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18 July 2009

Time for Fat Tax

Okay, so I just saw that advert where the family goes fishing and it says that we don't need a tax on the crap that we buy that's bad for us. Sadly, I think we do need that tax...

Come on, be honest, how many people look like those in the advert? How many people that generally by chips, soda, and that type of junkfood actually DO eat responsibly and actually exercise? This is a case where we have acted so irresponsibly that we abdicated our right to consume like the obese cows we have turned into. If obesity wasn't an epidemic, I would agree with the sentiment of the commercial, but just looking around on the beach, it's like several hundred pods of whales have washed up! Heck, I'd go so far as to force people to humiliate themselves before being allowed to buy soda, chips, and other junkfoods. If they have those items in their cart, they will have to step on a scale that measurs their bodyfat (we have some pretty good ones now that are accurate to within a percent or two), and if they are lardasses, a big flashing light goes off, and a speaker announces to everyone in the store that a "fatty fat fatso is getting fatter". And since this behaviour is going unchecked, and is also responsible for so many health problems, I have no sympathy that the burden comes on them.

I enjoy a cigar from time to time as well. I know that's not the healthiest habit, but again, I am willing to pay extra for that. Heck, there are a lot of things that drive direct costs to how incredibly unhealthy this nation is, that may be occasional pleasures to people. You need to make it a cost benefit analysis to them. Not something that makes it more convenient. Hell, tax the shit out of McDonalds and their ilk too.

Some things that I even thought would help people get more motivated to change their lardass lifestyle:

- Make Helath Club dues tax deductible (provided the guym is actually used).
- Give people a tax break if they are able to pass a PT test (administered by the health club, not the gubment).
- Make the total cost of all FRESH fruits and vegetables a tax deduction as well.
- In other words, make people care about being healthy and benefit from it in ways that matter outside the quality of life (let's face it, looking like a fucking blob doesn't seem to matter to folks...).

Shit like this bugs me, because I'd rather not see us having to resort to this, but let's face it. As a nation we're about as unhealthy as a nation can be, and still be able to walk over to the Ben and jerry's counter without collapsing of a heart attack. We stopped caring, so at this point we need to be treated like the children we are acting like, and have some sense beaten into us.

Just my rant for the day. Now, I'm gonna go jogging, and then my wife wants me to cut up some veggies for our dinner tonight.

EDIT TO ADD: I did want to make an acknowledgment that there ARE medical conditions that do make life difficult for many people. However, that doesn't mean to just give up on an attempt at a healthy lifestyle. It's no excuse to have a 5000 calorie per day diet. Put down the deep fat fried Twinkie dipped in baconaise, and have an apple instead. I doubt that 32% of the US has an uncontrolled thyroid problem (obese)! Or that 65% are just big boned (overweight). Heck, I know that I myself need to take my own advice and lose a few pounds and have a better diet. That commercial just really pissed me off.


Mondior said...

It's not realistic to tax industries associated with providing goods and services catering to individual choice nor individuals themselves for their choices. We all have different priorities and crusades. By this line of reasoning I would champion the taxation and regulation of things like childbirth, voting and housing. I think there should be minimum income and educational requirements for starting a family, voting and the enactment of laws. Poor decision making on the part of individuals who are uneducated or of low socio-economic class has resulted in immeasurable economic burden of the social welfare institutions on the educated. It should be compulsory for couples to pass rigorous psychological evaluation, have a minimum yearly income and have at least a master's degree before they are permitted to breed. :)

Larian LeQuella said...

To be honest, in "A Brave New World" maybe that isn't that bad an idea? ;) Hey, it was a rant based off a commercial. Neither have any basis in reality after all.

Although, I would just like for there to be a bit more of a consequence (aside from being unhealthy) for willfully ignoring the most basics of a good diet. If you are going to drink a 12 pack of soda a day and eat deep fat fried Oreos, then you really ought to contribute a bit more to the final health bill. After all, it's your own fault.

Aaron said...

It is honest, however, to tax goods and services that pander to unhealthy behaviors and show no sign of letting up.

You've heard of the cigarette tax, yes? Funds are dedicated to health care for those suffering from nicotine addiction (emphysema, etc) and anti-smoking ad campaigns.

Why not start taxing McD's, BK, Wendy's, Carl's Jr., KFC, Popeye's, etc? Why not add some tax to booze purchases? How about taxes on candy and chips and soda?

If you're going to consume products that are strictly luxury items as though they were staple items, I say be prepared to pony up to cover the expected costs of caring for your lard-infused ass later on down the road and to provide education for younger folks BEFORE addiction to that crap sets in.

It's institutionalized to consider junk food as an acceptable dietary component rather than as a rare luxury, and that's what has to change.

Great post, Larian, as I've learned to expect.

JD Curtis said...

The problem is Aaron, these funds that are supposedly set aside wind up getting sucked down a big government "black hole" and they will use those funds for other purposes. Just my guess but I'm admittedly distrustful of Big Government by nature given that I'm a small govt. conservative.

Larian LeQuella said...

I WAS a small government conservative (with liberal social views), but with the douchebaggery of conservatives, we've gone so far off the edge we have no choice but to take government run measures. We abdicated our choice of small government by choosing to be total douchebags.

Mondior said...

I advocate proactive solutions instead of reactive solutions overall for our nation's ails. IMHO, a tax such as this is unrealistic for a whole host of reasons apart from the simple principle I tried to illustrate in my first response. To me, the idea of a "fat tax" is a symptom of, yet, another social problem our nation faces; the problem being what I call our "Over The Counter" Problem Solving philosophy; and I think our elected leaders play a huge role in cultivating this phenomenon. We, as a nation, have become complacent. Our youth have a pre-packaged, commercialized, and fad-encouraged top 10 in the charts sense of personal entitlement that simply does not exist. Our leaders don't spearhead problem solving. They promise quick fixes. The problem is there ARE NO quick fixes. Instead of looking at our obesity epidemic and delving into questions such as: Why do we have an obesity epidemic? How did it start? How pervasive is it? What manner of social changes should we enact to remedy it? We come up with solutions such as "fat taxes". Take the question of illegal immigration. Instead of asking the question "Why do we have a problem with illegal immigration?", our leaders recommend building The Great Wall of Mexico. Our leaders employ these "over the counter" remedies to treat "symptoms" of problems instead of actually taking definitive steps to address the causes of our problems. Building the nation we idealize requires qualities that are all but absent from our younger generation; qualities such as: patience, diligence, dedicaton, initiative, and accountability. /gets down off the soapbox. Great topic Larian.

Larian LeQuella said...

I understand completely Mondior, and in essence I totally agree with you. It's just that at this point we have gone over the edge, and need to not only attack the issue of why people are electing to follow unhealthy lifestyles DESPITE everyone telling them otherwise, AS WELL AS (and this is the key) pay for the consequences of all the cost of nearly everyone being overweight.

As I mentioned in the blog, I would rather have people not turn into total lard asses to start with. Hence the idea of gym dues being tax deductible (as well as the cost of exercise equipment and the like), and offering tax breaks to those who DO healthy stuff and are indeed actually healthy. Sadly, JUST a carrot isn't enough for Americans anymore.

We need to give people a carrot obviously, but we need to beat them over the head with a big stick as well. Not only are people physically dullards, they have elected to become mental dullards as well.