CNN's Gupta: 'Cheap' Corn Should Be Taxed to Fight Obesity
According to CNNâs Dr. Sanjay Gupta, corn prices have been artificially lowered by government taxpayer subsidies, so they should be artificially raised with a tax on drinks sweetened with corn syrup.
On the December 18 âAmerican Morning,â Gupta was discussing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsomâs plan to tax such drinks to fight âthe obesity epidemicâ by deterring those purchases.
âThereâs a lot of extra corn that gets turned into this substance and itâs now being used as a sweetener in lots of different products,â Gupta said. âThatâs what makes it cheap. What Mayor Newsom and others have proposed is that you actually bring it back to what would be a normal price point for these substances. Itâs going to be more expensive. People are going to be less likely to buy. Itâs going to sort of offset, if you will, the subsidies.â
Perhaps Gupta should have checked with his colleague Ali Velshi before reporting corn was âcheap.â About 20 minutes before Guptaâs story, Velshi reported that many commodity prices like wheat are skyrocketing in part because of the demand for corn-based ethanol.
âAs a result of that youâve got corn prices up, soybean prices up, sorghum, wheat, milk, anything that has to do with livestock and farms is more expensive,â said Velshi.
In fact, contrary to Guptaâs point, the price of corn is at an 11-year high according to Financial Times, and its $4.38-a-bushel price tag is fueling food inflation, according to the December 17 âCBS Evening News.â
Gupta did not condemn the government subsidies on corn, calling them âa good thing,â but said âif there is a problem is all of this, it is that maybe we make too much corn and some of that corn gets turned into this high-fructose corn syrup.â
He also didnât suggest eliminating the subsidy â which is already funded by taxpayers â and passing that tax savings along to the consumer.
This isnât the first time Newsom has tried to engineer social behavior through government interference. Earlier in 2007, Newsom banned the purchase of bottled water by municipal government offices because he saw the containers as an environmental threat. He also has banned plastic bags from grocery store chains for a similar reason.