CSPI Gives Washingtonians the Toddler Treatment

It’s no secret that the cost of groceries is rising as fuel prices inch towards record levels. So why is The Washington Post pouring the praise on an organization (and its leader) with a long record of trying to tax certain foods out of families’ budgets?

Perhaps Post reporter Annys Shin didn’t realize that while the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI’s) Michael Jacobson is the “Chief of the Food Police” by day, he moonlights as the “Sin Tax Man”:

Jacobson once bragged that he “could envision taxes on butter, potato chips, whole milk, cheeses, [and] meat.”

Jacobson wrote in The American Journal of Public Health that “a steep tax would probably reduce the consumption of the taxed foods,” but “a small tax may be more politically feasible and would mostly go unnoticed by the public.” (The plan mirrors the early strategy of the tobacco wars: Start with small taxes and then keep raising them to price the product out of reach.)

Jacobson’s obsession with sin taxes doesn’t stop at food. In 2000, he proposed a 5 percent sin tax on new televisions and video equipment, and a $65 sin tax on each new motor vehicle, or an extra penny tax per gallon of gasoline—all in the name of promoting active lifestyles and eliminating sedentary behavior that contributes to obesity, of course.

While Jacobson has a nasty habit of telling everyone else what they should not consume, he told Post readers that his own daughter was allowed at a very young age to explore food options and make decisions on her own about what she eats:

Once kids get past the age of three or so, they “go out into the world, to friends, to McDonald’s, birthday parties,” he says. “We said, ‘She’s going to learn. She'll have to decide.’”

Since Jacobson and CSPI seem to think regular Americans can’t decide what to eat without a side of CSPI-sponsored guilt, we wonder if this means he views all of us as three-year-olds.

Somehow, that wouldn’t surprise us.

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