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Archive: Viewer Comments

Question: (2009-09-10)

+ Obama Watch Question Archive - Obama Watch Question Archive
Do you think Congress will pass Obama's health reform bill? Do you think Obama's health reform summit will lead to a bipartisan reform bill? Do you think the federal stimulus has significantly helped the economy over the past year? What was your reaction to Obama's State of the Union speech? Do you think Obama has been devoting enough attention to environmental issues? What should Obama's Afghanistan troop strategy be? Are you concerned the U.S. is becoming too involved in military operations in Pakistan? Did Obama deserve to win the Nobel Peace Prize? Do you think Obama should send more troops to Afghanistan? Twinkies? Soda? Cigarettes? What items would you pay higher taxes on to ensure health care for all? Do you agree with Obama's decision to continue the practice of sending terrorism suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation? Should President Obama be tackling both the economy and health care at the same time? Some gay rights activists say Obama is not taking their concerns seriously enough. Are they right? How should Obama prioritize the battles he takes to Congress? Will Obama's speech in Egypt improve America's image in the Muslim world? Who should Obama nominate as the next Supreme Court justice and why? Has the press been too lenient on Obama in his first 100 days? What do you think of Obama's performance on his debut trip abroad as president? Do you think Obama's budget plan is too ambitious? How do you think Obama has done in his first 50 days in office? Do you blame Obama for not living up to his no-earmark pledge?

Commenter: Jon Ralston
I would be willing to pay more for processed foods. We need to change the policies that allow for bad/unhealthy food to be more economical than whole/healthy foods. If that means I pay higher taxes or that subsidies are removed resulting in higher prices then I'm willing to do it. We must provide universal health care to everyone and we must to our best to make our society healthier. I'm willing to pay more in order to do that.

Commenter: Curtis Thomas, EMT-Intermediate
While tax increases have led to many good things in our daily lives as Americans (such as nice roads), there may be another, better alternative. We could take after the model the government of Norway has employed with its oil exports. The Norwegian government set up a trust fund into which it has been pouring the money it has obtained from exporting its oil resources to big oil industries. This fund is huge, and collects vast amounts of interest on simply existing. The Norwegian government gains a not insignificant amount of money for government projects out of this fund.

What enables us to follow this model is the fact that the US is sitting on HUGE natural gas reserves (and, supposedly, natural gas burns cleanly)- enough that we could be the saudi arabia of Natural Gas. Exporting just a small percentage of this natural gas to other countries around the world or placing large royalties on oil companies drilling for that gas would enable us to set up a similar, larger fund to draw from.

However, that failing, I would be willing to pay higher taxes on spray-paints and other products containing volatile chemicals used for 'sniffing' or 'huffing'. I also wouldn't mind slightly higher taxes on ephedrine, alcohol, tobacco products (not just cigarettes), possibly even on entertainment electronics like TVs, Games, and Game Consoles.

Commenter: Vikki Melnick
I would pay higher taxes on Cigarettes, since there is no way for me to produce these myself. But I do not smoke.

Commenter: PJ
Perhaps we should start off with removing the huge argricultural subsidies to large corporations that make stuff like high fructose corn syrup artificially cheap.

Commenter: k barnes
smart idea

Commenter: Katie
No matter what anyone says, the fact of the matter is that this country needs to raise taxes no matter what. It wouldn't be a popular thing for any politician to run on a platform of raising taxes, but it needs to happen. We're wasting billions of dollars fighting two wars, not to mention the money wasted domestically by inefficiently run programs. First, we need to somehow establish our political priorities, eliminate wasteful government programs, and figure out what the hell we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq, and then establish a tax that's an equal percentage for all people regardless of income bracket - then everyone would be paying a fair share.

Many other countries with universal health care pay high income taxes. However, in these countries, it's not putting anyone out on the streets - in fact it's doing the opposite. People in those countries are covered (healthwise as well as in others senses), and students receive many financial benefits from the government. People deal with higher taxes and benefit more in return. If you look at the average incomes of people in countries with universal healthcare, it is higher than in countries with systems like the US. However, a European style system doesn't really fit in with the American political system nor the American mindset. Unless Americans become less greedy (not saying everyone is, but there are definitely enough of them preventing this type of system from being a reality in the US), nothing much will be changing here, unfortunately.

Commenter: Gaia Dempsey
I would pay more for all of those, twinkies, soda, and cigarettes. My confession: I NEVER buy twinkies or soda, and very rarely purchase cigarettes, and always the more "natural" and expensive Nat Sherman brand, so I'm not exactly the average American consumer. My suggestion is for the government to lightly subsidize LOCAL LUNCH STANDS and SCHOOL LUNCHES that serve only LOCAL, NON-TOXIC, PRESERVATIVE-FREE (yes, that means perishable) foods. This could provide jobs and would improve health across the country. This could be the fresh new American food standard.

Thanks for reading,

Commenter: Mike
Uh, wouldn't taxing any of these things tax our freedom? And do so disproportionately for the poor?

Commenter: Mrs.K
A higher tax on these "luxury" items is a good idea. No, if cigarettes went up to $10/pack people probably would not quit smoking, but a lot of them might try or smoke less and if they don't then that extra money goes towards programs that need it! and it's not just junk food and cigarettes, ammo is heavily taxed, as it is also considered a luxury. At the same time that taxing these items might be essential to helping people towards a healthier lifestyle there needs to be a program in place to provide those same people with cheaper healthier alternatives, so they are not at a complete loss. Give tax breaks to local farms so they can pass on the savings, so people have a cheap alternative, etc.

Commenter: Roger Guerrero
Pretty much all junk food that makes me fat. All of these high calorie, high fat foods contribute to numerous health problems. Instead of getting subsidies these type of foods should be taxed.

Commenter: Amy
I think higher taxes on all the above items is stupid. You can always raise the tax but, someone is always willing to pay an extra price. Are you telling me that if a pack of smokes went up to say 10.00 a pack people would quit I don't think so. It is the persons choice to engage in unhealthy behavior. Cut wasteful spending and provide programs to the American people that will help them get over their addiction wether it be smoking or junk food. I think you might see an improvement in everyone's health.

Commenter: Ryan Buchholz
Junk food generally speaking

Commenter: M.La Paz
I think any food products listing sugar as a top ten ingredient should be heavily taxed to pay for government-funded healthcare for all Americans. Why target sugar? Because it causes so many of the health problems that are nearing epidemic proportions in our country today! List them - diabetes, cavities, gum disease, arthritis, yeast/fungal overgrowth diseases and infections - to only name a few. Sweetners that do not cause blood sugar levels to rise are available and can be used by companies instead of sugar at wholesale prices. It could answer our problems on more than one level!

Commenter: jay
I'd pay a tax on anything that had a public health cost. I drink sodas and would be glad to pay a small tax on it. I think it would be a better idea to tax sugar in all its varieties.

Commenter: Judy
I think high taxes on empty calories, cigarettes and other things that are bad for you health is a great idea. However, if it truely work as it should it will not fund healt care. Although is should work to improve basic health by reducing consumption. Of the list soda is the one I buy and I am trying to wean myself to water If a can of soda cost $2 I am sure that would excellerate the process.

Commenter: Cielynn
I'd agree to pay a tax on all three-especially cigarettes. I struggle myself with soda and sweets and I could appreciate anything that might make me stay away from them. Fortunately I don't do cigarettes. If I can't even give up Dr. Pepper I sure would have a struggle giving up cigarettes.

Commenter: steve
none i smoked for years it was my right i quit but i am not paying extra for others i already pay too much in taxes because the goverment has created a lazy goverment dependant group of people who believe it is their right to sit at home do nothing and let the gov. support them with my hard earned money i am tired of supporting these people its time the goverment gets out of the day care businee and do what its sopposed to defend the country and keep the alliens out

Commenter: L.Ellis
Instead raising taxes on things that people enjoy and will not stop using; tax the healthcare providers. Why, because if you are not getting well and healthy,because of what the doctor is telling you to do then the problem is with the doctors not with you. The doctors are getting richer and you are getting sicker???

Commenter: JC
I say - legalize marijuana and put a heavy tax on that - watch our financial problems disappear!! (not to mentione we'll all be in a better mood...

Commenter: selene verecunda
YES! Tax processed junk food that's full of corn syrup and chemicals. Tax junk chemical soda and tobacco.

Commenter: Rafael Hernandez
Junk food, items with any type of corn syrup listed as 1st 2nd or 3rd on ingredients, luxury items, imported non food items, second and vacation homes, items high in fat, items high in salt, any item containing phosphates, any type of tobacco products, any advertisement sign or otherwise selling or promoting alcohol and or tobacco and any item containing more than one preservative. Also products that can not be recycled.

Commenter: Jennifer A. Rine
This is not the worst idea.

Commenter: I. Scott
It shouldn't be on any particular item. It should just be an across the board tax on everything. Either take a certain percentage out of my paycheck to pay for it, or place a federal tax on every single item that is purchased that goes into a general fund for universal health care.

Creating a new 'sin tax' for it is not the way to pay for it. The idea that people who live 'unhealthy' lifestyles should carry the burden continues the 'Me Generation' aspect of our society. We are all in this together and until we realize that, we will continue to have neighbors without any insurance, we will continue to have neighbors living in poverty, we will continue to have neighbors struggling--if not ourselves.

Perhaps we should look at the converse of the pay-by-sin-tax idea: what happens when someone who never drank, never smoked, never had a twinkie gets cancer or is in accident and doesn't have health insurance? Why should they get to benefit from a system they NEVER paid into?

Commenter: Rob Friedman
Tax the junk and convenience foods, sugar, soda, candies, cigarettes, medical marijuana dispensaries and medical marijuana administration device stores, the Insurance Carriers on their policies profits.

Destroy the Workers Compensation Insurance system because of the SCAM it is now, and companies would only need to provide care for one health insurance plan, instead of both Worker's Compensation which may NEVER be used by the employee and a regular plan. Why should these companies be forced to pay for twice health care? Only for their employees and patients to then be faced with continuous denials, lost records, informations, accusations of medical fraud, and decisions by non-medical employees on the amount of medical treatment allowed, or they are willing to reimburse for self-procured and out of pocket care. Fix the Workers Compensation System first, it's only 3% of the pie of people, which costs considerably more than the 3% of the entire health issue we're faced with. Stop trying wasting time to treat everything individually and separately causing more derivative loss to patient care and stability, while creating profits for insurance carriers to allow them to better deny your due care which provides relief from the injuries/disease/etc one is faced with or sustained while working.

-r0b friedman
California Injured Worker since 2001.
in pro per

Commenter: Bonnie Patrick
If we take my co-pays, premiums, co-insurance, out of pockets, out of network, (on and on, get the point), I would be rich after paying a small tax for a single payer, non profit system!

Bonnie Patrick

Commenter: Houseonahillorg
Tax cigs, soda, and everything processed!

On a serious note, just do whatever it takes to get it done...

Commenter: J. Manning
How about we get the rich with their Swiss bank accounts to pay their share? How about those offshore corporations? And how about bringing back our manufacturing jobs so we can collect Social Security, Medicare, state and federal income tax and state disability tax from their paychecks? It's time we stopped the rich and the corporations from weaseling out and dumping the tax burden on the rest of us.

Commenter: Virginia Shelton
Taxes on these items would be the least we could do, but there should be much more we can do to ensure healthy life styles for our citizens.

Commenter: C. Clearly
Ya, a sales tax would tax everything and that might be OK. But income tax would have to completely go away. You can tax my money when I make it or when I spend it... but not both. Why should government get two bites from my apple. Remember the only money government has is what they take away from others. Also the more money government takes from me, the less I have to give to charity hospitals, schools, the arts, Red Cross, my church, etc. A buck only goes so far and now mommy government wants most of it.

Commenter: meehyun
all three should get taxed higher because they contribute to higher health care cost.

Commenter: CarlaWWW
Junk food (chips, soda, Twinkies), fast food, cigarettes/tobacco products

Commenter: Greg
How about cutting government waste? That'd pay for healthcare, college, retirement, homeless shelters/care/rehabilitation...

but as long as the government can turn to us to take more change from our pockets, they'll never look for change in theirs.

Commenter: Tom
I love Twinkies, so I'd hate for them to be taxed. Then again, if they were taxed, it would be a great excuse to have a "Twinky Party." Perhaps I could start a social movement -- the Twinkiers!

Commenter: PeteSmith
None... and all... say what?
Yes, dump current income tax system and go with basic national flat-rate sales tax with only exemption for food, shelter (primary residence only), clothing (children only), and medical (care, RX, etc). Cut the crap, poor folks could go an entire year and pay almost zero tax. Wealthy pay as they spend buying 3rd vacation home, new boat, mutual fund or stocks, etc. It will level the field and provide funding for health care reform and everything else. Of course H

Commenter: J. Bird
I'm in favor of taxes on fast food, junk food (Twinkies, soda etc), alcohol, sporting events and luxury items. If ALL of these things were taxed minimally, consumers won't feel the pinch quite so much. Taxing health care itself would defeat the purpose of trying to lower costs, which is an absolute necessity.

Commenter: LINDA

Commenter: jody lindahl
cjane had it right!

Commenter: Adam
Health care.
Tax health care.

Commenter: Susan
Don't tax consumers; many of the poor buy these foods because that's what they can afford. Tax the companies who produce inhumanely and dangerously raised animals for meat, which include the use of hormones and antibiotics, corn-fed beef. Tax the companies who incorporate a high percentage of high fructose corn syrup, sugar and preservatives in food. Give tax breaks to companies who don't use pesticides and preservatives. But, do tax cigarettes and alcohol for consumers.

Commenter: Ellen McPherson
I would pay higher taxes on anything. I think, as a health care provider, that we should institute taxes on anything which causes disease. I would love it if we banned cigarettes completely. I would love ti if fattening and harmful foods were taxed. I treat diabetes all day. Twinkies, fries, big meals, sodas, etc....Liquor, beer, smokeless tobacco. Since the questions asks what would I pay, I mean it. Anything...except medical care and dental care.

Commenter: DeeAnn
Guess I've never understood why in God's name these super rich Television Evangelists and their broadcast churches don't pay taxes like every other business. Like Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) They are not what I would consider "Christian" at all. The blond bimbo who sits up on stage with her diamond rings etc.... and asks for money. They all are so unreal - it's pathetic.

Commenter: Diane

Commenter: Katie Robert
I don't smoke so not on cigarettes, I do drink diet soda and although I don't eat twinkies, and all food in NM is now tax free, I would be willing to pay the tax on the sweet foods like twinkies. IN NY where I came from, that is how it was.

I could also pay an added tax on gasoline for Health Care. Not a huge added tax, but a reasonable one.

Commenter: Mandy from MN
I don't buy twinkies, cigs, and soda I buy rarely. I also pay 20% of my income (single income, two-parent, two-child household) to cover my family's very high insurance premiums and high deductible. Even though I have a healthy family (much due to not buying twinks, cigs, pop, mcdonalds, etc), i still pay that much regardless. I used to smoke, and I always thought they were too cheap for their own good. I'd pay higher taxes period. some problems are too big for any one person/family to handle. this is one of those issues. everyone should be covered regardless of ability to pay. its a matter of philosophy.

Commenter: Nan Ballot
All junk foods- including sodas, crackers, cookies, cakes, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, automobiles, gasoline; inother words any substance that is adding to the poor health

Commenter: Lurline Aslanian
What you are suggesting are regressive taxes. I prefer income taxes that are equitable. If we taxed sales, yes, I think junk foods such as twinkies and McDonald's and Chick Fil A, etc.

Commenter: Aidan
I think high-sugar food and drinks, cigarettes, alcohol, fire arms and legalized drugs should be highly taxed.

Not only would taxation put a damper on their use and make all Americans healthier (and in the case of now illegal drugs, safer) but also such taxation would easily fund a pubic option to cover the uninsured.

Commenter: Susan
I am willing to make an earmarked contribution for this purpose on a box on my 1040 tax return. We must be assured the funds will actually go for health care/insurance. If I buy an unhealthy item I would pay more tax. After all if I harm my health my care will cost more and that jacks up the costs for eeveryone else. It's a reminder that one's choices matter, that these "health sins" may have consequences for both ourselves and others.

Commenter: Ilof Musich
How about a fair tax on: capital gains. Big ticket items such as yachts, boats, private planes. A luxury tax reinstated for health care reform. A builders' fee attached to each new commercial building erected for the next five years. How about taxing swimming pools for health care rerform? The list is endless.

Commenter: Sandra Schnelle
I would pay higher taxes, give up my morning chai latte ($4.00) per day.

I also think that Social Security taxes should not have a ceiling. Currently, when you have paid over a limit during he year (not sure what the limit is), you pay no more Social Security taxes during the year. Obviously, you are making a lot of money, so why shut off the taxes. Just this one item could raise a lot of money for Social Security, which is struggling. It just doesn't make sense.

Commenter: Gordon Rands
Any processed foods should have some amount of higher taxes placed on them, both for the health benefits and to encourage use of healthier, basic foods. Those high in fat, sugar, and transfats should have additional taxes placed on them.

Commenter: Valerie
An extra tax on all the items that are making us so sick in the first place! Excellent idea! Perhaps companies like Monsanto, who recklessly flood our grocery stores and animals with untested genetically modified ingredients, should be the highest payers. The riskier the product, the higher the tax! Monsanto, all drug companies, petroleum producers, coal-fired power plants,anything that pollutes our air, water, earth should be paying for our health care, since these products ultimately end up on our bodies, sometimes forever!

Commenter: Michael
Everything. It's ridiculous to tax things we don't like. Others don't like white wine, Birkenstocks and Priuses. Ansd ow about a luxury tax on expensive jewelry, cars, furniture, etc.

Commenter: Susan
I think higher taxes on all of the above would be a good start. We have to make a shift from unhealthy food being the inexpensive choice for people to healthy food being the best choice for the price.

Commenter: Richard Ure
Energy. Mainly in the form of petrol and diesel but possibly electricity and gas too. These are inputs whose consumption should be valued more than their costs of extraction and with few suppliers, the costs of collection should be minimal.

Commenter: Joy
Can't afford any of those....

Commenter: cjane
How about higher taxes on alcoholic beverages, golf clubs, sea-going vessels for private use, personal jets, non profit's, botox, golden parachutes. doctors, drug companies, insurance companies, professional athletes, etc. You get the idea.....450 percent should do it!

Commenter: MCameron
All of the above, also alcohol. But most of all, we need to bring back progressive taxation -- in other words, we need to start making the rich and the super rich pay their fair share.

Other countries have excellent health care for all -- it is as much a right as food and shelter and education. It is criminal that the people of this country are held in a vice grip of ignorance and fear by Big Pharma and the health insurance industry. People in the United States have NO IDEA what it's like to live free of worry about health care, as people do in Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Scandanavia. If Americans knew this, they would beat down the doors of Congress demanding the same health care that people in those other countries have -- single-payer health care, paid for by progressive taxation.

My mother was in a nursing home for the last three years of her life. She died at age 99 -- unassisted by death panels, I might add. What did it cost her? $21,000 a year for total care, including food, shelter, meds, 24-hour nursing care, physical education, special programs, on-call doctor, and three emergency trips to the hospital. Why did it cost so much? Because she could afford it. About half of the other residents in the nursing home could not -- and paid nothing for exactly the same excellent care. No one in Canada worries about how they're going to pay for their health care. Waiting lists? Yes, there are waits for elective and nonemergency surgeries, such as cataracts. But when my cousin was diagnosed with lung cancer, he got the best treatment known to science, and he got it immediately and for free.

The American people are victims of their own ignorance, deliberately blinkered by the medical corporations and the politicians like Joe Wilson (R-SC) who feed at the trough. If people are so all-fired afraid of Big Government, then they should tell Congress and the White House to get out of the war business. That's truly Big Government.

Commenter: lynnb
This question is a joke, right? NO MORE TAXES! We do not need to raise taxes to have universal healthcare. We need to dump for-the-wrong-kind-of-profit greedy, predatory capitalism. We need to stop creating money as debt plus interest. We need the authority, power and control taken away from big gov't, big corps and the military and returned to the people. Take all the Wall St. bonuses and pay for health care. Your question makes no sense. The only reason we don't have universal health care is our politicians are in bed with all insurance companies, Wall St. and big corps. Our gov't is sold out and corrupt at all levels. More taxes, you've GOT to be kidding!!!

Commenter: John Forsyth
I think a small tax on sugary products would be a great thing, especially on soda. We have seen taxes on cigarettes help with preventing increased usage, and the same can be used on sugar-filled products.

Commenter: JRRoberts
NO NEW TAXES WHATSOEVER! Repeal all the current sales and excise taxes! Stop blaming tobacco and soda and snacks and fast food for a screwed up health care system!

Commenter: Ken Arnold
Unhealthy Fast food,smokes,processed foods,refer if legalized,booze and beer,porn,sleazy motels and better than thou preachers.

Commenter: John McNeill
Twinkies? Soda? Cigarettes?

All three and even more. Those items are all addictive. Sin taxes are an excellent way of furthering the interests of a civil society.

Commenter: Linda Moore
Cigarettes--of course. That's a no-brainer!

Also MSG, Aspartame, High Fructose Corn Syrup and all of the other 'food ingredients' that have been shown to contribute to obesity and poor health.

It's time to take the bad stuff out of the manufacturing process and let food go back to being food.

Lets tax the "bad" ingredients and take the profit out of their use.

Commenter: Carla
Right. I would pay infinitely higher taxes on all the above since I do not consume any of the above which is precisely what helps to ensure my health. And that's what the majority of Americans need to get. It'a about building healthy lifestyles because a major portion of health care costs is going toward completely preventable illnesses. The higher tax on those items should serve as a penalty for not making a good health decision, not to ensure the clean-up job, which doesn't even exist.

Commenter: Megan
Though I don't smoke, I don't see a problem in increasing the taxes on tobacco.

As for stuff that I do use, how about a 5 or 10 cent tax on every fast food purchase. We all know that processed, fast food is bad for the body, but even I still have it every now and then, and honestly, it's a luxury. Thinking that McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Starbucks, ect. all sell stuff by the thousands if not millions each day, 5 or 10 cents a purchase would be a lot of money made towards a public option or towards funding reform.

As for snack foods, I'm willing to pay a small tax on stuff like big things of soda (my dad devours 12 packs of coke like you wouldn't believe), twinkies, snack food cakes, and candy bars.

I'm also willing to pay a small tax for shopping at Walmart. They refuse to provide reasonable, affordable health insurance. If they're forced to pay into the system (such as what the State of Maryland wanted them to do. It was called the Walmart Bill and unfortunately got killed by then Governor Erlich) for reasonably affordable health insurance for workers, that along with a 5 to 20 cents tax on customers, I think that could go a long way.

Commenter: ediegroner
I would rather spend my taxes on health care for all single payor national health care like France, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, Japan, etc. than on wars that seem to be endless and pointless.

Commenter: Evelyn Adams
It would be good for the country if a tax was put on sodas and junk food. It is all the sugar that is making our country obese. The high tax worked on cigarettes. Usage has really gone down.

Commenter: Songweasel
i'd be willing to pay higher taxes on any item where the average pay for the workers who create that item is $10 per hour or under. that'd include an awful lot of folks (fast food workers, grocery store workers, retail workers, book-keepers, clerks, standardized test scorers, home health care workers, receptionists, crop harvesters/pickers, many construction workers...etc.) if employers don't pay these folks enough to live on and get decent healthcare, the least i can do is add to the pool of monies needed to keep them healthy because...wait for it...we NEED them.

Commenter: Linda Jansen
How about we give up billion dollar profits for insurance companies?

How about we just give up insurance companies, whose only function is to deny care so they can make lots of money.

If you saw Rep. Anthony Weiner's inteview on MSNBC with Joe Scarborough, you know the insurance companies contribute nothing to healthcare, just to our cost for it.

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