Tax fat to pay for the war?

That headline is a teaser to try to tie together two separate national stories today.

One one hand, there is a new study saying the national obesity epidemic seems to be slowing. You can look at it here (click!) 

We need to stress, there aren’t fewer fat people. So don’t worry, “Biggest Loser” won’t be without contestants any time soon.The rate at which the number of people become obese in this country has just slowed, or hit a plateau, or something. 

My take is is we’re running out of people to be obese.  Really, who’s left?

There’s always a few skinny ones, after all. With 60 percent of the population now overweight by significant amounts, this point had to be reached sooner or later.

Which means any idea of taxing the fat to pay for the war in Afghanistan/Iraq will have to be put on hold, or at least be satisfied with a stable income, not a rising one. This leads us to my second story, in which President Obama apparently plans to ask for another $33 billion to pay for the 30,000 new troops he wants to send to Afghanistan.

Look, $33 billion doesn’t grow on trees, so we have to tax someone to get it. We can’t keep sending people off to war, saying “Any expense for defense is worth it” and then not actually spend the money. Some day that bill will come due, that and the Trillions we already owe. Everyone, D and R, in Congress, in the coffee shop, everywhere, is happy to expound at length about how “We can’t keep borrowing money!”

OK, don’t. Quit borrowing money.

Sit down right now and show your support for the war, defense, our troops in the field, our Armed Forces, a balanced budget, fiscal conservatism and mom and apple pie, and write your congressman demanding a special tax on everyone’s income, or on candy bars, or on something, anything, so long as it raises $33 billion a year.

Candy bars? Then we’d sort of be taxing fat people, although lots of people of all weights eat candy, so it would be fair. If it raises 30 cents a day from every American, we’ll have it.

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4 Responses to Tax fat to pay for the war?

  1. flatlander100 says:

    How about a national referendum via the 20010 tax forms we’re all about to fill out? Include a box saying “Do you support the sending of an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan? Note: checking the “yes” box will increase your federal income tax rate by 5%. Not answering will be interpreted as a “yes” vote and your tax rate will increase by 5%.”

    Either many millions will say “yes” to both the additional troops and to paying a higher tax rate to support them, or [as I suspect] very few will, in which case we will have had a national referendum on the troop increase and the answer will have been a clear “no.”

    Not going to happen, I know. But it’d be interesting to try it.

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    Good thinking, but actually, I think failure to say yes should be counted as “no,” and there should be a “no” box, with the point made very clear that if a majority fail to say “yes” or check “no” it means the troops do not have support and they come home.

    All of them. Within 6 months. Head ‘em up, move ‘em out, and don’t give me that crap about how complicated it is. Any equipment that can’t be moved is destroyed in place.

  3. Mark Shenefelt says:

    As for the obesity trend leveling off, I’m wondering how much of that’s due to the double-digit unemployment, meaning more people can’t afford to eat as much.

  4. I read somewhere that our founding fathers did say that alcohol, sugar, and tobacco were perfectly suitable items to tax. It has never made sense to me that the more processed a food is, the cheaper it tends to be. This is because we subsidize grain to feed livestock but tax it when we want to use it to feed people.

    I’ve often heard that animal rights advocates care more about animals than people, but you’re all bamboozled to think that the meat, egg, dairy industries, and the government cares about people. It’s all about the dollar. These industries deliberately over-produce in order to stay on the government teat (pun intended).

    So although I’m fine with a soda or junk food tax (a tax simply for being overweight is discriminatory and would never fly), I think a more expedient thing to do would be to stop subsidizing the multi-billion dollar industries that are making our nation unhealtlhy. Instead, we have lawmakers proposing that the government buy up all that unwanted unhealthy food and give it to the poor (who have the least access to health insurance). So the rich get richer, and the poor get sicker… makes perfect sense to me.

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