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Medicine Science

California City May Tax Sugary Drinks Like Cigarettes 842

Posted by Soulskill
from the protecting-us-from-ourselves dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Voters in Richmond, California are set to decide in November whether to make the Bay Area city the nation's first municipality to tax soda and other sugary beverages to help fight childhood obesity. The penny-per-ounce tax, projected to raise between $2 million and $8 million, would go to soccer fields, school gardens and programs to treat diabetes and fight obesity. Councilman Jeff Ritterman, a doctor who proposed the measure, says soda is a prime culprit behind high childhood obesity rates in Richmond, where nearly 20 percent of residents live below the poverty line. 'If you look at where most of our added sugar is coming, it's coming from the sugar-sweetened beverages,' says Ritterman. 'It's actually a poison for you, because your liver can't handle that huge amount of fructose.' Not everyone is pleased by the proposed license fee on businesses selling sweetened drinks. It would require owners of bodegas, theaters, convenience stores and other outlets to tally ounces sold and, presumably, pass the cost on to customers. Soda taxes have failed elsewhere — most notably in Philadelphia, where Mayor Michael A. Nutter's attempts to impose a 2-cents-per-ounce charge on sugary drinks have sputtered twice. However, Dr. Bibbins-Domingo says similar taxes on cigarettes have had a dramatic effect on public health. 'It was a few decades ago when we had high rates of tobacco and we had high rates of tobacco-related illnesses. Those measures really turned the tide and really led to lower rates of tobacco across the country.'"
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California City May Tax Sugary Drinks Like Cigarettes

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  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:15AM (#40256645)
    It's nice to see so many cities are willing to help us out by telling us what to buy [slashdot.org], then moving those funds to "help people" and "create jobs". The rhetoric is unending and unhelpful. I really don't care if this helps kids for five minutes, because ten minutes from now they'll switch to cheap artificially sweetened drinks that are cancerous. We don't need to talk about that though, just the fact's ma'am.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      because ten minutes from now they'll switch to cheap artificially sweetened drinks that are cancerous. .

      Don't worry citizen, California is already preparing a label for that.

    • by elucido (870205) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:23AM (#40256771)

      If you choose to be fat, if you choose to smoke, if you choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, you should be the one to pay for your healthcare expenses. The tax allows the government to charge the people who are running up the healthcare expenses and this is an excellent idea for a state which provides universal coverage.

      The people with the bad habits should shut up and pay the tax or better maybe the government can simply cut them off healthcare entirely and let them die? Which is it? All I know is the rest of us shouldn't have to pay for their choices.

      • by mhajicek (1582795) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:34AM (#40256941)
        Then perhaps healthcare shouldn't be a public burden. Why should anyone pay for anyone else's life choices? The options are two: remove public healthcare or remove the choices. Our society is moving rapidly toward the latter. The logical continuation is to determine an optimal course of action for every person at every point in time, and to punish them if they attempt to deviate from their orders. We will eat what we're told to and nothing else. We will sleep and wake when we're told to and at no other time. We will exercise, work, and entertain ourselves in the exact manner which we are instructed to. To do anything else would be selfish, increasing the cost to society. Think of the children!
        • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:56AM (#40257303)

          Then perhaps healthcare shouldn't be a public burden. Why should anyone pay for anyone else's life choices?

          Just to be sure we're clear -- are you saying you want to live somewhere the emergency rooms turn people away?

          The options are two: remove public healthcare or remove the choices.

          I'm not really sure that it's fair to characterize "ensuring that the costs of the choices have would-be externalities incorporated rather than passed on to others" as "removing the choices". Does make a better sound bite, though.

        • by Bengie (1121981) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:03AM (#40257427)
          Minor variances in what you eat doesn't make a huge difference. It's when you consume a lot of one type of thing. Soda here and there is fine, chugging 8 MountainDews a day is not healthy.

          To have a requirement to "NOT ACTIVELY KILL YOURSELF" is quite different than "this is what you have to eat".
          • I've known at least four people who drink 8+ high calorie/high sugar/high caffine drinks per day and they are as thin as rails. Yet I work out, drink 95% water, and try my best to eat healthy and I'm the one with 'extra' pounds. So I think you and alot of other people are not looking enough at biological factors and deciding it is all in the foods consumed.

            • by hawguy (1600213)

              I've known at least four people who drink 8+ high calorie/high sugar/high caffine drinks per day and they are as thin as rails. Yet I work out, drink 95% water, and try my best to eat healthy and I'm the one with 'extra' pounds. So I think you and alot of other people are not looking enough at biological factors and deciding it is all in the foods consumed.

              Public health policy is not about keeping any specific person healthy, it's about keeping the general population, on average, more healthy. It's accepted that in general, the more calories you eat the more weight you'll gain. In addition, consuming large quantities of sugar (whether HFCS, sucrose, or even processed carbs like white bread) increases your risk of diabetes.

              By taxing a very cheap source of sugar that's often known to be consumed in quantities that can be harmful, the general health of the pop

      • by codewarren (927270) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:38AM (#40257003)

        In what world do most obese children "choose" to be fat? Most children are unaware of the nuances of dieting, the dangers of obesity, and the difficulty in losing weight once gained. They don't choose their parents or the culture they're born into either.

        • by elucido (870205)

          In what world do most obese children "choose" to be fat? Most children are unaware of the nuances of dieting, the dangers of obesity, and the difficulty in losing weight once gained. They don't choose their parents or the culture they're born into either.

          That is why we need the tax. The parents are making them fat to catch sales and save money.

          • by jythie (914043) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:19AM (#40257705)
            The parents are making them fat to catch sales and save money.

            This cut to the heart of why such a tax actually makes economic (and capitalistic) sense at a state level. The cost of these sugary/fattening products is artificially low due to taxpayer money being funneled into the industry at a federal level. Since the farm lobby is too powerful to get that cut it makes sense for states to balance things out and bring such food items at least part of the way back to their real cost.
      • by Bigbutt (65939) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:50AM (#40257199) Homepage Journal

        Perhaps, but what's an unhealthy lifestyle? Where do you stop? Is driving one of the shoebox sized cars an unhealthy lifestyle? Is riding a motorcycle unhealthy? How about living under power lines, is that considered an unhealthy lifestyle? Live near an airport or next to a busy road? You eat non-organic foods? You walk outside without sunscreen? You live in the city? You ride a bicycle to work? You drive an SUV? You eat meat? You eat fish? Are you getting enough caffeine? Are you using an antiperspirant? Are you using detergent?

        What unhealthy lifestyle choices are you making where you should be taxed more or kicked off of healthcare to let die?

        [John]

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:09AM (#40257519)

        Ok, then actually, we need to turn things around and tax people who try to live longer. No, seriously, the big cost in healthcare is end of life care. It is when you are old and everything just starts going wrong, particularly when you start suffering from mental problems like dementia. THAT'S what really costs. A guy who dies at 60 of a heart attack from being obese? Saved everyone a ton of money. Yes, during his life he cost more than someone who was in very good health, but by not living in to his 80s he saved a ton of money net.

        This is all never mind retirement pay. It would be easy to fix SS if most people started dying before they needed to collect it. It could just pay out for disability, and for the rare retirement.

        So if you want the taxes to align with the costs, then healthy living is what is going to be taxed. Those that do things that would lead to them living the longest will pay the highest taxes because they are the ones who are likely to cost the most.

        If you don't like that idea because you are making the "right" choices, then maybe you need to rethink your premise. Seems to me like people want to "punish" people who they perceive to make the wrong choice, rather than set up something actually based on economics.

        So some research, we know what the costs are in healthcare and it is that damn old age and end of life care that pushes it through the roof.

      • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:12AM (#40257577)

        If you choose to be fat, if you choose to smoke, if you choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, you should be the one to pay for your healthcare expenses.

        I keep hearing this crap and seeing it modded up as "+5 Informative."

        Here's the problem with these arguments: Study: Fat people cheaper to treat [usatoday.com].

        This is a problem with the majority of health care expense studies that call for "nanny state" approaches to just about anything. Such studies usually compare annual costs to treat people who have various conditions or behaviors. Rarely do they consider total expenses for the entire lifespans of patients.

        Think about it this way: an obese or a smoker or whatever may get sick a little more and thus cost a little more on average for the early part of his/her life. But a lot of these people then have heart attacks or strokes or whatever and die at age 45 or 55 or whatever. Meanwhile, other healthy people continue living to age 85 or 90, and they need health care (including various illnesses, operations, whatever) for an extra 30 or 40 years more. In the end, even many "healthy lifestyle" people will die of cancer or some other costly illness, so they end up costing the system a lot of money in the last couple years of care, just like the obese smoker who ends up with lung cancer 30 years earlier.

        But those extra 30 years of healthcare, even for healthy people, will often end up costing more than the obese person who was "nice enough" to die and remove himself from the insurance pool early.

        The cost-benefit analysis is a bit controversial, and there are some conflicting studies, but basically when you consider the total cost of healthcare over an entire lifespan, that obese smoker probably costs everyone a little less -- or at least about the same amount.

        You can apply this logic to just about any "nanny state" law. Seat belt laws supposedly save us money because people wearing seatbelts end up with fewer major injuries, thereby costing the healthcare system less. But those studies never take into account the fact that people who don't wear seat belts tend to have a much greater fatality rate, and every 18-year-old dumbass who gets himself killed without a seatbelt is someone the healthcare system won't have to treat for another 60 or 70 years.

        In the end, most of these things tend to balance out... because people who do stupid things just don't live as long and therefore generally shave decades off of their healthcare costs.

        You want to be angry about someone -- be angry with the 100+ year old healthy people who have had minor operations and other problems over the years. They're the ones who collectively are costing you huge amounts of money over their lifespans. Maybe you're in favor of cutting off health insurance for anyone who lives past the average lifespan??

      • by eepok (545733)

        I agree with you to a certain extent... and that limit is the disregard for addiction and life-long conditioning.

        Thanks to the glorious television, child are directly targeted by a constant stream of advertising and marketing. They're told what they should like, why they should like it, and what happens if they don't get what they like. Add on top of that, the social pressures that amplify the indirect pressures and you have the culture of conformity and stratified castes that program children to desire and

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        If you choose to be fat, if you choose to smoke, if you choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, you should be the one to pay for your healthcare expenses.

        Being fat and smoking don't make you sick, they make you DEAD. And no matter how healthy your lifestyle, you're going to die, and you're likely going to rack up some huge medical expenses while doing so. Take a healthy seventy year old who will ultimately live to be a hundred. He's likely to visit the doctor every week for thirty years. Compare that to the

      • Exactly. People SHOULD pay for their choices. So if you choose to have kids you should pay full price for their daycare program, their schooling, their sports teams and facilities, and their healthcare. Why should those of us that choose not to have kids have to support your choice?

      • by Dog-Cow (21281)

        I hate smoking (really the smoke), but it has been shown that smokers actually cost the healthcare less over the smoker's lifetime than the equivalent non-smoker. This is because smokers tend to die early due to complications from smoking. Non-smokers live (much) longer, and healthcare for the elderly swamps the costs of smoking.

    • "because ten minutes from now they'll switch to cheap artificially sweetened drinks that are cancerous."
      please name a study that actual shows they are cancerous.

      There is no good evidence of that.

    • by codewarren (927270) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:31AM (#40256885)

      I understand the sentiment of not needing the government to tell us what to buy, but I am really tired of the myth that "artificial" sweeteners cause cancer and "natural" sugar is somehow safe. Consuming sugar is known to greatly increase your risk of obesity (and thereby a host of other health issues like heart disease and diabetes). Whereas the least safe of all of the no calorie or low calorie sweeteners in use, aspartame, has not been demonstrated to be a carcinogen at all.

      Even if there is a clear line between "natural" and "artificial" it does not follow that the former is in any way safe. Much of nature is out to kill you.

      • by Rei (128717) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:02AM (#40257403) Homepage

        Written better than I could have. Clap, clap.

        Most of the natural "good for you" chemicals are that way from pure chance anyway. Those plant-based alkaloids and glycosides are generally there to poison predators, deter infestations, and a whole host of other things that probably don't concern you. But they're designed to be biologically active in animals, affecting some system or another, and when you're not the target species such effects may work out for the good or the bad.

        Just like "artificial" chemicals, "natural" chemicals can be mutagenic, teratogenic, carcinogenic, and of course, just outright toxic. They can have immediate effects only or they can bioaccumulate. And not all of them are just "either immediate bad effects or little effects down the road". Some are really insidious with huge poisoning effects but only after a delay. I had thought that alpha-amantin was bad in that it can take up to 24 hours after ingestion to show signs - far too late to pump your stomach before it destroys your internal organs and kills you. But I read about another deadly mushroom toxin (forget the name or the group of mushrooms that it belongs to) which can take several weeks or even months after you eat it before it starts showing (ultimately fatal) symptoms. A really crazy one is Paxillus involutus. You can eat the mushroom for years with no effects. But it has a small chance at any point in time of causing your immune system to start attacking its own red blood cells and kill you. My favorite from the world of plants is the creosote bush. It not only has developed a super-fast, near-surface root system which soaks up water from the surrounding soil fast enough to keep competitors from germinating, it also poisons the soil around it with a compound designed to attack the Burro Bush. Scorched earth tactics from the plant world ;) Oh, and yeah, it's poisonous to people too, organ damage and all that.

        Alle Ding' sind Gift, und nichts ohn' Gift; allein die Dosis macht, daß ein Ding kein Gift ist..

  • What a terrible idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hsmith (818216) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:17AM (#40256671)
    Much like taxing cigarettes. If cigarettes are so bad for the individual (as the government states - and anyone with a fucking brain knows) why is the government in the cigarette business? And try to be honest with yourself - the government is in the cigarette business when they make 20x the profit on a pack, compared to the cigarette company.

    Taxing soda won't do anything but hand over more money to the government. It won't stop a thing and people know it.

    Want to stop children drinking soda? then simply make it illegal for them to do so. (Which I don't agree with)
    • by elucido (870205) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:21AM (#40256735)

      Much like taxing cigarettes. If cigarettes are so bad for the individual (as the government states - and anyone with a fucking brain knows) why is the government in the cigarette business? And try to be honest with yourself - the government is in the cigarette business when they make 20x the profit on a pack, compared to the cigarette company.

      Taxing soda won't do anything but hand over more money to the government. It won't stop a thing and people know it.

      Want to stop children drinking soda? then simply make it illegal for them to do so. (Which I don't agree with)

      California has universal healthcare. Sick people cost more money than healthy people which means your taxes go up paying for smokers and soda drinkers. Make them pay the extra dollar and suddenly they have to pay for their own bad habits.

      • by ifwm (687373) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:37AM (#40256985) Journal

        Sick people cost more money than healthy people which means your taxes go up paying for smokers and soda drinkers.

        That's your fault for voting for policies that require you to pay for those people. There's something tyrannical about using the majority to force people to accept healthcare from you, then using the healthcare you forced them to accept as a tool to change their behavior.

      • Well, studies have shown that tobacco users actually end up costing the government less in health care costs because they die younger. The problem with the logic that it is justified to charge people who choose unhealthy lifestyles more in taxes is that everybody gets sick. Sooner or later, all of those who do not die from some traumatic incident contract a life ending illness and even before that have health issues that require medical intervention. The fact of the matter is that those who choose unhealthy
    • Much like taxing cigarettes. If cigarettes are so bad for the individual (as the government states - and anyone with a fucking brain knows) why is the government in the cigarette business?

      Because the government learned its lesson from Prohibition. Banning it doesn't work but taxing it does apparently mitigate the problem. If you can't beat 'em, tax 'em.

      Taxing soda won't do anything but hand over more money to the government. It won't stop a thing and people know it.

      Actually the really perverse bit is that sugar is subsidized [cato.org] by the government. A lot of the obesity problem we have arguably stem from that subsidy. So we're taxing something that we're subsidizing? Why not just eliminate the subsidy? You'll accomplish much the same thing with a lot less overhead.

      Want to stop children drinking soda? then simply make it illegal for them to do so. (Which I don't agree with)

      We tried something like that in the 1920s

  • Talking about tax money as going somewhere specific is really meaningless, as money is perfectly interchangeable by definition. But it certainly helps to get public support!
  • by elucido (870205) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:19AM (#40256707)

    Why should everyone else have to pay higher taxes because some people like to drink poison or smoke fiberglass particles?

    It may be their choice but they should have to pay for their choice and not make everyone else pay.

    • Why is it that if what you do affects someone else inadvertently, it must be taxed/banned? That pretty much includes everything. Ice skating? Useless, and people could get hurt. Sports? Useless, and people could get hurt (and they often do). Boxing? Wrestling? Various other activities? Ban/tax them all because I don't feel like paying higher taxes for people getting hurt doing things that I personally don't agree with!

      Why is it that we can't accept paying for others' problems as a trade off of living in a f

    • Ride a bike, pay more taxes.

      Ride a motorcycle, pay double!

      You like to bungee jump? What about parachuting? Rock climber? Do you walk in the city? Do you...

      Its so easy to make other people pay isn't it, well it is when you have the force of government to make people do what is good for them. After all, you know what is good for them don't you. You should fear people who know what is good for you because your next.

  • by Shoten (260439) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:21AM (#40256729)

    Dr. Bibbins-Domingo credits the taxation of tobacco products with being the sole cause of decreased smoking. But it seems to me that I grew up with no desire to try cigarettes after spending my childhood watching PSA after PSA pointing out that it would cause all sorts of horrible diseases. Taxation never figured into it for me...and it also seems that taxation only matters after you're hooked on cigarettes, too. I smoke cigars occasionally, but whatever added cost comes from the taxes don't matter, since it's a rare occurrence. The taxes would matter only if I were regularly spending money on them, like habitual cigarette smokers do. And I've seen how hard it is for smokers to stop, once they are hooked...it's incredibly hard. So I doubt that taxation was the main cause of the decrease in smoking.

  • Taxing the taxes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Supermike68 (2535978) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:22AM (#40256761)
    The sugar in these drinks is high fructose corn syrup which we all know comes from corn. Corn farming in the united states is subsidized by the federal government.

    So taxing products that contain high fructose corn syrup is taxing something that people already pay taxes on!

  • Farm subsidies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andrio (2580551) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:27AM (#40256833)
    If we really want to combat obesity (and not just childhood obesity), the single best thing we can do is take away farm subsidies. The cost of corn (and other things, of course) would double overnight, leading to a massive increase in the prices of unhealthy foods. Colas in particular would be hit hard since HFCS would no longer be so cheap. The key thing is that prices of soda won't necessarily go up, but serving sizes will go down. Notice how small the classic coca-cola bottles are? 6 fl oz. That's what people drank back in the day before subsidized corn allowed cheap sweeteners. Now we have 12 oz cans and 22 oz bottles available everywhere. That's what they did with the cheap sweeteners--they didn't lower the prices of colas, they just sold us more per unit.
    • Re:Farm subsidies (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mapkinase (958129) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:49AM (#40257189) Homepage Journal

      Farm subsidies are not intended to make our food cheaper. They are intended so local farmers can compete with cheaper import from underdeveloped countries.

      Without farm subsidies we will still have cheap food, but local farmers will disappear and the country will face a strategic risk (in case of hostilities to the rest of the world that in the case will be feeding us, we being on the verge of that case anyway).

      If you want our food to be expensive you will have to not only remove subsidies from local farmers, but also tax heavily imported food.

      • Re:Farm subsidies (Score:5, Interesting)

        by benhattman (1258918) on Friday June 08, 2012 @12:04PM (#40258391)

        Wrong again. Farm subsidies are intended to stabilize the food supply by giving farmers a less variable return on investment. Farmers still need to sell the stuff to come out ahead, but at least they know that a bushel of wheat won't be worth nothing if there's a surplus. The reason subsidies most impact foods like corn, wheat, and soy is because those foods can be put in a silo and remain viable for much longer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:28AM (#40256847)

    For everyone furiously typing their post that includes words like "choice" "responsibility" and other good words you've cynically crafted in to politically charged euphamisims.

    1. There is an obesity problem
    2. It is linked to sugary drinks
    3. The price of sugary drinks is artificially low due to government subsidies
    4. Why do you support government handouts that hurt the public?

  • by kasper_souren (1577647) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:37AM (#40256993) Homepage
    I couldn't believe it when I was in the US last year, checking the bread section, not a single bread without high-fructose corn syrup! I don't think taxing sodas will fix the this deeper issue. Maybe it's easier to preach for some good old free market solution to fix this issue? "Factors for this include governmental production quotas of domestic sugar, subsidies of U.S. corn, and an import tariff on foreign sugar; all of which combine to raise the price of sucrose to levels above those of the rest of the world, making HFCS less costly for many sweetener applications." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-fructose_corn_syrup [wikipedia.org]
  • What Else Do We Do? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jdev (227251) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:44AM (#40257097)

    Yes, this on the surface seems like an overreaching nanny state tax. Consider this though.

    So what do you do about this? Let people eat up our healthcare system with obesity related illnesses (no pun intended), or try things out to fix the problem? The government has run educational programs before with little success. Taxing sugar almost seems like a reasonable alternative at this point.

  • complicate much? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Friday June 08, 2012 @10:48AM (#40257165) Homepage

    How about instead of taxing them we end the god damn subsidies instead? The god damn corn farmers are ridiculously subsidized which is why we can afford super cheap soda with super cheap corn syrup in it. Soda so cheap because we paid for it with our tax dollars already! End the god damn subsidy instead of adding yet another retarded tax.

    Same god damn gasoline. Oil producers are heavily subsidized, so our gas is only $3/gal because we collectively pay HUGE subsidies to the oil industry to make it cheap. On top of that there's a tax too! Why so complicated? Holy batman, end the god damn subsidies!

    oh... and all these "taxed enough already" tea party fuckers are all for "reduce taxes, reduce government spending" are against cutting subsidies! A subsidy is a tax that we pay to private businesses. Oil subsidy = oil industry's tax on people. Corn farming subsidy = corn farmer's tax on people. Stupid.

  • Instead of penny per ounce for sugar, a penny per pound being overweight? I don't see how building soccer fields and school gardens will help. Will kids drop their computer games and run off to play soccer and hoe the garden? Not if their parents don't kick their lazy assess to do so. If children are learning a poor nutrition life style at home, nothing will change that.

    Instead this just seems like yet another attempt to push through a new tax by claiming it is good for something.

  • So how about letting people be free people? A revolutionary idea, I know, I know. How about letting people decide what they want to eat, drink, who to fuck, when and where, whether they want to smoke or use drugs?

    You say: it's a public thing, because of medical care? How about legalising freedom and letting people be free to make decisions on how to handle their health?

    How about getting the gov't out of health care, health insurance, finances, money, interest rates, banking, social issues, labour and employment, regulating any business activity, licensing anybody for any purpose?

    None of the above is any of governments' business, yet governments made it their business and the people allowed them to, and thus the people lost their freedoms and now see what this leads to - it's not JUST EPA and FDA and FCC and FDIC and HUD and SS and Medicare and FEMA and F&F and FED and IRS and FBI, it's also Patriot Act and HLS and FBI and CIA and NDAA and CISPA and ACTA and Drug War, etc.etc.

    Gov't shouldn't be regulating anything that has anything to do with economy, the role of government is to PROTECT PEOPLE FROM THOSE WHO WANT TO VIOLATE THEIR RIGHTS, but the rights are only meaningful in the context of an individual and his relationship with the collective - with the government.

    So when gov't talks about 'gay rights', the only thing that is meaningful in that context is how the government itself discriminates against people based on their sexuality. When gov't talks about women's rights, it is only meaningful in the context of women being discriminated by the government, same with minorities, races, religions, disabilities, etc.

    The only meaningful concept of a 'right' is a that, which describes a person's relationship with the government - the government has no right to destroy a person, gov't has no right to steal from a person, gov't has no right to imprison a person unless the person is in violation of certain rules, and there is a JUDICIAL review (unlike what your AG wants to tell you, it MUST be a judicial review, not a review by some elite politicians before the State can kill you, take your property away from you or imprison you).

    You see, the most important right of all is life, then it's liberty (not being detained, kidnapped, imprisoned) and then it's property.

    All other rights pale in comparison to those 3 fundamental rights.

    1. Without your life you don't exist, thus it's obvious.
    2. Without your freedom your life doesn't exist, it's obvious.
    3. Without your property, your life doesn't exist, it's obvious.

    You can start understanding the right to property, once you understand right to your life and liberty, because your property starts with your BODY.

    Your property starts with your body, with parts of your body. Unless you are the kind of person, willing to say that "from each, according to his ability, to each, according to his need", and then you are willing to use force to take away a kidney from a healthy person and give it to somebody with failing kidneys (all by force), then we can have a conversation. Once you cross that line, once you say that force can be used to steal body parts from one person so that another person can have those body parts, we can't have a discussion.

    But if you admit that body parts represent ultimate property, then this can be used to explain the rest of property. It's not just stuff that is within your skin boundaries. The fruits of your LABOUR are your property without a question, because without your labour those things wouldn't exist, and thus you have the ultimate right to posses the output of your production. What you create is yours and gov't and society cannot steal from you just because you have created, and this must be understood under the same principle as the right to life and the right to liberty.

    All other rights are irrelevant if any one of these 3 rights are violated.

    So a State taxing a person's INCOME or WORK is violation of the basic principle of right to proper

  • by J'raxis (248192) on Friday June 08, 2012 @11:05AM (#40257455) Homepage

    Sick of this shit? Move to New Hampshire [freestateproject.org]. We had a state representative propose similar legislation here [nhliberty.org] in 2010. It failed, in large part due to the work of the N.H. Liberty Alliance [nhliberty.org], and the rep herself lost her seat in the 2010 elections. The liberty movement here, largely through the NHLA, has helped elect about 30-40 pro-liberty reps to our State House (400 members total) and 4-5 senators (24 total), helped defeat hundreds of other anti-liberty bills, and helped get a handful of pro-liberty ones passed, too.

  • by TheCarp (96830) <`ten.tenaprac' `ta' `cjs'> on Friday June 08, 2012 @01:02PM (#40259329) Homepage

    My general feelings on taxes aside... we are talking about limited liability incorperated businesses. They operate under a legal fiction, I have no problem with regulating such entitites.

    That said, there is a clear conflict of interest in all of this "Healthy living" regulation. Time and again, taxes have been proposed on specific "sins". The state runs the lottery, for one example. They ban all other gambling, and run the lotto. The original plan: we will specifically use the money the lotto takes in for schools. Great idea... you take some money from a vice, and use it to fund something positive.

    The problem is, you put the money in the hands of the people who write the regulations. So it was schools, but now it funds other programs, including prisons.

    Hell you don't even need the "sin". Income is taxed for social security. It was intended to be a seperate "trust fund". Why? To create trust. To keep it safe, to make it seperate from the normal budget....

    Now? Well the people in charge of the regulating just go and buy bonds from themselves with the money. A violation of trust if any other trustee of any other trust fund were to do it... now SS is backdoored into the general budget, defeating the entire purpose of the seperate tax and fund.

    Anyone else see the conflict of interest here? This will just be more of the same.

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann

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