UK sugar tax, German elections: top comments from FT readers

Our editors pick the week’s most thought-provoking posts

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Each day, FT readers post thousands of comments responding to our stories: opinions, critiques, personal experiences and even the occasional joke. You talk, we listen. Here are highlights from the best of them.

ON THE RISING COST OF SUGARY DRINKS IN THE UK

“If sugar content is considered as a proxy for calories count and the resulting tax as a way to fight obesity, then alcohol should be taxed further as it breaks down into sugar. A pint of beer is 215 calories, versus 138 calories for a can of coke. Adjusted for volume, both are equally calorific with approximately 4 calories per centilitre.”

By banksy11 on Sugar tax attacked by soft-drink makers after Budget


“The plastic bag tax has worked because it is highly visible — you pay it at point of sale and directly. If the fizzy drink tax was equally visible then it would stand more chance of success.”

By CremeBrullle on Soft drinks groups digest UK sugar tax

ON THE NEED TO REFORM THE WELFARE STATE

These are the two most recommended comments on John Thornhill’s column, A universal basic income is an old idea with modern appeal

“If one views the UBI as people taking the money earned by robot slaves it sounds less fantastic and onerous. Ancient societies lived off slave labour. Robots and AI generally offer the same production possibilities (and threaten old jobs). The greater productivity must be in part used to provide a UBI to the disenfranchised humans.”

By Xenon


“I am a strong supporter of this — the amount of money spend administering benefits and other handouts is ridiculous; often the amount administering them is more than the benefits themselves.” 

By Jakarta Investor

ON FACT AND FICTION IN US POLITICS

© AFP

“A ticket of Trump and Bernie will win in a landslide in November. They just have to figure out how to break the news to their parents.”

By KLRJ on Super Tuesday 2: Trump knocks out Rubio 


“One of the problems with House of Cards is that everyone is clever and sensible. They may be thoroughly nasty, but they are always logical. You could even argue this is an idealised picture of American politics.”

By Mr X on Politics: stranger than fiction

ON PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE EMAILS

Both of these comments are on Lucy Kellaway’s column, Email: the weapon wielded by the passive aggressive colleague

“I find that putting “SECOND REQUEST” in the subject field, and also at the top of an email, usually elicits a quick response — even on those few occasions when there was no first request.”

By Pin Kun 


“Not so sure the email is the worst medium for passive aggression. The recorded phone message ‘we value your call’ while one is waiting in a queue is surely the ultimate example of passive aggression? Not even the possibility of a tart reply is afforded. To pick on the person who ultimately answers is ridiculous as the asinine message has nothing to do with them.”

By Harold Godwinson

ON THE SHIFT IN GERMAN POLITICS

© Getty

“What Germany (and the EU) needs yet lacks is a balanced approach. Social politics is to be treated with caution, as it is like a pendulum — take it to one extreme and it is bound to swing to another. Hitler had swung it to an extreme, and we know what’s ensued. Merkel has taken it to another extreme, and we are now witnessing a predictable reaction. Merkel has mastered her history very well; what’s missing is a level of understanding of social psychology.”

By ThoughtProvoker on Germany’s Merkel under renewed attack after populists’ poll successThis article received more than 400 comments.

ON BENCHMARKED FUNDS AND NOT FOLLOWING THE HERD

“I prefer managers and investment vehicles that do not track or shoot-for a given benchmark. If a declared benchmark returns 16% and I ‘only’ make 10% but with half the volatility, risk, drama, fees, whatever, I won’t complain and still sleep quite well at night since my goals, needs, targets may not be the same as those of the benchmark.”

By rickf on Fund managers lose out from benchmarking

For last week’s top comments, click here

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