By Will Verboven, Contributing Editor
It’s a ways down the road, but there seems to be a meandering trend toward a tax on meat. The usual cabal of green, vegan and animal rights zealots have been pontificating about such a tax for years. Those folks know how to push all the politically correct buttons in their war to save the planet from the ravages of immoral meat production.
To be clear the word meat in this matter invariably means beef – chicken and pork just can’t get the same publicity. Being it implicates cattle and beef, it’s a sure-fire way to get the attention of a biased urban media and environmentally sensitive governments. For instance, you may have noticed an increasing number of TV news features highlighting an alleged connection between the number of methane-emission-producing cattle and the end of the world in 2050. Depending on the report, cattle are responsible for 3 percent to 30 percent of the world’s emissions. The implication always is that if we didn’t have cattle, the world would be saved from the ravages of global warming.
Naturally, such fearmongering leads to an obvious solution – the need for a hefty meat tax to reduce consumption and thereby reduce the world cattle population. It’s all so simple to leftish green zealots – just tax citizens into submission if they don’t see the wisdom of some politically correct cause to save the planet.
It would seem Americans will fortunately be spared the inevitability of a meat tax (at least for now) thanks to their robust political and judicial system that allows them to contest the arbitrary imposition of unwarranted taxes. I cite the successful challenge to taxes on sugary soda drinks in New York and California.
For the innocent who feel a meat tax will never happen, just look north of the border where politically correct taxes are becoming increasingly normal. We have a national carbon tax designed to see Canada save the world – that’s a delusion, as Canada produces less than 2 percent of global emissions. Recently the province next to Alberta imposed a tax on sugary drinks that’s sure to be followed in other provinces. Curiously the new sugar tax is only on soda pop; there is no tax on sugar-laden donuts, candy, pastry, etc., which I presume are considered less dangerous to the health of Canadians.
Unlike the United States, the Canadian governance and judicial system makes it difficult to challenge politically motivated taxes designed to change the behavior of its citizens. Such a situation makes a meat tax just a matter of time in Canada, particularly at the province level.
The latest drive for a meat tax is being pushed in Germany by the usual green lobby group suspects. Interestingly, Germany already has a 7 percent tax on food, but those killjoys want to increase it to 19 percent on meat to equal the EU sales tax on other goods. Proponents claim such a tax will save countless lives and save millions in healthcare costs. As with carbon taxes, duplicitous governments will pronounce that money from a meat tax will be used for such noble purposes as education, healthcare, etc. The reality is it’s just another tax and will invariably go into general government revenue and be subject to incremental increases.
Inane German green groups suggest displaced livestock farmers be paid to grow vegetable crops in order to keep prices down, as they see a virtual consumer stampede to replace expensive beef with kale and turnip stew, thereby increasing the demand. That subsidy is supposed to come from the meat tax, but if consumers stop buying expensive meat, where will the subsidy money come from? Or is that too much common sense.
The real losers are lower- and middle-income folks who will not be able to afford over-taxed expensive meats. Green apologists counter by suggesting that some of the income from meat taxes should be used to subsidize poor folks so they can buy more tofu and cabbage. If that doesn’t work perhaps governments should control the entire production and distribution of food and issue ration cards to force people to buy only politically correct organic vegetables. That may be farfetched, but nothing surprises me anymore.
The idea that you can tax beef out of existence to save the planet and that it will not impact food production and availability is delusion at its best. But then deceit and delusion are how green groups operate. Remember how the marketing of fake meats seemed rather far away? I expect meat taxes are on the horizon, perhaps under a different guise. Hogs, poultry, horses and others all have seen their production practices restricted; cattle are not exempt. I expect California and New York will be in the forefront – you read it here first.