The consumption of junk food is already taking its toll on many Americans. Coupled with a rather sedentary lifestyle, they face risks of developing a myriad of ailments and diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Unsurprisingly, it is the poor that are bearing the brunt since unhealthy canned food and junk food are much cheaper than fresh groceries. The idea of taxation on junk food and subsidies on healthy food can work together to guide people to walk the path of chowing down cheaper and healthier food instead of a greasily mess. Consequently, in the long run, billions of dollars spent on healthcare due to the outcome of an unhealthy diet can be put to better use. However, it is doubtful that there will be a significant impact as the consumption of food is an individual's choice and government policies can only influence one to a limited extent.
Like masturdbtor said soft power would work best in this scenario.
According to the movie "food inc" (some consider that a biased source but it had some good points in there) the problem many poor families face today is the dirt cheap price of filling junk food, but the expensive price of healthy food. This helps feul obesity because you save so much more money getting the same calories/energy from an unhealthy big mac rather than a steak and salad. Cocacolla bottles cost nothing compared to fruit smoothies. The list goes on and I seen this in my home country (Canada) and my home state (Michigan).
Banning junk food alone would not exactly help things and would be very time-consuming and difficult. However, if we can eliminate the problem of junk food being so cheap and make healthy food dirt cheap then this would definitley help countless poor (and middle class families on tight budgets) avoid diabetes. This is one of the main pillars supporting obesity.
Organic farming being heavily subsidized as well small-family owned farms and farmer's markets would help incentive people to eat healthier and locally.
People should be able to do what they want, but taxation and subsidization can work as a sort of soft power to sway people one way or another.
As for farms already receiving too many subsidies. The problem is the subsidy system we have in place is illogical. It is not based around sound reasons for giving the subsidies but political pandering. It should be based on health instead of giving subsidies to for example tobacco farms.
Make healthy food such as fruit and vegetables and whole grains cheaper and accessible by subsidizing it. People need to be able to eat a lot of healthy foods. I know meat, milk, and sugar and other junk-food ingredients are subsidized. Fruit and vegetables might not be, and they are the main foods we need and therefore should be subsidized. Junk food has been relatively cheap and healthy food expensive, this needs to be reversed.
The government and the food companies/supermarkets etc are totally different things. If the government steps in and adjusts prices it merely creates a false economy. Also, the term 'junk food' is subjective to some degree. Some people perceive junk food as anything that is processed, others say it is when it has a certain sugar content or whether chemicals have been added etc. Same goes with healthy. For example, some people may say that Special K cereal is healthy, others may say it isn't as it is processed.
As the other "no" vote pointed out, the very policies being advocated have been tried...This is the leftist, utopian type advocacy based on whimsy...So in effect this is a case where fascists wish to "sway" how you eat through punitive measures and give us freedom from choice. After all, we're all encouraged to vote but too stupid to decide what to eat or anything else. They will just create higher prices and more hunger only to then suggest more government intervention to correct the previous. Amazingly, they call raising taxes on the poor, using your money for their preferred businesses, and ultimately deciding what youeat..."soft power" H.L. MeMencken was correct...The urge to save humanity is almost certainly a desire to control it.
Junk food is already taxed and farms are heavily subsidized, so you can so both already exist. I think food has about a 22% imbedded tax. It's not that the price is imbedded, but that companies just take what they're taxed in consideration when considering price. Farms already recieve tons of subsidies from the government.
High taxes on anything from alcohol and cigarettes to junk food will only result in making it so those who are poor can not afford these things, but please if you want to live in a society where only those well off can afford these things by all means tax it, in fact why don't we start taxing people who have kids while were at it ! Slippery slope people