Hail To Thee, Fat Person!

|

New at Reason: Twinkie taxes are on their way. Can federal body fat requirements and mandatory calisthenics be far behind? Nick Gillespie mourns the loss of fat America.

NEXT: Self-Hating Dr. Who Fan Takes Dark TARDIS Journey To the End of the Night

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. But… wait.. any law against fat people would be grandfathered, right? I’ll just bulk up before the effective date, then drop back down to fighting weight, and sell off my fat credits to more needy individuals. It would have to work like that, no? They can’t just tax the fat producers all the while subsidizing the beef industry and forcing a food pyramid upon us that includes dairy products, can they?

    Hey, I’m not fat, I can quit anytime.

  2. Let’s just wait for Michael Moore to do a film about it.

  3. Dammit, I knew this would happen!

    I am not merely thin but underweight, according to certain guidelines; although I do eat fast food and junk food I’ve never had a weight problem because I would, say, eat two PIECES of Kentucky Fried Chicken rather than two BUCKETS. And now my grocery bill is going to be higher so that a bunch of land whales don’t have to develop any self-control?

    I wonder, in all seriousness, if I could find a lawyer willing to try a class-action suit against the government, for unfairly increasing the grocery costs of skinny people. Or at least grant us a tax exemption for fatty foods.

    (5’3″ and 105 pounds. And after I quit smoking two months ago I actually LOST weight, because I made a point of taking a short walk every day to burn off any new calories I might put on as a non-smoker.)

  4. Oh great……National Atkins Diet

  5. > contributing significantly to our health care costs, not only to Medicaid but to the private sector as well.”

  6. Adding to DJs list:

    people who don’t take their vitamin pills
    people who take too many vitamin pills
    people who don’t eat enough vegetables
    people who wear high-heeled shoes
    people who wear ill-fitting clothes (bad for circulation)
    pale people who live in overly sunny climates
    people who spend too much time at their computer and have Bad Posture and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    etc.
    etc.
    etc. . . . . .

  7. What if a person chooses to live in California and then gets injured in an earthquake?

  8. What if a person chooses to live in California and then gets injured in an earthquake?

  9. Hell, what if a person chooses to live in California?

  10. And how about all those sexual diseases that could have been avoided purely by abstaining?

  11. “You kept us out of war.”

  12. In all seriousness you know what contributes to healthcare costs more than anything else? Geezerhood. Most of the healthcare spending in this country is on people who, a hundred years ago, would have been dead at their age.

    So if the government wants to reduce healthcare costs AND keep Social Security solvent AND make places like Florida a lot less irritating. . .no, no, no. Mustn’t have these thoughts. Mustn’t have these thoughts.

  13. Find a way to tax “People who make stupid political choices” and leave the rest of us alone.

  14. Can someone other than Nick please cite equally silly political discussions that turned into legislative discussions that survived all court challenges that are now American ways of life? I’m not terribly worried about normative conservatives and maternal liberals coming together to pump us up, but if it means I have to pay for it, then bring on the fight.

    Yesterday, to celebrate my fabulous metabolism’s ability to atomize all calories hurled at it, I prepared homemade Philly cheese steaks, replete with gobs of melted cheese, pizza sauce, butter-sauteed onions, mushrooms, and green onions, on a fattening white roll. I felt like a blimp afterward, but (he he he) didn’t look like one. Am I mentally obese, but only outwardly lithe like a Gap model? What about my rights?

  15. Andrew Lynch-

    Cigarette smoking’s being banned from society, to name one thing. Or the way companies routinely include ludicrous anti-lawsuit protection warnings on things, like the electric screwdrivers with warnings that they should not be used to clean your fingernails.

  16. Jennifer,

    Let’s back up a bit. “Cigarette smoking’s being banned from society.” You mean the way alcohol was banned from society? Or more like drugs are being banned from society? But I create my own straw man, for alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and great heaping amounts of delicious food that’s bad for you are not apples and apples, are they?

    Seems to me that the tobacco fascists figured out how NOT to repeat the prohibition by making the issue not one of legislation primarily, but of litigation primarily. This was never an issue with alcohol, which was a top-down prohibition. Same with drugs…for the most part.

    I don’t think the debate around alcohol, drugs, or tobacco (all one and the same, on one level) has reasonable tethers to the debate about food, its associations with prosperity, its nature as a given (that we can eat whatever the hell we want to, regardless of its impact on society…

    No closed parentheses…because therein lies the problem. Someone, somewhere, decided that the cunning thing to do was to tie eating to the cost to American taxpayers of eating too much/poorly. Until we back out of that sinkhole, we’re never going to have a happy discussion about meals. Not to be confused with a happy meal with discussion.

  17. If anyone is going to be a free-market purist about the obesity issue, and has a strong head for economic math, I think the commercial implications of fatness far outweigh the healthcare considerations of fatness.

    Suggested cannily on Slate here.

    But there I go again, confusing federal regulatory issues (healthcare) with areas of the market where the feds have far less, if any, sway (the size of cinema seats).

    If fat people are responsible for supersize movie theater seats and wider supermarket aisles, then I say bring on the cellulite! Slender gents like me just end up with more wiggle room, while fat people can now move comfortably through the grocery trough. ;> Sounds like everyone wins.

  18. Government is trying to render lardbutts. Jennifer is trying to render geezers. Mel Gibson is trying to render unto Ceasar. Soon P.E.T.A. will be rendering fat cats.

  19. I’m not fat, but I’d like to keep the government out of my gullet — and all my other orifices, thank you very much. In these increasingly govern-nannyish times, this suddenly seems a lot to ask.

    I don’t begrudge you your cigarettes, as long as I don’t have to pay for your lung transplant. Same goes for your 12-pound stack of cheeseburgers. And for your desire to motorcycle helmetless. I think you should just pay some extra insurance in case your brains end up huevos rancheros on the side of the road, so the rest of us don’t have to pay. Basically, the idea is: do what you want, eat what you want, take the drugs you want — just don’t make the rest of us pay for it. How about health insurance, sold like cheese, by the pound?!

  20. Alrighty then! If we’re making predictions, here’s mine:

    So long as being fat is considered to be some sort of personal failing the nanny statists will be hankerin’ hard to fix it by legislating some sort of “healthful regimen”.

    As soon as being fat is believed to be something that happens to you, say, by way of genetics, the nanny statists will place fat folk in a protected class.

    That’s all.

  21. Sayeth Jennifer:

    So if the government wants to reduce healthcare costs AND keep Social Security solvent AND make places like Florida a lot less irritating. . .

    then you should take gramps out for a prime rib dinner, with all the fixins: fried onion rings, sour cream and butter on his baked spud, unless he orders his au gratin, something from the dessert cart, and all the adult beverage he can slosh down. Cigars with the postprandial port will be de rigeur, unless Pops enjoys a pipe, coffin nail, or chaw.

    We needn’t take any….proactive….steps.

    These may be cold equations, but they can’t be ignored. Well, they can be, if you are a judge in a tobacco-lawsuit who can’t figure out that the damages levied on the companies, based on extending the lives of smokers by x years, should have been offset by the extra cost of all the medical care that these longer-lived super-geezers will now require. Of course, if the states continue to waste the spoils from these lawsuits on everything but effective smoking-cessation programs, this will all be moot.

    BTW, does it bug anyone else that we are being told to slim down by…

    “Canadian-born state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm was elected governor of Michigan. The 43-year-old mother of three was a contestant on the 1970s show “The Dating Game” and was Miss San Carlos (Calif.) at age 18.”
    http://www.pageant.net/offstage/archive/offstage2002q4.html

    Sheesh, I thought that once high school ended we would be out from under the tyranny of the good-looking!

    Now, excuse me, my BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes are ready.

    Kevin
    (about a foot too short for my BMI)

  22. Sayeth Jennifer:

    So if the government wants to reduce healthcare costs AND keep Social Security solvent AND make places like Florida a lot less irritating. . .

    then you should take gramps out for a prime rib dinner, with all the fixins: fried onion rings, sour cream and butter on his baked spud, unless he orders his au gratin, something from the dessert cart, and all the adult beverage he can slosh down. Cigars with the postprandial port will be de rigeur, unless Pops enjoys a pipe, coffin nail, or chaw.

    We needn’t take any….proactive….steps.

    These may be cold equations, but they can’t be ignored. Well, they can be, if you are a judge in a tobacco-lawsuit who can’t figure out that the damages levied on the companies, based on extending the lives of smokers by x years, should have been offset by the extra cost of all the medical care that these longer-lived super-geezers will now require. Of course, if the states continue to waste the spoils from these lawsuits on everything but effective smoking-cessation programs, this will all be moot.

    BTW, does it bug anyone else that we are being told to slim down by…

    “Canadian-born state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm was elected governor of Michigan. The 43-year-old mother of three was a contestant on the 1970s show “The Dating Game” and was Miss San Carlos (Calif.) at age 18.”
    http://www.pageant.net/offstage/archive/offstage2002q4.html

    Sheesh, I thought that once high school ended we would be out from under the tyranny of the good-looking!

    Now, excuse me, my BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes are ready.

    Kevin
    (about a foot too short for my BMI)

  23. > What about penalties for:
    People who have family histories of bad genetics?
    People who have children with crooked teeth?
    People who have to wear glasses?
    People who have hearing aids?
    people who ski, bicycle, swim, lift weights,
    and play sports should be paying for associated injuries,
    and people who drive, or are pedestrians people who don’t take their vitamin pills
    people who take too many vitamin pills
    people who don’t eat enough vegetables
    people who wear high-heeled shoes
    people who wear ill-fitting clothes (bad for circulation)
    pale people who live in overly sunny climates
    people who spend too much time at their computer and have Bad Posture and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    chooses to live in California injured in an earthquake?
    sexual diseases that could have been avoided purely by abstaining?

  24. Sorry, I get all double-posty when I’m peckish.

    Say, I’m descended from people who survived the 1847-49 Irish Potato Famine – An Gorta Mor, The Great Hunger. Just because I am genetically more efficient at converting fuel to body mass, while my ancestors’ countrymen who tended toward being lean were caught without lifesaving layers of fat, is that any reason to subject one such as I to scorn and behavior modification? That’d be like persecuting those with a bit more melanin than I have for getting an “unhealthy” tan easily.

    Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

    Slainte,

    Kevin

  25. >charge by the pound

  26. Do not be afraid, kevrob – we, the eternally slender, have a place for you in our beneficent tyranny of the good-looking. We would otherwise lack potential wedgie victims.

    Sl?inte mh?r.

  27. Regarding the skinny basketball player remark:

    Okay, charge by the OVERWEIGHT pound. People with “pre-existing conditions” pay more when they sign up for health insurance. It’s one thing if you get in a car crash by accident; it’s another thing entirely if you drive around blindfolded (apparently, an Los Angeles favorite hobby — along with driving with one’s head up one’s ass).

  28. First: Smoking is being banned not because it harms smokers, or causes high healthcare costs, but because it harms people who choose NOT to smoke by mere proximity. The same cannot be said of drinking or eating.

    Second: All this talk about Social Security is a waste of time. There is no such thing as a sustainably solvent pyramid scheme.

    Third: Stop trying to tax foods, and start taxing things like disposable diapers, which create a huge amount of waste, don’t decompose for decades, if not centuries, and fill landfills with biowaste when perfectly good cloth diapers are available. Start taxing consumer vehicles $0.01/mile driven/year*mpg under 25.

  29. Kevrob:
    “Of course, if the states continue to waste the spoils from these lawsuits on everything but effective smoking-cessation programs, this will all be moot.”

    But if the states used the cigarette money on “effective smoking-cessation programs” then people would quit smoking and the spoils from the lawsuits would dry up. Government junkies would then go into terminal withdrawal. The most addictive substance on Earth isn’t tobacco, it’s tax revenues.

  30. >because it harms people who choose NOT to smoke by mere proximity. The same cannot be said of drinking or eating.

  31. Two quickies:

    1) I’d love to see Nick Gillespie and Tim Cavanaugh debate who was funnier: Allan Sherman or Lenny Bruce? I’d figure Gillespie to argue the Sherman side, since he seems to be so down on Bruce. Either way, though, I suspect it would be an entertaining program. Especially if you “know just what a pair of enalia is.”

    2) As long as we make everyone’s health into everyone’s expense, then it will be everyone’s public business, and everyone will seek to minimize that expense. This, too, is a “cold equation.” Things like fat taxes and fines for not wearing your shoulder-belt when doing 23 in a 25MPH zone, are inevitable consequences of socializing health expenses. Worse injuries to liberty are yet to come if we let this continue. Privatize social security now. End medicare now. (Note that, as I am writing this, a spot, produced and perhaps placed with tax dollars, has appeared on my morning TV, promoting the new Medicare prescription drug benefit: “Same medicare. More benefits.” Jeez louise.)

  32. What about the people out there that are fat and its not because of food. some have major health problems. hell i look fat i am 220 lbs but i also have a 3 year son. before my son i was 150 lbs. so i dont think a fat tax is really gonna help. instead of a fat tax they should make workout places cheaper so people can lose the weight.
    So to those who think that only fat people should be tax is wrong. i dont think anyone should be taxed because of there weight or anything else for that matter we are who we are because thats how god made us.

    From: Extremely pissed off at the world for this

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.