Thoughts for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

This commentary was first distributed through The Powers Report on November 20, 2017. Please sign up here to receive my newsletter in your inbox! Link to the Newsletter here.

I am grateful for every Thanksgiving celebration because without this holiday, I might not be here.

Decades past, the man who would be my father wooed the woman who would be my mother over a Thanksgiving feast. My dad had won a turkey in a bowling tournament and decided to “wow” my mom with a special meal. It worked, and they were married the following April. If only the government were as efficient!

So how can I make your Thanksgiving memorable? Well, lots of people drink alcohol on Thanksgiving, so here’s a topic for discussion.

You may have heard that Scotland will be implementing floor pricing on alcohol. The concept is that the Scots drink too much booze, so the govmint is stepping in and making it more expensive as a means to reduce consumption. Folks in the global beverage industry are freaked because if the Scottish plan is adopted elsewhere, booze could become more expensive. Sales could drop. Maybe people would drink less and not get cirrhosis, but whatever.

This got me thinking. Maybe we need a soda tax in the US. A few years back Mayor Bloomberg oversaw a soda tax in New York City (which was ultimately repealed) and I thought it was a terrible idea because I am allergic to regulation. (See note above – it’s because my parents got married so quickly.) But after reading a study about how a soda tax in Berkeley, California actually lowered consumption, I tweeted support for the idea. Too many calories in the American diet are from soda and I believe consumption should be reduced as a matter of public health.

Well, @bansodatax did not agree with me. Their postulation is that a soda tax doesn’t reduce obesity. Instead, their proposal to promote public health is to reward people for riding bikes to work.

Upon reflection, I am officially a flip-flopper. I am now against the soda tax. Maybe the data’s not there yet to connect the tax with a reduction in obesity. I have to think that drinking less soda would contribute to that goal. But so would eating less candy. And eating fewer French Fries. And excluding nacho cheese Doritos from our diets (heaven forbid!!!). In fact, we probably shouldn’t be eating sweet potato pie or gravy or the skin off that there turkey leg either. If we tax soda, shouldn’t we tax everything else?

Discuss.

As for the reward system for cyclists…I’m not a fan of that either. People should not be rewarded for doing what they should be doing in the first place. Cyclists are de facto getting rewarded because they reap the health benefits of exercising. So hey: all y’all need to take a nice long bike ride after your Thanksgiving dinner!

From Austin, Texas, I wish you a wonderful Turkey Day!

Janis

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