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Tough love for fat people: Tax their food to pay for healthcare

July 27, 2009 |  2:33 pm

When historians look back to identify the pivotal moments in the nation's struggle against obesity, they might point to the current period as the moment when those who influenced opinion and made public policy decided it was time to take the gloves off.

 As evidence of this new "get-tough" strategy on obesity, they may well cite a study released today by the Urban Institute titled "Reducing Obesity: Policy Strategies From the Tobacco Wars."

In the debate over healthcare reform, the added cost of caring for patients with obesity-related diseases has become a common refrain: most recent is the cost-of-obesity study, also released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It finds that as obesity rates increased from 18.3% of Americans in 1998 to 25% in 2006, the cost of providing treatment for those patients' weight-driven problems increased healthcare spending by $40 billion a year.

If you happen to be the 1-in-3 Americans who is neither obese nor overweight (and, thus, considered at risk of becoming obese), you might well conclude that the habits of the remaining two-thirds of Americans are costing you, big time. U.S. life expectancies are expected to slide backward, after years of marching upward. (But that's their statistical problem: Yours is how to make them stop costing you all that extra money because they are presumably making poor choices in their food consumption.)

"Facing the serious consequences of an uncontrolled obesity epidemic, America's state and federal  policy makers may need to consider interventions every bit as forceful as those that succeeded in cutting adult tobacco use by more than 50%," the Urban Institute report says. It took awhile -- almost 50 years from the first surgeon general's report on tobacco in 1964 -- to drive smoking down. But in many ways, the drumbeat of scientific evidence and the growing cultural stigma against obesity already are well underway -- as any parent who has tried to bring birthday cupcakes into her child's classroom certainly knows.

Key among the "interventions" the report weighs is that of imposing an excise or sales tax on fattening foods. That, says the report, could be expected to lower consumption of those foods. But it would also generate revenues that could be used to extend health insurance coverage to the uninsured and under-insured, and perhaps to fund campaigns intended to make healthy foods more widely available to, say, low-income Americans and to encourage exercise and healthy eating habits.

If anti-tobacco campaigns are to be the model, those sales taxes could be hefty:  The World Health Organization has recommended that tobacco taxes should represent between two-thirds and three-quarters of the cost of, say, a package of cigarettes;  a 2004 report prepared for the Department of Agriculture suggested that, for "sinful-food" taxes to change the way people eat, they may need to equal at least 10% to 30% of the cost of the food.

And although 40 U.S. states now impose modest extra sales taxes on soft drinks and a few snack items, the Urban Institute report suggests that a truly forceful "intervention" -- one that would drive down the consumption of fattening foods and, presumably, prevent or reverse obesity -- would have to target pretty much all the fattening and nutritionally empty stuff we eat: "With a more narrowly targeted tax, consumers could simply substitute one fattening food or beverage for another," the reports says.

Of course, the United States also would have to adopt extensive menu- and food-labeling changes that would make "good foods" easily distinguishable from the bad ones subject to added taxes. Not to worry though: Several European countries, most notably Great Britain, have led the way in this area.

And here's the payoff: Conservatively estimated, a 10% tax levied on foods that would be defined as "less healthy" by a national standard adopted recently in Great Britain could yield $240 billion in its first five years and $522 billion over 10 years of implementation -- if it were to begin in October 2010. If lawmakers instituted a program of tax subsidies to encourage the purchase of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, the added revenue would still be $356 billion over 10 years.

That would pay for a lot of healthcare reform, which some have estimated will cost as much as $1 trillion to implement over the next ten years.

There can be little doubt that lobbyists for the food, restaurant and grocery industries would come out swinging on any of these proposals. But the report cites evidence of a turning political tide for proposals that would hold the obese and other consumers of nutritionally suspect food accountable for their choices. A recent national poll found that 53% of Americans said they favored an increased tax on sodas and sugary soft drinks to help pay for healthcare reform. And even among those who opposed such an idea, 63% switched and said they'd favor such a tax if it "would raise money for health-care reform while also tackling the problems that stem from being overweight."

-- Melissa Healy

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Comments (831)

Fat chance (sorry, too easy). With 60-plus percent of Americans overweight or obese and plenty of thin people also enjoying soda or chips, I think any such support for expanding sin taxes from alcohol and tobacco to the snack and drink aisle of the grocery store would evaporate if talks became serious.

People love to tax tobacco because they hate smokers. But raising alcohol taxes is still politically difficult and many people only drink occasionally. I imagine if a soda/snack tax got any traction, support would drop substantially as snack makers warned of layoffs.

Tax empty calories. Subsidize healthy calories. Seems simple to me.

All the pronouncements about the so-called "obesity" epidemic linking it to rising healthcare costs illustrates the "bandwagon" effect. Everyone wants to find someone to blame for rising costs. Since the powers that be really don't want to come to grips with waste and inefficiency in our healthcare system, phony billing practices, pharmaceutical companies raking in excessive profits for drugs sold in the US (as opposed to Canada, for example), paperwork requirements that require doctors to hire staff members just to fill out forms, and so forth, it is convenient to set up a paper tiger (fat people) to take the blame.

Taxes to selectively penalize certain food purchases are regressive taxes--they disproportionately hurt the poorer members of society more than the wealthy or middle class.

Larger citizens are already stigmatized enough. We need less discrimination, not more, in a misguided attempt to reign in healthcare costs.

People come in all shapes and sizes. Get used to it.

Bill Fabrey
Council on Size and Weight Discrimination (
Mt Marion, NY

Tax empty calories? I'm sorry. I'm 5'10 150 lbs. I'm not fat, because I don't eat a lot, and i work out and do physical activity. Now your telling me that I have to pay more for a bag of Doritos because the government is taxing empty calories?

People who are not overweight should be rewarded for being healthy with lower health insurance premiums, same with smoking and drinking. But to say that taxing food is going to make people eat less is ridiculous. Its only going to raise the cost of food for EVERYONE. That is one way I am able to save money compared to other people. Because I don't stuff my face an gorge myself.

And I spend that extra money on other things.. like movies, music, social activities. It all adds up each year. I contribute to the economy. Now big daddy government is going to punish me, and nickle and dime me to death to pay for others?

One can only hope that this is a wake-up call to anyone who's ever argued with people who defend their choice to smoke without such coercion and have pointed out "food's next." The rebuttal to that has always been "it's NOT the same thing." To which the first would think "none so blind."

And also, what about people like me who are skinny and can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound. Who sometimes wants to make sure they get some fattening food in them so that they can gain weight! Aside from objecting to this on the fundamentals of liberty how is THAT fair to make US pay more??

What the author calls "tough love" is nothing but sanctimonious b.s. from self-righteous busybodies who will one day find themselves at the end of such a gun for something they do.

Amen, it's about time something that makes sense comes out of all of this. I'm tired of paying the same amount for healtcare that my 300lb co-worker pays!

Heres what the green nazis tried to do in missippi.As you can see they hate obese people not just smokers.......the war should be on getting rid of green health fanatics

Mississippi Legislature
2008 Regular Session
House Bill 282
House Calendar | Senate Calendar | Main Menu
Additional Information | All Versions

Current Bill Text: |

Description: Food establishments; prohibit from serving food to any person who is obese.

Background Information:
Disposition: Active
Deadline: General Bill/Constitutional Amendment
Revenue: No
Vote type required: Majority
Effective date: July 1, 2008

History of Actions:
1 01/25 (H) Referred To Public Health and Human Services;Judiciary B

----- Additional Information -----

House Committee: Public Health and Human Services*, Judiciary B

Principal Author: Mayhall
Additional Authors: Read, Shows


----- Bill Text for All Versions ----
| As Introduced (Current)

Information pertaining to this measure was last updated on 01/29/2008 at 11:24
End Of Document

Want to save billions upon billions of dollars in health care and see immediate results? Send all of the illegals home.

Instead of doing this one simple thing, our government will instead tax the hard working American Tax Payer into extinction. We provide free health care, free schooling, free everything to those who have never deserved it, have never earned it and yet are the beneficieries of all of us who work and pay taxes.

People in this country are congenitally lazy when it comes to physical fitness. Half of the health problems that are called "epidemics" can be solved by moderation in consumption and exercise. But it's just easier to take a pill and be a lazy ass and continue to eat like a pig. Half of the people in my office are taking Protonix or AcipHex. I see what they eat combined with their lack of activity and it's no surprise. Taxing unhealthy foods doesn't solve the issue. The issue is the mentality of this nation.

There isn't one tax out there that I would support at this point. We Americans are being taxed to death and we've had it.

Correction: I would support a 25% "Incompetence Tax" levied against the salary of every member of Congress and the President Of The United States. I don't care if they are Republican or Democrat anymore, but both parties are unfit for office.


Though repetition has little to do with "the truth," we're repeatedly told that there's "no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke."

OSHA begs to differ.

OSHA has established PELs (Permissible Exposure Levels) for all the measurable chemicals, including the 40 alleged carcinogens, in secondhand smoke. PELs are levels of exposure for an 8-hour workday from which, according to OSHA, no harm will result.

Of course the idea of "thousands of chemicals" can itself sound spooky. Perhaps it would help to note that coffee contains over 1000 chemicals, 19 of which are known to be rat carcinogens.
-"Rodent Carcinogens: Setting Priorities" Gold Et Al., Science, 258: 261-65 (1992)

There. Feel better?

As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that:

"Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded."
-Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997

Indeed it would.

Independent health researchers have done the chemistry and the math to prove how very very rare that would be.

As you're about to see in a moment.

In 1999, comments were solicited by the government from an independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke.

Using EPA figures on the emissions per cigarette of everything measurable in secondhand smoke, they compared them to OSHA's PELs.

The following excerpt and chart are directly from their report and their Washington testimony:


"We have taken the substances for which measurements have actually been obtained--very few, of course, because it's difficult to even find these chemicals in diffuse and diluted ETS.

"We posit a sealed, unventilated enclosure that is 20 feet square with a 9 foot ceiling clearance.

"Taking the figures for ETS yields per cigarette directly from the EPA, we calculated the number of cigarettes that would be required to reach the lowest published "danger" threshold for each of these substances. The results are actually quite amusing. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a situation where these threshold limits could be realized.

"Our chart (Table 1) illustrates each of these substances, but let me report some notable examples.

"For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes would be required to reach the lowest published "danger" threshold.

"For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes would be required.

"Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

"At the lower end of the scale-- in the case of Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up simultaneously in our little room to reach the threshold at which they might begin to pose a danger.

"For Hydroquinone, "only" 1250 cigarettes are required. Perhaps we could post a notice limiting this 20-foot square room to 300 rather tightly-packed people smoking no more than 62 packs per hour?

"Of course the moment we introduce real world factors to the room -- a door, an open window or two, or a healthy level of mechanical air exchange (remember, the room we've been talking about is sealed) achieving these levels becomes even more implausible.

"It becomes increasingly clear to us that ETS is a political, rather than scientific, scapegoat."

Chart (Table 1)

-"Toxic Toxicology" Littlewood & Fennel

Coming at OSHA from quite a different angle is litigator (and how!) John Banzhaf, founder and president of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Banzhaf is on record as wanting to remove healthy children from intact homes if one of their family smokes. He also favors national smoking bans both indoors and out throughout America, and has litigation kits for sale on how to get your landlord to evict your smoking neighbors.

Banzhaf originally wanted OSHA to ban smoking in all American workplaces.

It's not even that OSHA wasn't happy to play along; it's just that--darn it -- they couldn't find the real-world science to make it credible.

So Banzhaf sued them. Suing federal agencies to get them to do what you want is, alas, a new trick in the political deck of cards. But OSHA, at least apparently, hung tough.

In response to Banzhaf's law suit they said the best they could do would be to set some official standards for permissible levels of smoking in the workplace.

Scaring Banzhaf, and Glantz and the rest of them to death.

Permissible levels? No, no. That would mean that OSHA, officially, said that smoking was permitted. That in fact, there were levels (hard to exceed, as we hope we've already shown) that were generally safe.

This so frightened Banzhaf that he dropped the case. Here are excerpts from his press release:

"ASH has agreed to dismiss its lawsuit against avoid serious harm to the non-smokers rights movement from adverse action OSHA had threatened to take if forced by the suit to do it....developing some hypothetical [ASH's characterization] measurement of smoke pollution that might be a better remedy than prohibiting smoking....[T]his could seriously hurt efforts to pass non-smokers' rights legislation at the state and local level...

Another major threat was that, if the agency were forced by ASH's suit to promulgate a rule regulating workplace smoking, [it] would be likely to pass a weak one.... This weak rule in turn could preempt future and possibly even existing non-smokers rights laws-- a risk no one was willing to take.

As a result of ASH's dismissal of the suit, OSHA will now withdraw its rule-making proceedings but will do so without using any of the damaging [to Anti activists] language they had threatened to include."
-ASH Nixes OSHA Suit To Prevent Harm To Movement

Looking on the bright side, Banzhaf concludes:

"We might now be even more successful in persuading states and localities to ban smoking on their own, once they no longer have OSHA rule-making to hide behind."

Once again, the Anti-Smoking Movement reveals that it's true motive is basically Prohibition (stopping smokers from smoking; making them "social outcasts") --not "safe air."

And the attitude seems to be, as Stanton Glantz says, if the science doesn't "help" you, don't do the science.

March 8, 1998

Passive smoking doesn't cause cancer - official By Victoria Macdonald Health Correspondent

THE world's leading health organization has withheld from publication a study which shows that not only might there be no link between passive smoking and lung cancer but that it could even have a protective effect.

The astounding results are set to throw wide open the debate on passive smoking health risks. The World Health Organization, which commissioned the 12-centre, seven-country European study has failed to make the findings public, and has instead produced only a summary of the results in an internal report.

Despite repeated approaches, nobody at the WHO headquarters in Geneva would comment on the findings last week. At its International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon , France , which coordinated the study, a spokesman would say only that the full report had been submitted to a science journal and no publication date had been set.

The findings are certain to be an embarrassment to the WHO, which has spent years and vast sums on anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns. The study is one of the largest ever to look at the link between passive smoking - or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) - and lung cancer, and had been eagerly awaited by medical experts and campaigning groups.

Yet the scientists have found that there was no statistical evidence that passive smoking caused lung cancer. The research compared 650 lung cancer patients with 1,542 healthy people. It looked at people who were married to smokers, worked with smokers, both worked and were married to smokers, and those who grew up with smokers.

The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: "There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood."

A spokesman for Action on Smoking and Health said the findings "seem rather surprising given the evidence from other major reviews on the subject which have shown a clear association between passive smoking and a number of diseases." Roy Castle, the jazz musician and television presenter who died from lung cancer in 1994, claimed that he contracted the disease from years of inhaling smoke while performing in pubs and clubs.

A report published in the British Medical Journal last October was hailed by the anti-tobacco lobby as definitive proof when it claimed that non-smokers living with smokers had a 25 per cent risk of developing lung cancer. But yesterday, Dr Chris Proctor, head of science for BAT Industries, the tobacco group, said the findings had to be taken seriously. "If this study cannot find any statistically valid risk you have to ask if there can be any risk at all.

"It confirms what we and many other scientists have long believed, that while smoking in public may be annoying to some non-smokers, the science does not show that being around a smoker is a lung-cancer risk." The WHO study results come at a time when the British Government has made clear its intention to crack down on smoking in thousands of public places, including bars and restaurants.

The Government's own Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health is also expected to report shortly - possibly in time for this Wednesday's National No Smoking day - on the hazards of passive smoking.

this is the most preposterous bit of nonsense that i have read in a while. as time goes by the links between what is subjectively called "overweight," and longevity and rate of disease grows more questionable.

besides this reality, the propostion that the government can levy a tax to specifically pay for something is ludicrous, preposterous, ignores history. the soclai security program has worked out really well, hasn't it?

Let's tax air...everyone has to breathe. This is not about controlling people's weight it is about stealing our money, i.e. Barney Frank just announced that the money major banks are repaying from TARP should not go to ease our tax burden for the fraudulent program, but it should go to a congressional slush fund for their use when they want it. Frank says "taxpayers were against TARP" and that congress had to "work hard" to get that money and therefore the greedy taxpayers don't deserve a dime (of their own money) and he intends to keep it. Are you outraged yet????? Thow the bums out and stop going along with these ridiculous taxes and bailouts. It is all a scam just like carbon tax. Wake up America!!!

Scientific Evidence Shows Secondhand Smoke Is No Danger
Written By: Jerome Arnett, Jr., M.D.
Published In: Environment & Climate News
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is an unpleasant experience for many nonsmokers, and for decades was considered a nuisance. But the idea that it might actually cause disease in nonsmokers has been around only since the 1970s.

Recent surveys show more than 80 percent of Americans now believe secondhand smoke is harmful to nonsmokers.

Federal Government Reports

A 1972 U.S. surgeon general's report first addressed passive smoking as a possible threat to nonsmokers and called for an anti-smoking movement. The issue was addressed again in surgeon generals' reports in 1979, 1982, and 1984.

A 1986 surgeon general's report concluded involuntary smoking caused lung cancer, but it offered only weak epidemiological evidence to support the claim. In 1989 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was charged with further evaluating the evidence for health effects of SHS.

In 1992 EPA published its report, "Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking," claiming SHS is a serious public health problem, that it kills approximately 3,000 nonsmoking Americans each year from lung cancer, and that it is a Group A carcinogen (like benzene, asbestos, and radon).

The report has been used by the tobacco-control movement and government agencies, including public health departments, to justify the imposition of thousands of indoor smoking bans in public places.

Flawed Assumptions

EPA's 1992 conclusions are not supported by reliable scientific evidence. The report has been largely discredited and, in 1998, was legally vacated by a federal judge.

Even so, the EPA report was cited in the surgeon general's 2006 report on SHS, where then-Surgeon General Richard Carmona made the absurd claim that there is no risk-free level of exposure to SHS.

For its 1992 report, EPA arbitrarily chose to equate SHS with mainstream (or firsthand) smoke. One of the agency's stated assumptions was that because there is an association between active smoking and lung cancer, there also must be a similar association between SHS and lung cancer.

But the problem posed by SHS is entirely different from that found with mainstream smoke. A well-recognized toxicological principle states, "The dose makes the poison."

Accordingly, we physicians record direct exposure to cigarette smoke by smokers in the medical record as "pack-years smoked" (packs smoked per day times the number of years smoked). A smoking history of around 10 pack-years alerts the physician to search for cigarette-caused illness. But even those nonsmokers with the greatest exposure to SHS probably inhale the equivalent of only a small fraction (around 0.03) of one cigarette per day, which is equivalent to smoking around 10 cigarettes per year.

Low Statistical Association

Another major problem is that the epidemiological studies on which the EPA report is based are statistical studies that can show only correlation and cannot prove causation.

One statistical method used to compare the rates of a disease in two populations is relative risk (RR). It is the rate of disease found in the exposed population divided by the rate found in the unexposed population. An RR of 1.0 represents zero increased risk. Because confounding and other factors can obscure a weak association, in order even to suggest causation a very strong association must be found, on the order of at least 300 percent to 400 percent, which is an RR of 3.0 to 4.0.

For example, the studies linking direct cigarette smoking with lung cancer found an incidence in smokers of 20 to around 40 times that in nonsmokers, an association of 2000 percent to 4000 percent, or an RR of 20.0 to 40.0.

Scientific Principles Ignored

An even greater problem is the agency's lowering of the confidence interval (CI) used in its report. Epidemiologists calculate confidence intervals to express the likelihood a result could happen just by chance. A CI of 95 percent allows a 5 percent possibility that the results occurred only by chance.

Before its 1992 report, EPA had always used epidemiology's gold standard CI of 95 percent to measure statistical significance. But because the U.S. studies chosen for the report were not statistically significant within a 95 percent CI, for the first time in its history EPA changed the rules and used a 90 percent CI, which doubled the chance of being wrong.

This allowed it to report a statistically significant 19 percent increase of lung cancer cases in the nonsmoking spouses of smokers over those cases found in nonsmoking spouses of nonsmokers. Even though the RR was only 1.19--an amount far short of what is normally required to demonstrate correlation or causality--the agency concluded this was proof SHS increased the risk of U.S. nonsmokers developing lung cancer by 19 percent.

EPA Study Soundly Rejected

In November 1995 after a 20-month study, the Congressional Research Service released a detailed analysis of the EPA report that was highly critical of EPA's methods and conclusions. In 1998, in a devastating 92-page opinion, Federal Judge William Osteen vacated the EPA study, declaring it null and void. He found a culture of arrogance, deception, and cover-up at the agency.

Osteen noted, "First, there is evidence in the record supporting the accusation that EPA 'cherry picked' its data. ... In order to confirm its hypothesis, EPA maintained its standard significance level but lowered the confidence interval to 90 percent. This allowed EPA to confirm its hypothesis by finding a relative risk of 1.19, albeit a very weak association. ... EPA cannot show a statistically significant association between [SHS] and lung cancer."

In 2003 a definitive paper on SHS and lung cancer mortality was published in the British Medical Journal. It is the largest and most detailed study ever reported. The authors studied more than 35,000 California never-smokers over a 39-year period and found no statistically significant association between exposure to SHS and lung cancer mortality.

Propaganda Trumps Science

The 1992 EPA report is an example of the use of epidemiology to promote belief in an epidemic instead of to investigate one. It has damaged the credibility of EPA and has tainted the fields of epidemiology and public health.

In addition, influential anti-tobacco activists, including prominent academics, have unethically attacked the research of eminent scientists in order to further their ideological and political agendas.

The abuse of scientific integrity and the generation of faulty "scientific" outcomes (through the use of pseudoscience) have led to the deception of the American public on a grand scale and to draconian government overregulation and the squandering of public money.

Millions of dollars have been spent promoting belief in SHS as a killer, and more millions of dollars have been spent by businesses in order to comply with thousands of highly restrictive bans, while personal choice and freedom have been denied to millions of smokers. Finally, and perhaps most tragically, all this has diverted resources away from discovering the true cause(s) of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

Dr. Jerome Arnett Jr. ( is a pulmonologist who lives in Helvetia, West Virginia.

It is time to riot in the streets and overthrow this tax hungry nanny state. It will be 1776 all over again if the current administration does not get over their rectal meningitis and make people INDIVIDUALLY responsible for their actions. Why tax everyone when not everyone who is fat necessarily buys snack foods and not everybody who buys snack foods is fat. If you still want taxes then by all means tax the health care on the back end of this equation. If you are unhealthy because of a sedentary lifestyle or from overeating it will come to haunt you in your overall health eventually. Tax and subsidize this insane push for nationalized health care. No more free hover rounds (electric chairs for old or fat people). No more free diabetic supplies. We are all paying for it...make them!

Just make people whose BMI isn't in the healthy-underweight range ineligible for medicare and medicade.

That would save us loads of money.

Granny better shed some pounds if she wants her meds.

Where do I begin? Well, first, you can be overweight and eat healthy. I'm am example of that. Ever since I was a kid, I would eat the same thing as my sisters, and we had the same level of activity, but I was always pudgy, and they were blessed with great metabolism.

Second, you can get diabetes, high blood pressure, and other "obesity related diseases" while of a normal weight. My husband, in his 40's, is in excellent shape, but was diagnosed with diabetes in his 30's, and now needs a kidney transplant. And, what about people like Halle Berry, who's had diabetes for years. She sure doesn't look obese to me. And, from what I understand, most elderly people are on some kind of medication, either for blood pressure or cholesterol, regardless of weight.

I'm not saying that we don't have a problem in this country, and, yes, people who are extremely overweight are more likely to have medical problems. But, if the goal is really good health, then we also need to look at those "good looking," slim people whose health habits are just as bad as some of the obese.

Why punish thin people for fat people's problems? Don't tax food and don't subsidize fat people's health care. Let the fat people take responsibility for their own decisions and if it kills them then it is their problem. Be adults and take personal responsibility for your health and stop making excuses for being fat. Fat people make too many excuses for their problems and need to shape up!

"If you happen to be the 1-in-3 Americans who is neither obese nor overweight (and, thus, considered at risk of becoming obese), you might well conclude that the habits of the remaining two-thirds of Americans are costing you, big time."

Funny, when arguing against tax increases for the wealthy by using that argument --- the top-earners are paying for the majority who pay no tax or little tax --- one is branded cold, evil, selfish, greedy, etc.

What happened to the people championing "it's my body, it's my choice?"

When you increase taxes --- the cost of something --- people stop buying or producing that which generates taxes.

These people are hypocrites. Why don't they ban those things they believe are dangerous to those poor, stupid people who can't choose for themselves?

Because they want to get the tax money and, in the future, just as they did with the tobacco companies, sue "big food" to extort billions that they can spend and waste.

All the while we grow into a huge nanny state.

And we lose more and more freedom.

Tyranny doesn't have to come at the end of a gun.

It also comes cloaked in "compassion."

It's not the type of food but the quantity of the food. I enjoy an occasional serving of chips or fast food and I'm a healthy weight. It's not the role of the government to punish or reward our eating behavior any more than it's right to police who we sleep with. Promiscuous sex leads to a higher rate of unwanted pregnancy of STDs. Does that mean the government has a right to inject its view in that part of our lives. Government run health care is going to lead to more of this sort of thing.

Let me see if I got this right....

Health Care is a right, but food is a luxury?

Yea. That makes every kind of liberal sense.

So many in this country have the "I don't care if it affects others" attitude, I've come to believe if I can't beat them, I'll join them. Therefore, since I'm not fat, I say tax the heck out of the fatties as they seemed to be very vocal about smoking.

Why not tax all of us who are getting older each successive day--aging is linked to death too!!!! As a matter of fact, why not give everything we earn to the government and then let them give back to us what they think we should get? In fact, why don't we ask Kim Jong Il how he does it in N. Korea--it really seems to be effective there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My point is, what a buch of dingbats we have in Congress--there suggestion here shows that they really view taxes as punitive.
Jeff F

Am I the only one who is getting tired of the nanny state telling us how to live?



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