Denmark’s Fat Tax (don’t enjoy good things in Denmark*)

*Except drugs, but more on that later.

In the grand ol’ country of Denmark (the most well known den of European countries) the government has issued a tax on fat. No, not a tax on fat people (though whose to say that won’t be next) but rather a tax on foods containing saturated fat. Foods like butter, milk, chesse, burgers, and other food that happens to taste pretty damn good. Instead of butchering the math involved in this seemingly god awful expansion of governement in the welfare state of Denmark, let me just quote from an article by Ryan Jaslow from CBS/AP:

Denmark has imposed a “fat tax” on fatty foods in an effort to convince Danes to eat healthier. The tax is a complex one, in which rates will correspond with the percentage of fat in a product. The value of the tax is about $3.00 for every 2.2 pounds of saturated fat.

For example, a burger will increase in price by about $0.15, and a small package of butter could cost around $0.40 more under the new plan.

The tax was approved by large majority in a parliament in March as a move to help increase the average life expectancy of Danes – which has fallen below

 So basically prices will go up for the citizens of the country who just want to eat a cheap meal. Last time I checked McDonalds can provide a family a meal for a family for a modest amount. So in a way this tax, which is aimed at increasing the life expectancy of the population of Denmark, will only make it more difficult for a family to provide the essentials (namely food).

It’s at this point of my diatribe on how Denmark is stupid for implementing this law that I feel like I should note that Denmark has a higher per capita income than the United States (DEN=37,449 as compared to the USA=29,683).  Granted the article I am getting my information is based on 1998 figures and clearly the world’s economic system has seemed to be collapsing as of late so these numbers could be off.

One thing that kind of struck me though is that in a country that seems to be so concerned with the health of its people, Denmark has the third highest level of drug abuse related deaths in Europe behind Luxembourg and Estonia, apparently the two places to get messed up good in Europe. You know, in a very dangerous way.

Now, as a Libertarian I am for the legalization of all drugs (what you put in your body is no concern to me and to be perfectly none of my business) but a country that seems to value dictating the every move of its people, and apparently really cares about their health would be doing more to correct this borderline epidemic.

To be honest I have a tough time seeing a policy like this coming to the United States. Well, at least I thought I would never see this coming to our shores. But slowly and surely you see the expansion of government creeping into your life. Adding extra taxes on snack food and soda. Last time I checked it was perfectly fine to induldge in a bag of chips and a glass of coke. Yes, moderation is the key, but I don’t need a government to tell me what I can and can’t have.

Of course, as I said before I am a libertarian and honestly whatever a country wants to do is pretty much none of mine, or the United State’s business. I just hope these policies that seem to be inching into American life more and more every day will eventually stop and the government will realize that the subtle invasions into the freedom of a great country will only be detrimental to the moral and prosperity of the nation.


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