I’m not a fan of paying higher taxes. Nor am I a fan of people going without health insurance.
As we’ve heard over and over on the 6 o’clock news and political debates, our current health care system cannot continue along its present course and represents a serious threat to the health of the U.S. economy.
Therefore, I’m reluctant to admit that substantial changes will be required (both monetary and personal responsibility) if we plan on altering our future.
Unfortunately, we are living in an era where we are so concerned about offending someone that we’re willing to turn a blind eye to the obvious, and withhold what must be said until we’re among the safety net of our supporters or behind the security of a computer screen.
At present, the likelihood that higher taxes will become a necessary evil to pay for government sponsored health care is gaining ground.
Personally, it really doesn’t bother me all that much. If called upon in the future, I’m willing to pay a slightly higher tax rate so uninsured Americans can have access to life saving drugs or little Danny falls off his bike and breaks his arm.
No problem, happy do it, just play me a patriotic song and tell me I’m doing my part for the good ol’ Red, White & Blue. Heck, I’ll might even enjoy it.
As long as the people getting it actually deserve it!
Then comes a news report which says the Obesity Epidemic in America is still going strong.
Obesity in America – NBC News.
Obesity in America – Diabetes Related Illnesses a Threat to Medicare.
When we, as a nation, are discussing future budget crises partly because we can’t push ourselves away from the table… I think we might need to reassess the problem.
Most of the things that are considered “bad for you” in the U.S. come with a regulatory agency warning label, and possibly a sin tax. Goods like cigarettes, alcohol, and even gasoline, have an additional sin tax attached to them because they’re (arguably) bad for us in their own unique ways. Not to mention, they’re a cash cow for the tax man.
So why should junk food be any different? It’s well known that sugar stuffed goodies or chocolate covered yumyums are contributing to the obesity epidemic. Why should food that possesses little nutritional value but contributes to the cancer/diabetes/heart disease epidemic be immune from taxation?
Better yet, why should the people who consume these foods (if you can call them that) eat significantly more of them compared to the population mean, have a body mass index greater than 30%, and still get access to the same government sponsored health care that everyone else is supposed to get when they retire? Moreover, be eligible for disability insurance solely because of their weight and medical conditions directly related to their eating habits.
Why should junk food mega-consumers be allowed to contribute as much in taxes as much as the next person, but indulge in a lifestyle that will undoubtedly cause them to take more out of the Medicare system than they actually contributed during their working years. Critics will (correctly) say that these individuals will die off sooner than normal resulting in lower overall health care costs. However, considering that medicine is constantly extending the human lifespan and the cost of medical care/drugs will always increase, it’s an arguable debate at best.
This situation hardly seems fair to the majority of the population, and because of that, it’s a viable question and should be pushed to the forefront. In a fair and just society (which we’re supposed to live in), those who spend more in the end should be expected to pay more upfront. Right?
What if, just for arguments sake, a 2% fat tax was placed on anything bearing the label “junk food”?
When an item would be purchased at the grocery store, a mandatory 2% sin tax was added to the item just like everyday sales tax. It will be used to fund Medicare deficits, educating the general public against an unhealthy diet, as well as providing temporary financial assistance to anyone who can’t afford medical care.
After all, this sin tax will target the majority of people who are, or likely will be, posing a greater risk to the sustainability of government sponsored health care (e.g. Medicare).
Then again, is a 2% sin tax enough? How about a 5%? An extra quarter for a bag of Doritos or Snicker’s bar doesn’t seem that bad. Does it?
If my words haven’t convinced you, perhaps a quick visualization of the problem can sway you.
Should this “disabled” person qualify for the same government sponsored health care…
… as this person?
Why should a person who overindulges like this…
… get the same benefits as a veteran who lost a limb fighting for their country (notice the absent right leg)?
It is a powderkeg of a debate just waiting to go off, but because of political correctness, no one wants to bring it up.
Considering our present situation (severe recession, financial crisis, record numbers of uninsured, etc), it’s a debate worth having regardless of the hurt feelings and political fallout.
Then again, perhaps complaining about our problems while doing nothing to solve them is just the new way American way.