File under: “to man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail“.
The British taxpayers recently funded a generous research grant resulting in a report that explained to them why they need to pay more money for luxuries such as food because they are too stupid to eat a sensible balanced diet.
Taxing red meat would save many lives and raise billions to pay for healthcare, according to new research. It found the cost of processed meat such as bacon and sausages would double if the harm they cause to people’s health was taken into account.
Well, if you put it like that, who can disagree?
Presumably this research is solid and isn’t predicated on any assumptions that are easily falsifiable?
Governments already tax harmful products to reduce their consumption, such as sugar, alcohol and tobacco. With growing evidence of the health and environmental damage resulting from red meat, some experts now believe a “sin tax” on beef, lamb and pork is inevitable in the longer term.
Really? Tobacco is taxed to reduce consumption?
How successful has that strategy been over time do we think, compared to other potential strategies such as an outright ban or simply reducing the locations where smoking is permitted?
And this tax on alcohol to reduce consumption, hows that working out?
As Tim Worstall points out, this study fails to consider one very important fact in its faux economic analysis; if people are dying early due to an unhealthy diet, they aren’t costing the taxpayer-funded health service a single penny the day after they die.
The great thing about the negative health consequences of eating too much red meat is that heart attacks often occur quite suddenly and the victim shuffles off this mortal coil with little warning or chance to incur expensive palliative care.
Prima facie, this is yet another politically-motivated report disguised as academic research. The answer was known before the study commenced.
Interestingly, I discovered this chart whilst researching relative prices for beef around the world.
The Uk is ranked #37 most expensive for a 1kg lump of cow. Counter-intuitively, that’s slightly cheaper than the US and Canada.
Amusingly, India and Venezuela are significantly cheaper. For very different reasons, best of luck finding a steak in either of those locations!