Taking it in the Gut


Wow. I can't recall the last time I saw a rhetorical reaming quite so brutal or decisive as Radley Balko's dismantling of a recent David Frum post arguing in favor of a "fat tax." Frum, at least, must be feeling a bit slimmer after having the air let out of him.

NEXT: Al Qaq-up

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  1. I’m not fat! This is my life choice!

    Good article.

  2. It’s interesting to see conservatives increasingly mind-meld with the Naderite left. In fact, my it’s so bizarre it makes me want to leave it alone just to see how it develops.

    As Napoleon said, “when your enemy is making a very serious mistake, don’t be impolite and disturb him.”

  3. Gluttony is not a Proper Virtue.

  4. Wow, I have rarely read a pro-fat-tax article that leaves itself so open to being ripped to shreds as Frum’s. I mean, the man is a moron. Canada is more fit because incomes are lower and prices are higher? Well, hooray for low standards of living! Let’s punish ourselves into good health! I bet they’re all ultra-healthy supermodels out in Bangladesh! And then, just to confuse the issue, he says it’s a shame that they’re underpaid and overcharged, right after he was talking about how good it was. Besides which, if being poor and overcharged is what keeps Canadians thin (because, you know, most Canadians are too poor to afford an extra two ounces of food) doesn’t that imply that richer Canadians should be fatter? And he deals with the issue of personal responsibility, if you can call it “dealing”, by completely ignoring it. Unbelievable.

  5. How do you guys feel about tobacco taxes?

  6. Food is so cheap that poor people in America tend to be the fattest. Are Canadians really so poor that they are unable to exceed their calorie requirements?

  7. Compared to his writing on foreign affairs, Frum is downright insightful on fat tax.

  8. Matthew, amen. Frum’s main talent seems to be self promotion.

  9. It’s pretty rare to see a professional writer demolished from so many directions at the same time.

  10. Aw, c’mon fellas, he only wants a penny an ounce! Surely, that’s no BIG DEAL!

    And then one penny turns into two and two into three and three into four…

  11. How do you guys feel about tobacco taxes?

    Same way I feel about twinkie or soda taxes. It is the abominable practice of using outright theft to conduct social engineering programs. What if I showed up at your door, and I saw that you were both obese, and watching alot of TV. So, every time you paid your cable bill or bought new A/V equipment or bought a book or bought a comfortable piece of furniture, I would stick a gun to your head and steal money from you.

    You would, undoubtedly, call it theft. It’s no different when the government does the same thing.

  12. I am in shape; round is a shape.

    I suspect there’s two reasons why obesity is reported to be so high. First, muscle weighs more than fat. I recall testing myself on the BMI when it came out, and found myself borderline obese, even though I have about 13% body fat. Being muscular counts as being obese in the test.
    Second, obesity is being hyped to get the markets ready for the obesity drugs soon to gain FDA approval.

  13. Great article. Thanks for the link. I was wondering where the heck in Canuckistan Frum was visiting, because his anecdotes certainly didn’t seem to correspond with what I see every day. The only obvious difference between Canadians on the street and Americans on the street is that the Canadians will have a higher percentage of hockey team clothing, while the Americans will have more college and NFL football clothing. Size and shape? Pretty similar.

  14. Ayatollah, I thought Balko’s use of BMI to compare Americans and Canadians was the weakest part of his case, for exactly that reason.

    If more Americans score high because of fat, and more Canadians scrore high because of muscle (or short stockinness, the BMI uses height as a variable), then showing the two are similar doesn’t really prove anything.

  15. It strikes me as odd that anyone would recommend
    the dietary practices of a country in which the
    “national” restaurant is a donut store and the
    only national contribution to world cuisine is
    poutine – a french Canadian delicacy consisting
    of french fries (make that pommes frites), cheese
    curds and gravy.


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