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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Should We Have A Fat Tax?


Should We Have A Fat Tax?

A Cranky opinion on Cranky Opinion Saturday

The following is the opinion of a Cranky Old Man.  Opposing opinions are welcome (wrong but welcome) but please, no name calling…and that means you, you big stupid head!
 

Is our health system going broke because of fat people?   I don’t mean to pick on fat people, I am no slim Jim myself, but it seems to be OK to tax drinkers and their alcohol consumption, and cigarette smoking has been reduced partially due to high product taxes.  We tax gasoline to discourage use.  We tax to raise money necessary for the government to deliver services; we also tax in order to discourage consumption of items society deems dangerous and or undesirable.

A recent post by a blogger I follow, Dr. Vinnie, addresses the epidemic our country is facing due to morbid obesity*.   Obesity causes or exacerbates the vast majority of all the health issues which cost us so much in both dollars and of course lives, and yet discouraging the consumption which promotes this condition has not been attempted.  Perhaps our society needs to look upon the obese as the same kind of pariahs that we have made smokers.  

Is that mean?

If we can tax smokers into bankruptcy to make them quit, if we can embarrass smokers by forcing them outside and into special smoking areas while non-smokers wave their hands to ward off the smoke in distain, if it is politically correct to look a smoker in the eye and chastise them for disturbing the air with second hand smoke, if it is ok to walk by a person inhaling his addictive drug and exclaim, “Ewww, a smoker!” Then perhaps it is time to put the pressure on another group who are creating a health crisis because of their being inconsiderate!

Is this harsh?  Yes it is, but I was subjected to all of the above before I quit smoking, and I know it was in my own best interests.  Sometimes bullying to force people to conform to societies accepted behavior is not a bad thing.

Dr. Vinnie offers some good first steps to fighting this epidemic.  First is tax the hell out of soda.  If alcohol is bad, if tobacco is evil, who wants to make an argument that drinking mass quantities of sugar water is worth supporting.  Health studies have also demonstrated that so called “Diet” soda may well be worse than the pure sugar water we call soda.

I say tax soda.  Tax ice cream.  Tax donuts.  Tax French fries.  Tax fat!  Establish designated areas where it is allowable to consume any of these products so others do not have to inhale second hand calories.  Make it politically correct to point at overweight people and shout, “Fat, fat, the water rat!”  Charge fat people extra to fly or take any public transportation. 

Let’s have a war against obesity.  Is that harsh?  Probably, but so is diabetes, so is arthritis, so are heart attacks, so is difficulty climbing stairs. 

Stop enabling fat people. 

I was a smoker for years.  I was a second class citizen for years.  No one pitied me for my affliction.  My addiction was not enabled, society made it worthwhile for me to suffer through months of withdrawal in order to not be a pariah.  I was bullied into not smoking, and it was for my own good. 

Don’t we owe fat people the same kind of social conditioning?

 

The preceding has been the opinion of a Cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

*For a more reasonable discussion on this topic from someone who actually knows what the hell he is talking about see Dr. Vinnie’s post:

15 comments:

  1. There's a lot of sound reasoning to your arguments Cranky. In America today we ALL pay for obesity. Obese people who have health insurance drive up the premiums for those who are not obese. And the obese who need health care and don't have insurance wind up getting the care they need anyway and the rest of us get the bill for it.

    Regarding travel, it's simple physics....it takes more energy (fuel) to move an obese person, whether it be on a bus or an airplane, therefore they SHOULD pay more.

    Tax unhealthy foods? *Gulp* OK, I suppose. And this from a guy who could stand to lose a few pounds himself, and who loves all those evil foods you mentioned. But fair is fair, and in this case probably necessary.

    Discriminate against obese people? Touchy one. I can understand an employer not wanting to hire an obese person because the cost to insure them, the affect on the premiums for the entire company, could be impacted. And not wanting to sit next to them on a plane, for example, yes, because the more room they take up, the less room for yourself. You paid for X amount of space, but you only got 90% what you paid for because some obese guy got his plus. You know how amusement parks have signs that say you can only ride if you're this *hand held out* tall? How about one that says you can only get on if you're this *hands held apart* narrow? What's the difference?

    One big difference when comparing obese people to smokers is that smokers really do foul the air for many feet around them, and if you get too close you'll spend the rest of the day walking around smelling of their smoke. I don't think a similar analogy exists for obese people.

    Seems to me the only option is for us to say to the obese, "If you want to eat yourself into oblivion, go ahead, but if you get sick and need medical attention and can't pay for it yourself, too bad. Just go home and die. You got yourself into this position, it's YOUR problem." But of course we're a compassionate people and we know that won't happen, so yeah, it's time to get more forceful.

    Very thought provoking post. :)

    S

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  2. Hmm...that's food for thought.

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  3. lol and pbfffft ... as a fat person with a food addiction I have been fighting even when I was a gorgeous young thing... most women will diet themselves into looking emaciated ... bulimia .. anorexia ... all because society looks down on fat people.

    The young girls are the victims. I'm glad I, at least, grew up in the 50s where some meat on the bones was more desirable than the emaciated look.

    When you're talking obesity as in reeeeeallly fat and needing to take two seats in an airplane or, I tell you... I go to an all you can eat buffet just so I can watch the obese folk eat.

    This is a wonderful diet. It is sad... it is a deterrent to overeating...

    Taxing sodas and not good for you food will not help an obese person. A lot of factors go into why someone is obese. I try not to judge but even I, a fat person, want to walk over and shake them as I do a smoker... What the hell are you doing to yourself and to a smoker? to me and everyone around you.

    But I don't. I just go and watch 'em eat and keep that picture in my head whenever I go by Krispy Kreme when the red light goes on. I really hate that.

    I really also hate the fact that I didn't get in the gene pool that allowed some folk to eat whatever they want whenever they want and still look good in a bathing suit. I really hate that.

    I've put in a request for my next life... to the egg and sperm mixing in charge people/person/thing.... that I want in that pool. dammit

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  4. tax soda. tax donuts. sure, go ahead and tax (my) ice cream. i'm better off without it. :)

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  5. might as well have an ugly tax. muffin tops on both men and women ~ make a citizen's arrest on people who flop around you. scares the kiddies.

    overweight or fat men with man boobs should not be allowed to go shirtless and wear speedos ... how to implement said tax?

    I don't know. except to walk over to a guy with said speedo on and go ... ewwwww?! or this guy that walks everyday ... EVERYday in our neighborhood ,.. shirtless ... he's in his 70s and has man boobs and a large belly.

    He always seems to walk by my house when I just happen to walk by a window and can't avert my eyes fast enough ... jumping jeeeeeez

    I got a laundry list of stuff that needs to be remedied to make my life prettier. damn yard is one ~ going to plow it under and plant rocks.. I really mean that

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  6. When we worked harder for our daily bread it was far more difficult to grow fat. A fat farmer behind his team? His wife, washing, ironing, gardening. Factory workers, walking to the bus or to the job itself. Working hard. Of course we can't go back. But be smarter going forward. Stop lying to ourselves.

    I quit smoking when I couldn't afford it. Bravo to the politicians who will stand up to the fat food and beverage industry. I think fat will destroy us as a nation before it is addressed.

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  7. Excuse me, but I don't want to drop these donuts--could you please light my cigarette for me?

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  8. "...Sometimes bullying to force people to conform to societies accepted behavior is not a bad thing." This comment made me rethink your post on shame, which is now derided but was once considered a valid method of behavior modification.

    I think the vast majority of obese people are poor, and unhealthy food is the cheapest food available. Dollar tacos at Taco Bell is a cheap way to feed your family even though this is practically poison for your kids. I think taxing these oily, sugary foods is an idea with merit.

    But let's remember that overweight people deserve our compassion. It isn't necessarily willpower these folks lack (I've lost a hundred pounds four times in my life). Kids need to be encouraged to set down their computers and i-phones and hang around outside more. Schools need PE programs. I don't have answers to this epidemic but I do believe America's future is on the line and something needs to be done.

    When I was a chubby kid I fantasized about an America where everyone was as chubby as I was. It seems I'm getting my wish, and as the old Chinese saying goes" Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

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  9. Wow! Now you've done it. You have managed to push the buttons of even your elite, high quality followers and caused them to gush seriously and passionately about the subject.
    Before I go on I want to say this was a brilliant bit of satire and also not a bad idea. I loved it, even tho I am one of those evil, awful obese folk who is undermining the welfare of America. (I gained 35 lbs when I quit smoking and just transferred from one detested category to another.)

    Obesity, food addiction and the refusal of the body's metabolism to adapt to progress and change are the real core problems of our privileged society.....I do not think you realized how deep the feelings on this subject go. You might want to hire a bodyguard for a while, darling. Please stay safe.
    Love, Lo

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  10. I think you'd have a hard time deciding where the line is drawn between foods to tax and foods not to. I know plenty of people who eat crappy stuff and are think, and plenty who eat wholesome foods and are fat because of the quantities they eat. In that case, do you tax all food? And if you do, are you then just making things difficult for everyone?

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  11. Our country, and world perhaps, is evolving. Technology has made a vast difference in the amount of physical activity we get. I press a button inside of my van to open the side and back doors. There goes a calorie 'not' burned.

    It seems to me that once upon a time, fat people just dropped dead one day. No one was encouraged to have physicals and therefore, you never knew how bad of shape you were in; but now insurance is dishing out tons of money trying to keep you alive and paying for your hospital visits.

    I understand your frustration, even though I've never had an addiction to cigarettes or food - just blogging. :) And though I HAVE to watch what I eat, I was born with the skinny genes. My heart goes out to those who can't enjoy a donut without seeing it on their butt and gut the next day.

    I know...that's exagerating, but you get my point.

    Your rant is probably hurtful to a lot of people, but it is another method to get people's attention and I think you have the right to express your feelings.

    With continued evolvement, things will probably change. Maybe exercising will become an addiction for more people. Maybe affordable meals containing fruits and vegetables will totally occupy many drive through restaurants. Maybe? We'll probably be dead by then, but who knows. Call me an optimist.

    Unfortunately, problematic issues decrease, only to be repaced by others on the increase.

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  12. I do wish I could avoid inhaling 'second-hand' calories!! :D

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  13. Yes there should definitely be a fat tax. This method has been so successful in eliminating drinkers and smokers, it plainly works.
    And speaking of travel, I would like to also add a tax on people who bring suitcases into the plane cabin with them. Maybe if everyone obeyed the carry-on rules there would be enough room for fat people!

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  14. I finally got over to read Dr. Vinnie's post. After I type this, I'm going to hop up and take my blood pressure. Not a "big girl" but I have a little hereditary bp issue. Thank God for my little fluid pill. That article gave me a bit of the heebie jeebies.

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