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Old 05-19-2012, 07:15 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
It's not about which foods they tax. It's about the system being corrupt and easily swayed through lobbyists. Once the door is open, food choices will be bought with money. Plus food should not be taxed, period.

Also the big deal is that I don't want the government involved. They are inept and inefficient, and need their hands out of as much as possible. I do not want socialism. I want small government. That's the big deal.

Government, leave us alone. I do not want a big government micromanaging my life. You may Tann, and I respect your opinion, but I do not. That's why it's a big deal. I believe in most cases they make things worse, not better.
OK, interesting one.

This is my take on this. Like it or not, all governments need to raise money through taxation. That money is spent on all the things that make a society function. So there is a choice of how that money is raised. It can be taken directly out of your wages or it can be applied to various products that are bought and sold. Either way you're going to have to pay it.

The moral problem I have with elevating individual freedom above all other virtues is that it involves a huge contradiction. Unless you live in a cabin in the woods, and consume nothing, and produce no waste, pretty soon your actions start impinging on other people's freedoms.

To give an obvious example, seven billion people cannot keep consuming the amount of fossil fuels at the rate they have been without (a) using them up and (b) creating significant pollution (I'll leave climate change out of this). Yet everyone insists it's their God given right to drive a car whenever and however they use. It's a monstrous extravagance to power 3500lbs of metal to move a 220 lb human through one mile down the road, but hey, we're lazy. The consequence of defending those little individual freedoms will be a much greater loss of freedom later on. So in the UK, we have a massive tax on fuel. It's social engineering for sure, but another way to see it is putting the brakes on our own self-destructive selfishness.

To apply this to health: the Scottish government is about to introduce a minimum price of 50p for a unit of alcohol. It will be illegal to sell it for less than that. That's deliberate social engineering, and it could be argued that it restricts the freedom of many people to get as drunk as they possible can. I'm all in favour of this, as it turns out I'm paying for them to exercise their freedom. I pay through funding the National Health Service, and I'm paying through living in a society where alcohol-related crime consumes a disproportionate amount of police resources.

With regard to food, to reiterate a point I made earlier: you are already paying for someone else's freedoms. Your taxes fund medicare, which means that you pay for a proportion of the population to chow down as much unhealthy food as they like - then you pick up the tab for their medical treatment.

And to finish on a general point:

To me, most government intervention isn't about micromanagement. It's about balancing of freedoms. For too long, we've all been playing this tune of 'So long as I've got my freedoms, I don't care.' This pervasive selfishness neglects the impact that we all have upon each other. For all its inefficiencies, corruption and incompetence, the ONLY body in any position to reign in our self-destructive selfishness is the government.
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Last edited by Tannhauser; 05-19-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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