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The Fresca Rebellion 776

Posted by Soulskill
from the comparing-soft-drinks-to-the-holocaust dept.
theodp writes "They can ban the Marlboros, tax the Cokes, and zone the Whoppers, says Slate's William Saletan on the subject of today's morality cops. But it's time to put the brakes on the paternalistic overreaching of the food police, Saletan argues, when they come after his editor's beloved Fresca ('there are concerns that diet beverages may increase calorie consumption by justifying consumption of other caloric foods'), which will have to be pried from his cold, dead hands. '40 states have enacted special taxes on soda or junk food. And the soda taxers are becoming ever bolder. Their latest manifesto is an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, co-authored by the health commissioner of New York City, the surgeon general of Arkansas, and several others. It declares soda fair game for government intervention (PDF) on the grounds that "market failures" in this area are causing "less-than-optimal production and consumption."' Where do we draw the line?"
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The Fresca Rebellion

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  • taxes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:33AM (#29555551)

    As an avid soda drinker, I don't have any problem with a 'soda' tax. I have much more of a problem when the government outright bans something. Keep it legal and tax it, I say. I would much rather the government got income through 'sin' taxes than through the income tax.

    I'm not in favor of higher taxes in general, but I would like to shift taxes. Carbon taxes would be much more efficient than income tax, for example.

  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pla (258480) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:42AM (#29555619) Journal
    Instead of people choosing their foods based on preference, we'll have politicians picking our foods based on how much money is contributed to their campaigns!

    Clearly, then, we need to ensure Food Neutrality to prevent exactly that problem!
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:47AM (#29555667) Homepage Journal
    dependence culture in the US. I've lived in both East Asia and Europe for the past 6 years of my life and every time I come back home I am just shocked at the utter disdain towards people who don't drive. In much of Europe(and a lesser extent in Japan), cyclists are treated with respect when they are on the road and there are a lot of facilities set up for cyclists to commute, futhermore in residential areas there are plenty of pedestrian areas. As a result kids(and adults) can work exercise into their daily routine safely and easily. Now compare that with most of the United States, where if there are any pedestrian signals at all, they last for a very short period of time(I was in Phoenix and I swear the walk signal only lasted for 15 seconds when crossing a 6 lane road), there are few special paths for pedestrians, and anyone that doesn't drive a car is treated as if they are worthless as a human being. I've heard tons of stories from cyclists in the US detailing how people in vehicles purposely drive as close as possible to them, cut them off, throw things at them etc.

    As a result most Americans never walk anywhere simply because it isn't safe to do so. We only walk from our front door to the car and from the parking lot to the office. Its no wonder why Americans are the fattest people in the world. We need a radical cultural shift away from this whole notion that people who don't drive are worthless human beings and away from this dependence on cars
  • Re:makes sense (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:51AM (#29555695)

    If government doesn't take care of the unwashed masses, corporate interests will step up to the plate. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the nanny be the one without the profit motive.

  • by ewg (158266) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:52AM (#29555705)
    Waiting for the science fiction movie that takes this principle to its logical extreme: widespread application of herd health management practices, developed for livestock, to humans.
  • Re:Diet sodas (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pla (258480) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:53AM (#29555713) Journal
    Diet sodas make your body expect energy.

    Why?

    I could accept the same argument for just about anything else, but a liquid?

    Evolutionarily, our bodies "expect" exactly one substance to enter our bodies when we drink - Water. And water has no calories.

    That does segue into one of my own objections to the topic, however...


    "there are concerns that diet beverages may increase calorie consumption by justifying consumption of other caloric foods"...

    Well, yeah! I started drinking diet soda (despite a preference for real sugared sodas) primarily because I don't prefer the sugared version enough to give up literally one meal a day to offset the calories. What next, will they regulate going to the gym because of "concerns" that people might actually exercise solely so they can have an extra serving of dessert after dinner?

    I don't eat more as a result of diet sodas... I just don't have to eat less.
  • Re:We subsidize soda (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NoYob (1630681) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:16AM (#29555915)

    But what about the poor corn farmers???!????

    Their subsides basically end up in the pockets of the big grain companies. In the first section of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" [amazon.com], there's a farmer who explains how the government subsidies actually has distorted the relationship between supply and demand pushing prices down and down. Basically, the farmer gets less for his corn, has to produce more to get paid more and get more subsidies, which then because of greater supply, the price falls, so the farmer having to make payments, produces even more corn, and down and down we go. The benefits go to the HFC/Corn processors. They're getting cheap corn at the expense of the tax payers.

    I can't remember the farmer's name, but he actually wants the subsidies to end because it will allow corn prices to increase - at least when he was interviewed.

  • You make no sense (Score:1, Interesting)

    by poptones (653660) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:19AM (#29555945) Journal

    Slavery? Get a grip. What we have NOW is fascism - how is socialism any worse? What we have now is corporations running unfettered through society keeping us addicted to whatever they can keep legal while our health disintegrates - which they then try to patch up by selling us even more shit to fix the problems THEIR SHIT CAUSED. And when someone can't pay for their shit who pays for it?

    YOU AND ME.

    Every time we go to the hospital and pay 500 bucks for an ER visit, 50 bucks for an aspirin, 5 grand for an operating room and 8 grand for an anaesthesiologist.

    Being held accountable for your behavior toward society is not socialism, it's what freaking Jefferson wrote about.

  • Re:makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by doshell (757915) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:31AM (#29556059)

    The difference is that you vote for government, but you don't vote for Coca Cola's board of directors.

  • by eulernet (1132389) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:36AM (#29556117)

    Its no wonder why Americans are the fattest people in the world.

    That, and the fact that americans consume too much sugar, and especially high-fructose corn syrup:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-fructose_corn_syrup [wikipedia.org]

    In Europe, producing high-fructose corn syrup is more expensive than the other sugars.

  • by TheTempest (99802) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:37AM (#29556123)

    I live in Arlington, VA and this is a very bike friendly area (as are some of the suburbs beyond). There are numerous bike trails and bike lanes throughout the area.

    I bike to work and for pleasure regularly and generally find that the driving public is very polite. I think often that is because they can clearly see that I'm commuting to work. When I bike for pleasure I stay off the roads as much as possible.

    I do regularly see bikers acting like assholes, but then again I see the same from other drivers when I'm in my car. The difference is that bikers run a much higher risk by violating the laws than drivers do.

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KeithJM (1024071) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:39AM (#29556135) Homepage

    Sin taxes are stupid. They allow rich people to "sin" more.

    We're also talking about taxing the sins of the lower class instead of the upper class. It's fine to eat prime rib and tira misu with some cheese-coated appetizer, but a coke, fries and grilled chicken sandwich from McDonalds is a sin? Unless we're actually going to apply a "calorie density" tax (which would be a horrible idea, by the way), we're really taxing poor people sins and not rich people's sins. It's like if we had much harsher penalties for things like crack than for powdered cocaine, just because poor people tend to go with crack. Oh, wait, never mind.

  • Re:makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by doshell (757915) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:49AM (#29556255)

    I find it funny that, being the United States the land of the free and all, most Americans just can't warp their heads around the fact that they've been brainwashed for the past 70 years into thinking that anything even remotely resembling socialism is evil. This is especially obvious considering the fact that a lot of Americans regard Obama as a dangerous socialist. Those who actually know what socialism is cannot help but laugh at such an idea.

    But I digress. We've had what you call "universal health care" in Europe (and I don't mean the left bloc countries; I mean western and northern Europe as well) for decades, and in general it has worked acceptably, thank you very much. I've never seen the governments of any of those countries pushing to regulate what people eat and drink, how much exercise they make, when they go to sleep, or when they die. I don't know where you get the idea that universal health care implies that, but keep in mind that saying so does not make it true.

    Sadly, the real question behind the universal health care debate really is the one most often forgotten, because you're too busy discussing how much control the government will have over you, and how much money the rich will have to fork over for universal health care to work. The real question is what should we do about people who absolutely cannot pay for health care or health insurance, because they are unemployed and have no savings; because they were marginalized and no one will give them a job; because they have become permanently disabled and cannot work. Should we let them live a miserable life and even die in the name of small government and the right to be rich? Until the "no universal health care" camp gives an acceptable answer to that question, their arguments are all moot to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:54AM (#29556309)

    The first thing we need to stop doing is calling fat people "obese" or "overweight" or any other feel-good term like that. We need to call them "fat", with all of its negative connotations, because that is what they are.

    Second, we need to go back to ridiculing them like we did in the 1950s and before. Aside from the very small number of people who are legitimately fat, because of some disease or disorder out of their control, most fat people today are fat because they make stupid diet and exercise decisions.

    Some sissies may think ridicule is mean, but it's just a form of positive peer pressure. I know from personal experience. When I was growing up in the 50s, I used to like chocolates and sweets too much. They made me fat, and then people around me started ridiculing me. Even as a child, I knew that it was my diet that was to blame, and so I admitted I was at fault, and changed my ways. I started exercising, stopped eating so much fucking candy, and became skinny.

    We don't need soda taxes. We just need to tell these fat fucks that they're fat and that they need to lose weight. Either they'll disregard us and face more and more ridicule, or they'll change their ways for the better.

  • by GeckoAddict (1154537) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:55AM (#29556323)
    I really wish I had mod points, cause this post is exactly correct. This is why I don't respect most cyclists. If there's one that's not riding like a complete a-hole, he gets the respect and space he deserves on the road.

    And to the GP's point of the 15 second walk signal: the walk signal tells you it's OK to start crossing. Usually these will turn to the flashing don't walk, but they'll stay that way as long as it takes an average person to walk through the intersection. The lights don't actually change until it's solid, which is usually past the time anyone's still walking.
  • by nbauman (624611) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:19AM (#29556567) Homepage Journal

    It does NOT take a village to enforce thinness.

    You've raised an interesting point. It DOES take a village to prevent obesity.

    Obesity is a classic example of a behavior in which there is good evidence from rigorous scientific studies that the behavior is determined by community influence, rather than individual choice. Nicholas Christakis showed in NEJM that people are far more likely to become obese if they have a close friend, sibling, or spouse who is obese. People in a community become obese together and loses weight together. The most effective weight loss methods are community-based.

    Christakis demonstrated the same thing for smoking. He has great computer-generated diagrams of social networks over time, as people gain and lose weight together in nodes.

    The only way to deal with obesity effectively is to approach it as a community problem, like sexually transmitted disease.

    After extensive studies, they identified soft drinks as one of the worst contributors to the problem (obesity, not STD), and the one most vulnerable to intervention.

    That's why they're going after soft drinks.

    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/357/4/370 [nejm.org]
    New England Journal of Medicine
    Volume 357:370-379 July 26, 2007

    The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years
    Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and James H. Fowler, Ph.D.

    Background The prevalence of obesity has increased substantially over the past 30 years. We performed a quantitative analysis of the nature and extent of the person-to-person spread of obesity as a possible factor contributing to the obesity epidemic.

    Methods We evaluated a densely interconnected social network of 12,067 people assessed repeatedly from 1971 to 2003 as part of the Framingham Heart Study. The body-mass index was available for all subjects. We used longitudinal statistical models to examine whether weight gain in one person was associated with weight gain in his or her friends, siblings, spouse, and neighbors.

    Results Discernible clusters of obese persons (body-mass index [the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters], â¥30) were present in the network at all time points, and the clusters extended to three degrees of separation. These clusters did not appear to be solely attributable to the selective formation of social ties among obese persons. A person's chances of becoming obese increased by 57% (95% confidence interval [CI], 6 to 123) if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given interval. Among pairs of adult siblings, if one sibling became obese, the chance that the other would become obese increased by 40% (95% CI, 21 to 60). If one spouse became obese, the likelihood that the other spouse would become obese increased by 37% (95% CI, 7 to 73). These effects were not seen among neighbors in the immediate geographic location. Persons of the same sex had relatively greater influence on each other than those of the opposite sex. The spread of smoking cessation did not account for the spread of obesity in the network.

    Conclusions Network phenomena appear to be relevant to the biologic and behavioral trait of obesity, and obesity appears to spread through social ties. These findings have implications for clinical and public health interventions.

    (In case that link doesn't work http://www.media6degrees.com/about/pdf/Spread%20of%20Obesity%20in%20a%20Large%20Social%20Network.pdf [media6degrees.com])

  • Re:taxes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:20AM (#29556571) Journal

    I still think the fairest thing is state sales tax with a very narrow classes of products and services exempt. The Federal government is to be forbidden to impose any taxes except on the states, and may only tax states based on population and or total revenue. The Federal government would be barred from taxing based on any other metrics so as to prevent the abuse of the tax code for social engineering.

    The federally required tax exempt classes should something along the lines, with states premited to add other classes at their own discression:

    Public transportation
    motor fuel for use in passenger vehicles only
    passenger vehicles up to %20 of the median income, any amount over that subject to tax
    foods that is less than 30% water and do not classify primarily under fats and sugars on the food pyramid
    Residential rent equal to the median rent payment, amounts over subject to tax
    Residential property up to two times the media income anything over that subject to tax
    Medial non cosmetic care by a licensed pysician

    If you do that the system is not regressive because the lower income population spends a disproportionate amount of their income on those things. It would be up to the states to set a tax rate, as well as add or subtract additional commercial classes so as to produce enough revenue to pay their obligations to the federal government, and run their own government.

  • by maxume (22995) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:24AM (#29556607)

    I'm not opposed to regulation, but every idiot who bought a house they couldn't afford is also partly responsible. Hell, at least there is a chance that the government will actually profit on the Wall Street bailout, as opposed to the money that was given away to try to prop up the housing market.

  • Re:taxes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:28AM (#29556657) Journal
    What do you think about capping production of milk and legislating minimum pricing for it? If that practice were to stop, I doubt you would see children drinking sugar water purchased at a 10000% markup.
  • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:16PM (#29557127)

    Cyclists are assholes everywhere. Why yes, Mr Fixed-gear bike riding douchebag, please go ahead and squeeze up to the light we're all waiting for, and then take off while the light is still red. This way, you'll be in the middle of the intersection when cars take off, making them unable to pass you. The only other thing about bikes that pisses me off about as much are the assholes slowly crawling up steep hills on narrow curvy country roads with lots of blind turns. Thanks for signaling for me to pass you, jackass, but I'm not going to risk a head-on collision just because you can't be bothered to pull over for a second and let me through.

    Erm, enough with the ranting. Not all of them ride like that of course, and I have no problems with them hurting themselves while jumping off cliffs or stairs. Anyway, I don't think biking has much to do with obesity to be honest. I am in Europe, and nobody that I know rides their bike to work or school, and the hordes of bikers are nowhere to be seen during the morning rush hours. I suspect that more people ride recreationally than in the US, but still nowhere near enough to explain the differences in obesity.

    Even if you look at Denmark, with the highest biking km/person/year in the EU, biking only accounts for around 12-13% of km traveled [cfit.gov.uk]. This figure is somewhat smaller for the Netherlands, but then a bit lower is Germany at about 4%, while Spain is 0.4%. Yet, the Spanish are actually significantly thinner [spiegel.de]. Italians don't rely on their bikes as much as the Dutch, buth again they're the thinner ones.

    I don't have any research on this, but I'd say walking affects the obesity rates much more than biking does. While walking accounts for even less distance traveled than biking, this is mainly because walking is fucking slow and you can't actually go further than a few blocks in a reasonable amount of time. At the same time, many more people walk than ride bikes, and I think this is what makes the difference. I don't know if the data supports this, but at a glance there doesn't seem to be much of a correlation, though maybe that's partially because the variation in walking is much lower between the countries (115 km range vs 915 for biking).

  • Re:Market Failure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:20PM (#29557165) Journal
    You're absolutely right that the actual equation is more complex, but the basic truth of it is still perfectly valid.

    On a side note, despite the fact that I generally hate so-called "reality" shows, I have found myself hooked on "The Biggest Loser" for the past couple seasons. I like it because a) it actually helps those on the show, b) it offers something worthwhile for those who see it. On the show, they talk about some of the metabolic challenges and apparent paradoxes (for example, you have to eat at least a certain amount to lose weight properly) that my overly simplistic equation left out.
  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ravenshrike (808508) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:42PM (#29557349)
    Here's the REALLY interesting question. How much of the 'sin tax' revenue will go towards corn subsidies? This being the primary cause of soda in the US being so bad for you.
  • Re:taxes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by apoc.famine (621563) <apoc.famine@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @02:05PM (#29558073) Homepage Journal

    Same here. I'm an oddball, and spent nine years in the "real world", making decent money, before I went back to grad school. I was used to buying nice liquor in moderate quantities, upgrading on a 2 year cycle, and eating out on a whim.
     
    The last two years before I went back to school, I realized that I'd be losing well over 50% of my income by doing so. I got my ass in gear, and started churning out cheap dinners which could turn into "lunch for two days", and collected a bunch of good and cheap ideas for eating in.
     
    So far, I'm +$400 on my first month of grad pay, despite spending in the area of $200 on beer, booze, and bar hopping. My food budget is in the same neighborhood, and I'm eating like a king. I found a bunch of frozen single-serving salmon fillets, on sale for $1 each. Pair those with some fresh vegis and some nice rice, and you've got a fantastic meal. On-sale boneless chicken breasts and thighs, some peppers and onions, and a cheap wrap -> spicy chicken fajitas. Cheap pork, a $2 box of rice pilaf, some fresh vegis, and a crock pot, and I've got 3-4 meals for all of $7-8, done in the time it takes me to drink a few beers while doing homework.
     
    I really think poverty around here is tied to a lack of education. If I didn't know how to cook delicious stuff, on the cheap, I'd go eat fast food all the time. And by doing so, I'd be poorer. I think this ties nicely into smoking as well. I'm educated enough to understand that spending $5 a day on cigs is the same as paying $150 a month, $1825 a year for cancer. I'd rather save that $5 for a few days, and spend it going out with friends. That's a luxury that addicts don't have.
     
    I idly wonder what would happen if you educated poor people on the basics of cooking. I've made some pretty good dinners with nothing but a cast-iron pot and a campfire. Cheap, easy, tasty meals are entirely possible. How much does education play into that?

  • Re:makes sense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by evilviper (135110) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @02:09PM (#29558107) Journal

    Among the major options that many right-leaning politicians in America have been pushing is tearing down regulation that has prevented insurance companies from offering low-cost catastrophic-only insurance, and removing regulation that prevents cross-state offerings for insurance. Those two items alone would greatly expand the choices and lower prices across the board for insurance.

    Look up recision. In the private health insurance market (ie. not through your employer) if you start racking up significant medical bills, you have a ~50% chance that your insurance company will find some excuse to cancel your insurance coverage on any technicality they can come up with.

    THAT is what an unregulated health insurance industry will get you. It's cheaper to only insure people who won't get sick, so everyone will find some way to eliminate those with any chance of major bills, or worse, discontinue their insurance for no reason when they actually start to need it.

  • Re:taxes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by coaxial (28297) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @03:00PM (#29558541) Homepage

    Clearly, you've never heard of "food deserts." In the US, there are large areas of cities, predominately in the poor parts of town, where there are literally no grocery stores. If you don't have a car, and the bus system either doesn't go, or makes it very arduous to get to a grocery store in richer part of town, you simply don't go. Instead you head down to Mickey D's or the 7-Eleven and buy something to eat. No one believes that it's healthy, but you do what you've got to do. The NYT [nytimes.com] and the NYC Dept of City Planning [nyc.gov] reported on this phenomenon, complete with maps overlaying income, food availability, and obesity and diabetes rates.

  • Re:taxes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @03:19PM (#29558677)

    Yes, perhaps it's a cycle - someone's parents don't teach them how to cook and it just cascades down the generations.

    I knew a guy who figured out that if he invited everyone over for a pot luck dinner on the weekend he'd have more than enough leftovers for lunches and suppers for the whole week. He basically got to eat (and drink, but he and his roommate made their own wine), for about $10-$15 a week. The rest of us didn't do quite as well but we got a good meal and socializing on the weekend plus as much $2 a bottle wine as we wanted (it was pretty good, even - his roommate was a chemical engineer).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @04:44PM (#29559373)

    As technology and communication have improved efficiency (especially since design for usability has grown tremendously), the average problem solving skill level of the population has dropped. The sense of entitlement that is said to have developed is related -- people expect that solutions will be provided, or at least easy-to-follow solution paths.

    In the opposite direction, marketing and especially fitness marketing has developed to become strong enough that they can focus on profit rather than results. For example, programs like Weight Watchers that are (covertly) based more on helping customers feel better about themselves than actual weight loss. After all, the program would make less money if they successfully taught customers how to maintain their weight by themselves.

    The result? Population is hungry -> population eats fast food, because it's easy -> population gets fat -> population wants to lose weight -> population goes to Weight Watchers, because it's easy -> population stays fat.

    So how can anyone lose weight? Luckily, the Internet is an equalizer in the guerrilla sense, giving power back to the individuals. Go find fitness message boards. Lurk a little. If someone posts a self-picture, and the posters are brutally honest and pull no punches, that's where you want to be. That's your support group, that's where you can get advice on getting fit, and in the end you are just another user, so there's no incentive for the site to lie to you to try to keep you fat so you'll come back forever.

    (as a side note: soda tax is ridiculous because diet soda, while it's not water, is in an entirely different class of food than regular soda. Either you'd tax regular and diet soda, which defeats the whole point, or you'd post a ridiculous cost on soda retailers, restaurants, convenience stores with self serve fountains, etc who then have to carry the burden of identifying and taxing a regular Coca Cola and not taxing the visually identical cup of Diet Coke or Coke Zero. Much more sensible to just require soda sellers to display calorie counts for each soda in the available sizes. 500 calories for a Large Coke and 0 calories for a large Diet Coke? I think people will figure that out pretty quick when you remind them of that fact.)

  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:01PM (#29559961) Homepage Journal

    Now, if everyones' insurance companies gave discounts for safe eating, like car companies do for safe driving, maybe you'd start to see a change.

    My company started a wellness program earlier this year that does exactly that. Our insurance premiums were going up, and my boss decided to offset them by rewarding healthy behavior. We get something like $20/month for not using tobacco, and they cover the costs of programs to quit smoking. We get another $20 for having an appropriate body mass index or body fat measurement; a consultant measures both values and you only have to meet at least one of those standards. The awesome part is that they also count it if you don't currently meet the goal but are closer to it than you were at the last quarterly measurement. I still have a few pounds to shed, but I'm making progress so I still get the money.

    My boss is taking the long-term position that healthier employees will translate into lower premiums, and is directly paying us to become healthier. As a result, almost every single employee is participating in some way or another.

  • Re:taxes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@NoSPaM.mac.com> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @07:29PM (#29560611) Journal

    I would much rather the government got income through 'sin' taxes than through the income tax.

    I would much rather see the government's power to tax limited to raising revenues for the government's legitimate operations, not for social engineering. We are not the government's property, we are not the government's children, and it's not the government's job to try to influence our personal choices.

    There was a time when "it's a free country" was a very common saying in the USA.

    -jcr

  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CodeBuster (516420) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @07:48PM (#29560743)

    Once it's been established that an individual's health care costs are the governments business, there's no logical stopping point

    Bingo. Give the man a gold star. This is a consequence of socialized medicine that is much less frequently discussed and often willfully ignored by single-payer boosters. Socialized health care IS the nanny state incarnate. If your life is to be preserved at cost by the state then the choices you make that effect that life (which is just about everything worth doing if we take that line of reasoning to its logical conclusion) are the de-facto business of the state. Want to eat that cheesburger? Forget about it. How about a beer? No way! Like to mountain bike or bunjee jump or how about alpine skiing or skateboarding? All banned by the cost-conscious nanny state health system as "unnecessary risks which result in increased health care costs". Socialized health care makes children of us all, constantly being reminded to eat our vegetables, go to bed early, and avoid dangerous sports and activities. Some people, may be willing to trade many freedoms away as long as someone else picks up their health care bills, but only dishonest socialists, terminal cancer patients and ignorant people would do so willingly.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:04PM (#29561887) Journal

    You both have the arrogance to think you can force better decisions on other people,

    I'm not trying to force anything. I'm trying to convince people to make better decisions. If I can't do that, I'm trying to at least ensure that they're the ones paying for those poor decisions, not me.

    social cruelty and sin taxes are equally wrong ways to pursue that goal.

    What is the right way to pursue that goal, then?

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