Sin tax for obesity

More creative taxation ideas, combined with the impulse for the government to make us better:

An Illinois lawmaker says parents who have obese children should lose their state tax deduction.

“It’s the parents’ responsibility that have obese kids,” said state Sen. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga. “Take the tax deduction away for parents that have obese kids.”

Cultra has not introduced legislation to deny parents the $2,000 standard tax deduction, but he floated the idea Tuesday, when lawmakers took a shot at solving the state’s obesity epidemic.

With one in five Illinois children classified as obese and 62 percent of the state’s adults considered overweight, health advocates are pushing a platter of diet solutions including trans fat bans and restricting junk food purchases on food stamps.

Today, the Senate Public Health Committee considered taxing sugary beverages at a penny-per-ounce, in effect applying the same theory to soda, juices and energy drinks that governs to liquor sales. Health advocates say a sin tax could discourage consumption, but lawmakers are reluctant to target an industry supports the jobs of more than 40,000 Illinoisans.

“It seems like we just, we go after the low-hanging fruit, where its easy to get,” said state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford. He said the state needs to form a comprehensive plan to address physical fitness and disease prevention, rather than taking aim at sugary drinks.

via Ill. lawmaker says raising obese kids should cost parents at tax time.

What do you think about extending the principle of the “sin tax”–currently levied at alcohol and tobacco–to “sugary” soft drinks?  (Is obesity, let alone smoking and drinking, an actual sin?)  Or to taxing parents for having overweight children?  Are the parents sinning and in need of punishment?  Should the tax code be used to police the behavior and choices of citizens?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    This is a spectacularly ironic example of governmental gluttony run amok.

  • Pete

    This is a spectacularly ironic example of governmental gluttony run amok.

  • Edith Laufer

    Lower income seems to be associated with higher obesity rates. Taxing the poor more if they have obese children will only compound the problem. Taxing sugar isn’t helpful either, since artificial sweeteners seem to mess with insulin levels in the body and increase cravings for carbohydrates. Banning transfats just leads to increased use of things that aren’t called transfats (like interesterfied fat) but behave like transfats in the body.
    I do think that making food stamp purchases a bit more like the WIC program maybe helpful, but it would be costly. Fresh fruits and vegetables (low calorie foods) are more expensive and less filling than macaroni, beans and rice.

  • Edith Laufer

    Lower income seems to be associated with higher obesity rates. Taxing the poor more if they have obese children will only compound the problem. Taxing sugar isn’t helpful either, since artificial sweeteners seem to mess with insulin levels in the body and increase cravings for carbohydrates. Banning transfats just leads to increased use of things that aren’t called transfats (like interesterfied fat) but behave like transfats in the body.
    I do think that making food stamp purchases a bit more like the WIC program maybe helpful, but it would be costly. Fresh fruits and vegetables (low calorie foods) are more expensive and less filling than macaroni, beans and rice.

  • http://www.aclutteredmind.org Kevin Sorensen

    I say we tax overweight representatives and senators!

  • http://www.aclutteredmind.org Kevin Sorensen

    I say we tax overweight representatives and senators!

  • Jeremy

    Taxing overweight people is ridiculous, and it’s something that no serious legislator would consider. Even defining “overweight” isn’t trivial.

    But as far as taxing sugar-ridden drinks for kids, that seems okay. We tax alcohol and cigarettes, and diabetes is a raging problem.

  • Jeremy

    Taxing overweight people is ridiculous, and it’s something that no serious legislator would consider. Even defining “overweight” isn’t trivial.

    But as far as taxing sugar-ridden drinks for kids, that seems okay. We tax alcohol and cigarettes, and diabetes is a raging problem.

  • Rev. Jacob Ehrhard

    Mr. Cultra is my state Senator. I suppose I need to be writing a letter.

  • Rev. Jacob Ehrhard

    Mr. Cultra is my state Senator. I suppose I need to be writing a letter.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    If Illinois politicians want to really reduce obesity, they need to campaign for the end of corn subsidies.

    I’m guessing that one won’t go over well in most of the state, which is currently being planted in maize. However, it would be the easiest way to reduce childhood obesity, and a host of other problems we have.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    If Illinois politicians want to really reduce obesity, they need to campaign for the end of corn subsidies.

    I’m guessing that one won’t go over well in most of the state, which is currently being planted in maize. However, it would be the easiest way to reduce childhood obesity, and a host of other problems we have.

  • Louis

    But here’s an idea: Here in Canada, our tax dolaars pay for people’s medical care. Fine. But should we be paying for people who deliberately harm themselves, knowing that other people’s taxes will rescue them? How about, after offering a one time corrective program (slimming / stop smoking / stop drug use etc), their access to the system for treating the affects of their misbehavious is curtailed? (Not including mental ilness. I can see the mental illness claims going up, but that will force them to admit it, and might actually force a lifestyle change).

    Thus we do not tax obesity, we simply curtail their use of hard-earned tax dollars. I’m not sure how this will play out with Medicare, but to myn mind it fosters social and financial responsibility. Or is this too harsh / will this infringe basic rights?

  • Louis

    But here’s an idea: Here in Canada, our tax dolaars pay for people’s medical care. Fine. But should we be paying for people who deliberately harm themselves, knowing that other people’s taxes will rescue them? How about, after offering a one time corrective program (slimming / stop smoking / stop drug use etc), their access to the system for treating the affects of their misbehavious is curtailed? (Not including mental ilness. I can see the mental illness claims going up, but that will force them to admit it, and might actually force a lifestyle change).

    Thus we do not tax obesity, we simply curtail their use of hard-earned tax dollars. I’m not sure how this will play out with Medicare, but to myn mind it fosters social and financial responsibility. Or is this too harsh / will this infringe basic rights?

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Lord, save us from idiots who got themselves elected. It is stuff like this that proves Douglas Adams assertion “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Lord, save us from idiots who got themselves elected. It is stuff like this that proves Douglas Adams assertion “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

  • Joe

    How is this idea any different from the post right above this about drugs and prostitution? Private activities with a cost to society.

    And, why only soda? Have you ever actually looked at the sugar content of most 100% fruit juices?

  • Joe

    How is this idea any different from the post right above this about drugs and prostitution? Private activities with a cost to society.

    And, why only soda? Have you ever actually looked at the sugar content of most 100% fruit juices?

  • Orianna Laun

    There is much talk in our area about “food deserts” where many residential neighborhoods have no store offering fresh fruits and vegetables within walking distance. This is a hardship for many low-income families. Perhaps before slapping a tax on or removing a tax credit from people whose children are obese (what would be the formula for defining that, anyway), those making the proposal should find out why are the children obese. Is it because soda is cheaper than milk? Chips are cheaper than fresh veggies? Perhaps it is because parents are working two jobs in this economy just to be able to put any food on the table.
    If the government would like to tax parents for poor parenting, let’s start with bullying and just plain rudeness. There’s more plaguing this country than fat.

  • Orianna Laun

    There is much talk in our area about “food deserts” where many residential neighborhoods have no store offering fresh fruits and vegetables within walking distance. This is a hardship for many low-income families. Perhaps before slapping a tax on or removing a tax credit from people whose children are obese (what would be the formula for defining that, anyway), those making the proposal should find out why are the children obese. Is it because soda is cheaper than milk? Chips are cheaper than fresh veggies? Perhaps it is because parents are working two jobs in this economy just to be able to put any food on the table.
    If the government would like to tax parents for poor parenting, let’s start with bullying and just plain rudeness. There’s more plaguing this country than fat.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Can we tax the government for being obese?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Can we tax the government for being obese?

  • Louis

    Mike @11 – well they certainly sugar-coat everything. And provide lots of emptry calories…. :)

  • Louis

    Mike @11 – well they certainly sugar-coat everything. And provide lots of emptry calories…. :)

  • Simone

    Don’t tax my soda! I enjoy it in moderation, it doesn’t make me fat, and I don’t want to pay any more than I am already paying! Hands off my sugar!!!

  • Simone

    Don’t tax my soda! I enjoy it in moderation, it doesn’t make me fat, and I don’t want to pay any more than I am already paying! Hands off my sugar!!!

  • DonS

    Mike @ 11 — LOL!!

    I’m embarrassed that this particular politician claims to be a Republican.

  • DonS

    Mike @ 11 — LOL!!

    I’m embarrassed that this particular politician claims to be a Republican.

  • larry

    Edith beat me too it. Lower income tends to buy poorer quality foods that increase the obesity problem and it feeds on itself. So taxing them, much like the asininity of prohibition, will only make things MUCH worse.

    Triple that, what Mike and DonS said!

    And if one REALLY wants to reduce childhood, and adult obesity, get out of the house once and a while and do some good ole fashion WORK! Some kids are so unaclimated to the outdoors and so tied into their computers (and I’m not anti-technology at all) that it looks like they would bruise easier than tomato. As a wise old grandparent-in-law said, in his 80s, “a body was made to move”.

  • larry

    Edith beat me too it. Lower income tends to buy poorer quality foods that increase the obesity problem and it feeds on itself. So taxing them, much like the asininity of prohibition, will only make things MUCH worse.

    Triple that, what Mike and DonS said!

    And if one REALLY wants to reduce childhood, and adult obesity, get out of the house once and a while and do some good ole fashion WORK! Some kids are so unaclimated to the outdoors and so tied into their computers (and I’m not anti-technology at all) that it looks like they would bruise easier than tomato. As a wise old grandparent-in-law said, in his 80s, “a body was made to move”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Like Bubba (@6), I think part of the problem here is our subsidizing of corn and soybeans, which comprise a big chunk of all the junk food out there.

    As such, I don’t think a tax on “sugary beverages” is all that out of line as a state-based remedy to what I believe are mainly federal subsidies. It just makes the drinks cost a little bit closer to what they would without the subsidies.

    Of course, I’m of the opinion that it’s not farm subsidies, per se, that are the problem, but rather what we’re subsidizing. If it were way cheaper for people to fill up on fruits and vegetables, and meat (usually fed by cheap, subsidized corn — yes, even fish) and junk food were luxury items, I think we’d see a difference in this country’s eating habits. And, consequently, our waist lines and health.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Like Bubba (@6), I think part of the problem here is our subsidizing of corn and soybeans, which comprise a big chunk of all the junk food out there.

    As such, I don’t think a tax on “sugary beverages” is all that out of line as a state-based remedy to what I believe are mainly federal subsidies. It just makes the drinks cost a little bit closer to what they would without the subsidies.

    Of course, I’m of the opinion that it’s not farm subsidies, per se, that are the problem, but rather what we’re subsidizing. If it were way cheaper for people to fill up on fruits and vegetables, and meat (usually fed by cheap, subsidized corn — yes, even fish) and junk food were luxury items, I think we’d see a difference in this country’s eating habits. And, consequently, our waist lines and health.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    This appears to be a State of Illinois thing. So I guess I don’t care what they do there. The people who live there get (and deserve) the government they’ve voted for.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    This appears to be a State of Illinois thing. So I guess I don’t care what they do there. The people who live there get (and deserve) the government they’ve voted for.

  • JonSLC

    tODD and Bubba, maybe you’ve researched this before: How much to corn subsidies have to do with the fact that the Iowa caucuses play such an important role in the presidential election?

    Maybe I’ve gotten too much of my knowledge of government from “West Wing” episodes, but if the Iowa caucuses lead to more corn subsidies, which then lead to corn-syrup-laden foods being cheaper than fresh vegetables… that would be troubling.

  • JonSLC

    tODD and Bubba, maybe you’ve researched this before: How much to corn subsidies have to do with the fact that the Iowa caucuses play such an important role in the presidential election?

    Maybe I’ve gotten too much of my knowledge of government from “West Wing” episodes, but if the Iowa caucuses lead to more corn subsidies, which then lead to corn-syrup-laden foods being cheaper than fresh vegetables… that would be troubling.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dr Luther @ 8
    “laws should reflect morality”

    bravo. gluttony, aka obesity, is one of the 7 deadly sins. that puts it in line waaayyyyy ahead of gay marriage as something that we need to “just say no” to as a society.

    I say slap a sin tax on donuts, bacon, chocolate cake, extra jumbo eggs, whole cream, butter, smorgasbords, and thanksgiving dinner.

    why not? after all , laws must reflect morality right?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Dr Luther @ 8
    “laws should reflect morality”

    bravo. gluttony, aka obesity, is one of the 7 deadly sins. that puts it in line waaayyyyy ahead of gay marriage as something that we need to “just say no” to as a society.

    I say slap a sin tax on donuts, bacon, chocolate cake, extra jumbo eggs, whole cream, butter, smorgasbords, and thanksgiving dinner.

    why not? after all , laws must reflect morality right?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sin tax? Like if you are overweight or smoke, you have to pay for your own medical, because insurers will charge an arm and a leg to insure you because the actuaries have accurately calculated your risk and know it is very high?

    Hey, don’t we have that now?

    And isn’t it totally fair?

    And isn’t that why we dislike it?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sin tax? Like if you are overweight or smoke, you have to pay for your own medical, because insurers will charge an arm and a leg to insure you because the actuaries have accurately calculated your risk and know it is very high?

    Hey, don’t we have that now?

    And isn’t it totally fair?

    And isn’t that why we dislike it?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Or is this too harsh / will this infringe basic rights?”

    Only if they feel they have a basic right to have others cover the costs for consequences of their behavior.

    However, we should note that such a program would be ruled unconstitutional in the US because of disparate impact. I don’t know about Canada. Don’t the indigenous have a higher rate of alcoholism etc?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Or is this too harsh / will this infringe basic rights?”

    Only if they feel they have a basic right to have others cover the costs for consequences of their behavior.

    However, we should note that such a program would be ruled unconstitutional in the US because of disparate impact. I don’t know about Canada. Don’t the indigenous have a higher rate of alcoholism etc?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    JonSLC, I think that it’s very probable that the prominence of the Iowa caucuses helps keep maize subsidies on the docket. To what degree, I don’t know, but I’m sure it has an effect.

    And I think the dominant cause of obesity in Utah (I’m guessing you’re from there) is that fry sauce they serve there. :^)

    Seriously, though, I think that a bigger issue with maize subsidies is that cornbread is the historic staple of all people in this country, hence it’s the logical thing to subsidize. And then you get into the habit.

    And then you find that farms near Colchester and Amboy, IL, that used to have orchards, livestock, and a big garden (my great-grandparents’ homesteads) are currently planted solely in maize.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    JonSLC, I think that it’s very probable that the prominence of the Iowa caucuses helps keep maize subsidies on the docket. To what degree, I don’t know, but I’m sure it has an effect.

    And I think the dominant cause of obesity in Utah (I’m guessing you’re from there) is that fry sauce they serve there. :^)

    Seriously, though, I think that a bigger issue with maize subsidies is that cornbread is the historic staple of all people in this country, hence it’s the logical thing to subsidize. And then you get into the habit.

    And then you find that farms near Colchester and Amboy, IL, that used to have orchards, livestock, and a big garden (my great-grandparents’ homesteads) are currently planted solely in maize.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@22), are you suggesting that today’s agricultural subsidies stem from cornbread being “the historic staple of all people in this country”? And how does this explain the other crops we subsidize?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@22), are you suggesting that today’s agricultural subsidies stem from cornbread being “the historic staple of all people in this country”? And how does this explain the other crops we subsidize?

  • JonSLC

    Mmm, fry sauce. I am in blissful denial about any ill effects from it!

    I’d join Todd in wondering about the historic connection. But a contemporary connection, I’m guessing, would be with ethanol subsidies. Yet I’m not sure about that.

  • JonSLC

    Mmm, fry sauce. I am in blissful denial about any ill effects from it!

    I’d join Todd in wondering about the historic connection. But a contemporary connection, I’m guessing, would be with ethanol subsidies. Yet I’m not sure about that.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Obesity is no more a sin than poverty. Gluttony is a sin and so is laziness, but not all gluttons are obese and not all deadbeats are poor. Further not all people in poverty are lazy and not all of the obese are gluttons.

    Can you could get poor black kids to lose weight by punishing their parents?

    Maybe. However it seems to me that this is as likely to promote child abuse and child cruelty as child health. The enforcement mechanisms also would be quite a waste of government resources.

    It’s things like this that make me question the wisdom of the income tax and their intrusion into our personal behavior.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Obesity is no more a sin than poverty. Gluttony is a sin and so is laziness, but not all gluttons are obese and not all deadbeats are poor. Further not all people in poverty are lazy and not all of the obese are gluttons.

    Can you could get poor black kids to lose weight by punishing their parents?

    Maybe. However it seems to me that this is as likely to promote child abuse and child cruelty as child health. The enforcement mechanisms also would be quite a waste of government resources.

    It’s things like this that make me question the wisdom of the income tax and their intrusion into our personal behavior.

  • SKPeterson

    It does have to do with ethanol subsidies and general ag sector politicking. As another example, some colleagues at Washington State University did a small study that looked at where USDA crop disaster payments were made. Surprise, surprise, a large percentage of the funds went to farms in congressional districts who’s representative sat on the USDA oversight committee, regardless of where disasters occurred or the level of damage. Most of these guys are representing Corn Belt districts.

  • SKPeterson

    It does have to do with ethanol subsidies and general ag sector politicking. As another example, some colleagues at Washington State University did a small study that looked at where USDA crop disaster payments were made. Surprise, surprise, a large percentage of the funds went to farms in congressional districts who’s representative sat on the USDA oversight committee, regardless of where disasters occurred or the level of damage. Most of these guys are representing Corn Belt districts.

  • steve

    Since when is removing a tax credit considered an extra tax? This just shows haw convoluted our tax system really is. We’re having a a discussion about which behaviors merit tax credits or withholdings. Once you go down the road of allowing tax credits for preferential behavior you’ve already acquiesced to the notion that it’s become the government’s money first; to dole out as it sees fit.

  • steve

    Since when is removing a tax credit considered an extra tax? This just shows haw convoluted our tax system really is. We’re having a a discussion about which behaviors merit tax credits or withholdings. Once you go down the road of allowing tax credits for preferential behavior you’ve already acquiesced to the notion that it’s become the government’s money first; to dole out as it sees fit.

  • Grace

    Those who smoke – are obese and their children – use drugs – drink to excess – should be made to pay for their insurance. There is no reason that those of us who are not in these categories should pay for their behavior choices.

    Diabetes is on the rise – children are at risk, parents feed their children that which is fast… and what the child loves, …. that usually means sugar and fat. WHO pays for the health care? – if it’s your insurnace, you’re paying for part of it,…… if it’s funded by the government you’re paying for it.

    Parents are responsible for their childrens health, if they aren’t going to supervise what their kids consume, then they can pay for the insurance they need to cover the expense.

  • Grace

    Those who smoke – are obese and their children – use drugs – drink to excess – should be made to pay for their insurance. There is no reason that those of us who are not in these categories should pay for their behavior choices.

    Diabetes is on the rise – children are at risk, parents feed their children that which is fast… and what the child loves, …. that usually means sugar and fat. WHO pays for the health care? – if it’s your insurnace, you’re paying for part of it,…… if it’s funded by the government you’re paying for it.

    Parents are responsible for their childrens health, if they aren’t going to supervise what their kids consume, then they can pay for the insurance they need to cover the expense.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 27: Your point is well taken. The best approach is to lower the general tax rates and eliminate all preferential tax treatments, both credits and deductions. Even better still is to eliminate the income tax, since it involves a pervasive and warrantless intrusion by government agents into the private financial dealings of every U.S. resident.

    However, within the world in which we live, selectively eliminating a tax preference generally granted to every taxpayer meeting a set of objective prerequisite standards, on the basis of the weight of their children, wholly unrelated to the issue of taxes, is an egregious intrusion on the rights of parents and the concept of American liberty.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 27: Your point is well taken. The best approach is to lower the general tax rates and eliminate all preferential tax treatments, both credits and deductions. Even better still is to eliminate the income tax, since it involves a pervasive and warrantless intrusion by government agents into the private financial dealings of every U.S. resident.

    However, within the world in which we live, selectively eliminating a tax preference generally granted to every taxpayer meeting a set of objective prerequisite standards, on the basis of the weight of their children, wholly unrelated to the issue of taxes, is an egregious intrusion on the rights of parents and the concept of American liberty.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    I just want to know , about syntax, what the big deal is.

    why are people so worked up over it getting?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    I just want to know , about syntax, what the big deal is.

    why are people so worked up over it getting?

  • Louis

    Grace @ 28 – that is basically what I was saying. If I was into extreme sports, for instance, I’d either have to pay much more into my insurance, or forego insurance on matters relating to the extreme sports. That is not a moral judgement on extreme sports, it is an actuarial reality. Now why not extend that principal to matters of chioce that influence medical rates – smoking, overeating, drug use etc. Of course, if it is clear that your obesity is not related to gluttony, fine. But high risk behaviour, from an actuarial standpoint, reqires higher payments. Again, that is an actuarial truth, NOT a moral judgement.

    And it should be no different if your insurer also happens to be your government.

  • Louis

    Grace @ 28 – that is basically what I was saying. If I was into extreme sports, for instance, I’d either have to pay much more into my insurance, or forego insurance on matters relating to the extreme sports. That is not a moral judgement on extreme sports, it is an actuarial reality. Now why not extend that principal to matters of chioce that influence medical rates – smoking, overeating, drug use etc. Of course, if it is clear that your obesity is not related to gluttony, fine. But high risk behaviour, from an actuarial standpoint, reqires higher payments. Again, that is an actuarial truth, NOT a moral judgement.

    And it should be no different if your insurer also happens to be your government.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD; well, we subsidize grains, sugar, and dairy. At the time we started farm subsidies back in the 1930s, vitamins had only recently been discovered (thiamine was crystallized only in 1926, other vitamins after that), and the state of nutritional knowledge was pretty much that you needed fats, carbohydrates/sugars, and protein, and there was something in milk that was good for children.

    Hence you subsidize grains and sugar to keep people alive, and dairy for the kiddies, but not fruits, vegetables, or meats.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD; well, we subsidize grains, sugar, and dairy. At the time we started farm subsidies back in the 1930s, vitamins had only recently been discovered (thiamine was crystallized only in 1926, other vitamins after that), and the state of nutritional knowledge was pretty much that you needed fats, carbohydrates/sugars, and protein, and there was something in milk that was good for children.

    Hence you subsidize grains and sugar to keep people alive, and dairy for the kiddies, but not fruits, vegetables, or meats.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Of course, historically grain subsidies ALSO derive from the fact that Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Montana, and other prominent grain growing states have representation in the Senate disproportionate to their population, and California and Washington do not.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Of course, historically grain subsidies ALSO derive from the fact that Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Montana, and other prominent grain growing states have representation in the Senate disproportionate to their population, and California and Washington do not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba, first you argued (@22) that corn subisides existed because “cornbread is the historic staple of all people in this country”. Now (@32), you appear to be arguing that our current agricultural subsidy levels are based on the “nutritional knowledge” of the early 20th century. First of all, which of those do you think is the factor? They’re completely different.

    Second of all, your statement that “we subsidize grains, sugar, and dairy” seems not to line up with the actual facts. According to Wikipedia (referencing the CBO), the top-subsidized crop was feed grains (mostly corn), getting 35% of the subsidies. Here’s the list after that: cotton (18%), wheat (15%), rice (14%), soybeans (8%), dairy (4%), peanuts (3%), sugar (0.8%). Another list comes up with a slightly different list, based on subsidies from 1995-2009: corn (30%), wheat (13%), cotton (12%), soybeans (9%), rice (5%), sorghum (2%), dairy (2%), livestock (1.4%), peanuts (1.4%), barley (1%), and sugar beets clocking in at a measly 0.1% after a number of other crops.

    I don’t think either of your suggested reasons factor into our current agricultural subsidies nearly as much as the fact that the overwhelming bulk of what we subsidize is easily stored, distributed, and commoditized. These make them excellent candidates for a stable food supply. Unfortunately, it also means that most of our cheap food will be made from these crops — corn, wheat, rice, soybeans — in whatever way possible. Which is why we have high fructose corn syrup. And any of the thousands of other ingredients in that long list on the package that are also derived from these crops.

    As to your last comment (@33), again, it doesn’t seem to square with the facts. The top state receiving agricultural subsidies was Texas.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba, first you argued (@22) that corn subisides existed because “cornbread is the historic staple of all people in this country”. Now (@32), you appear to be arguing that our current agricultural subsidy levels are based on the “nutritional knowledge” of the early 20th century. First of all, which of those do you think is the factor? They’re completely different.

    Second of all, your statement that “we subsidize grains, sugar, and dairy” seems not to line up with the actual facts. According to Wikipedia (referencing the CBO), the top-subsidized crop was feed grains (mostly corn), getting 35% of the subsidies. Here’s the list after that: cotton (18%), wheat (15%), rice (14%), soybeans (8%), dairy (4%), peanuts (3%), sugar (0.8%). Another list comes up with a slightly different list, based on subsidies from 1995-2009: corn (30%), wheat (13%), cotton (12%), soybeans (9%), rice (5%), sorghum (2%), dairy (2%), livestock (1.4%), peanuts (1.4%), barley (1%), and sugar beets clocking in at a measly 0.1% after a number of other crops.

    I don’t think either of your suggested reasons factor into our current agricultural subsidies nearly as much as the fact that the overwhelming bulk of what we subsidize is easily stored, distributed, and commoditized. These make them excellent candidates for a stable food supply. Unfortunately, it also means that most of our cheap food will be made from these crops — corn, wheat, rice, soybeans — in whatever way possible. Which is why we have high fructose corn syrup. And any of the thousands of other ingredients in that long list on the package that are also derived from these crops.

    As to your last comment (@33), again, it doesn’t seem to square with the facts. The top state receiving agricultural subsidies was Texas.

  • Grace

    Louis @31

    I agree with you. Good point regarding sports!

  • Grace

    Louis @31

    I agree with you. Good point regarding sports!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis, you said (@31), “If I was into extreme sports, for instance, I’d either have to pay much more into my insurance, or forego insurance on matters relating to the extreme sports.”

    Is this a real example? My insurers have not, that I can recall, ever asked me about such activities. Maybe it’s been too long. But if I were to take up “extreme sports” now, how would they know? I wouldn’t even know what to do to alert them to this fact, should I feel so inclined.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Louis, you said (@31), “If I was into extreme sports, for instance, I’d either have to pay much more into my insurance, or forego insurance on matters relating to the extreme sports.”

    Is this a real example? My insurers have not, that I can recall, ever asked me about such activities. Maybe it’s been too long. But if I were to take up “extreme sports” now, how would they know? I wouldn’t even know what to do to alert them to this fact, should I feel so inclined.

  • Grace

    Additional coverage for a sport insurance policy

    Extreme sports are not normally covered by the standard sports insurance policy. Snowboarding, skiing, surfing, kitesurfing, jet skiing, parachute jumping and other similar sports are excluded from a standard sports insurance policy.

    If you are a semi-professional sports person you probably need to get a special policy to cover you completely. This is mainly because you are in a higher risk category than the average person simply for the amount of sport you play including competitive fixtures, friendly matches and training.”

    http://www.insurancecompared.com.au/explained/recreation/sports-ins.php

  • Grace

    Additional coverage for a sport insurance policy

    Extreme sports are not normally covered by the standard sports insurance policy. Snowboarding, skiing, surfing, kitesurfing, jet skiing, parachute jumping and other similar sports are excluded from a standard sports insurance policy.

    If you are a semi-professional sports person you probably need to get a special policy to cover you completely. This is mainly because you are in a higher risk category than the average person simply for the amount of sport you play including competitive fixtures, friendly matches and training.”

    http://www.insurancecompared.com.au/explained/recreation/sports-ins.php

  • Louis

    I have been asked that question on more than one occassion, Todd (I had to redo insurance when I immigrated, obviously, so I remember). And if you take it up now, you’ll find them whipping up some obscure clause while you are lying in your hospital bed, explaining while you will have to make do with one eye and no teeth henceforth…. :)

  • Louis

    I have been asked that question on more than one occassion, Todd (I had to redo insurance when I immigrated, obviously, so I remember). And if you take it up now, you’ll find them whipping up some obscure clause while you are lying in your hospital bed, explaining while you will have to make do with one eye and no teeth henceforth…. :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I can’t help but notice that the two examples proffered so far come from countries with more socialized medicine than the one I live in. I’m still not sure if the “pay more to insurance for extreme sports” notion applies in the country I live in.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I can’t help but notice that the two examples proffered so far come from countries with more socialized medicine than the one I live in. I’m still not sure if the “pay more to insurance for extreme sports” notion applies in the country I live in.

  • Louis

    Todd, the “extreme sports” thing was actually for other types of insurance (including disability insurance). But I think I remember having been asked that question when I had to get my own medical insurance in SA, after I resigned from my company.

  • Louis

    Todd, the “extreme sports” thing was actually for other types of insurance (including disability insurance). But I think I remember having been asked that question when I had to get my own medical insurance in SA, after I resigned from my company.

  • Grace

    One of my children played soccer on a special team, that required extra insurance. The chance of being injured is much greater in such a situation, than a regular gym class.

  • Grace

    One of my children played soccer on a special team, that required extra insurance. The chance of being injured is much greater in such a situation, than a regular gym class.

  • Pingback: Tax me for I have Sinned… « Thinking Woman's Brain Vomit

  • Pingback: Tax me for I have Sinned… « Thinking Woman's Brain Vomit

  • Grace

    Doctors Refusing to Treat Overweight Patients

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011
    By Susan Jones

    From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Fifteen obstetrics-gynecology practices out of 105 polled by the Sun Sentinel said they have set weight limits for new patients. Some of the doctors said the main reason was their exam tables or other equipment can’t handle people over a certain weight, but at least six said heavy women run a higher risk of complications.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/report-doctors-refusing-treat-overweight

  • Grace

    Doctors Refusing to Treat Overweight Patients

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011
    By Susan Jones

    From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Fifteen obstetrics-gynecology practices out of 105 polled by the Sun Sentinel said they have set weight limits for new patients. Some of the doctors said the main reason was their exam tables or other equipment can’t handle people over a certain weight, but at least six said heavy women run a higher risk of complications.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/report-doctors-refusing-treat-overweight


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X