The people of Scandinavia have historically been among the healthiest in the world. Their diet includes a great deal of fish, which is good for the cardiovascular system and high in proteins. An outdoor life is also popular in northern Europe, and a disproportionate number of famous explorers come from this region. There are some serious health problems among these people — alcoholism is high — but by and large, the Scandinavians live long and healthy lives.
Now the government of Denmark has decided that some food choices made by Danes are bad for their health and, consequently, fair game in this socialist-leaning nation. On October 1 the average price of a half-pound of butter rose by the equivalent of $.45 and the average price of a pound of cheese increased by $.50. Lard went up $.70 per half pound. In fact, almost any spread for bread jumped in October because of the new “fat tax” imposed by the Danish government, which specifically targets saturated fats from animals, such as butter, cream, and meat.
Though the object of the tax is to improve the health of Danes, it is highly unpopular among the Danes, and many see few, if any, health benefits. Tor Christensen, chief consultant for the Danish Ministry of Taxation, explained the thinking behind this new tax, which passed parliament with almost 90 percent of the votes:
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