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The Fresca Rebellion 776

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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  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xmarkd400x ( 1120317 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:34AM (#29555563)

    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!

    I, for one, welcome our politician overlords.


  • makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:35AM (#29555565) Homepage Journal

    the more the government becomes responsible for taking care of us, the more motivated they are to regulate our behavior to keep the costs of said care down.

  • Re:taxes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:39AM (#29555595)

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

  • by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:51AM (#29555699)

    While I may disagree with you on the whole "anarchy" thing, I think we can find common ground in our healthy dislike of Big Government.

    About the only thing Big Government is good at is enslaving people and destroying wealth and value.

    I prefer Limited (as in limited powers) Representative government that does NOT try and take care of (and thus control) everyone.

    And yes Lefties, we can still have fire departments and police and roads and a military with a Limited Representative government. Those things are considered part of the duties of every government, Limited or otherwise.

    But we need to stop putting so much faith in governments and bureaucrats to take care of all of us like children. That's the road to slavery, pure and simple.

  • We subsidize soda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonsmirl ( 114798 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @09:52AM (#29555707) Homepage

    Random Google search says US spent $4,920,813,719 subsidizing corn production in 2006. Corn gets turned into HFC (High Fructose Corn) Syrup. HFC is what makes most sodas and candies sweet. Fresh berries are $6.00 a pint in my grocery store. Make me president and I'll switch that $5B from corn to subsidizing the production of fresh produce.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:00AM (#29555763) Homepage

    The economist's big idea is that the "invisible hand" of market forces will lead us to an ideal world. In this case, someone's idea of an ideal world is one where you can drink soda in moderate amounts, but not to the extent that you ruin your health.

    When letting the market decide things doesn't result in the desired effect (who's desire?), instead of saying that this isn't something markets solve, economists call it a "market failure", and suggest ways that the state could intervene to make the market work again.

    This isn't always stupid. Commodity markets with healthy competition do tend towards a fair market price. Insider trading can break that system (market failure). Laws against insider trading allow the market to work properly.

    But sometimes it is stupid. Sometimes if you want to control people, you just have to grit your teeth and admit that it's your aim.

  • Re:Good policy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:01AM (#29555769) Homepage

    Serious question: what if 300 pound women is your thing?

  • by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:02AM (#29555783)

    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

  • Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cluge ( 114877 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:05AM (#29555809) Homepage
    As the government pumps more money into the economy - it looks for more items/services to tax to try to make up for the insane amount of deficit spending. This cycle is a bit part of the reason the great depression lasted so long (ie until WWII). This tax is partly driven by "health" concerns and partly driven by a need for funds to cover the massive amount of deficit spending. A happy coincidence - win win for everyone (Notice the position of tongue and cheek)

    Here is the irony of this sort of taxation behavior. If you are successful and get people to stop buying soda - your tax revenue goes away. This creates another problem because the revenue starts being counted on (see cigarette and alcohol taxes for example) and the vicious cycle continues with the government looking for other things to tax (all in the name of your well being mind you) to make up for the loss of the revenue which should have been expected. When the taxation goes too far you start to create an underground economy in the taxed product and enforcement of taxation starts to take up a signifigant amount of the revenue. A quote from the DOJ budget

    "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requests $1,120,772,000 for FY 2010, including $1,114,772,000 in Direct Salaries and Expenses and 5,025 full time equivalents (FTE) and $6,000,000 for construction of explosives ranges at the ATF National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR). Specifically, ATF requests $1,077,783,000 and 4,979 FTE for current services, $17,989,000 and 46 FTE for Southwest Border enforcement efforts, and $19,000,000 for operations and infrastructure costs associated with the NCETR."

    Can you imagine what the Bureau of healthy food enforcement budget will look like in 20 years? Considering all the hyperbole that we have to suffer through regarding foods (first it's good for you, then it's bad, then it steals your wife, then it's a miracle diet food, etc, etc, etc) who has any faith that the regulations dreamed up with the contradictory drivers of increasing tax revenue and eating healthy compounded by several special interest groups will produce anything but a mess?

    These are hard times and the government needs to SHRINK just like every other sector of the economy. Why should the government not feel the same pain and be forced to make hard decisions that every other entity is? It shouldn't. Here is a simple rule - does the law proposed increase or decrease liberty? If it decreases liberty it probably is a bad law and should not be passed.


  • Re:Diet sodas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DirePickle ( 796986 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:05AM (#29555817)
    I'm suspecting that the reasoning comes from the taste. Artificially sweetened thing enters mouth, activates omg-here-come-the-calorie taste buds, the body gears up for it... and waits... and waits... and there are no calories to be had.
  • Re:makes sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:07AM (#29555831)

    People are pissed off about it because they know that once bureaucrats run health care, they run your life.

    Who runs healthcare now? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:13AM (#29555887) Journal

    You're thinking inside the box. Moving subsidy from here to there. Spend the money on this instead of that.

    The truly radical thing would be to just stop spending the money.

  • by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:13AM (#29555895)

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

    There's an oxymoron!

  • Re:Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:30AM (#29556043)

    Nothing new, most of the sweeteners used in soda are derived from corn, resulting from a combination of sugar tariffs and corn subsidies.

    (I think sucrose and HFCS are equally unhealthy, I just think sucrose tastes better, so would prefer to see it used more in soda)

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

    by dragonsomnolent ( 978815 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:34AM (#29556099) Homepage
    People made the same argument to the Supreme Court of the US when they were discussing workplace random drug testing. The businesses said "We should be able to do this, after all, they can always go work for someone else". That's all fine and well, until everyone else does it. Please do not take this as a rant for or against anything. I'm merely pointing out that once every employer practices something, it doesn't matter who you work for. Government or Boss man, it's all the same. Insurance costs you money, and someone is going to tell you what to do with yourself.
  • Re:taxes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:36AM (#29556113) Homepage Journal

    It's more of a "cost tax" than a "sin tax". The consumption of certain products (most obvious example: tobacco) has costs far beyond that of the production and selling of the item (consumer much more likely to die earlier and require expensive health treatment before he or she dies. Being coldly clinical for a moment: death has costs. People who die remove critical knowledge and skills from the economy that makes a society function. Meanwhile the health issues leading up to death are also a major problem, as we've seen discussed in the healthcare debate: people who contract expensive to treat diseases are more likely to have their paid-for insurance revoked on technicalities, and roughly 50% of bankruptcies in the US are due to insurance not covering critical healthcare treatments.

    How do you deal with it while maximizing liberties? Answer: you try to have people responsible for the costs of their actions. And that's where cost taxes come in.

  • Re:makes sense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JD770 ( 1227350 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:41AM (#29556161)
    The difference is that when it comes right down to it: fail to pay your taxes and the nanny-state liberal government can enforce their will at the point of a gun; whereas, *YOU* make a knowing, willing choice whether or not to buy a coke and add to Coca Cola's revenue stream. Grow up and take responsibility for yourself. Don't lay down and cede that responsibility to the govt.
  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nycguy ( 892403 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:41AM (#29556167)

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

    Pretty profound, except that having more money allows the rich to do many things moreso than others.

    "Sin taxes" should be used only when the consumption of a product has an indirect, substantial cost to society. For poor people in particular, there is a cost to society from their consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and high-calorie, low-quality food. That cost comes about when they expect society to pay for medical treatments to remedy the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle. That expectation will only grow if plans for universal heathcare come to fruition.

    Of course, the rich take actions that have societal costs, too, such as driving large luxury vehicles and flying private jets, which damage the environment disproportionately relative to the transportation modes of their less-wealthy fellows. Those products and actions are also legitimate targets of sin taxes.

    And as far as the "magic of the market" folks who oppose something like sin taxes, there's only one thing to say: Grow up. The market does not magically give you what you want just because you have the money to buy it. Companies sell you whatever they see to be in their interests to sell you. If a company sees a new product (like a "healthy drink") being detrimental to its existing cash-cow product lines (perhaps because the new product is less profitable due to higher production costs relative to its viable price of sale), they simply won't offer that product or will limit its distribution to "upscale" markets where they don't see it cannibalizing their core profits. Of course, some "scrappy start-up" could try to offer the new product, but such a company may be too small in scale to produce and/or distribute it widely and profitably. And that's when you have a market failure: When the existing companies in a market do not see it in their interest to offer new products, and when new companies cannot viably compete or can do so only marginally, the market has failed. Of course, whether a sin tax will actually remedy that favor is another question entirely.

    N.B. As far as "market failures", they can also result when a new product has a very high R&D cost that an industry in unable or unwilling to bear. For example, the development of alternative fuel automobiles has largely stalled because automakers had no interest in producing them, even though consumers had an interest in buying them. An automaker had two alternatives: It could fund a development cycle in some new area (e.g., fuel cells). That might fail expensively and entirely. If it did produce a viable product, the cars would initially be very expensive and have a limited market due to high production costs, low yield (new assembly lines), etc. If the new cars found an enthusiastic consumer base, the costs could be brought down, production ramped up, until such vehicles could be real alternatives to current automobiles. Or, the manufacturers could just shrug, say its not worth the risk, and keep doing what they're doing. New car companies could try to produce the alternative fuel vehicles, of course, but they'd lack the budget to fund the R&D and the distribution network (dealers) for the products. This example becomes even more complicated when one considers that in order for such a vehicle to be viable, energy companies must actually distribute the fuel for it. They may have no interest in doing so for the same reasons I outline above. When you get such an interplay in established industries where each has enormous self-interests and little, perhaps conflicting incentives to innovate, the market is not going to "sort itself out."

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

    by skine ( 1524819 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:46AM (#29556203)

    All of the ideas being pushed in the health care reform are leftist because nobody on the right is offering any positive ideas. Their only contribution is in screaming DEATH PANELS! and SOCIALISM! and NAZIS!

    And it's "little more than thinly disguised socialized medicine" because it is being promoted as including a socialized medical option. There is no disguise.

    There is an enormous gap in your reasoning when you say "once bureaucrats run health care, they run your life."
    Socializing health care won't allow them to run your life any more than socialized education, socialized postal services, socialized military, etc.

    And for some reason we don't hear about the governments of Western Europe telling people "[w]hat [they] can eat, when [they] can eat it, how much [they] can eat, when, where and what kind of exercise [they] will do, when [they] get up, when [they] sleep. and (if all that wasn't frightening enough) Who lives, who dies, and when they die," despite the prevalence of socialized programs, especially socialized medicine.

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

    by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:50AM (#29556267) Homepage

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

    The difference is:

    When I vote against government, there's a 1/100,000 chance that my vote will change government to "the lesser of two evils" from "the greater", and a 99,999/100,000 chance that the same guy will end up in charge anyway, by a negligibly smaller margin. Even if the guy who seems like the lesser evil during his advertising campaign does get into power, there's always the chance that his promises will turn out to be lies and I won't even be able to change my vote for 2 to 6 years.

    When I vote against Coca-Cola, there's a 1/1 chance that my vote will stop them from taking any of my money (except, ironically, what they've convinced the government to take for subsidizing their corn syrup supplies). If their advertising campaign turn out to be lies, I can change my mind and watch the change take effect immediately.

    Granted, there are such things as "market failures", and I'd rather have a government monopoly than a natural monopoly... but freaking soda? No. When people don't enjoy what you think they should enjoy, that's not a failure of the market, that's a failure of your authoritarian worldview.

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

    by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:54AM (#29556305)

    Haha, really? I am self-employed. I have the options for . . . two different insurance networks in my area (one of the largest cities in the country). Both are so expensive, because as an individual I cannot get onto a group plan, so as to be infeasible to carry. There is no competing low-cost plan that will let me on. Where is my choice?

    Fortunately, my spouse is employed at a large company, and is therefore given entry into the pearly gates of a group plan, which I am covered under. That employer was able to survey the vast field of roughly three or four possible providers, only two of which (the two with the largest presence in our area) were really viable choices. HR then chose a provider for everyone in the company, and selected which plans (two of a dozen or so) which they would allow its employees to select.

    So, let's look at the choices involved. I had the choice between two plans that were impossible to afford, due to the way the insurance industry has organized itself (treating large-group insurance as a separate pool from individual or small-group). There's no meaningful choice when neither choice is feasible.

    My spouse did not have any choice as to which provider the company offered, or any say in the selection process. The same goes for deciding which particular plans would be available. The choice was essentially from 2 options, presented by the employer, out of a universe of (a rough estimate) 40 or so plans. That's essentially the choice, picking between two options presented to you by your employer, without any real say in the process. In our experience, the limited options they give are usually just between one plan and another, more expensive plan with better coverage. Again, the employee has no say in what the baseline (the lower of the offered plans) is, no real say in what the more premium plans are. This is like sitting down to a full meal and being told that the only thing you have control over is what dressing you get on your salad. Yay, there's choice! But it's superficial and pretty much meaningless.

    The only real "choice" involved is the "choice" to essentially ditch your comfortable employment for the uncertain prospect of getting a new job with better insurance. That requires you to first find another, similar job that will provide something roughly on par with the income you were earning before. This employer, for this to be any sort of real choice, should be somewhere where it would be easy to move. And, finally, before even employment, you would have to extract the exact details of the (again, limited) insurance options the employer has decided to make available for you, which may or may not be available before you begin your employment. What wonderful and free choice we all have!

    This isn't even getting into how much of our earning power is destroyed by the crippling and rising price of insurance. But hey, it's easy to wave your hands, shout "free choices" and pretend that everything is a-ok.

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:17AM (#29556553)

    "Sin tax" is a politically loaded term that implies the consumer is doing something morally wrong and should therefore be punished through taxation. The term itself encourages people line up on one side or the other of an imaginary dividing line in politics and argue from those perspectives. The economics term for taxes that charge back the negative indirect costs of a transaction is externalities []. Economically speaking, it is a totally legitimate thing to associate the externality costs with the original transaction - people who argue against such taxes on the basis of economics are usually motivated by a political ideology rather than a sound understanding of economics. Another common claim from the economically illiterate is "taxes don't work to lower consumption, people will just spend more!". Right, so if the tax on a packet of cigarettes were $100, everyone would just pay that, rather than switching to some other vice?

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by atriusofbricia ( 686672 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:22AM (#29556591) Journal

    A high enough tax is a de facto ban.

    Just look at the effect the National Firearms Act of 1934 had on the sales of Machine Guns, Suppressors and Short Barreled Rifles and Shotguns. A $200.00 tax at that time was effectively a ban for all but the rich. This was admitted at the time and was the stated goal. Congress cannot outright ban the sale of such items, so they simply used their taxing power to ensure that only the well off, or more importantly a smaller portion of the population, could continue to buy and sell such items. Of course, this had pretty much the same effect on crime as all gun control laws. Nearly zero.

    As the man said "An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy"

  • Re:taxes (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:26AM (#29556639)

    People who die remove critical knowledge and skills from the economy that makes a society function.

    Pardon me but so fucking what? You're going to charge me to kill myself? That's idiotic.

    Answer: you try to have people responsible for the costs of their actions.

    I'm sorry if my death is an inconvenience to the rest of the planet but really, so fucking what?

  • Re:Good policy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dswensen ( 252552 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:33AM (#29556703) Homepage

    Try this exercise:

    Imagine yourself, building a giant man made of straw.

    Imagine other posters burning it.

    Now imagine yourself smiling with satisfaction, convinced you've actually made a relevant point.

  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:34AM (#29556713)

    First of all, corporations aren't running unfettered through society. There are so many government regulations in place they'd make your head spin. While some of these very necessary, many have them have done little more than ensure that it's primarily the largest, wealthiest and best connected corporations which thrive. Small upstarts are forced to be a part of the system, basically, if they want to get anywhere.

    That said, what corporation has forced you to buy their shit? Nobody is forcing you to buy cigarettes, big macs, televisions, iphones, expensive homes or anything else you might be inclined to buy. If the vast majority of Americans boycotted McDonalds, for example, I guarantee you within weeks their cuisine would change. The government certainly wouldn't force consumers at gunpoint to eat there. But people value personal satisfaction more than principle.

    Unfortunately, the attitude we see today is one of playing victim and entitlement. I had enough common sense not to buy stuff I can't afford, putting myself in debt. Why is it that credit card companies are at fault for other people being unable to do the same? But people live throwing around stupid terms like "evil" so that they can foment a little righteous indignation for themselves.

    This is not to say that corporations don't take advantage when they can, because certainly they do. But people have gone way too far blaming others for their own short-comings.

    As for your comments about medical expenses, I can only reason that you're trying to slip in your endorsement of government healthcare. I agree with you, medical costs are too high, to the point of feeling exploitive sometimes. But socialized healthcare in other countries hasn't decreased the cost of healthcare. What you'd pay directly to insurance companies you instead pay in taxes. And when the government tries to force down costs what you end up with instead is a shortage of doctors, hospital staff and equipment. And then we get into rationing.

    The fact is that medical care is expensive because that's the value society places on it. Whenever anyone gets sick they want their condition to be treated as effectively as possible. If people shopped treatments, doctors and hospitals perhaps were would be competition on cost. But when you're incapacitated there isn't much chance of that happening. So what do you suggest? The government making those decisions for you? Does anyone want the government cutting corners on your treatment in order to save a few bucks?

    And where do you cut costs? Are we going to cut doctor's salaries? If so, then are we going to cut their education costs in order to be fair about it? Are we going to tell manufacturers that they're asking too much for EKG machines? What about x-ray machines, MRIs, and everything else you find in a hospital? What about syringes, trash bags, towels, beds? What about staff, nurses and administrators? Are we going to cut their salaries too and tell hospitals they have to limit the number of people they hire? What about pharmaceuticals? Do we cut when they can ask for any medication? How do we then deal with R&D? Do we tell them they can only focus on certain fields in order to keep costs down? (Actually, I think pharmaceuticals should be completely banned from advertising, but that's another story.) And what about lawsuits? Certainly some lawsuits are justified but there are too many frivolous ones out there and even when they don't go to trial they still incur some level of expense. Oh yeah, lets cut what lawyers charge because they're seriously overpriced too, worse than doctors.

    As you can see this is far more complicated than people every consider. Unfortunately too many people seem to have the simplistic worldview of a 10-year-old. And they seem to share that same infantile expectation that they should be sheltered from the troubles of the world the same way their parents were over-protective of them when they were kids. The way people have been spoiled by their parents I'm not surprised that younger ge

  • Re:taxes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:36AM (#29556741)

    I've never really understood that - here poor people (and I should know, I was a grad student for six years) go to the grocery store, buy food and prepare it themselves because they can't afford the luxury of having someone, even a minimum wage sixteen year old, prepare it for them. I can grill some chicken and make a salad far more cheaply than I could buy anything close to that at McDonalds, and far more quickly than the trip to Mickey D's too.

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:40AM (#29556777)

    Sure you can. For example, smokers actually contribute a net amount of money to society, even in places with universal health care like Canada. The high taxes they pay more than make up for the increased costs of their medical treatment (at least they did in 1998 when I did the research). You simply have to make sure that the prices of things reflect their real cost.

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Torico ( 732160 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:41AM (#29556791)
    Although I agree with most of your post, this statement is wrong.
    "People who die remove critical knowledge and skills from the economy that makes a society function."
    Some (very few) people yes, but everyone? Of course not. The vast majority of the populace, myself included, have skills that are neither unique nor critical. Everyone is replaceable.
  • Re:makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:45AM (#29556833)

    "Should we let them live a miserable life and even die in the name of small government and the right to be rich?"

    Interesting you should mention that. I haven't run the numbers for anywhere in Europe but Canada's government, in terms of budget per capita, is considerably smaller than that of the US even though we have universal health care and are frequently held up as the "socialist" bogeyman to Americans.

  • by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:50AM (#29556885)

    they'll crawl along in a 45mph zone as though on a leisurely ride in the park

    How on earth do you expect the average cyclist to travel at 45mph?! Even Lance Armstrong at his best is only averages 30mph. Have you ever considered that the fact you are being effortlessly propelled forward at 45mph by a motorised vehicle just might, possibly, impact your perception of speed in slower vehicles? It is perfectly legal for a cyclist to travel at 5mph, just as it's perfectly legal for a tractor to travel at 5mph. Not all vehicles you meet on the highways will be travelling at high speed, and if you can't cope with that situation calmly and safely, then you shouldn't be driving.

  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Torinir ( 870836 ) <torinir@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:51AM (#29556889) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, but I have to disagree here.

    Americans already pay for the consequences of their actions.

    Medical bills, insurance premiums, prescriptions, etc. all add to the cost of a person's mistakes. I could see adding a tax if the government were the one forking over the majority of health care costs, but they are not. And bans/restrictions are not the way to go either when dealing with public health. It didn't work during Prohibition, so what makes them think it'll work now?

    Maybe the government should concentrate on actually educating the public instead of saying "you can't do this" or "we're making you pay more for that." That is one of the biggest problems in the US right now. The education system has been in a decline since the 50's. THAT is a much greater cause for concern than whether little Johnny is drinking juice or soda today.

    My 2 cents on this.
  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:51AM (#29556893) Journal

    I'm not sure "obese" was ever a feel-good term.

    You make an interesting point, but I'm not sure it would've helped me. I recently lost around 50 lbs, still more to go. Being called "fat" didn't motivate me. Realizing that I could build muscle, and that muscles are fun to have, was a much stronger motivation.

    we need to go back to ridiculing them like we did in the 1950s and before.

    I have to wonder, did ridiculing them work in the 1950s? I don't think so. Look around -- things are different now than then. Among other things ("supersize", anyone?), the fat and sugar content of the same foods has gone up quite a lot since then.

    most fat people today are fat because they make stupid diet and exercise decisions.

    And calling them fat and stupid doesn't motivate them to do anything other than cry.

    Some sissies may think ridicule is mean, but it's just a form of positive peer pressure.

    "Positive" in what way?

    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.

    Were you really so stupid you needed to have people around you ridicule you in order to realize it?

    Actually, "stupid" is the term I'd bring back. For example, creationists do not have another point of view that should be respected, they have a stupid delusion that should not be given the time of day.

    That, and people who are stupid in that way often don't realize they're stupid. Fat people would have to be pretty absurdly stupid to not realize they're fat.

    We don't need soda taxes.

    But they wouldn't hurt.

    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.

    And if they disregard us and continue to face more and more ridicule, what then?

    No, I think a soda tax is much more practical. At some point, you stop caring about the ridicule, or even internalize it -- the fattest people I know often say things like "I'm so fat!" Maybe there are ways we could pressure them socially, but really, we need to hit them where it hurts -- in the wallet. If nothing else, we'll at least stop subsidizing them in our healthcare.

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:01PM (#29556989) Homepage

    Consider this a more of a tax on bad ingredients in what used to be quite not so bad products, until corporate greed drove arse holes to remove expensive reasonably healthy ingredients and replace them with addictive junk chemical substitutes, double bonus not only cheaper but you will be forced to feed your addiction. Don't think it's addictive, you honestly don't think it's addictive, just read some of the comments and if those are not the comments of drug addicts, then it didn't take me four goes to give up smoking and give me the opportunity to learn how to recognise the behavioural patterns of addicts on a first hand basis.

    The flip side of this, I had tasted sodas made from all natural ingredients, you the actually really truly 'traditional' not the PR=B$ traditional and the original type sodas taste a whole lot better of course they are also more expensive and for some reason are more satisfying and you feel less of a need to drink any where near of as much of it as the cheap junk fakes.

    What a new law, a good law, than make it compulsory for corporate executives and their families to live on nothing but the junk food they create and, perhaps then we might see the 'real' not the marketing quality of the products improve, either that or all the crap executives will bloat up and die off, either way a real win ;).

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by __aagmrb7289 ( 652113 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:05PM (#29557035) Journal
    And that's where we start seeing the problems of the nanny state. If we are going to take care of the people, with our taxes and income, who have damaged themselves - those who consume too much food, resulting in extensive health care costs, etc. - then we have to manage those costs. Therefore, if we are providing health care for everyone, we need to make sure that people are taking care of themselves. We need mandatory exercise programs and diets - because that is the only known way to make sure people stay at a healthy weight. And we'll need to pay for oversight and enforcement of those programs. And while that'll be cheaper than paying for "obesity care" - the cost, in money and liberty, is going to get higher. Slippery slope arguments are usually ridiculous, but this one isn't so far fetched.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:08PM (#29557045)

    Sadly, in the US, not spending money IS "radical".

  • Re:makes sense (Score:1, Insightful)

    by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:10PM (#29557071)

    Ok, without digging into this very long rant let me make just a few salient points:

    1) Health care is not an entitlement or a right. You have to buy it, just like everything else. That means that there is no guarantee that there will be enough choices to suit your taste or budget available.

    2) Because of the second half of point one, I do agree that we need to open up the market for more choices. 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. (IE: more people could afford insurance for the big ticket items, and because of increased competition, prices across the board would drop for all plans.) Please note that the reason these plans and options aren't already out there is because of GOVERNMENT interference in the Market. These kinds of plans used to exist. They were regulated out of existence by the very government you claim can save Health Insurance.

    3) Just because it is a choice you don't like doesn't mean you don't have a choice. You ALWAYS have a choice, even if it's a tough one. by saying "I don't have a choice" all you are really saying is "I don't like the choice I have, I'd rather get the government to force YOU to pay for the choice I want." And really, what is that other than a form of theft?

    4) In America over 85% of people are fully insured. Of that, 95% are satisfied with their insurance and choices. 10% of the population is VOLUNTARILY uninsured (mostly young people that still think they are immortal) and about 4-5% genuinely are unable to get insurance, mostly because of the lack of low-cost plans.

    And yet, ANY PERSON, regardless of insurance or socioeconomic status, is able to walk into an emergency room in America TODAY and receive full treatment without concern over the final cost.

    Sounds like an imperfect, but otherwise pretty good system to me. Why trash it?

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

    by Yokaze ( 70883 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:12PM (#29557097)

    > People are pissed off about it because they know that once bureaucrats run health care, they run your life.

    Name a country with universal health care, which has a tax on fatty or sweet foo. Japan has universal health care and the tax for tobacco has been recently increased: To less than a cent per cigarette.
    Banning smoking in public places started in continental Europe about a decade after it has been enacted in U.S. states.
    In many European nations, smoking marijuana is legal or tolerated, you can drink alcohol starting with 16. In Italy, wine probably even doesn't eve count as alcohol, like beer in Germany.

    The only thing I can think of, in which most of Europe has been more strict on food than the US has been the labelling on the origin, and genetically modified food.

    So, I'd say it isn't inherent in the system, but rather in the Banning smoking in public places started in continental Europe well a decade after it has been enacted in U.S. states.

    I blame your protestant heritage on laws, on both, the laws concerning "public moral", the proper (austere) way of life (No sex, no drugs).

    Strangely enough, I've heard the same about the US-populace rejection of health care, as it promotes the conviction, that everyone is responsible for his/her own fate (health).

  • Re:taxes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:15PM (#29557117) Homepage

    People who die remove critical knowledge and skills from the economy that makes a society function.

    Pardon me but so fucking what? You're going to charge me to kill myself? That's idiotic.

    Answer: you try to have people responsible for the costs of their actions.

    I'm sorry if my death is an inconvenience to the rest of the planet but really, so fucking what?

    I know the GP is not a communist. But I am nevertheless going to accuse him of collectivist thinking, which makes it perfectly clear. You damage the collective by committing suicide, for obvious reasons.

    And no collectivist will ever forgive anyone for appearing to damage the collective. Well, they will never forgive almost anyone : they will, obviously, forgive themselves. It baffles the mind but collectivists actually elected tax-evaders.

  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:17PM (#29557145)

    How do you deal with it while maximizing liberties? Answer: you try to have people responsible for the costs of their actions. And that's where cost taxes come in.

    And where will we find these angels in DC to enact this plan? We've already had a cigarrette tax with the same stated goals. Did that money go to health care? Largely no, they spent it on whatever they pleased. This is how government has worked for centuries. Prey upon people's sense of morality or fairness, and spend that money on something that increases their power and / or their particular morale viewpoint. In any case, the people's morality and opinions are supplanted by the will of the legislator. The growth of the US Federal Government into all areas of our lives causes divisions in the population and increasing polarization.

    This idea that people live for society is a notion that history shows leads to economic stagnation, statism, and arbitrary control. Jefferson among many others have stated that the natural course of things is for liberty to reced and be replaced by government power. If the New York City relied on Iowa farmer's charity and fealty to mankind, the stock broker would likely starve. There is no system yet discovered that matches the productivity and freedom afforded all when everyone does what they think is best for their families and themselves. Whenever we try to correct something we percieve to be unfair with the hand of government, government inevitably corrupts that ideal with politics and back room deal-making.

  • by dlenmn ( 145080 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:23PM (#29557197)

    There's no denying that many people on bikes break lots of rules (I keep "random schmuck on a bike" and "cyclist" distinct -- the former is the superset of the latter -- people who also ride bikes for recreation). As a cyclist who obeys most of them, it annoys me to no end, because they piss off drivers, making life harder for everyone.

    That said, it doesn't make sense to hold cyclists to a higher standard than motorists. How many people come to a complete stop at a stop sign if there's no cross traffic? Do motorists follow all posted speed limits?

    On a related note, what exactly do you expect cyclists to do in a 45mph zone? Go the same speed as the cars? At least in the states I've been in, there's no legal obligation to maintain a minimum speed on such roads. Unless it's a downhill, whatever speed the bike is going will be slow compared to that of the cars, so what does it matter that they're going at a leisurely pace?

    Which gets to the real heart of the issue. Many of the things that cyclists do to irritate motorists aren't illegal or are the same illegal things that motorists do. Let's take your cyclist using the shoulder example. Here's some applicable WI law:

    A motorist passing a bicyclist in the same lane is require to give the bicyclist at least 3 feet of clearance, and to maintain that clearance until safely past. [346.075] A bicyclist passing a stopped or moving vehicle is also required to give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing. [346.80(2)]

    For some reason reason (anger, ignorance, convenience, whatever) most cars don't give 3 feet of clearance. The law says that people on bikes can pass stopped vehicles. Why do you expect them to give 3 feet of clearance in that situation when they were just denied it? How about they stay in the middle of the lane (as suggested by the state []) and hold up traffic when the light turns green instead?

    Again, I agree that many people on bikes are assholes and break many traffic laws. Their actions annoy me too. For what it's worth, I won't ride down the shoulder at a stopped light unless I have clearance (cyclists have plenty of torque at 0rpm, so can often match a car's acceleration in a green light situation, so it's possible to not hold up traffic while remaining in lane), I don't blow through stop signs (although I don't come to a complete stop unless I have to), and I obey all traffic lights (however, at least in WI, you're allowed to go through a red light under certain situations, since many will not register the presence of a bicycle and so will not turn green). I think those are fair compromises -- similar to the ones cars make all the time. Don't hold cyclists to a higher standard than the average driver on the road.

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by exi1ed0ne ( 647852 ) * <<exile> <at> <>> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:31PM (#29557265) Homepage

    And that's where cost taxes come in.

    I'd be inclined to agree with you, but unfortunately those taxes very rarely, if ever, go towards covering the costs society bears for that activity. Take smoking taxes. Here in Wisconsin there is a $1 per pack extra tax on the stuff. If your theory held true, that extra money the state collects on behalf of society should go to fund hospitals and prevention programs. Instead it is a bait and switch - tax something unpopular to make an attempt to close a very large budget hole. That is the real reason for all these new exotic taxing schemes, and the politicos know which buttons to hit to bring the useful idiots out in droves to support it.

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:55PM (#29557473) Journal

    What freedom would that preserve?

    The freedom to engage in any activity which might incur a health care cost, and the freedom to refrain from engaging in activities which might reduce health care costs. Once you've socialized health care, the claim of "I'm not hurting anyone but myself" goes away; each individual's well-being becomes the business of everyone in general.

    We're already hearing calls to restrict (whether directly or through taxation) certain foods and certain intoxicants. But that is the tip of the iceberg. Once it's been established that an individual's health care costs are the governments business, there's no logical stopping point. Government restrictions on total calories consumed? Quotas on "good" foods and limits on "bad foods"? Government exercise requirements? All can be justified based on the idea that health care costs are socialized and therefore each individual's health is everyone's business.

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

    by geekboy642 ( 799087 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:01PM (#29557521) Journal

    There's two problems with American health care: Everything is too god-damned expensive, and everybody expects their insurance to cover everything. The latter has largely caused the former. The best replacement concept is car repair. We absolutely need medical care to be like going to a mechanic. Preventative care--biopsies, mammograms, yearly physicals--should cost roughly the same amount as what it costs to have your car's yearly maintenance needs serviced, and you should pay for it all yourself. Things like simple broken bones, the flu, basically any simple treatment that you don't get put into an ICU for, you should pay for yourself, and it should cost about the same as replacing a minor part in a car. Then you add a catastrophic insurance plan on top of that. It'd be cheap, mandatory, and cover only the stuff that would otherwise bankrupt you.

    How can we get to that ideal? I have to say I doubt it's at all possible. Between the trillion-dollar health-insurance industry (scam) and the maniacs in charge of reform, you'd need an entirely new country to make it happen.

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

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:23PM (#29557717) Journal

    The one problem is that Coke and Pepsi pretty much have the restaurants covered. That is, any given restaurant is going to have Coke or Pepsi -- there really isn't a third party there.

    Really? It's been a couple of years since I visited the USA, but I don't remember there being many restaurants that only served Coke or Pepsi products and no fruit juices, wines, beers, and so on...

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stradivarius ( 7490 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:42PM (#29557867)

    You're correct that we are paying the consequences, but it's so indirectly that nobody feels the linkage and thus nobody's motivated to change their behavior.

    If I rack up reckless driving tickets, my insurance premium then skyrockets. I can easily see the cause and effect, and the prospect of not paying so much money is motivation not to drive like an idiot. If however I eat recklessly, my insurance premium doesn't change noticeably as a result.

    The health premiums do go up a lot each year, but that's (mostly) from *everyone else* eating recklessly too. Even if I become a health nut my insurance costs won't change. 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.

  • by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @02:01PM (#29558031)

    Ridicule is never the answer. I used to be fat myself and I'm still very self conscious about my body even after losing a third of my total weight. My niece who wasn't even fat, just a little chubby, got anorexic after too many comments about her looks. Ridicule for most people destroys self esteem which is often the problem in the first place.

  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @02:01PM (#29558037) Homepage Journal

    "The fact is that people do not make good choices when it comes to food."

    Can't really argue that. But, look just a little further. From childhood, people are bombarded with advertisements. Most women use television as a babysitter. That boob tube is on all day, every day in most households. Little children can sing a McDonald's song before they start day care. They are indoctrinated for hours each day to believe that various high sugar foods are good for them. Children's icons such as Sponge Bob endorse "foods" that are pure garbage.

    People don't make good choices, true. But a lifetime of brainwashing does contribute to making poor choices.

    I would rather see the government simply tax the manufacturers of corn syrup, bleached sugar, and bleached flour to the point that those ingredients become to expensive to use for filler. I very much want to see other unhealthy ingredients banned. Alzheimer's, ADD, and other ailments have been tentatively linked to a number of food colorings and preservatives. Such studies are quickly "discredited" by the corporations that produce these unnecessary additives, but the links keep coming up.

    Let's put an end to the brainwashing, and tax all the ingredients that are proven to be unhealthy along with questionable additives. That will be enough to cut America's obesity problem drastically.

    America is addicted to trashy foods because the government approves of the pushers. Government permits the pushers to come into our living rooms to warp the minds of our children.

  • by thejynxed ( 831517 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @02:03PM (#29558055) Homepage

    If they simply replaced all of the HFCS in everything that seems to have it nowadays, with pure cane sugar (not that processed white shit), then there wouldn't be half the problems there are now with weight issues. HFCS can't be processed by the human body, and are converted directly into fat, waste materials, and by-products. Let's not forget the mercury, other poisonous chemicals, and heavy metals used in the commercial production of HFCS and other chemical food additives.

  • by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @02:09PM (#29558111) Journal

    On the soda comment, my family has always made tons of stuff from scratch. Beer, wine, cordials, and of course, soda.
    The two I most remember from growing up were the root beer, and the ginger ale. Both had AMAZING flavors. Strong, bold, vibrant flavors. Flavors to the point that you almost needed to water them down, coming from a mass-produced soda background.
    I think it's partly because of this that I just don't drink soda. The other reason is that I'd rather spend that money on beer, so I drink water in place of soda.

  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @02:29PM (#29558277)

    It's more of a "cost tax" than a "sin tax". The consumption of certain products (most obvious example: tobacco) has costs far beyond that of the production and selling of the item (consumer much more likely to die earlier and require expensive health treatment before he or she dies. Being coldly clinical for a moment: death has costs.

    The problem with your logic is that several studies have shown that cigarette smokers actually cost society less in health care costs than non-smokers. Why? because they tend to die younger. Those who live longer tend to incur significantly more health care costs than those who die "young" (young is a relative term in this context).
    The reason for these taxes is because politicians intend for people to perceive them as applying to "someone else", and hoping that the group that clearly pays them is small enough (and feels enough guilt) to not impact the votes in the next election. Reading your post, you appear to have fallen for this strategy.

  • Having vehicles on the road traveling much slower than the flow of traffic is a hazard. That's why it's actually illegal in some states to drive slower than 40 mph on the highway absent some emergency. If a bike can only travel 10 mph, they should not be going on a roadway where the flow of traffic is going at more than 40 mph. It's just dangerous.

  • Re:taxes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JohnRoss1968 ( 574825 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @03:21PM (#29558691)

    I would like to disagree with you.
    But I cant.
    All I can do is sit here smoking my perfectly safe Ecig and laugh.

    Whats that you say they are going to raise taxes on cigarettes? Hell yeah stupid smokers ! what gives them the right to live free and enjoy themselves ? Who cares if the Constitution says you cant tax groups as punishment. Tax em Tax those smokers to the poor house.

    Huh? Whats that ? there after my diet sodas ? Oh Noos. Must group together. Stop The Evil government . I have the right to Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And soda makes me happy.

    I would put something about how what comes around goes around but I think the post above puts it best.

    ps If you think the Government is going to stop at taxing your soda Think Again.

  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @03:47PM (#29558901) Homepage

    In the absolute sense, no, the United States never made health-care a "right". If it had, it would be spelled out someplace in our Constitution or Bill of Rights.

    Umm.. no. Your mistake is that you believe the Constitution is an enumeration of our rights, and anything NOT listed in the constitution is not a right. The framers of our constitution were very clear that the bill of rights and the constitution are limits on the GOVERNMENT, not a list of the only rights given to you. (See 9th Amendment []). They actually foresaw that people such as yourself would miss-interpret the bill of rights to be a limit of the rights of the people, and not a limit on what the government is allowed to do. It's a common mistake, so I can see how you might think that way.

  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestes@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday September 27, 2009 @04:09PM (#29559081) Homepage Journal

    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?

    I'm not rich, but I manage to eat prime, tiramisu and such from time to time. The difference here is the "time to time", a lot of people eat fast food crap as a staple of their diet, instead of an indulgence. I eat fast food around once a month (or less if I can help it), but some people eat it daily. Same with snack foods and soda. I might go months without drinking a single soda, but some people go through a six pack a day, or those obnoxious 100oz 7-11 tankers.

    Its about moderation. Which, further, is about education. Eating healthy isn't much more expensive than eating badly, and generally it tastes much better. Go price healthy foods (not organic, but just plain healthy) over fatty, empty, foods, you'll find that there isn't much of a price difference. I can go to McDonalds for roughly the same price I can go to my local Pita/Gyro restaurant, one is somewhat good for you, the other isn't really food at all.

    Its more of a stupid tax, which is something I'm fine with.

  • by doug141 ( 863552 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @04:25PM (#29559239)

    People who die remove critical knowledge and skills from the economy that makes a society function.

    Please explain the critical knowledge and skills the average 74-year-old-going-to-die-tomorrow person uses to keep society functioning. Were you referring to... social security lobbying and walmart greeting? Although aging and retiring are costs to society, dying is not. Heck, when you die society gets a bunch of your stuff, and the funeral industry gets a sort of cash-for-clunkers.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @06:12PM (#29560055) Journal

    F*ck you all who voted for this nanny state. You get what you deserve.

    I'm looking at you Democrats, who have never seen a government program you didn't want to throw MORE money at, or a single issue that you didn't think some bureaucrat in Washington couldn't resolve better than the people directly involved.

    I'm ALSO looking at you Republicans, who have invented your own version of the nanny state and labeled it "The War On Terror" where (for our own good, of COURSE) you've turned on its head the Founding Fathers' basic concept that power flows FROM the people and that the government SHOULD be afraid of its populace.

  • by Z34107 ( 925136 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @07:07PM (#29560447)

    We only have HFCS because of tariffs and quotas on sugar. All at the behest of the corn belt, though.

    HFCS exists because of the agriculture lobby. It's easier and more PC to invoke a myriad of worthless "sin taxes" than to actually fix a problem caused by the government to begin with.

  • Re:taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by newhoggy ( 672061 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @08:43PM (#29561087)

    "We need mandatory exercise programs and diets - because that is the only known way to make sure people stay at a healthy weight. And we'll need to pay for oversight and enforcement of those programs"

    No we don't. You've changed the question from how do we make sure *most* people stay at a healthy weight to how do we make sure *everyone* stays at a healthy weight.

    The law of diminishing returns is a well known economic concept, and your example of mandatory activities is an example of diminished returns.

    It is where initial steps that are taken to address a problem give huge gains, but each additional step taken gives smaller and smaller gains until eventually it is no longer economically viable to go further.

    Your example is not a valid way of 'managing costs' as you put it. We are at the stage where taking small measures produces large gains. And your example is an invalid slippery slope argument because it assumes we need to and will take these measures to the extreme without explaining how each step of the slope is inevitable.

  • by Monsuco ( 998964 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:18PM (#29561625) Homepage

    until corporate greed drove arse holes to remove expensive reasonably healthy ingredients and replace them with addictive junk chemical substitutes

    People who blame issues on "corporate greed" seldom think through what that term means. If problems can be caused by so called "greed" then that creates several questions. What causes "greed" to fluctuate? Where people less "greedy" in the past, and if so why? What is the difference between trying to satisfy what is clearly a market demand and being "greedy"? Are the corporations you so love demonizing really any more "greedy" than the people who work to buy their products? Are the companies that make healthy beverages less "greedy"? Are customers who buy these healthier products less "greedy" somehow, even though they too work to buy them (indeed the healthier "natural" ones are generally more expensive, possibly due to this mysterious force you call "greed", or possibly due to this mysterious force I call "individual choices")? It is no surprise people attribute problems to "greed'. It is the same reason people have attributed things to conspiracies, witches, Jews, or "the rich", that is people are always happy to look for simplistic answers to complex problems, even if these answers really make no sense upon analysis.

    double bonus not only cheaper but you will be forced to feed your addiction. Don't think it's addictive, you honestly don't think it's addictive, just read some of the comments and if those are not the comments of drug addicts, then it didn't take me four goes to give up smoking and give me the opportunity to learn how to recognise the behavioural patterns of addicts on a first hand basis.

    Oh yes, I have heard of many people who have gone into shock or gone mad from being deprived of soda! I mean, I almost died of my former soda habit. BE STRONG! /sarcasm.

    What a new law, a good law, than make it compulsory for corporate executives and their families to live on nothing but the junk food they create and, perhaps then we might see the 'real' not the marketing quality of the products improve, either that or all the crap executives will bloat up and die off, either way a real win ;)

    Yes, of course, BURN THE WITCHES! There is nothing unhealthy about having the occasional soda or bag of chips. If you go over to a party and have some chips and a soda, no harm done. There is such thing as "moderation". If you try to live off of sodas and chips you will have problems, but it is perfectly healthy to have them occasionally. The same thing can be said about almost any health habit. The occasional glass of wine is good for you, and occasional light consumption of alcohol is harmless, but bing drinking or getting plowed is dangerous. Heck even healthy things can be harmful in large quantities. Jogging for an hour a day is good for you, forcing yourself to jog for a hundred miles nonstop would likely kill you.

    Now I am sure you must be really smart, being able to micromanage everybody's life and all, but I feel people can handle deciding things for themselves. Sure occasionally someone will get fat, but if they do so out of their own free will, who am I to judge?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:50PM (#29561815)

    Although this doesn't apply to "diet" drinks, I'd prefer removing the federal subsidies that keep sugary drinks (high-fructose corn syrup) so inexpensive.

  • Re:taxes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @10:58PM (#29561857)
    For incorrect values of "socalist" maybe. If the hospitals are privately owned, it matters not whether they are paid by the person seeking treatment, the insurance company or the government, it is a capitalist system. If the hospitals are owned by the government, it doesn't matter if they require payment for the services and who pays.

    Capitalism means the production is owned by people, whereas socalism means production is owned by The People. Taxes and payments are irrelevant. Congress and the military receive socailized medicine. Medicare is capitalized medicine. Every proposal by Obama's administration is 100% capitalistic, with absolutely no socalism at all. Funny how the people receive socialized medicine vote to continue to receive socialized medicine, yet deny it to everyone else (other than the military).
  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:01PM (#29561871)
    Most women use television as a babysitter.

    Because men would never do it? You misogynist bastard.
  • by bornagainpenguin ( 1209106 ) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @11:58PM (#29562171)

    Instead it is a bait and switch - tax something unpopular to make an attempt to close a very large budget hole.

    If only that was what the stupid legislators actually did, that wouldn't be too bad of a thing--instead they pass a "sin" tax on whatever supposedly immoral thing is popular to hate on this week in order to encourage people to stop the offensive behavior. So far so good* right? Except the dumb %&*# then guesstimate the new amounts of tax dollars coming in and instead of actually closing the budget hole they immediately pull out a long list of pork projects to spend that imputed income on. Only then when people start cutting down due to high costs for what ever "sin" it was that was legislated against lo and behold, another budget hole which can only be filled by taxing the sin du jour!

    It never ends and there is always some "sin" that can be taxed to take up the slack...


    *assumes you think state sponsored morality is a good thing. Me, I could have sworn there was that thing about congress making no laws respecting the establishment thereof and all, but I seem to be in the minority when it comes to keeping the politicians from infecting spirituality...

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:20AM (#29564667) Journal

    It's so nice to know that YOU are being open minded and willing to let others have their own views about things.

    They have the right to their view.

    And I have the right to, having considered it thoroughly, disregard it without much of a second thought. I usually don't, because I have the time, but I'm not surprised real scientists are too busy with real science to waste their time educating you.

    Talk about disrespectful and delusional hubris.

    Which is more disrespectful or delusional:

    Disregarding a concept which has been proven false at least as many times and as conclusively as the idea that the Earth is flat, in favor of an idea which, in reluctant humility, places no greater value on ourselves than on any other creature? To accept that not only does the sun not revolve around the earth, but the animal kingdom does not revolve around us?

    - or -

    Believing that the vast majority of the scientific community, filled with people much smarter than you or I, have somehow collectively failed to grasp something you (or the con artists who lead the "Intelligent Design" movement) see so clearly? Or if you're honest with yourself for a moment, imposing a strange Bronze-Age belief system on a cosmos so much larger and more profound than anything Yehoshua ben Yosef ever dreamed?

    That's right, profound. You are missing on something so much more amazing, something truly awe-inspriing, something so much grander than any religion's wildest dreams, all because you'd rather believe something comforting than know the truth.

    If you really want to start that discussion, bring some evidence or GTFO.

  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:43AM (#29564881) Homepage Journal

    Many of the areas without grocery stores also have high crime, which tends to discourage businesses from moving in, or drives them away if they were there to begin with.

  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rho ( 6063 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:57AM (#29565059) Homepage Journal

    I don't think any smoker would be bothered by a restaurant banning smoking.

    It's the bans that force restaurants or bars to ban smoking even if they want to allow smoking that's a problem.

  • Re:taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NiteShaed ( 315799 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:57AM (#29565785)

    I approve of smoking bans. If eaters of transfats vomited all over me in every restaurant, I'd probably approve of transfat bans too.

    I don't approve of either, but that's because I don't like legislation telling business owners how to run their places in circumstances like this. As long as I know what I'm in for (smoking, barfing transfat eaters, whatever), it's my choice whether or not to go into that place. Hell, if you want to open a bar where people piss on the floor, go crazy, I just won't go there. If I don't want to go to a smokey bar, I'll go somewhere else, but I don't feel I have the right to tell the bar-owner that he can't decide whether to allow smoking or not.

  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:04AM (#29565859)

    The fact is that people do not make good choices.

    The difficulty comes in I think my bad choices are better than your bad choices, and try to force you to change yours. We should pick our battles on that front carefully, and personally I don't think regulating what people are allowed to eat is pretty high up there.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings