Earlier this week the ironically named SWEET Act was introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. If successful, the act would levy a one cent tax for every teaspoon of sugar, high fructose corn syrup or other sweetener added to foods.
DeLauro argues that sugar in foods are “pervasive” and “inescapable” especially for low income families.
“It is the sugary foods and drinks that are the easiest for families living on the edge of poverty to afford,” said DeLauro.
While the Connecticut Congresswoman seems totally content with this line of reasoning, she fails to realize that adding an enormous tax to sugary foods and drinks will not make healthy food cheaper.
In fact, the unintended consequences of such a bill would hurt the impoverished people it purports to protect. Families at or below the poverty line could find themselves paying anywhere from 25 to 50 percent more for a bottle of cola, diverting money they could have used for healthier foods.
If it is true that sugar in low quality food is indeed “inescapable” as DeLauro suggests, then taxing affordable sugary foods will only hurt people living on the edge. Should the bill pass, it will make more than a spoonful of sugar to make the SWEET ACT go down for low income families.
Follow Patrick here on Facebook on on Twitter @PatVKane