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: