Tax the Fat Bastard not the Fat

Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver wants to tax sugar because sugar makes people fat bastards and costs the taxpayer.

Sugary foods risk causing a public health crisis similar to smoking and should be taxed in the same way as tobacco, Jamie Oliver has said.

The television chef said sugar was “definitely the next evil” and should be targeted because of the burden it was placing on the NHS.

He said he agreed with France’s decision to impose a tax on sugary drinks and believes Britain should follow.

The problem with this is that such a broad based tax is very difficult to administer and has had little impact.  

The fat and especially the fat who are poor, keep buying junk food and stay fat no matter what you tax them.

At least Jamie Oliver is a fiscal conservative and worried about the taxpayer having to fork out for fat bastards.

The two conditions are already estimated to cost Britain more than £5bn each year and that could rise tenfold by 2050.

Mr Oliver told the Daily Mail: “Sugar’s definitely the next evil. It’s the next tobacco, without doubt, and that industry should be scared. And it should be taxed, just like tobacco and anything else that can, frankly, destroy lives.”

The far better solution to this problem is to have some form of fat bastard tax where fat bastards pay more for their health care because they are fat bastards.

That tackles the problem at the source, not indirectly through taxing certain products but not others.


– The Telegraph


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  • Ratchette

    FBT tax, good idea. Make it exponential, The more fat you have on your body the more tax you pay (exponentially) until you cannot afford any more junk food and starve until you loose fat. I like that.
    Just where do these numpties like Jamie Oliver get these crazy impractical ideas ?
    Ah well ! we can all drink beer. Properly brewed, four ingredients none of which is sugar.

    • Asian_driver

      Beer , must be the ultimate health food, wonder what it is that the yeast eats to make the alcohol

      • Ratchette

        Produced by the saccharinfation of starch and fermintation of the resulting sugar. The starch and saccharification enzymea are often derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley & malted wheat then flavoured with hops.
        It’s still far too early for this stuff ….. I think a beer is called for. Cheers.

  • Cowgirl

    Where do you draw the line though? It’s difficult to start saying that some health care areas shouldn’t be covered by taxpayers, but would there then be complaints that someone else didn’t want to pay for whatever health coverage you needed? I get personal choices like smoking, drinking, obesity etc shouldn’t impact on the rest of us, but if you had a predisposition to some form of cancer say, does that mean you would come under pressure to have preventative surgery lest you get cancer and impact on others down the track? Tricky…

    Personally I just wish that people would get a grip and stop shovelling junk down their necks 247, and start moving about occasionally. They know that’s what they have to do, but there’s so many that can’t/wont get it. There was a show on TV yesterday with people getting gastric bypass – all too eager to get the surgery, but unwilling/unable to stop eating junk ever. Three of them sat at home all day, but only fast food being consumed, so no cooking going on at all. Which begs the question: at what point do we start to classify compulsive overeating as a mental illness?

    • mommadog

      There are two opposing thoughts and which one wins may well come down to money in the end. One thought is that obesity is a disability and compulsive overeating is a mental illness i.e. people cannot help themselves therefore lots of health dollars should be spent on them getting bypass surgery and counselling and diet help. The other way of thinking is that people are responsible and its there own fault they end up fat. Therefore health dollars should be spent on other areas of health not on people who are harbingers of their own doom (in the same category as smokers). I predict we will go through a few more years of the “lets help them out” and there will be a big push for this since Europe has gone down the disability line. A big push for the MOH to pay for more bypass ops and so forth.
      But we will run out of money for health at some stage. It cannot be continually increased and will need to be capped because costs continue to rise and there is only so many working people to tax. There will be some serious discussion around health rationing and what the government pays for. (Gareth Morgan’s book “Health Cheque” is an interesting read and starts the discussion about rationing). Those who smoke and eat to obesity causing other health issues such obesity related type 2 diabetes will end up out in the cold or having to pay out of their own pocket because they chose to. It may take another 20-30 years but eventually I think we as a society will be given health information from childhood (don’t smoke, exercise, don’t get fat) and if we choose to go against that advise and then ask for health care we may be out of luck if we have a related condition i.e. you choose to smoke or eat crap, don’t exercise and get fat.

    • Ratchette

      For the majority when they leave school they are not obese.
      Some eventually become fat. That has come about by the individual making the choice to eat excessively. It certainly is not a medical condition nor is it genetic. It is their choice to be fat/obese & we should not find any reason to excuse their condition and determine ‘it is not their fault’ This will serve to exacerbate the problem and more will become obese with no feeling of guilt because ‘it is not their fault’
      Traditional family diet might have some bearing. For example : If the family boiled pork bones to extract fat and relished eating this with chunks of bread, you might continue to do this throughout your life.
      Being fat is a personal choice.
      Restricting health treatments is another subject.

  • kiwibattler

    I’m disappointed Jamie Oliver has jumped on the ‘sugar is evil’ brigade.
    What about natural sugars in things like fruit juice? Do we tax those too? People are getting fatter today even though ‘zero’ sugar soft drinks and ‘diet’ drinks are at their most popular – what does that tell us? and why draw the line at sugary drinks? Bread is probably the worst thing people can eat but we don’t see these advocates talk about taxing that do we?

    • Ratchette

      Bread ? Just a matter of time.

    • Ratchette

      To control the obesity issue will involve extremely hard work over never ending period.
      Taxing sugar is very shallow thinking, it is the action of a lazy person.

  • Cadwallader

    I suggest a few more indirect taxes on fat bastards such as: Higher air fares based on weight together with forcing them to either fly in Business Class or booking two seats in Cabin Class. This type of tax could be levied on clothes at the point of purchase, the costs of coffins and burial plots, all pharmacy perscriptions and seats in public auditoria. ( I sat behind a fat bastard at Cirque du Soleil once and enjoyed the sound effects, the show was masked by her rotundness.) I am not a fat bastard, just a heartless bastard! This way the tax is targeted and not simply dumped onto all of us. “Hey Clint, what do we think of fat bastards? Tax them!”

    • Wheninrome

      The air ticket could stipulate a weight – if you are over less baggage or pay more, if you are under pay less, or you could trade your “allowance” to a fatter person.
      Aeroplanes would then have a better idea of their pay load, which could lead to better fuel efficiency.
      Difficult to work with tickets bought on the internet – a problem.
      They would have to have flashing lights at boarding time and a voice saying “this person is over weight alarm, alarm”
      Wouldn’t take much for people to be honest on their internet form when pre booking, probably only take a few months of embarrassment for people to change.
      A bit like telling small children “If you pee in the swimming pool it will change the colour of the swimming pool”.

  • RightofSingapore

    I shouldn’t have to pay more for foods I like or have my choices restricted just because some fatty boomsticks lack discipline and self-control-thats taking the lowest common denominator principle too far.

    • The Whinging Pom

      As a bit of a fatty boomstick (?) myself I totally agree with that sentiment.

  • cows4me

    Always the stick never the carrot, always governance to the lowest common denominator. Jammie is like a dimwitted lefty who would make all poor to lift the living standards of the poor. How about policy that targets the real problem. What about a health system that starts to turn away those that will not help themselves. Clearly someone doesn’t just show up at A&E morbidly obese, it happens over time. Several warnings, some medical help but in at a certain stage, enough.

  • Tom

    Jamie and the French are not New Zealand. What they do in their own country is their problem.

    • Ratchette

      I agree with that. I like sugar and am not fat. So to Jamie & the French, ‘wind your necks in’ Far too many people in the world telling other people how to live their lives.
      I like the odd Gin & Tonic. G&T in the UK is not good. Why ? because almost ALL soft drinks in the UK contain sugar substitute. In New Zealand Schweppes Tonic has sugar on the label, so if you like G&T – New Zealand is the G&T capital of the world.
      Long live sugar.

      • Pharmachick

        And in North America always try for the Mexican import versions – same reason: they’re made with actual sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. the latter is banned from our house, which makes is very hard to buy some things like BBQ sauce.

  • The Whinging Pom

    Perhaps celebrity chefs such as Mr Oliver should be prevented from demonstrating and/or publishing in their books recipes which have sugar (of any kind) or fat content over a given percentage (decided on by a committee of academics and bureaucrats, of course).

    That way we’d not be tempted into eating things that were bad for us, would we?

    One positive side effect of that would probably be that the number of cooking progammes on the TV would reduce significantly – who apart from Wussel and his mates are going to tune in night after night for do-gooder propaganda on how to cook healthy meals?

    This may mean people like Mr Oliver going broke, but I’m sure he’s happy for that to happen for the greater good, seeings as he’s suggesting at the moment that other people’s businesses suffer in order to save the world.

  • Grizz30

    I do not eat cakes, sweets, chocolate and sugar laden fizzy drinks and I am fat. I got fat because of my cravings for savory and starchy foods. Perhaps beer as well as that is just like drinking liquid bread. So while I agree that sugar makes you fat, it is not the only thing that will and telling people not to eat it will not solve the problem.

    There is a lot of information out there as to what foods and aspects of our eating culture will ultimately make us fat. What is actually needed is better education about healthy food choices and healthy cooking so people can make healthy choices for themselves. I have watched many of Jamie’s shows and many of his ingredients contribute to obesity.

    • Cadwallader

      Fair enough but how much more education is needed and who ought to pay for it? It has taken a generation to reduce cigarette smoking but still a residue persist despite the fatalities from the habit. Sugar differs from cigarettes as it is not intrinsically dangerous, it is the over use of it that is. I cannot see how a tax can be apt here.

      • Grizz30

        Its more than sugar. The big culprit is is the starches which are found in many food that we think are healthy. The reality is that sugar and starches cause huge spikes in our insulin levels that ultimately enhances our appetites. Some people can eat what they want and stay thin and good on them. However, for the rest us, if we are going to exercise self control we have to be vary careful about the types of carbohydrate we consume. This is a relatively new concept in thinking and requires a good deal of education.

        • Cadwallader

          Thanks. I don’t eat potatoes for that reason and only eat high fibre bread at breakfast. I don’t drink beer but believe wine and spirits have loads of sugar. What ought I eat? I am not by any means obese but my doctor bangs on about BMI which would classify a starving Sudanese as fat! Lettuce leaf and water for lunch! Cheers!!!

        • Pharmachick

          A couple of years ago I sat down with a friend of mine who is a Clinical Biochemist and had this discussion. It was well worth it – I have a pretty high level understanding of biochemistry but the aspects he highlighted such as the insulin/glucagon spiking from processed carbs and to a lesser extent simple carbs were very educational. Also, the way the High fructose Corn Syrup feeds into a later part of the energy cycle and effectively gives more energy (as ATP-equivalents) per molecule than glucose was very eye-opening. But then, a bunch of my friends are Professors etc, not everyone can go door knocking in the local Med School for a couple of hours discussion on nutrition and energy balance! So yeah, the education part can be difficult at that level. But surely the message too much of [insert almost anything here] is bad for you isn’t exactly 7th Form Physics.

  • Wendy

    Putting a tax on sugary products would be the logistical equivalent of removing tax from staple items like bread, fruit and vegetables…a total logistical, administrative, expensive nightmare that achieves nothing.

  • exactchange

    A very slippery slope. Taxing sugar could be straightforward but should also mean taxing other carbs, which turn into sugar in the bloodstream, sometimes really quickly. Taxing fat people – where to draw the line? Of course it is impractical.

    First they came for those with a BMI > 30 …

    • I_See_Crazy_People

      Tax people with more than 50% vowels in their names. Easy.

  • Lord Evans

    Sugar is a fuel, our bodies like an engine therefore…

  • Jas

    If you are going to tax sugar because some people are a burden on the taxpayer because of it then the next logical step is to tax all those who have children as some people who have children are a burden on the taxpayer.

  • kiwirog

    As pointed out below, white flour is not much different from sugar after a couple of minutes in the digestive system. Alcohol is pretty close too and certainly a big factor in weight gain. White rice not far behind, potatoes a little further. Where do you draw the line? Why not just dictate that we all go palleo?

  • MrHippo

    Hmmm… Okay, so I’m also reading that we should quit with the ‘war on drugs’ because we are apparently losing so say the lefties, but now we should embark on a ‘war in fat’. What chance do you think that has of winning?

  • Annie218

    Its actually the lack of any movement that creates the fat – intake vs output. Its not the sugar, fat or carbs.
    I want a tax rebate for moving more than most people seem to be these days!

  • damm good thrashing

    Oliver should spend more time dreaming up sensible names for his children and leave me to my sugar.

  • I_See_Crazy_People

    My son is an athlete. He is ultra fit and as a result he can eat what he wants without burdening the rest of society. Why should he be forced to pay extra for the sugary/fatty product he wants to consume, just because of the fat/lazy/stupids out there? Tax the fatties – if your BMI is excessive then you go into a higher tax bracket.

  • Nz front

    The bakeries will go out of business. Mr Oliver just needs to keep using his two hands, just to keep his own stirring to himself.