NBC 'Today' Panelists Literally Applaud 'Fat Tax' on Food

As co-host Matt Lauer reported Denmark implementing a "fat tax" on certain foods during the "Today's Professionals" panel on Tuesday's NBC "Today," advertising executive Donny Deutsch and NBC chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman literally applauded the move. [Audio available here]

Snyderman then demanded: "...there should be a tax on colas with sugar in it, foods you don't need, the necessities should be cheaper, so that people can get good fruits and vegetables and meats and the junk that's processed should be taxed higher. I have no problem with it at all."

Only panelist and attorney Star Jones disagreed with the government overreach: "I'm just concerned when the government with its long arm tries to tell people that we're not going to help you on the front end deal with the disease of obesity." Snyderman immediately asserted: "But they are helping by doing this." Deutsch similarly balked: "How is that not helping on the front end? That's exactly what they're doing."

Jones, who struggled with her own weight issues, stood her ground: "No, you're not helping anybody, not by taxing. That's not the way that you help people." Snyderman argued: "It worked with cigarettes, absolutely."

Moments later, Deutsch proclaimed: "If you solve obesity you solve the health care problem in this country. And so what's the argument to not making people healthier?" Jones replied: "But we're not trying to make people not healthier, I don't think that the way to do it is by taxing people, especially poor people."

Deutsch maintained: "It's a very smart way to do it....The poor people argument I don't understand. They need the help more than anybody." Jones pointed out the wealthy businessman's arm-chair liberalism: "Just because you're not poor. You ain't been poor in a long time....Walk in the shoes of people that can't find fruits and vegetables."


Here is a full transcript of the October 4 exchange:

8:11AM ET

(...)

MATT LAUER: Move on to food. Denmark has decided to implement what they're calling a fat tax.

[DONNY DEUTSCH AND NANCY SNYDERMAN START CLAPPING]

STAR JONES: Really?

LAUER: Basically you go to the supermarket, you buy a food that has above a certain level of fat, they charge you extra. Alright, do we feel good about this, Doc?
                                
NANCY SNYDERMAN: Absolutely. I mean, look, there should be a tax on colas with sugar in it, foods you don't need, the necessities should be cheaper, so that people can get good fruits and vegetables and meats and the junk that's processed should be taxed higher. I have no problem with it at all.                

DONNT DEUTSCH: I'm gonna knock you down.

STAR JONES: No, you can knock me down if you want to, I'm just concerned when the government with its long arm tries to tell people that we're not going to help you on the front end deal with the disease of obesity-

SNYDERMAN: But they are helping by doing this.        

DEUTSCH: How is that not helping on the front end? That's exactly what they're doing.

JONES: No, you're not helping anybody, not by taxing. That's not the way that you help people. They're not programmed-

DEUTSCH: By the way, it's already worked.

SNYDERMAN: It worked with cigarettes, absolutely.

DEUTSCH: And by the way, listen to me, listen-        

JONES: Where has it already worked? Where has it already worked?

SNYDERMAN: In this country with cigarettes.

DEUTSCH: It's already worked in Denmark, earlier on they've done it.

JONES: Denmark does not have the same level of obesity problem as we do.

DEUTSCH: Exactly, Star, Star-

LAUER: 10% of the population obese, we've got 33%.

SNYDERMAN: 66.

DEUTSCH: If you solve obesity you solve the health care problem in this country.

JONES: I 100% agree with that.

DEUTSCH: And so what's the argument to not making people healthier?

JONES: But we're not trying to make people not healthier, I don't think that the way to do it is by taxing people, especially poor people.

DEUTSCH: It's a very smart way to do it.

JONES: I disagree.

LAUER: Okay, let me just mention, in Denmark-

DEUTSCH: The poor people argument I don't understand. They need the help more than anybody.

JONES: Just because you're not poor. You ain't been poor in a long time.

DEUTSCH: You're right, I'm not poor, but they need – they need more help. They need the help, they're the ones

LAUER: In Denmark-

JONES: Walk in the shoes of people that can't find fruits and vegetables.

DEUTSCH: You're not poor, either, by the way.

JONES: Oh, yes I am.
            
LAUER: In Denmark, when they announced this new law was going to take place, people started to go to the store and hoard the high-fat foods so they could pay a less fee. So if that happens here, which one of us most likely to hoard butter? You right?

DEUTSCH: Yes.

LAUER: Yes, absolutely

SNYDERMAN: And you can afford it.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC