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Taxes That Make Sense

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Every time there's a national election, candidates make promises about tax cuts. We hear endless dialogue in the media about the inadequacies of our universal health-care program and the out-of-control costs of funding that system.

Every time there's a national election, candidates make promises about tax cuts. We hear endless dialogue in the media about the inadequacies of our universal health-care program and the out-of-control costs of funding that system.

I can't help but wonder what would happen if we taxed the items that promote disease and disability. What would happen if governments provided generous tax rebates to those who focus on preventing illness, reducing doctor visits, and avoiding prescription drugs? Just think what would happen to our health-care system if we got a decent-sized tax credit because we, as adults, did not pay unnecessary visits to the medical doctor, use the emergency room, or fill a prescription.. Those of us who have been applying the principles of preventive medicine would finally be rewarded for not burdening the system.

Junk Food Tax

Our government implemented taxes for tobacco and alcohol years ago. Yet everyday we consume junk foods that are just as dangerous to our health as cigarettes. Although Canadians live long lives men to age 78 and women to 82 if we look at the disability-free years, the picture is not all positive. On average, the last 15 years of our lives will include disability and diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, and cancer.

These illnesses are the result of decades of inadequate nutrition, too much stress, environmental poisons, and lack of exercise. We must make some serious changes in health care as the Baby Boomers head towards these potentially disease-laden years. Encouraging people with incentives to take better care of their bodies and avoid the health care system makes good sense.

Canadians eat, on average, approximately 150 pounds of sugar per person per year. Sugar suppresses the immune system, setting the stage for cancer, viral, and bacterial infections; and promoting diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Unfortunately, it's also cheap. We need a big sugar tax the sweet tax.

A tax similar in size to that applied to cigarettes should be placed on soda pop, which contains12 or more teaspoons of sugar per can. According to Statistics Canada, milk consumption has declined by over 10 percent in the last few years while soft drink consumption increased by more than 17 percent. The bottom line? Milk costs more than pop. If that small can of pop cost $2.00 per can instead of 50 cents, you might think twice about buying it. In the US, 17 states have implemented special taxes on soft drinks and snack foods. Junk foods like potato chips, as well as fries and burgers containing deadly trans fatty acids, should also be heavily taxed in Canada. Taxes collected from junk foods would go into a special fund to fuel our health-care system.

It's time our governments noticed that there are people who use lifestyle, diet, and nutritional supplements to stay healthy and reward us by removing the GST from our vitamins, herbal supplements, and organic foods. There could also be incentives for companies that provide health-promoting services for consumers, such as gyms, health spas, chiropractors, naturopaths, holistic nutritionists, and weight loss centres.

I am not a fan of taxes but, in this case, I feel that foods that make us sick should be taxed and those of us who avoid using the medical system should be rewarded.

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