Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FAT TAX; WE NEED IT NOW

   I agree completely with our president's position that controlling the rapid increase in health care costs is very critical to controlling our debt and to improving our economic future.Health care costs have been increasing too fast,are a drag on the economy and threaten future growth and employment.Unfortunately I just don,t get the feeling that our new health care bill will do much to contain future increases and I am certainly confused how the claims are that it will save billions  and cost billions.
  One idea put forth during the health care debate was a fat tax but it fell flat..I think the feedback on this idea was fast and furious and the politicians caved quickly as they so often do.It makes sense to me.We have a serious problem with obesity in this country and it is costing all of us dearly. Over one third of our citizens are obese.It is a serious problem that is costing us dearly.Obesity  leads to many problems which are expensive ie joint problems, heart failure heart attack,and the worst one diabetes with all its associated bad affects.There are numerous studies that peg the cost of obesity at 2000 to 4000 per year for the individual and 300 to 400 billion dollars a year for the healthcare system.These costs are growing so rapidly that it could easily reach the point where it will overwhelm our system and our ability to pay for it.It may well be that the rapid raise in health insurance rates is is driven by the same rapid increase in obesity rates.We may just be trying to fix the wrong problem .
  We have seen that tobacco tax,public awareness and education have had very positive results in reducing smoking rates and we must do the same for obesity. We have for years used the sin tax to reduce the consumption of tobacco and alcohol and it makes perfect sense to apply the same to fat and sugar.This is not government intrusion into our lives,certainly not near as much so as mandated insurance.If we tax fat and sugar,we have a choice and I love taxes that are chosen.If an individual  goes to a pop machine and a coke costs $1.00 while a diet coke costs $1.15 and that person is on a tight budget which will he purchase? He still has a choice and this is not intrusion,it is being smart.
  If we institute a fat tax,all those high sugar drinks,absurdly high calorie fast foods will generate alot of tax revenue which would be well spent supporting the health care system and those who can not afford it.If we don,t do something soon our country will not be able to afford it.
 

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