A few days ago I came across a news article saying that the government is mulling higher taxes on soft drinks. This isn’t new as increases in levies on soft drinks have been brought out for discussion and proposed in the past. The motivation for increasing the tax on soft drinks was tied up to health aspects. While it is true that soft drinks, especially the ones with ultra high sugar content, aren’t healthy I’m just wondering why our lawmakers are not being consistent with their penalizing of unhealthy behavior. It seems to me that with the recently signed RH law, it is okay to be sexually promiscuous provided you use protection but it isn’t okay to drink a bottle of soda as suggested by this soft drink tax proposal. Hmmm… I wonder if soda manufacturers put a condom on the bottles instead of bottle crowns, would the State also give soft drinks for free like they do for condoms and birth control pills? If fancy condoms come in Coke and Pepsi flavors, would these get taxed?
I am not against promoting healthier choices. Heck, I too, need to ease up on my waistline expanding, artery clogging and sugar spiking habits. If the State’s idea to promote healthier choices and to improve the country’s healthcare system is through increased taxation as they did with the other “sin products” such as alcohol and tobacco, I won’t be surprised if they would be increasing the taxes on those LDL cholesterol filled goodies we eat. But would increased taxation really be the ultimate solution to people’s health issues? In an effort to patch up this problem, wouldn’t we potentially create other problems as a result? How about job losses from the soft drink and “sin products” companies? How about increased financial burdens on the consumers? How about increased smuggling and bootlegging to avoid the harsh taxation? You see this is the problem with most liberal governments (as is with the current party in power in the Philippines). It seems that they have a knack for the quickest fixes and these are often in the form of increased taxation and subsidies. We have an issue with out of control population growth? No problem! Subsidize with free condoms and birth control pills! We have an issue with lung and liver cancers? No problem! Hike up the tax on smokes and booze! We have an issue with fat people? No problem! Make them eat more taxes together with their burgers and sodas! Aside from these measures being mere band-aid solutions, what annoys me is the unequal treatment. I mean think about it! Aren’t all these issues pretty much the same? These are all about bad habits that present a cost to our society – either smoking too much, drinking too much, eating too much, or banging too much. But why on Earth should we get penalized for eating too many burgers and drinking too many sodas at Wendy’s but we get freebies for banging too many Wendys? Whether it is too much smoking, drinking, eating, or banging, doesn’t the flaw lie with lack of discipline and self-control?
Ah yes, that’s the problem. We Filipinos seem to have a big problem with discipline and self-control. I think it is sad that we have to resort to penalizing ourselves with taxes just to learn about the virtues of moderation. We just aren’t mature enough to take things in moderation. Very much like immature brats, we need to be grounded or smacked in the head by our parents first before we realize that staying up and out too late does a number on health and grades. Also, I think it is even sadder that we are deluding ourselves of the notion that the increased taxes the government would collect from our bad habits will really be used in improving our lives. The government has been jacking up the taxes on pretty much everything. In turn, the government has also been increasing social welfare and education budgets. However, what good has the CCT dole-out program brought aside from a pathway to more corruption and the coddling of our mendicant society with a helplessness mentality? And the increase in education budget that the government likes to brag about? What kind of students have our public schools produced but a generation of dumber kids who know nothing more than creating texting abbreviations? Heck, why not tax people every time they use those dumbing text abbreviations if the State is really concerned about our welfare? In the liberal line of thinking, wouldn’t this generate a boat load of revenue and force people to actually learn how to spell correctly?
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It’s funny. We seem to live in a society where we don’t want to tolerate smoking, boozing, and eating too much but we want to coddle those who screw too much. My fellow fat people don’t bother me. Heck, last time I checked, there aren’t a lot of emphysemic, drunk, and fat criminals running from the cops because they are too out of breath, tipsy, and heavy to run from the cops (provided that the cops aren’t emphysemic, drunk and fat themselves). Why the harsher treatment on those folks than the horny toads? Getting inspired from writer Greg Gutfeld’s humor, at least when we drink a bottle of sugar loaded soft drinks we don’t (often) get syphillis from the bottle. I’m not so sure the same thing goes for the bottle if a sexually promiscuous person drinks from it. Anyway, nice job government! If the band-aid solution doesn’t work, I suppose there’s always the previous government to blame.
Calling a spade, a spade…