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Fat Tax

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  1. May 30, 2006 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Well, I've been predicting this for years. What's really at issue is the basic question of whether or not we should, as a deterrent, tax people for making poor choices in their lifestyle. We have done this with smoking and alcohol, and in the case of seat belts and motorcycle helmets, we have passed laws. The logic that follows is inescapable: This should apply to all poor choices that can lead to costs to society.

    http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm/headline/2336

    How far does the logic extend? Should we be taxed on the distance driven each day and the associated risk with the chosen route, safety rating of the car, quality of tires, etc? Or perhaps we should simply assign a more general notion a "risk tax" that goes with everything sold and all activities.

    The point is that either this unfairly targets one group or another, or it applies equally to everyone.

    Edit: Crud, I just noticed that this is not the current story. CNN is reporting on this but I didn't see any links yet.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006
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  3. May 30, 2006 #2

    Pengwuino

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    Discrimination, plain and simple.

    What next, a violence tax? a tax on rap albums, violent video games, knives, violent movies? A noise tax? tax on rap albums again haha, large stereos, musical instruments?

    Wait! Cars are dangerous! A car-safety tax! On all foods, cell phones, drinks, anything that can be hung on a mirror, air-fresheners!
     
  4. May 30, 2006 #3

    dav2008

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    They have those. They're called tickets.
     
  5. May 30, 2006 #4
    Well since no one can make a final decision about which things we put in our body actually are bad for us then I'd say this can't fly. Take for instance eggs. 20 years ago eating an egg a day was considered next thing to suicide. Now the story has changed.
     
  6. May 30, 2006 #5
    I would tend to say that there should be no such tax. It would be impossible to implement. Besides, I need fat. I need candy. If you want people to be healthier, raise the gasoline tax and make them walk to work.
     
  7. May 30, 2006 #6
    There already starting there fineing kids if they buy violent video games.
     
  8. May 30, 2006 #7
    Tax: a charge (usu. of money) imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.

    Sanction: a measure (as a threat or fine) designed to enforce a law or standard.

    The WHO wants to impose sanctions:surprised
     
  9. May 30, 2006 #8

    Pengwuino

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    i thought they're not suppose to in the first place.
     
  10. May 30, 2006 #9

    russ_watters

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    There is no slippery slope here. Seatbelt laws, mandatory insurance, and cig taxes serve useful purposes and are completly Constitutional. Ironically, these are a biproduct of people shirking their personal responsibility: ie, since we've decided that if necessary, the general public will pay the medical bills of an idiot who doesn't wear a seatbelt, it directly follows that we must make wearing seatbelts mandatory. Remove the free healtcare and the mandatory seatbelts, insurance, and cig tax go away.

    Adding more crutches for the shirking of personal responsibility will go on a case by case basis under the same logic. Since, unlike with smoking, fatty food can be eaten without damaging your health, I suspect this one won't fly.

    Modern liberalism is the cause of this. Modern liberals want to have their government protection but don't want to have to be responsible enough to deserve it. Sorry, it doesn't and can't work that way. Its both or neither.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006
  11. May 30, 2006 #10

    Pengwuino

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    How can you say its not a slippery slope? If all these things are constitutional, whos to say where it can stop? It does all have to do with responsibility; how far do we go and who gets to decide where our responsibilities end and where they begin? Who gets to decide our culture? I mean some might even say when you start taxing food, you've already fallen down that slope.
     
  12. May 30, 2006 #11

    Hurkyl

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    I thought Russ gave a fairly clear criterion for stopping. :tongue:
     
  13. May 30, 2006 #12

    Pengwuino

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    I'm not seeing it. I've needed pictures drawn out for me all day though.
     
  14. May 30, 2006 #13

    Moonbear

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    Well, I already pay based on all those criteria (except the tires), but it's to my insurance carrier, not the government, though it's the government that requires I pay the insurance carrier. :rolleyes:

    I'm annoyed that people get a tax BREAK for getting fat then trying to lose the weight (i.e., the deduction for health club memberships)...why don't I get a tax break for staying healthy and active so I don't need to run around on treadmills? I lean toward Russ' viewpoint on this one, that it's one or the other; we either subsidize health care and penalize people who bring those costs up with their bad habits by taxing those habits, or we let them pay their own way when they choose to indulge their habits. Though, to me, I don't care if they tax junk food. If you don't eat much of it, it won't cost you much extra. Though, if they're going to do that, the tax should be by the gallon for soda, not by price. :devil: (Sorry, it's a current sore spot...I was just traveling, and on the way home stopped at Wendy's for lunch...they've just increased their sizes again! What used to be a medium drink is now a small, and small is economy...I was tired and cranky, and my cup holder isn't that big, so I just let the store manager have it: "Who on Earth needs that much soda with a single meal?! What is now a medium is enough to last me a week! Why can't they make smaller portions rather than larger? I'm not paying more to throw away most of it! No wonder kids can't sit still and pay attention in school and everyone is so fat if they drink a half gallon of soda in a sitting!" [/off topic rant])

    When I'm not being grouchy with a knee-jerk reaction to over-consumption of fast food and insane portion inflation, I go back to my more usual opinion that if you want to eat junk and be unhealthy, it's your body to do with as you want. We're already taxed for things we put in our body that have no nutritive value at all, but it would be hard to argue a dividing line between junk food and non-junk food, because it really all depends on how much you eat and what else you eat with it.
     
  15. May 30, 2006 #14

    Hurkyl

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    You tax behaviors for which society is absorbing the cost of the consequences.

    You can tax cigarettes because cigarette usage lead to health problems, which lead to smokers requiring health care, which (in the current system) leads to Joe Q. Public paying for Pierre D. Smoker's health care.

    You can't tax twinkies because twinkie usage does not lead to health problems, or anything else that would cause there to be some cost that Joe Q. Public would have to pay.
     
  16. May 30, 2006 #15

    Moonbear

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    You picked Twinkies for that example? :uhh: I'm not sure there's any redeeming value to Twinkies. :biggrin: How about pretzels? Or white bread? Or chocolate chip cereal bars? I think those get the point across better. None of them is inherently bad, and can be eaten as part of a healthy diet, but if you over eat any of them, or don't balance them with other healthy things, then they become junk food.
     
  17. May 30, 2006 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    Who said that it wasn't Constitutional? And you have said nothing to suggest that this isn't a slippery slope.

    And what of those who pay their medical bills? Should they be exempt?

    How much fat may be consumed? At some point it clearly is a problem. Why should I pay [through my insurance] for some guy who sits at Wal Mart eating hot dogs?

    The cause of what? With all the rhetoric I can hardly tell what your point is.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006
  18. May 30, 2006 #17

    Pengwuino

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    That's completely false. Smoking in of itself is not dangerous. You're body isn't going to freak out if you have a cigarette every week or so (and yes i know this is as common as eating 1 potato cihp). It's when you smoke a pack, 2, or 3 a week or a pack daily :grumpy: where people readily becoming a public health issue. I can drink a soda every day or 2 and i won't really be a risk to the public health system. Start downing a 2 liter a day and yah, you're now probably going to become a health care issue.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006
  19. May 30, 2006 #18

    SOS2008

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    It's not just the consumer that must be held responsible. Crappy food is cheaper to produce. At fast food restaurants, it would be great if they had to display the total fats and calories with each number meal. Also if they were required to provide healthier options, such as having a choice between roasted chicken and breaded deep-fried chicken.

    Those who would ignore the stats and choose the less healthy meals do cost us all, regardless of if they pay for their own health care. Many become delinquent on their medical bills, often filing bankruptcy. How do you think these debts are covered? It is passed on to other consumers.

    There are some companies that won't even hire smokers because it results in higher health care costs. Schools are already removing sugary sodas from vending machines, and some are re-implementing physical education. Requirements for nutrition labels have become more strict over time. I support these efforts.

    I would prefer that people who make unhealthy choices just paid higher premiums for their health insurance (like people with bad driving records for their auto insurance). But health insurance would have to be mandatory like auto insurance. Otherwise there would just be more and more uninsured people, which is already a problem because of the already high cost for medical care.
     
  20. May 30, 2006 #19

    Pengwuino

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    Corporations shouldn't have to pay for citizen's stupidity. If you go to a fast food restaurant and want a healthy alternative.... don't eat there. Simple as that. Does our whole society need to guide people's every decision? What next, forcing mcdonalds to have kosher meals?
     
  21. May 30, 2006 #20

    Moonbear

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    Actually, that's the false statement. The effects of cigarette smoking are cumulative. A cigarette every week or so does impart a substantial health risk. Not as much as smoking a pack a day, but more than if you never smoked at all.
     
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