Since the production of meat is, quite literally, destroying the planet, it must be severely curtailed. It ought to be treated like tobacco, another deadly and unnecessary habit - though, to be fair, tobacco use is not an existential threat to humanity. Calculations should be made as to the environmental, health and economic costs the livestock industry imposes on the world and it should be taxed accordingly.
The tendency for governments to increasingly regulate the advertising industry, whether in the name of consumer protection or for health concerns, is already on full throttle. After cigarette packs, don't be surprised if sooner or later you see plain bags of chips on the shelves of convenience stores, or plain-packaged chocolate bars. Politicians stand on a steep, slippery slope that could lead to private property and intellectual property violations, and destruction of brands. The economic consequences should be weighted carefully. And such policies backed by solid empirical data, not merely good intentions.
It is true that smoking is a major public health concern, and one might be tempted to say that the change in behaviour is desirable, whatever the effect on government revenue. Again, Laffer tells us that things are more complicated than it seems. While it is true that some people are deterred from smoking by tax increases, this is not the case of all smokers.
This is precisely what happened in Canada in the early 1990s. Indeed, following a steep increase in duties and taxes applicable to tobacco products by the federal government and the provinces, a vast illegal trade in cigarettes sprang up. Contraband's share in the Canadian tobacco market jumped from 1 per cent in 1987 to approximately 31 per cent by the end of 1993.
A carbon tax is like a tax on tobacco. We need to make sure we are paying the full cost of something that is going to cause havoc down the road. In fact a carbon tax could be even revenue neutral, i.e., the money could be refunded to help the needy. Carbon-based fuels cause pollution and global warming. These hazards will prove costly for future generations.
The biggest target of obesity in North America? Soda. Many experts now claim that soda is the new tobacco -- indeed, Google those terms and you get more than 7 million hits. For them, Coke is the new Camel. Let me take a step back and note the basic problem in fighting obesity like we fought tobacco.