Some pointdexter at Oxford University in Formerly Great Britain has revived a proposal on expanding the UK's 17.5% Value-Added Tax, not normally applied to things you stuff in your cake-hole, to include foods that contain politically incorrect amounts of fat, salt, or sugar.
Let's ignore for the moment the fact that you could roam the scepter'd isle from Wick to Land's End and not scare up enough honest-to-Falwell beer guts to fill the first row of seats in the bleachers at Darlington; our man has determined that there is a problem, and Something Should Be Done about it. That Something, of course, should take the form of social engineering via taxation. Backed up by .pdf's full of charts and no-doubt-snappy PowerPoint presentations, our do-gooding crusaders claim that as many as 3,200 lives could be saved annually by this scheme.
Call me a misanthrope, but I'd have a hard time making a list of 32 lives that need saving, let alone 3,200. And I'd have an even harder time thinking of 32 that would be worth saving if the cost meant expanding the confiscatory powers of the government. "Well, Aunt Bessie, they say you'd have another three years if I agree to the tax on the Pringles... Sorry 'bout that." This is what taxation has come to in the declining years of the Western Welfare State. There's not even a pretense of it having anything to do with revenue anymore; it's all about control.
The most important question here, though, is where do they get off thinking that it's any of their business what you put in your mouth? So it's not healthy; so what? If you want to pour yourself a nice, frosty mug of battery acid and down it in one gulp, how is that any business of mine, let alone some faceless drone in the government? "Don't put that in your mouth!" is something you tell your three year old, not a middle-aged father of four.
There's a flip side to this, of course. If you do subsist on a diet consisting solely of Schlitz and double bacon cheese greaseburgers and go into cardiac vapor lock at age 34, don't come crying to me; I didn't force them down your throat. But that's a subject for another post...
(Hat Tip to B&N.)