If nanny state bureaucrats want their citizenry to be underweight and compliant, then they need a government that is large and in charge, according to a new study.
In 2017, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) turned his attention to obesity. The city government placed a tax on sugary sweetened beverages in hopes that it would deter sugar consumption. According to researchers from the University of Georgia, Philadelphians wound up consuming more sugar from other food items and even traveled across state lines to buy sodas after that tax was implemented.
As flagged by Georgia Today, the surprising behavior “almost entirely offset the decrease in sugar intake from colas and other sweet drinks.”
Researchers concluded that the answer is not for folks like Kenney to simply stop trying to socially engineer certain policy outcomes, but for big government to step in and circumvent local authority and self-governance.
“Can we influence behavior through taxation? Yes, but only if you enact a policy at broader levels of government, such as at the state or national level that prevents people from cross-border shopping,” Felipe Lozano-Rojas, a lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, said in a statement.
“The answer is no if you’re enacting these policies at a local level,” he added.
If that line of thinking sounds familiar, it is because the solution to life’s problems is always the same for leftists: a bigger government with more power. Americans can never be trusted to make their own decisions because we are stupid, they imply not-so-subtly.
Similar to COVID lockdowns or whatever social ailment currently plagues society, the usual suspects have a penchant for advocating a national policy that removes decision-making away from the individual.
Their answer to America’s problems is always varying forms of socialism: Experts in charge, tasked with centrally planning “success” based on science and data, while arrogantly thinking that they can predict the future and control human behavior.
Even in coming up with alternative solutions, the answer isn’t lowering taxes or a smaller government, according to researchers.
“If we were to subsidize healthier options, especially for these groups, the tax might work better,” Lozano-Rojas remarked. “Subsidizing water, making it more accessible, particularly in places where tap water is not drinkable, these are things that might make going with the healthier choice easier. I think this issue requires more of a magnifying glass into these populations to determine the causes driving excessive sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.”
It does not appear that deregulation or lowering federal sugar subsidies is even on Lozano-Rojas’ radar, but why would it be? That sort of idea would limit government power.
These folks do not realize that humans are creative. Humans find new ways of getting what they want. There is always an unintended consequence — whether it be good or bad — that stems from government policies and human choices. Those unintended consequences are always surprising.
Centrally planning — whether it be an economy or the amount of sugar that humans absorb — fails because it cannot account for such surprises. The only thing that can account for surprises is capitalism.
As legendary tech guru and economist George Gilder once put it on Mark Levin’s TV show, “Creativity is the foundation of capitalism. And this is — and socialism is based on planning. It’s based on the assumption that we’d already know all we need to know in order to plan our future, and so it leads to tyranny, and that’s really the difference.”
“Liberty versus tyranny as someone once put it,” he said to the author of “Liberty vs. Tyranny.”
Indeed, with this soda tax study and subsequent conclusions, we see how quickly folks on the Left go from liberty — allowing individuals the choice of which drinks to buy without added taxes — to tyranny — advocating a nationwide policy that includes preventing people from “cross-border shopping.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.