Washington, D.C. - The National Center for Public Policy Research today condemned the American Medical Association's vote Tuesday calling for soda taxes to be used to fund more government programs.
While the AMA stopped short of directly calling for soda taxes (as many in the press incorrectly reported), it did call for any soda taxes to be used for more government anti-obesity programs.
"The doctors have the wrong prescription," says Jeff Stier, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Risk Analysis Division. "The AMA wants increases in soda taxes to raise money to fund government bureaucrats to further meddle with how we live."
"But can we trust government to solve the obesity problem?," asks Stier. "Just look at the latest out of Los Angeles, where this week, one city councilman tried to one-up New York's Mayor Bloomberg, by introducing a motion to ban the sale of soda from parks and libraries."
While acknowledging obesity is a serious public health matter, experts at the National Center for Public Policy Research believe policies should be based on legitimate science and be consistent with core American values such as limited government and individual responsibility.
"There's no body of science which suggest that these government programs, taxes, and bans will do any good," said Stier.
"This AMA vote is symptomatic of a broader problem with the public health community in our country," says Stier. "Health groups should be using science to inform policy. Instead, they are motivated by big-government approaches which lack a foundation in science, disregard individual responsibility, and rely on government to fix problems it isn't capable of fixing, at least not in a free society."
Other big-government anti-obesity efforts include limits on food marketing and zoning restrictions on fast food restaurants. In a recent piece co-authored in Forbes, Stier outlines problems with such approaches.
Stier, a New York City resident, has discussed soda taxes and calorie counts on CNBC, and recently appeared on CNN HLN to criticize Mayor Bloomberg's soda ban. Stier has also addressed related issues on Fox News, MSNBC, and top radio shows around the country.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters. In 2011, it received over 350,000 individual donations. Two percent of its revenue comes from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.