We recently discussed the soda pop taxed. The two major pros of this tax would be:
1) Additional revenue to pay for the $1.2 trillion health-care overhaul (over ten years)
2) Reduce the obesity rate in America.
My solution would solve both problems. Cut the Food Stamps program (now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) by 10% across the board. Additional cuts for individuals and families who are on SNAP and obese (30 BMI or greater) would be made to encourage them to lose weight.
This would be a modest cut on an individual level. The average monthly benefit was about $101 per person and about $227 per household in FY 2008. That would only be $10.10 per person and $22.70 per family. In other words the cost of two to five 24-packs of name brand soda pop.
The soda pop tax is estimated to create $24 Billion over the next 4 years. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is expecting to top $60 Billion this year. The 10% cut across the board would be the same $24 Billion the soda tax would create. Then we reduce the amount of food assistance received by individuals who’s BMI is greater than 30 would generate additional savings.
Those on SNAP have a higher BMI (See graph) than those who are not. Merely reducing sugar intake through soda will not reduce Obesity. Calorie reduction is what will reduce Obesity. Since there are more than 32 million people on SNAP this would effectively reduce their food consumption, i.e. calories, of 32 million people by 10%. More so for the individuals who are on SNAP and significantly obese.
http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeehy04/work/bmi.jpg - graph
A scientific study finds that SNAP participation may actually be a risk factor for obesity. The researchers also found that BMI rose higher the longer participants received the stamps.