Before I get started with this post, I would like to address my Libertarian cousins who have already started yelling at me that big government can’t “cure” anything,
I am asking /pleading/begging you to withhold judgement for 5 minutes, read a little bit further, chew on my ideas a little bit…and then tell me how the private sector could do everything I am proposing and do it better and cheaper.
This article is about the ideas…not who delivers those ideas into reality.
If the private sector can do it better…I am all for them taking charge. The reason I am raising the idea of government intervention is that they have the infrastructure to make the widespread changes that I am hypothesizing about.
Whether they would screw it up is another question altogether. For a few minutes, let’s pretend that we have a theoretical government that isn’t bloated, lazy and/or corrupt and see how this public sector could help cure obesity.
How can big government cure obesity?
. Let’s start by asking ourselves what do politicians like to do? .
- Take credit for good ideas
- Increase tax revenue
- Promise tax relief to the voters
- And occasionally make life better for their fellow man.
All in an effort to ensure re-election….and potentially do some good for their fellow man. .
Now that we know all of this…how do we use these political characteristics to reverse our epidemic of obesity?
- Enact junk food taxes ala the sin taxes many governments already slap on tobacco and alcohol. New York state is getting close to enacting this type of legislation right now. And once New York has done it, other states are sure to draft similar legislation. Just think of all those new tax dollars coming into government treasuries.
- Implement tax credits that promote health/fitness and a rocking set of abs. But, unlike current fitness tax credits, they should be available to all people, and more importantly, be based on participation and not simply on money spent. If 75% of gym memberships are abandoned after 6 months, why are we giving full tax credits. The people who exercise are the ones who should get the credit.
- The tax income derived from the junk food tax should NOT be lumped in with other taxes. If possible, the taxes and tax credits should be revenue neutral. If this isn’t possible, excess tax revenue should be kept in a separate account to be used only for health & fitness projects.
- Most importantly, to encourage maximum participation and discourage pork barrel politics, instead of large, national programs, money should be funneled down to teeny-weeny little grassroots projects that are close to the people that actually need the support and who can do it cheaper & better (see I told you I was part libertarian).
Alright, that’s enough for today.
Next up…Can We “Cure” Obesity?