Tag Archives: Economy

A tax on sugar could prevent millions of cases of obesity

In 2008, over 1.4 billion adults were overweight and over half a billion were obese, nearly doubling since 1980. Around 2.8 million individuals each year die as a result of being overweight or obese.

Globally, 7 to 41 percent of certain cancers, 23 percent of ischemic heart disease and 44 percent of diabetes are attributable to obesity.

Image from feedstuffsfoodlink.com
“Junk” food, high in fat and sugar, is easily accessible, extensively promoted and very cheap. Image from feedstuffsfoodlink.com

A 20 percent sugar tax could decrease obesity rates in the UK by 5 percent (which equals 3.7 million individuals) by 2025 — as stated by a new report published by Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum.

The report forecasts the effect a 20 percent tax on sugar could have on obesity if current patterns continue steadily. This defined number of 3.7 million individuals is equal to the combined populations of six different cities in England.

The study also forecasts that the tax could save the National Health Service about £10 million (around $14 million) in social care and healthcare costs in the year 2025 alone.

Being overweight and obese is a notable root cause of illness that would otherwise be able to be prevented and death in the UK.

“Junk” food, high in fat and sugar, is easily accessible, extensively promoted and very cheap. The study demonstrates that the price of food influences what individuals buy, so introducing a sugar tax gives a reason to either purchase less or switch to a more healthy alternative.

Adults and young children consume double the maximum suggested quantity of added sugar. And 11 to 18 year olds eat and drink three times the recommended limit — sugary drinks being the main source of added sugar.

Recent surveys additionally demonstrate that a tax on sugar is supported by the majority of the public with 55 percent supporting the measure and only 36 percent opposed to it.

To decrease the effect obesity has on society, Cancer Research UK is calling for action by the Government to put a tax on sugary drinks, ban junk food adverts on TV before 9 pm, and introduce goals for decreasing the measure of sugar and fat in food as part of an all-inclusive plan.

Radford Foundry slated to close later this year

The Radford Foundry is closing down later this year, WDBJ7 reported.

The decision to close the foundry will lead to more than 250 workers becoming unemployed by the end of the year, though according to Richard Pacini, Grede’s Public Relations specialist, there are approximately 28 workers that qualify for employment at other foundries. The foundry was one of Radford’s largest employers.

Continue reading Radford Foundry slated to close later this year

Pick me, pick me!

There have been three official presidential debates this election year, including one vice presidential debate.

Obama and Romney in their first live debate at the University of Denver on October 3.

A majority consensus of registered voters, liberal and conservative alike, believed that Governor Mitt Romney proved victorious on Wed, Oct. 3 debate. Romney has quite often been portrayed as a wealthy businessman who simply does not understand the struggles of an average man or woman. Moderator Jim Lehrer, host of NewsHour on PBS, opened the debate with a question about the two candidates’ jobs agenda. Continue reading Pick me, pick me!

A lift from depression or regressive progression?

President Barack Obama has recently proposed a plan to help college graduates save hundreds of dollars while paying off their federal student loans and to pay those loans off in a shorter amount of time.

President Obama. Photo by Creative Commons.

Under current law, students who take out loans must pay them back after graduation from 15% of their personal income (not including personal taxes) annually for 25 years. After 25 years, they are forgiven for their remaining debt.

Obama said that he will implement an executive order that allows borrowers to consolidate any loans (for those borrowing from both the Federal Family Education Loan Program and a direct loan) and pay it all back from 10% of their personal income in 20 years before being relieved of their debt.

At a recent speech Obama delivered at the University of Colorado Denver, he mentioned that steps are being taken to enact this executive order by 2012 rather than 2014 as previously suggested, which, to my knowledge, will only be affective for those who borrow starting in January next year. Additionally, Obama claims that the taxpayer will not be affected by this new system. However, in all of my research, nowhere have I read a clear explanation of how Obama plans to carry out this order without it eventually becoming a burden on the economy and ultimately on the taxpayer.

For the first time ever, student loan debt has risen higher than credit card debt. Our country is trillions of dollars in debt, yet nonexistent money is still being paid out each year to those seeking student loans.

If college graduates will be required to pay back the debt at a rate of 10% of their annual income instead of 15%, it seems to me in the short term that the US government will receive a great deal less money being paid back from the lower income percentage, and if graduates will be on a 20-year payback/debt relief plan instead of a 25-year plan, the government will lose additional funds from five years of interest because graduates will be forgiven for their remaining debt in a far shorter time period. As a result, this overall loss of revenue both in the short term and long term will ultimately be a burden on the taxpayer.

Students and friends that I talked to around campus held a wide spectrum of views on this topic. Not many were aware of Obama’s proposal, some were apathetic toward it, and some appeared ready to support any idea from the president. Others appeared only concerned for themselves and intrigued by the idea of saving themselves a little money. Some suggested that perhaps Obama is aiming to appeal to young people’s emotions, especially those borrowing student loans, in order to increase his chances for re-election.

While I support the idea of helping struggling graduates, this gives life to many questions. How can this work? Why didn’t he do this sooner or work to relieve those who are struggling right now – the people who went to college during the initial economic collapse? Who will benefit from this plan? Obama mentioned 1.6 million students could benefit – what about the other 20 plus million borrowers? Who exactly qualifies? How is the taxpayer unaffected? Doesn’t everything done in this country derive from the taxpayer? Is this a technique far too complex for the average US citizen to comprehend? You be the judge.

Are student loans holding you back? Comic Freom Creative Commons.

The following links may be helpful in determining your financial aid:

An online ranking tool that provides the public with an opportunity to weigh in on the financial aid shopping sheet – www.consumerfinance.gov/students/knowbeforeyouowe.

Borrowers looking to determine whether or not income-based repayment is the right option for them should visit – www.studentaid.gov/ibr.

The U.S. Small Business Administration gives guidance to young entrepreneurs through the process of reducing their monthly student loan payments – www.sba.gov/startupamerica/student-startup-plan.

Conservatives certainly aren’t trying to conserve America!

Photo from Creative Commons

When looking through the vast universe that is the Internet, many people may think, “Oh, if it’s on the Internet it must be true!” But what many fail to realize is that anyone, yes ANYONE, can post whatever they damn well please. They could, for instance, make a website saying that the world is going to end in a week and that everyone will have to live on Mars. Whether the world is going to end or not is up to the speculation of the reader, obviously, but it does not mean that it is unequivocally true.

While many liberals may complain that Obama is choosing too many Republicans for important positions, I am still siding with him in the hope that he is actually doing his research in choosing people who he believes actually would make good appointments for the position, regardless of their political party. Barack Obama is the most educated president that we have had since Clinton (and sorry Clinton, I love you, but Obama’s actually still more educated than you; don’t let any Yale grads read this).

It is for that reason that I want to place blame with the Republicans for this quagmire. When action should be taking place, why am I hearing from people that this is Obama