The Corner

Fat Taxes

This argument for them raises an interesting question: Is there a distinction in principle between “sin taxes” on cigarettes and alcohol, which most people support, and taxes on fat consumption? In all of these cases there are negative-externalities and public-health arguments in favor of taxation. Otoh, there could be distinctions based on the addictiveness of the product and the harm of the first unit of consumption. There could also, of course, be distinctions in the magnitude of the public-health and other consequences. I suspect that there isn’t a fully satisfying distinction. But then, I’m not a fan of sin taxes to begin with.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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