How Far Should The Government Go Regarding Obesity?

I was riding up the chairlift today with a Swedish fellow who is a Bay Area engineer.  He and I were discussing Obamacare and how our government will deal with the obesity epidemic among the great unwashed. And deal with it they will, in some fashion far beyond organic angryganic Michelle and Big Bird. The man mentioned nutritional school lunches and someone on the end of the lift chimed in about “dumbass” Republican voters getting slapped down and how Obama would fix everything. So I went a l…

  1. Crow

    The same inability to control our appetites that we see in federal largess and the series of economic bubbles and collapses that we’re been through can also be seen on a smaller scale in the inability of many individual Americans to control themselves and discipline their diet and exercise regimens.

    Contra Thales, we have everywhere today unsound minds in soft bodies. Do we no longer believe that the physical has a moral component? 

  2. Joseph Stanko

    How about this simple suggestion: use BMI to determine eligibility for food stamps.

    If you are obese, you’re clearly getting enough calories from somewhere, so why on Earth should I pay for your food stamps?

  3. Lord Humungus
    BlueAnt: (Libertarians say government should not take responsibility for personal health care, and the argument ends there.)

    Is this not also the position of conservatives? Is this not also the position of GOP?

  4. Pseudodionysius
    Scott Reusser: Just one thing: Admit that they were off their rocker for a generation when they advocated carbs as the foundation of a healthy diet and put the fear of God in us over fats. That rubbish did more to bring on the obesity era than anything.

    I have a farmer friend who explained to me that farmers understood the wrongheadedness of that high-carb stuff all along. It’s been true since the beginning of time, he said, that if you want to fatten a hog, feed him corn; to slim him down, feed him greasy slop. Yep.  · 11 hours ago

    Its on the back of every bag of Beanitos. What are the government subsidies from the US Department of Agriculture for corn and wheat farming?

  5. Schrodinger

    I wish the federal government would spend as much effort reducing its own obesity as it does on the obeity of the individual.

     

    Once we roared like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security! The solution for America’s problem is not in terms of big government, but it is in big men over whom nobody stands in control but God.

    Norman Vincent Peale

  6. The King Prawn

    Once the responsibility for ones own dietary behavior is removed the liberty for that behavior cannot long remain. The worst part is that it won’t even be for their own good; rather, it will be in the name of our collective pocket book that culinary freedom shall die.

  7. Scott R

    Just one thing: Admit that they were off their rocker for a generation when they advocated carbs as the foundation of a healthy diet and put the fear of God in us over fats. That rubbish did more to bring on the obesity era than anything.

    I have a farmer friend who explained to me that farmers understood the wrongheadedness of that high-carb stuff all along. It’s been true since the beginning of time, he said, that if you want to fatten a hog, feed him corn; to slim him down, feed him greasy slop. Yep. 

  8. DocJay

    Yes Scott, the whole carb instead of fat issue was/is moronic. The medical establishment is sometimes quite behind, and they may indeed be checking your BMI each visit soon enough or face a 2% pay cut. Be warned!

  9. Black Prince

    According to Yuri Bezmenov, once the Marxists have seized power completely, they won’t care about obesity or what we’re eating anymore…it’s something to look forward to.

  10. Palaeologus

    I know Fred Cole’s answer already but not the syntax of why there should be no sin tax.  So chime in Libertarians and others, this epidemic is now on our financial doorstep.

    Because the cure will be worse than the disease.

    I’ve always been skeptical about the presumed financial burdens imposed by the obese (or smokers for that matter). I’m sure that if all else is equal, they cost more. But how often is that the case?

    Obesity takes what, 3 to 10 years off life expectancy on average? Those are 3-10 of the most expensive and most socialized years of health care maintenance in a person’s life.  

    But even if I’m wrong I’d still rather pay for the obese than for bureaucrats in charge of bothering them. Besides, where does the government get the chutzpah to complain about bloat?

  11. Scott R
    DocJay: Yes Scott, the whole carb instead of fat issue was/is moronic. The medical establishment is sometimes quite behind, and they may indeed be checking your BMI each visit soon enough or face a 2% pay cut. Be warned! · 3 minutes ago

    Docjay, when that time comes I’ll be paying you cash to give my fannie the rubber glove treatment while alowing me to keep my BMI to myself. You’re welcome to my butt, Doc, but not my love handles. That’s just too personal.

  12. Scott R
    Palaeologus

     

    I’ve always been skeptical about the presumed financial burdens imposed by the obese (or smokers for that matter). I’m sure that if all else is equal, they cost more. But how often is that the case?

    Obesity takes what, 3 to 10 years off life expectancy on average? Those are 3-10 of the most expensiveand most socializedyears of health care maintenance in a person’s life.  

    But even if I’m wrong I’d still rather pay for the obese than for bureaucrats in charge of bothering them. Besides, where does the government get the chutzpahto complain about bloat? · 0 minutes ago

    Yes, Palaeo. My grandpa died of lung cancer in his 50′s, before recieving a dime of social security. His wife lived into her 80′s and received a couple hundred grand in ss, I suppose, and still died of a long, costly illness.

    The long-lived always cost the gov’t more.

  13. DocJay

    You guys are right. Those who die earlier cost less. I don’t complain to smokers, alcoholics, or the obese. If they want to change I’ll go every mile for them but personal choice, informed personal choice, is my belief as to what is correct. Scott, I have zero intention of reporting anything to anyone unless it becomes a crime not to do so, even then I may not comply and wait in my office until they come for me and contemplate how much a ruckus I should put up.

  14. Lord Humungus

    Technically, since I own me, Uncle Sam cannot force me to reduce my property for the public good without just compensation. It’s in the 5th ammendment, right there at the end. Alert the ACLU. Pass the twinkies.

  15. Fake John Galt

    I read some stuff that shows obesity actually saves the government money. The obese tend to drop dead before they get to the retirement phase of their lives. There is also the advantage that if they kick off before retirement age they open up a position for younger workers to move up into. I am not sure about smokers but could see a similar model being in place.

  16. Jojo
    Joseph Eagar:A conservative solution would be to simply institute higher Medicare/Medicaid premiums for obese people

    That sounds not in the least conservative.  It also sounds dishonest if obese people actually die sooner and save money on government programs overall as others have suggested.  And even if obese people can be proven to cost money overall, we would certainly have to tax other behaviors that increase the risk of medical expenses:  playing sports and driving in a car come to mind.  There would be no end to it. 

  17. Eeyore

    I believe it was Philip Morris which did a study somewhere in Scandinavia showing that smokers died sooner and cost the health care system far less than the long lived.

    There were cries of “scandalous”, “disgusting”, “morbid”, “manipulative” and other self-righteous invectives. Never once did I hear “wrong.”

    Oddly, in the insurance world, companies might get away with differential charges for, especially, the morbidly obese. But under Obamacare, being fat is a protected Federal class. So how can there be any differential?

    Oh, wait. That means everyone pays more…

    DocJay: …they may indeed be checking your BMI each visit soon enough or face a 2% pay cut. Be warned!

    I already get weighed every time I go to the doc. Pretty soon they’ll just be flipping up that little height stick, too. 

  18. Brian Watt

    I don’t know…do you think this Modest Proposal is too extreme?

  19. Valiuth

    I think micromanaging peoples diets will fail gloriously. If it were easy to regulate ones diet, we would have many skinny healthy people about. I guess you could try to remove things from stores, but I think people would rebel at the thought of not being able to get sugar and other delicious empty carbs… all they will do is force us to buy many more tiny portions of it. We have all bough the fun size candy and we know we eat through it as fast or faster than if we had bought full bars.  

  20. DocJay

    Brian, that was before my time but a great example of why I love Ricochet.    I am a touch hungry right now though, does it taste nice my precious? 

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