It would deliver a hefty $13bn in revenue to the hard-pressed US exchequer, and save $17bn in medical expenses.

"You would also prevent 240,000 cases of diabetes per year," says Bibbins-Domingo, whose team has just published a paper outlining their ideas in the journal Health Affairs.
Bull.  The science is a guarantied cinch to be junk, with the study flawed to the point of meaninglessness and the statistics cooked.  Probably funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, too, although it's I'm sure entirely unexpected that it supports yet another Big Government, Nanny State power grab tax on poor people.  A complete coincidence.  Didn't see that one coming.  No siree.

The only mystery, really, is why Thomas Frank and other Right Thinking People™ are mystified as to how those moronic redneck hicks in flyover country, clinging to their guns and religion and antipathy to people (like Frank) who are different from them, actually understand their own economic self interest better than a PhD like Frank.

* I have got to stop milking this dead horse about the intellectual left.


bluesun said...

I still think dead horse milk tastes better than Mountain Dew.

And it's a prettier color.

Wolfman said...

After all, taxing things like gas, or booze, or tobacco has drastically reduced their use, right? Right? Social control thru taxation and legislation? Right?

Anonymous said...

Being British I wish to point out didn't you guys start a revolution over a penny tax. I'm just saying that's all.
I also find this wonderfully ironic as they have killed the cigarette and booze revenue streams, they are starting on the things the "nice" people like. Well the "nice" people were warned wait till they start on candy and cookies.

SiGraybeard said...

Yet they never, ever admit for a minute that their constant pressure to cut dietary fat has led to the increased consumption of sugar. I mean, there are only three macronutrients: carbohydrate, fat and protein, if you lower the percentage of one, the percentage of the other two must go up. It's 4th grade math.

It's not soft drinks, it's everything.

I should be quiet. They'll put food sin taxes on everything.