Far better to have a well-informed populace than to wave a big stick
It makes economic sense for the government to incentivise behaviour associated with healthy outcomes
We are never too far from the easy path. It tempts us at every juncture, and it seems that with what is now termed the health promotion levy (previously the tax on sugary beverages), we will choose the path of least resistance there too. The government is determined to implement a tax it hopes will reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. But more than just taking the easy road, this kind of policy making reinforces the notion of a nanny state, which we should always guard against. In his budget speech in February, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan insisted that "further consultations are currently taking place on the tax on sugary beverages. "Arising from these discussions, and working closely with the Department of Health, the proposed design has been revised to include both intrinsic and added sugars. The tax will be implemented later this year once details are finalised and the legislation is passed." Delivering his budget vote three months later, his successor,...