This Week in Financial Blunders: Junk Food

This Week in Financial Blunders

New Year’s resolutions rarely get taken seriously (at least by me anyway). It’s so easy to make a promise to improve oneself when you’re loaded with liquid courage at a party. You feel like you’re invincible! Why not tell yourself this will be the year you stop eating a Twinkie at the end of every meal? In any case, improving one’s diet is the hardest of resolutions to stick to. That’s why this week in financial blunders we focus on junk food, and the blunders around them.

Seriously, Who Cut the Cheese?

Imagine Christmas with barely any trees to buy, Halloween with no fun-size candies in stores, or St. Patrick’s Day with just drops of whiskey in the bar. The Super Bowl may face this same problem after Kraft Food Group announced they are seeing a Velveeta cheese shortage in the near future. Velveeta, the smooth and creamy cheese used in many Super Bowl dips and snacks, is a staple for many game day parties across the country. This drop off in disturbingly good cheese happens right after NFL playoffs and college bowl games, which is a potential massive sales loss, but any correlation between the events is not being uttered by Kraft Food Group. Jody Moore, spokeswoman for Kraft said “This is really a short-term situation that is more noticeable during our current period of increased seasonal demand… We have not heard many complaints so far, but because we know Velveeta is a huge hit during football parties, we are doing everything we can to resolve any issues as soon as possible.”

Sugar, Sugar?

New taxes are often met with outrage. People often fear change, especially if that change costs them money. One can only imagine the outrage that would follow a sugar tax, but that’s exactly what the Huffington Post suggested in an article earlier this week. Citing a study from the National Bureau of Economic research, putting a 20% tax on sugar “would cut Americans’ total caloric intake by 18 percent and reduce sugar consumption by more than 16%.” The study lists off a wide variety of benefits the tax would produce and why the country needs its sugar intake curbed. These points included:

  • Taxing a substance (like sugar) is more effective than taxing a product (like soda) because consumers just find a way around the tax (buying other sugar-heavy drinks instead of soda) instead of eating healthier.
  • Many states heavily tax tobacco and alcohol in the same way and the industries do just fine.
  • Sugar fuels America’s growing obesity problem. The World Health Organization says obesity kills more than 2.8 million people every year, and of the two-thirds of Americans that are overweight 36% are obese.
  • Obesity, and health problems arising from it, cost taxpayers $147 billion every year.

It’s not clear right now if any lawmaker will take note from this study and propose a sugar tax, but the facts make it hard to argue against at least discussing the option.

Those are all the blunders that are fit to print this week, but if you see one we may have missed please add a link in your comment!

 

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