Justification for a Penny-Per-Ounce Excise Tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages Under Two Ethical Frameworks
Increasingly obesity is becoming a greater problem in the United States. To curb this trend some policy makers have considered taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) which add unhealthy calories to the human diet. Some controversy surrounds the taxation of SSBs because they are disproportionately consumed by lower-income members of society. A tax on these drinks would be regressive. This paper justifies a penny-per-ounce excise tax on SSBs in the United States from both a Utilitarian perspective and a Rawlsian perspective. This analysis gives the tax a broad and diverse moral grounding.
Phillip Scott Harmon is a member of the Class of 2017 of Washington and Lee University.Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]