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Should there be a tax on sugar? Show more Show less
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When buying groceries you usually get a receipt and on the receipt is a section for the tax. Now the tax varies from state to state but despite what people might think it’s not the individual items that have a tax on them. Sugar itself is untaxed but people are starting to wonder if it should be.

It is difficult to tax a sugar Show more Show less

Sugar is not only a granulated substance but a nutrient in many different foods. Baked goods, candy, fruit, and condiments all have sugar. It is difficult to draw the barriers to where a sugar tax begins and ends.
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It is unclear what is considered 'sugar'

When people say sugar the first thing that comes to mind is table sugar, then sweets, fruit, candy, and so on. All of these contain sugar so if sugar is tax would the tax be restrained to a tax, or would it include all things that contain sugar. The question is how drastic would the tax be?
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The Argument

Sugar is commonly classed as a commodity. This means that it's an agricultural product. Usually produce and such is exempt from most taxes besides the general filing taxes.[1][2] As a commodity though, how would it be taxed and in what category? Would the tax be placed on production or only during purchase? Would it be taxed like tobacco due to its sometimes addictive properties? Or would sugar be taxed during sales after it's been turned into consumable foods? These are the questions you have to ask when it comes to both the idea and receiving permission for taxing sugar. There have to be limits and clear laws for how to go about it. Also, with sugars high popularity, the populace could very well react poorly. Much like how the Americans did to the heightened tax on tea back in 1773 with the Boston Tea Party. It would be different if sugar was nutrient as a vegetable or truly mind altering like marijuana but it's not. It's nutrient as as iceberg lettuce and as mind altering as chocolate. Sugar though can make wonderful sweet treats. It's so versatile as a substance that taxing it, while beneficial, is extremely confusing.

Counter arguments

For most, taxes aren't the easiest to understand. This is partially because taxes are done by percents.[3] For example, let's say the sales tax is about 7%, and you bought a shirt worth $50.00. The percent is then calculated to a decimal (.07) and multiples by the cost. So, 50 X .07= 3.50. Then add that to the original price, $50.00 + $3.50 = $53.50. The thing that complicates this is that taxes vary from state to state and nation to nation. With America, unlike other countries, tax is not added in the price of what you're buying. Not every item has a sale tax either, like with groceries. All of these factors just continue to further complicates the process. Whether or not sugar is taxed or what tax is placed is not the problem but the system over complicates it. Once it’s simplified not only will there be a better understanding of why the tax is in place but also what’s really happening with peoples money.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Taxes are complicated which makes it hard to apply new ones

Rejecting the premises

[RP1] The tax system is unnecessarily complicated and confusing

Further Reading

History.com: The Boston Tea Party[4]

References

  1. https://www.thebalance.com/filing-taxes-on-commodities-trading-809335
  2. https://www.communitytax.com/taxes-groceries-food/
  3. https://study.com/academy/lesson/how-to-calculate-sales-tax.html
  4. https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/boston-tea-party
This page was last edited on Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 14:34 UTC