A Sin Tax on Fast Food Drive-Thrus? Best. Idea. Ever.


drive-thruWe as a country are fat. Why are we fat? Because we eat a crap load of fast food. Why do we fast food? Because it's, well, fast (yes, I'm clearly Captain Obvious). We can cruise our cars up to a drive-thru window and be stuffing our faces with a greasy burger within 2.5 minutes.

But what would you do if you had to pay extra for the drive-thru factor? I'll tell what I'd be -- skinny.

Well, my fellow fatty fatty pork chops, we may very well be facing that in the near future.

In an effort to raise money for road repairs, the West Virginia Department of Transportation is toying with the idea of placing a 6 percent tax on foods that are purchased through drive-thrus. Not sure what seniority the department of transportation has over McDonald's, but I can already hear the outcry of pissed off customers everywhere:

"But I don't have time to go into the restaurant!"

"You try taking three kids into a McDonald's!"

"I work late hours, and the restaurant portion isn't open ... how will I eat?"

Here's the answer to all three: Don't eat fast food.

Ooo, lightbulb.

Placing a sin tax on fast food drive-thrus will undoubtedly create a vicious spiral. The parking lot will be packed, therefore you'll spend more time circling to find a spot. Once you get inside the restaurant with your circus of kids, it will be so crowded that you'll want to beat someone over the head with a Happy Meal toy. Then you finally order and chow down on your greasy fries. Now tell me, are those fries (and the pounds you're packing on) worth all of that extra headache? Are they?

Suddenly, fast food restaurants have lost their convenience appeal. So you stop going, and then, voila! You're healthier because of it.

Best. Idea. Ever.

Now if only the rest of the country will hop on board the taxing train.

What do you think of placing a tax on drive-thru food? Best or worst idea ever?


Image via ASurroca/Flickr

eating out, food


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nonmember avatar Ashley

I think they've got a good idea - definitely different - but it'll make a LOT of people pretty upset. It invades into the personal choice side of things, which people don't like messed with.

jeann... jeannesager

OK, here's my riff on the "try taking three kids into McDonald's." I didn't eat fast food as I was trying to lose my baby weight. But I did require caffeine to keep myself awake, especially in those days when I was back at work but my kid wasn't yet sleeping through the night. . . and you know what about a sleeping child?


Proud... ProudSingleMum

I don't think it would work so easily. Fast food isn't cheap...even if you eat off the dollar menu. So if my fat rear is willing to drive through now, why not with 6%? Also...if we do this...where do we draw the line? Do we tax people for not exercising enough? Or what if they watch more then X amount of TV a day? All things that can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. 

nonmember avatar JD

I think where does it end? How is it anyone's business where someone eats? I don't even go to fast food places very much and this still makes me angry. To be honest, it really looks like it's not one bit about health, it's about states seeing how much money they can get. Why not tax alcohol too? It's not healthy either and the way that stuff gets bought the national debt could be balanced. Or not hand out welfare to everyone who applies. Or states could manage their money better, politicians could do with less than six or seven figure paychecks a year and we could fix roads without monitoring what people eat.

xavie... xavierlogan09

i don't think it's going to make people stop eating fast food or going through the drive thru. they raised cigeratte taxes here in order to get people to stop smoking. that didn't work. people complained that they had to pay more to get their cigerattes but they still smoked. if america cared about the price of fast food we wouldn't be fat. people are still going to eat it regardless of the price.

sara_... sara_bellum

Do the folks that don't believe in God have to pay this "sin" tax??!!! lol And hey, if that's so, then I'm gonna have to file a discriminatory lawsuit!!! oh yeahhhh ;-)

Just2... Just2busymom

I think it's getting ridiculous.  Why should you care where people eat?????  Then should others be judging you on your lifestyle and be able to affect YOUR choices?? 

nonmember avatar Whoever

Taxing behaviors makes sense only if there is a clear link between the behavior and a public cash outflow. I think folks who go through drive-throughs might not use any more gas than folks who park and pick up their carry-out at the counter. As for kids in the car, my guess is, there would be more little ones left briefly alone in the car, as well as more kids running around in the parking lots. ... I agree with those who suggest some folks get off their high horses when it comes to other people's legal choices. As long as I'm not paying for it, it's none of my business what you eat. Not only is regulation thru taxes ineffective and unAmerican, but it's illogical. Maybe I won't eat a cheeseburger on the fly, but I will eat something else. Will the government dictate whether my substitution is gonna be a Snickers bar or a granola bar? There's no end to that kind of nonsense.

nonmember avatar Allboys

I think they need to be audited before they institute any new taxes on their constituents. First of all we all know tax revenue in this country isn't the problem. Politicians on both sides spending recklessly is. So why when my husband and I pay more in taxes every year than some people bring home and none of us are overweight should we be forced to pay a "fat tax" on fast food? This would be enough for me to avoid fast food altogether. The choice to eat fast food only rarely isn't why we are all a healthy weight. Our daily choices to eat well balanced home made meals is.

Nellyo Nellyo

The last two comments are spot on.

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