They are not mutually exclusive.
That's right, it's just that one is unethical and the other is not.
The one that worries me is upcoming road pricing/congestion charging – if it does not come with some with subsidies for the poor, it will price them off the roads first.
I mostly agree, although the nuance with road pricing (and ETS/carbon tax) is that poor people use these things proportionately less, so they are inherently progressive. This is somewhat countered by the fact that poor people generally have fewer choices to e.g. move house or renegotiate their working hours to make transport easier. So ideally large improvements in public transport would be implemented before, or at the same time as, congestion pricing, but it's the nature of politics in NZ cities that I don't know what the chances are of that happening...
The thing with using a punitive tax as a way to tackle problems associated with poverty, is that it equates to making already-poor people poorer until they make the decision you want them to. It's treating the symptoms by threatening to make the disease worse.
Worry about poverty first, and any problems which remain will by definition not be driven by poverty. I don't know if it's the easiest or most efficient way to reduce the rates of smoking/drinking/obesity/tooth decay/whatever: it's the only ethically defensible starting point.
(Let's think for a second about why smoking (or example) is more prevalent in people with less money. I mean cigarettes are expensive, right? But they're cheaper than a whole lot of the things which make life enjoyable for the middle classes - cheaper than a home with a view, cheaper than an overseas holiday, cheaper than an education.)
this is also regressive and unfair
or ironically progressive if it improves the health of poorer people the most.
No, the progressive option is always to make poor people less poor.
By taxing the manufacturer it becomes their job to reformulate the food, with less sugars, fats, pesticides etc, which is the objective here.
No, the incentive for them to do this is exactly the same regardless of where the tax is applied.
Dr Toomath comes to the conclusion that a lot of the factors leading to obesity are genetic.
This despite obesity rates skyrocketing since the end of the 1970s? I’m not an endocrinologist, but I don’t have to be one to know genetic factors don’t work like that.
Could also happen if the relevant genes are prevalent in immigrant populations, and the immigration rate goes up.
Guess what - that is exactly the same argument used against raising taxes on cigarettes. more poor people smoke therefore taxing smokes is targeting the poor unfairly.
Yes, this is also regressive and unfair.
The whole point is to make the choice for people simple buy expensive sugary products or cheaper non-sugary products.
...by increasing their overall food spend and pocketing the difference. Still not buying it.
No, actually the same. A 10% tax on sugar is a 10% tax on sugar - no matter where it's collected, the price to the consumer is the same (actually, if you tax the manufacturer at 10% the consumer pays more because GST, but now I'm quibbling).
tax the manufacturer and not the consumer
These amount to the same thing.
Here's the thing: we also know that obesity-related illness correlates with poverty and membership of certain ethnic groups (which also correlate with poverty). Now I don't know if high consumption of sugar is also related to poverty. But: if it is, then taxing sugar is going to hit the people with the least money hardest, which is a bit crap. If it isn't, then taxing sugar won't address the root of the problem. And either way, it sounds to me like the real obvious solution is to end fucking poverty.
Is there a health problem associated with high sugar foods?
All the data in the literature show a very high correlation between such foods and a number of serious health problems. I’m sure someone can find industry-funded “research” showing no such association, but I believe those studies as much as I believe the studies from the tobacco companies “proving” tobacco is harmless.
Something must be done!
The evidence is clear (mostly from cigarette taxation), increasing the price of a product via taxation or duty is a tremendously powerful tool for changing consumer behaviour.
This is something...
Should our representatives in government act to improve the health of the population and thus reduce healthcare costs?
That of course is an ideological question. For me the answer WTF else should they be doing??????