Obesity

First, They Came for the Fat-Fuck Gamers in New Mexico…

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…and because I was a fat fuck non-gamer, I did nothing.

Kerry Howley mentioned this awhile ago, but New Mexico–a.k.a. The Land of Enchantment–is mulling like a zaftig patron the whole left side of a menu at a Wendy's a proposal for a "1 percent tax on TVs, video games, and video game equipment. The fund would help pay for outdoor education throughout the state."

The name of the program: The No Child Left Inside Fund, which really makes it sound like Pol Pot is advising New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who could, you know, afford to step away from the buffet line every other meal.

An AP story today, however, makes it clear that eventually this law, or something like it, will pass. Here's the anti-argument, which makes total sense and will be totally unconvincing once the Coach Kleatses of the world start snapping legislative jockstraps to force Piggy to literally take a hike.

[Dave] Gilligan, [the 24-year-old co-owner of the store Gamers Anonymous], says he learned to read at a young age thanks to video games. He also attributes his interest in art to gaming.

It's a sound argument–and let's not even get into that whole life, liberty, and the pursuit of Halo 3 baddies–and one that will, alas, certainly lose in the long run.

More here.

reason on obesity here.

Interesting National Bureau of Economic Research paper on the net effect of gym classes on kids' body mass indices (you get one guess and it's zero of course) here.

K-12 physical education requirements nationwide here.

NEXT: Hiding From REAL ID

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  1. I found a typo: “educatiion”. Do I win a prize?

  2. No. Please go back outdoors and play until dinnertime.

  3. …mulling like a zaftig patron the whole left side of a menu…

    Nice Diner reference. He’s like a building with feet!

  4. Here’s the one and only argument.Taxing certain segments of society to fund programs for societal wants of public officials is evil.Pure and simple.

  5. “Those who know what’s best for us, must rise and save us from ourselves…”

    RUSH reference in anticipation of Prog Friday.

  6. “Sir, put the plate down and step slowly away from the buffet table…”

  7. 1. I live in New Mexico
    2. I’m a gamer
    3. I’m also a school teacher
    4. I’m also not a fat fuck!… I’m not a glutton and I don’t exercise… I have a mental super power to know when I’m hungry and know when I’m full… people still complain about how skinny I am and I don’t think anyone should be forced to run unless they’re being chased… This whole bill proposal it just another ridiculous way to get reasonable adults to fund the health and longevity of unreasonable, haphazard and illegitimate parents.

  8. Sounds more like a stealth way of putting the hurt on those evil, evil, violent games, which several groups have wanted to do for a long time but the First Amendment stopped them.

    Expect them to champion this everywhere.

  9. Sounds more like a stealth way of putting the hurt on those evil, evil, violent games, which several groups have wanted to do for a long time but the First Amendment stopped them.

    Expect them to champion this everywhere.

    Wasn;t vid game violence a subject oif affection for our soon-to-be first female president?

  10. Well, right now education in most states is funded by a tax on real property.

    If it’s OK to single out real property as the target of an education tax, it’s OK to single out video games and TV’s as the target of an education tax.

    I know that the logic of apparently blaming video games for fat kids is offensive, but as pure tax policy separate from the rhetoric about the policy, it’s no more offensive than the existing system.

  11. a Wendy’s a proposal for a “1 percent tax on TVs, video games, and video game equipment emphasis added

    Was this a joke that went over my head? I didn’t see the Wendy’s connection…

    gaijin – something (not the song you mentioned, tho) just in case Weigel puts up some Gentle Giant or something

  12. It’s also a good way for busybodies to “Do something” while getting someone else to foot the bill.

  13. Dammit, I really need to look for repeated words when I post.

  14. Here’s the problem with the political process: passing legislation is just job justification. I mean, someone elected the bastards, so the bastards feel they can’t just sit on their hands all day.

    I remember meeting a legislative aid one day who just glowed about the “creative” legislation he dreamed up all day with the other staff.

  15. Don’t get me wrong: I’m against this silly tax too, but when you draw a line from a sales tax to Pol Pot, you’re deep in Ayn Rand cult follower territory. We’re only talking about a bad idea here, not the end of liberty.

  16. Bah! Who needs liberty when everyone will look FABULOUS!

  17. Remember, it’s not how you feel–it’s how you look.

  18. Maybe those who are fat from playing video games should try the trendy new diet, it’s called eat right and exercise.

  19. Fluffy,how is this education?I don’t agree with property taxes for education, but in my mind that means reading,math ,history ect.I’ve had over weight employees that were very productive and fit[by government standards]who were a waste of space.How you live as far as eating,drinking and exercise is none of anyones concern except your own or you parents.

  20. As a certified Fat-Fuck Gamer, I must say I find this news saddening. For too long have we endured the growing hordes of the Skinny-Fuck Gamer – you see it at D&D tables and LAN parties across the land. It’s a damn shame, really. :'(

    The government is trying to wipe us out, and only Mr. Gillespie has had the courage to come to our aid.

    Seriously though, fuck Pigovian taxes. Fuck the very notion of “public health.”

  21. Is Wii boxing going to be exempted?

  22. Yeah, and what about Dance Dance Revolution? Shouldn’t that get a pass?

  23. instafaggot —
    No, it’s not the end of liberty. But somebody needs to kick up a stink. People here forget that out in the mainstream, it’s assumed that government is there to make the world a better place and all of us better people.

    Pol Pot this isn’t. But maybe Miranda .

  24. Worst Legislation Ever.

  25. Shouldn’t they also tax books as well? Turning pages hardly qualifies as calorie-burning exercise.

  26. Hit&Run, cataloguing every inch of our daily slide down the slippery slope towards a more totalitarian state.

  27. better put, alisa.

  28. Don’t get me wrong: I’m against this silly tax too, but when you draw a line from a sales tax to Pol Pot, you’re deep in Ayn Rand cult follower territory. We’re only talking about a bad idea here, not the end of liberty.

    Stupid laws don’t exist in a vacuum. What, do you think they’re going to say “Now that we’ve passed this fat tax we will henceforth be sensible and wise? And don’t worry, there’s no way future lawmakers will view this as a precedent for something even more idiotic.”

    It’s like a tumor; you need to remove it when it’s small, because once it grows up it’ll be too big to handle.

  29. I live in New Mexico.

    Here’s the un-PC truth:

    Most kids here are not fat. In fact, NM overall is a pretty healthy place and always ranks highly in the lists of healthy states.

    Most of the fat kids belong to the Native American community, with some Latino fatties, though really, not all that many. The majority of our Aborigine population is obese, their kids are obese.

    Is this primarily the fault of video games? I really can’t believe that. It certainly isn’t for all the adults. I think that there is a diet lifestyle thing going on and that that particular ethnic group really is not concerned about being overweight.

  30. “Hit&Run, cataloguing every inch of our daily slide down the slippery slope towards a more totalitarian state.”

    Perfect. That just became the new summary of Hit&Run in my blogroll.

  31. Seriously though, fuck Pigovian taxes. Fuck the very notion of “public health.”

    Maybe an economist can help here, but I’m not sure this kind of tax really counts as Pigovian. The connection between video games and obesity is indirect at best (unless kids have started eating the games), and I thought Pigovian taxes were taxes on behavior or items that were directly related to the problem they were trying to solve. A tax on pollution to prevent it and generate money to fight smog seems to be Pigovian, whereas a tax on video games to prevent obesity seems like politicians just finding yet another way to tax shit.

  32. Game over, fatties.

  33. this is why when you hear anyone say ‘the public good’ you should punch them in the face.

  34. instafaggot — I think the “Pol Pot” reference was to the name of the program (No Child Left Indoors)

  35. Fat fucks aren’t nice to look at, but they die younger and leave more for the rest of us, so the do-gooders nanny nazis should just leave them alone. Okay, maybe a rule that no one has to sit next to one on an airplane. I might support legislation that imposes a curfew on the grossly obese, but that’s it. Let them have their cake.

  36. “a legislative aid one day who just glowed about the “creative” legislation he dreamed up all day with the other staff.”

    If they’re bored, can’t they sit around thinking creative ways to repeal bad laws? I mean, it does have to be crafted in such a way the bureaucrats recognize how to implement appropriately (too much to ask?), but in such a way the legislators who wrote the laws originally don’t know they’re being undercut, otherwise they’d block or write newer, worse versions.

  37. Airlines should institute wide seat rows. Instead of three seats per side, they have two and are designated for passengers who flop over into other seats. Price accordingly.

  38. Whoo hoo! We’ve made it all the way to 10:00am on a Friday and Balko hasn’t pissed me off with another botched SWAT raid story… yet.

    Small victories. Take ’em where you can get ’em.

    CB

  39. “Hit&Run, cataloguing every inch of our daily slide down the slippery slope towards a more totalitarian state.”

    — while relentlessly bashing the only truly libertarian candidate on the national scene.

  40. — while relentlessly bashing the only truly libertarian–albeit racist nazi scum– candidate on the national scene.

  41. How you live as far as eating,drinking and exercise is none of anyones concern except your own or you parents.

    In case you forgot, we all currently pay for each others health care thru taxes and insurance.

    So, just so you know, it damm well is the governments business to make you healthy because otherwise it is unfair for those who are healthy to pay for fat folks health insurance. If not the government, how else do you plan to implement social engineering?

    If this tax discourages video game use and healthy lifestyles for Americas children then I’m all for it.

  42. [Dave] Gilligan, [the 24-year-old co-owner of the store Gamers Anonymous], says he learned to read at a young age thanks to video games. He also attributes his interest in art to gaming.

    Makes sense. My youngest child learned to read at age 3 by playing Zoo Tycoon. (He’s 6 now, and still as skinny as a rail, by the way, even though he spends most of his free time in front of the Game Cube and the computer.)

    Yeah, and what about Dance Dance Revolution? Shouldn’t that get a pass?

    When my children talk about Dance Dance Revolution, they refer to it as “DDR,” which makes me think for a moment that they’re talking about something for the East German Olympic team.

  43. — while relentlessly bashing the only truly libertarian candidate on the national scene.

    OK, I know there are already way too many rules for the drinking game, but this one deserves special merit. Therefore, I declare that a drink is prompted any time someone says “reason is bashing/attacking the only libertarian candidate.”

    Paul is libertarian-ish, but increasingly unconvincingly so, damaging to the libertarian movement as a whole, and likely engaging in the same cronyism that corrupts so many other politicians, be they left, right or whatever.

  44. Isn’t this a free market publication? Why on earth would ANYONE
    support more taxes to support a lifestyle choice of certain
    politicians or special interest groups? Especially, in a
    poverty-ridden state that is already being taxed to death.

  45. Airlines should institute wide seat rows. Instead of three seats per side, they have two and are designated for passengers who flop over into other seats. Price accordingly.

    They do, it’s called first class.

  46. I played video games excessively as a child and was athletic the whole time. Of course, that’s because I had free time after school to do what the heck I wanted. No pre-planned, government-authorized “structure” for me! Woo, hoo!

    I also read a lot, which raises the question of why books aren’t also being taxed to subsidize outdoor activities.

    I’m so tired of my money being stolen from me for trivia. Or even for important things. Want a stronger economy and faster technological advance? Let us keep most of our money. Also, if we were richer, we’d be skinnier. Everyone knows that.

  47. Nick, most airlines have that already. It’s called “First Class” or “Business Class”.

    Southwest doesn’t have that, but did catch hell for requiring fatties that spill over into the next seat to buy an extra ticket.

  48. Sorry for forgetting the sarcasm tag. I did not mean to add three unnecessary posts to this thread. My bad.

  49. Cant we just tax the fatties?

    I mean, why blame the games? Why not have higher rates of income-gouging for people whose BMI is over 30? Save us skinny folk the grief!

  50. plus, do we have the entire rule-list for the drinking game available?

    I know, the “for a magazine called…” one. And the subscription cancelling one.

    Also, we need to add in layers. Like, when lonewacko posts, everyone has to go, “ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA ARRIBA !!

  51. Actually now that I think about it, they really should institute the wider seats in coach and require anyone exceeding the seat width to sit there and pay for them. They already have those little carry-on boxes to make sure your bags fit, why not the same for husky travelers?

    First class is expensive because of the service, implied privacy, and snobbery that goes with being able to afford it.

  52. plus the H&R site should play cheesy MIDI-mariachi music on repeat when he posts

  53. Did anyone know that ‘first class’ is called ‘upper class’ on British Airway flights? i dont know if this is still the deal, but i remember once i was going over there, and i bothered the flight attendant, “Madam, I attended Eton, and read maths at Oxford, and i have here proofs of my lineage as the 3rd son of the eleventh Earl of Shropshire. I am appalled at the conditions of these peasants! Please forward my correspondence to the court to see that I am appropriately given a seat in the upper chambers amongst my peers”

  54. To all of you fatties and couch potatoes who did nothing when the nanny-staters came after the smokers –
    You would probably like our support nowadays. You’ll get mine, but don’t be surprised when it turns out to be a small minoroty of smokers who give a damn about your filthy, disgusting, unhealthy behavior getting taxed.

    What goes around …

  55. Taktix? | February 1, 2008, 10:57am |

    Ay yai yai! Mediod?a me intoxicar?!

  56. Not to be a prude, but many of us access Hit&Run from our jobs or our businesses, etc. Is it too much to ask that Reason not use profanities in headlines?

    I’m being serious here. Why is that headline even necessary?

  57. To be precise, and before someone corrects me, I guess today’s headline would be an obscenity or vulgarity, not a profanity.

  58. If your employer is that hysterical, you might want to consider staying off non-job related internet sites all together. Just sayin’.

  59. I don’t think that camera is going to fit into his bellybutton.

  60. Most of the fat kids belong to the Native American community, with some Latino fatties, though really, not all that many. The majority of our Aborigine population is obese, their kids are obese.

    That impression doesn’t seem correct. Particularly the concept of the majority of the Aborigine population being obese.

    Here are the first actual figures I found.
    Rates are higher in the Pueblo community (not included below), for sure, but “most of the fat kids” doesn’t ring true to me. But what do I know. I only spent the first half of my career working in with Pueblo kids.

    57% of New Mexico adults are overweight or obese. (CDC BRFSS, 2002)
    17% of non-Hispanic white adults and 22% of Hispanic adults in New Mexico are obese. (CDC BRFSS, 2002)
    The obesity rate among New Mexico adults increased by 100% between 1990 and 2002. (CDC BRFSS, 1990, 2002)
    26% of New Mexico high school students are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. (NM Survey of High School Students, 2001)
    22% of low-income children between 2 and 5 years of age in New Mexico are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. (CDC PedNSS, 2002)

  61. it’s assumed that government is there to make the world a better place and all of us better people.

    There seems to be two assertions here.

    1) government is there to make the world a better place — sounds like an accurate description of the intended role of government.

    2)government is there to make us all better people — doesn’t sound like a role I have ever heard advocated for government…even from the far left.

  62. 1) government is there to make the world a better place — sounds like an accurate description of the intended role of government.

    Way overbroad. Allows, nay, requires, the government to engage in every nanny state social engineering scheme there ever was.

    2)government is there to make us all better people — doesn’t sound like a role I have ever heard advocated for government…even from the far left.

    There are plenty of folks trying to use government for just this purpose. Every sin tax and every burden on victimless behavior is driven by this.

    The Communists, bless them, were quite explicit about remaking man into a proper little collectivist – New Soviet Man and all that.

  63. /me buys more ammo.

  64. government is there to make us all better people — doesn’t sound like a role I have ever heard advocated for government…even from the far left.

    From the left – Numerous education initiatives, sin taxes, …
    From the right, faith based initiatives, the war on drugs, …

  65. It watches prosperity as its prey, and permits none to escape without a tribute?.

  66. Is it too much to ask that Reason not use profanities in headlines?

    Yes.

    Now fuck off.

  67. It occurs to me that we libertarians need to adopt the methods of our opponents. Therefore, I shall refer to the proponents of The No Child Left Inside Fund as the Big Skin Cancer lobby.

    Why do these people want to force our children outside where they are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of solar radiation? Won’t someone think of the children?

  68. RC Dean,

    “a better place” does not = a perfect place.

    Government can make the world a better place by creating a stable legal framework for property ownership, dispute resolution, and consensual trade, etc…

    The premise that government’s role is not to make the world a better place suggests that government’s role is to make it a worse place.

    You can argue all you want about whether or not that is the impact of government, but it is certainly not the intent.

  69. Government can make the world a better place by creating a stable legal framework for property ownership, dispute resolution, and consensual trade, etc…

    Sure, but an open-ended “Better Place” mandate opens the door to a hell of a lot more than that.

  70. The premise that government’s role is not to make the world a better place suggests that government’s role is to make it a worse place.

    No. The premise that government’s role is not to make the world a better place suggests that government’s role is to allow individuals to make the world the place they want it to be.

    …Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…

  71. MikeP,

    Happiness is living in conformity with the ideals of the State.

  72. MikeP,

    I know you know that “allowing” is not a role that should be assigned to government.

    Governments role is to do things…those things should make the world better. They should not interfere with your attempts to do things that also improve the world.

    Repeat. Government’s role is not to allow…it is to do.

  73. Let me rephrase to avoid a misreading.

    It is not government role to allow…it is governments role to do…

  74. Neu Mejican,

    The way the stats are presented tell a lot:

    ” 57% of New Mexico adults are overweight or obese. (CDC BRFSS, 2002)
    17% of non-Hispanic white adults and 22% of Hispanic adults in New Mexico are obese. (CDC BRFSS, 2002)”

    Clearly avoids making a statement about the Native population. I have read recent stats somewhere that more than 40% of the puebloan population is obese.

    But what do I know. I only know what I see with my lying eyes.

  75. It is not government role to allow…it is governments role to do…

    Okay, let me rephrase:

    Government’s role is to do what is required to allow individuals to make the world the place they want it to be.

    Even your earlier examples of what government’s can do to make the world a better place constrain themselves to this mission statement:

    Government can make the world a better place by creating a stable legal framework for property ownership, dispute resolution, and consensual trade, etc…

  76. MikeP,

    Let’s rephrase one more time.

    Government’s role is to facilitate the activities of individuals as they attempt to make the world a better place…

    Nah, sounds wrong.

    No-trouble-aqui

    Clearly avoids making a statement about the Native population. I have read recent stats somewhere that more than 40% of the puebloan population is obese.

    Probably more a matter of not having the figure than avoiding it. These stats were from a site trying to make the case if was a problem. If they had figures indicating a bigger problem, they would have included them.

    And, again, my own experience working with the Keresan Pueblo population isn’t the same as having actual figures, but the majority is clearly not obese, and I would guess the 40% figure is high as well. The main claim I was refuting was the one indicating that “most fat kids are aboriginal.”

  77. In the immortal words of Heavy Weapons Guy, “Cry some more!”

  78. Here’s the first reliable figure I could find.

    The prevalence of obesity was higher among female Zuni Indians (34.3% [30.9-37.7]) than male Zuni Indians (21.5% [18.4-24.7]) (P < 0.001).

    http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/26/1/55

  79. More comprehensive, but a bit outta date.

    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/69/4/747S/T1

  80. Is that Sobchak puttin’ the beatdown on the photographer up there?

  81. “The premise that government’s role is not to make the world a better place suggests that government’s role is to make it a worse place.”

    Well, of course not. “Making the world a better place” was my sloppy shorthand for social engineering and a generally expansive view of government’s duty to influence behavior. I wouldn’t deny that the government can make the world better by, say, enforcing property rights. The thing is, most people — liberals, conservatives, moderates — are happy for the government to punish or tax anything they find personally distasteful. And we don’t always do a good job of communicating why that’s not okay.

  82. I have two sons who type about 90 words per minute. I attribute their typing skill to video games. Neither of them are fat, with both at about 5% body fat; I attribute that to genetics, in fact I attribute most things to genetics.

    My daughter is a good typist as well, though not as good as either son. She does not play video games.

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