Should Food Stamps be Used for Soft Drinks?
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Arguing the move would stigmatize poor people at the checkout stand, the soft drink industry is opposing a plan by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban the use of food stamps to buy “sugar-sweetened beverages.”
Bloomberg says the restriction would help curb obesity and diabetes and added health care costs they impose on society.
Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the American Beverage Association have lobbied hard against Bloomberg’s proposal, as well as attempts to introduce taxes on soft drinks. Coke and Pepsi have contributed to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation…and 18 members of the Congressional Black Caucus urged President Barack Obama to reject the restrictions.
After receiving several million dollars from Coca Cola and Pepsi, the children’s welfare advocacy group Save the Children stopped opposing a soft drink tax. Like the Congressional Black Caucus, leaders of Save the Children said there was no connection between the donations and their positions.
Soda beverage manufacturers have also convinced other makers of junk food—the Snack Food Association and the National Confectioners Association—to fight Bloomberg’s idea. In addition to arguing that the change would embarrass food-stamp recipients at supermarkets, industry opponents say it would set a precedent for the government to distinguish between good and bad foods.
Because food stamps are a federal program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bloomberg must gain the cooperation of the USDA for his two-year pilot project.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Soft Drink Industry Fights Proposed Food Stamp Ban (by Robert Pear, New York Times)
Save the Children Switches from Soda Tax to Coke and Pepsi (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
USDA Study Estimates Weight Loss if Sugar Drinks are Taxed (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Taxing Soft Drinks to Pay for Their Cost to Society (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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