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Should We Tax Junk Food? with Dr. Larry Summers

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We need to transform our food system and address one of the biggest threats to our well-being: our lack of a coordinated and comprehensive food policy. Our nation’s and the world’s health crises are not driven by medical issues, but rather by social, economic, and political issues that conspire to drive disease. There is clear evidence that taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages results in reduced consumption and provides a funding source for public health measures to fight obesity and chronic disease and improve the health of communities.

My guest on this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy is Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary and one of America’s leading economists. In addition to serving as 71st Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration, Dr. Summers served as Director of the White House National Economic Council in the Obama Administration, as President of Harvard University, and as the Chief Economist of the World Bank. Currently, Summers is the President Emeritus and the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University, where he became a full professor at age 28, one of the youngest in Harvard’s recent history. Along with Michael Bloomberg, Dr. Summers recently launched a Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health. He chairs the board of the Center for Global Development and chaired the Commission on Global Health, lauded by the UN Secretary General who noted that it “will bring more than health–it will bring equity, and contribute to a life of dignity for all.”

In this episode, Larry and I discuss the benefits of taxing junk foods. How would this affect the economy and the epidemic of chronic disease? Find out in this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Hyman is an 11-time New York Times bestselling author, family physician and international leader in the field of Functional Medicine. His podcast, The Doctor's Farmacy, is a place for deep conversations about the critical issues of our time in the space of health, wellness, food and politics. New episodes are released every Wednesday here on YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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11 Comments on Should We Tax Junk Food? with Dr. Larry Summers

  1. Did Larry Summers meet Mark Zuckerberg when he worked at Harvard University?

  2. He does not have short answers does he? Who keeps walking across the camera?

  3. Im against most government regulation, but maybe taxing junk food aint too bad of an idea

  4. no, remove the tax on healthy food.

  5. I guess there is gonna be a problem of defining what “junk food” exactly is. Manufacturers could exploit that and still sell crap w/o paying a tax

  6. So for 40 years, the government has been giving us bad food guidance, thats made us all sick. And you want them to decide whats OK to eat, and not eat from here on out? I will do all I can to help people understand how they should eat, but in the end, if you live in the US, thats still a choice. No way do I support taxes on what someone determines to be unhealthy food. Its insane to give up your rights and OK something like that.

  7. Just what we need, another globalist beaurocrat saving us from ourselves. We definitely need to increase public awareness about the health issues with processed food. Letting people like Larry Summers decide our fate is not one of them.

  8. ClassicExampleBand // 17th October 2018 at 5:40 pm // Reply

    All taxes do is give the government more power and money…government causes more problems than they create…just let us know the truth about what is healthy and what is not and let us make our own decisions…none of the governments business what we eat, they should not get paid because of unhealthy food. Bad idea.

  9. Mark Bousquet // 17th October 2018 at 6:41 pm // Reply

    Sales taxes are regressive taxes and hurt the poor and the less well off the most. Also, who decides what is and isn’t “junk food”? All we need is an animal rights activist to come to power who gets to define the parameters and we’ll all be forced into veganism…

  10. The folks who recommended trans fats and vegetable oils get to define junk food and then tax it? I’d be happy if the government just stopped giving dietary advice at all. My entire family has improved our health just knowing that sugar, refined flour and solvent extracted seed olis are harmful. We still eat some crap on occasion, but we are better able to manage our “dose” of toxic foods. Knowledge is power. Taxes are just annoying. I still see tons of people under 30 smoking cigarettes.

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