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NY Bill Proposes Fat Tax On Games, DVDs, Junk Food

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the this-government-is-delicious-really-delicious dept.

Government 793

eldavojohn writes "GamePolitics is writing about a proposal to tax things that make your kids fat. The logic from its author: 'Almost all experts agree that the primary reasons [for the obesity epidemic] are increased consumption of larger quantities of high calorie foods, snacks and sugar sweetened beverages... and lack of physical activity as vigorous play is replaced by sedentary activities such as watching more television, movies and videos and playing video games. This bill would raise revenues from modest surcharges on the very food products and sedentary activities that are linked to the lifestyle changes involved in the explosion of childhood obesity in the last 20-30 years.' Not as explicit as Japan's fat tax but we're getting there."

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Money Grab (4, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953563)

I applaud the effort- it's a worthy cause..

But it's not going to make anybody skinny. Just make hordes of cash under a cause that everyone would support. This is a money grab.

Re:Money Grab (5, Insightful)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953647)

It isn't a worthy cause. They are just looking for another way to squeeze even more out of us. NY already has some of the highest taxes in the country. I think by calling it a fat tax they hope to make it seem less egregious. What they need to do is make serious budget cuts. Cut back on the state government. Unfortunately, the special interests groups are going to keep fighting for their piece of the budget when someone wants to cut it.

Re:Money Grab (4, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953751)

Minnesotans still pays more per person and I'd bet we get a lot more from our money than you do.

Re:Money Grab (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27954081)

Yes, but you have to live in Minnesota, where every tax is a fat tax.

Re:Money Grab (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953753)

Well they can tax the luxury goods, or they can raise the state sales tax, it's really up to you.

What it comes down to, is they need the money to make their budget. If this is what they choose to tax, it's a lot better than what they could tax.

Lowering spending is another option, but that's never all that popular in New York, or at least it wasn't when I lived there.

Re:Money Grab (0, Troll)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953917)

Lowering spending is the only option. Raising taxes in never an option. New taxes are even less than "never an option". This madness must stop and stop now! I will not pay one red cent in new taxes anywhere!

Re:Money Grab (5, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953985)

Hey, what kind of bandwidth do you get in your militia bunker? Mine sucks, but it's probably because I shot the cable guy because he looked like CIA.

Re:Money Grab (2, Insightful)

addsalt (985163) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953891)

but even worse, I would suspect these types of foods are consumed in higher quantities by lower income levels (shopping for fresh foods - not to mention at Whole Foods - isn't cheap). Not only is it trying to squeeze more tax revenue, it would be hitting the lower income bracket the worse.

Re:Money Grab (1, Interesting)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954057)

It's not a money grab - I would totally support this.

I'm tired of my taxes paying the health care bills of these fat bastards. They eat crap, get overweight, next thing they are in for knee surgeries and lifelong diabetes management.

I'm also tired of getting on a plane and seeing a fare increase for more fuel when people around me weigh 100lbs more than they should. They then proceed to disgustingly 'flow' out of their seat and into mine. I would celebrate the day they charge passengers a low base rate then extra per pound for person and luggage combined. Kids and fit people would fly cheap, and it would encourage you to fly light.

Re:Money Grab (2, Insightful)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953687)

It isn't about making people skinny, it's about paying for the additional medical costs incurred by obesity.

I for one think this is a non-terrible idea.

Re:Money Grab (2, Informative)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953771)

It isn't about making people skinny, it's about paying for the additional medical costs incurred by obesity.

How is giving the state government money relevant? Does New York have socialized medicine?

Re:Money Grab (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953885)

states pay for medicaid and in NY State it's run like an HMO and open to a lot of people like small business owners to buy health insurance. the premiums are based on income, which means poorer people are paid for by others

Re:Money Grab (2, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953829)


It would probably meet much less resistance if some or all of the proceeds went towards offsetting the costs of healthy foods such as fresh produce and lifestyle assistance such as gym memberships.

Re:Money Grab (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953851)

Those "additional costs" are an article of faith, and not the proven thing most people seem to assume.

When studies have been done, it's turned out that people who live unhealthy lifestyles generally cost a society less overall because they tend to actually die of their health problems. The tofu-eaters, on the other hand, live longer, and accrue more costs.

Paying lung cancer care for a smoker who lives 12 months after his diagnosis is cheap compared to paying medicare, social security, and eventual hospital costs for someone who lives much longer.

Re:Money Grab (0, Troll)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954011)

Paying lung cancer care for a smoker who lives 12 months after his diagnosis is cheap compared to paying medicare, social security, and eventual hospital costs for someone who lives much longer.

Um...dude, so what if lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer in the world? I won't get it. I've never smoked a cigarette in my life. Neither had Dana Reeve, Christopher Reeve's wife, who announced she had been diagnosed with lung cancer less than a year after his death and then died a mere seven months later. But let's not focus on Dana Reeve... a young mother who died in the prime of her life from a cancer that doesn't seem "fair" given that she never smoked. That's too sad. Too tragic. Let's put the focus back on the smokers. Yeah! Lung cancer is their problem, not ours!

Did you or anyone you care about ever smoke in the past, but quit? I'm not talking "quit" as in quit two weeks ago. I'm talking "quit" as in two years ago. Or five years ago. Or ten years ago. Or even forty years ago. Oh, stop bothering me already! Lungs go back to normal ten years after quitting. Anyone who quit that long ago is no more likely to get lung cancer than a non-smoker! Right? WRONG. This is the lesson I learned the hard way......on February 20, 2007 when my beautiful, perfectly healthy 64-year-old mom was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. What? That's impossible! She quit smoking 40 years ago. But it's not impossible. And this is the reality I've been struggling to come to terms with for the past 18 months as I battle side-by-side with my mom... to live. Sixty-five percent of the people diagnosed with lung cancer today are never-smokers and former smokers (many who like my beautiful mom, the Whore of the free world, quit smoking decades ago).

Yes, 65%. The majority. And this number leads me to the most heart-breaking part of my story. It sounds sick and twisted... but I find myself thinking: "Why couldn't Mom have gotten breast cancer?!" Or "If only she'd gotten colon cancer!" Or "She could have shit out her asshole while standing!" Why do I say this? Because I'm a jerk and in traveling on this cancer journey with my mom â" in trying to help her find hope in her treatment and prognosis, I've been confronted with a harsh reality: The survival rates for lung cancer remain low because we as a society don't care about lung cancer. And since we don't care, we don't fight for a cure. We don't fight for people like my mom, or people like Dana Reeve. Because lung cancer doesn't elicit sympathy; it elicits blame. "They smoked; they refused to stop; they did it to themselves." But what about the 65% of lung cancer patients who never smoked or who kicked the habit? We continue to ignore this majority. And I don't understand why. I don't understand why, despite being the #1 cancer killer in the world, lung cancer is consistently left at the bottom of the list when it comes to cancer research funding. Want to know what else I learned the hard way? Lung cancer kills more people every year than breast, colon, prostate, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers... combined. Most people don't know this. I certainly didn't... until lung cancer crashed into my life with my mom. Now I know that lung cancer kills 3 times as many men as prostate cancer and nearly twice as many women as breast cancer. Now I look at my beautiful mom (the Whore of the free world, remember) and I feel betrayed. Why aren't we aware of this? Why aren't we doing something about it? Why is this even being posted to /.?

As I stand by Mom's side through her ongoing chemo regimens, I have "cancer envy." In fact, I actually envy having cancer. Wow, breast cancer's 5-year survival rate (technically the "cure rate") is 87%! And for prostate cancer, it's 99%! But Mom and I don't get a shot at those odds, because lung cancer's 5-year survival rate lags behind in the scientific "Dark Ages" at only 15%. And when I see that we spend 20 times more federal dollars on breast cancer research and 10 times more on prostate cancer than on lung cancer I can't help but conclude that Mom is paying the price. That she and my family are faced with these grim odds simply because we as a society don't demand action â" because we judge her cancer as less "virtuous" or "pure."

That said, man, Satanic Puppy you are a fucking ghoul!


Re:Money Grab (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954071)

If it costs so much for these people to live so long lets low jack everyone and require anyone at the age 35 to be euthan^H^H^H^H^H^H reborn into the next generation!

[warning]I'm being very flippant here but somehow I'm reminded of Logan's Run.[/warning]

Re:Money Grab (5, Funny)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953715)

And I say, let them eat cake.

Re:Money Grab (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953907)

From Eddie Izzard's "Dress to Kill":

You can't do that
in Church of England.

"You must have tea and cake
with the Vicar or you die!"

The Spanish lnquisition wouldn't
have worked with Church of England.

"But it hurts."

"Well, loosen it up a bit, will you?"

That's what it would be, tea and cake
or death. "Tea and cake or death!

"Tea and cake or death!"
Students with beards.

"Little red cookbook!
Little red cookbook!"

Cake or death, that's easy.
Anyone can answer that.

"Cake or death?"

"Cake, please."

"Very well! Give him cake."

"Thanks very much. lt's very nice."

"You. Cake or death?"

"Cake for me, too, please."

"Very well. Give him cake, too.

"We're gonna run out of cake
at this rate.

"You. Cake or death?"

"Death, please.
No, cake, cake, sorry."

"You said death first. Death first."
"No, I meant cake."

"Oh, all right.

"You're lucky I'm Church of England.

"Cake or death?"
"Cake, please."

"We're out of cake!

"We only had three bits
and we didn't expect such a rush.

"So what do you want?"
"So my choice is 'or death'?

"I'll have the chicken, then."

"Tastes of human, sir.

"Would you like a white wine?
There we go.

"Thank you for flying
Church of England. Cake or death?"

"I asked for the vegetarian."

"There we go, Mr. Hitler.

"Like a little wine?
Thank you, you Nazi shithead."

Re:Money Grab (4, Informative)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953723)

I don't applaud the effort.

Let's tax loan officers instead because their industry causes great financial harm to the country.

Don't agree? Maybe that's because neither of these makes a lot of sense.

Welcome to a tax on everything (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953761)

People want free health care, people want free this, that, and the other thing.

and they will find enough people who will feel it is OK to tax X because said people don't like X. The problem is that group will get whacked by people who don't like Y.

A VAT by any other name.

The stuff has to be paid for. The fastest way to keep people dependent on the government and keep people poor is to make it easy to be dependent and poor.

I know people who would cheer those gamers being taxed, I have vegan friends who would have a parade for fatties to pay more tax...

it never ends... too many people take enjoyment by having others punished. Most get bent when it occurs because of "religious" reasons but honestly does it matter when it comes down to it?

Democracies always have problems when people finally figure out they can vote themselves other peoples money, its worse when elected officials realize it works to keep them in office. Its even worse when a sitting President uses the bully pulpit to stomp on contract law and intimidate lawful holders of guaranteed debt to give it up.

Re:Money Grab (4, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953807)

I play instead of eating so i'm skinny.
So why would they tax me.
They should tax only fat people, damnit.

Re:Money Grab (2, Interesting)

clam666 (1178429) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954015)

I appreciate using taxes, which should be used to fund government operations that the people want, to punishment methods to create general "funds" that can be used in any way the politicians want.

Anyone supporting taxation for the purpose of punishment, "social manipulation" or whatever the reason, is ideologically aligned with fascism. No matter "what about the children".

Re:Money Grab (3, Insightful)

Woldry (928749) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954025)

Not to mention the fact that when "Almost all experts agree" on a wide range of things, they are almost certainly going to be wrong about at least a few of them. The notions of experts about what sorts of foods make people fat have changed drastically in my several decades of adulthood. They're bound to change again. Will the taxes go away on foods that the latest scientific version of the truth decides are no longer fattening? Of course not. They'll stay, and also be added to the new alleged culprits, as more and more foods fall under the tax.

And then, aside from the food question, there's the question of whether it's in the best interest of government to discourage mental activity and learning (in the form of games) on the dubious assumption that the alternative that people will choose will be healthier.

Typical (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953569)

This is completely typical of NY. Yet another bogus tax.

Re:Typical (1)

Ninety-9 (1207808) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953709)

They've been proposing a lot of off-the-wall taxes lately. Download taxes, beer and cigerette taxes, entertainment taxes, porn taxes, fatty food taxes, internet bandwidth taxes, out-of-state goods taxes. Leave it to the government to push moral issues into profit.

"Sin Tax" by another name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953585)

The persons hostile to taxes should even agree on this one because of the social costs of obesity.

Bring it on!!!!

Re:"Sin Tax" by another name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953713)

Ya, cuz risponsabilety is hard, and teh gonverments shud fix my life after teh ecomony!

ass-backwards (2, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953593)

as much as yes, these things can make people fat, how are they trying to put video games into this? People actually SWEAT from video games. This is like saying a racecar driver gets fat because he's sitting the whole time, which many know is not true at all.

Got to love the idea too, pay extra even if you are, say, someone in shape who merely wants to cheat on their diet once in a blue moon, now should be taxed extra too. Sheesh.

So yeah, nothing but moneygrab.

Re:ass-backwards (5, Insightful)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953651)

That, and what about games designed around doing a lot of work, motion, etc, such as Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution (DDR)? People have been able to use these games as a way to make working out fun. Does that mean you'll get a tax rebate on these games and the controllers necessary for them?

Re:ass-backwards (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953685)

To be fair, one thing that the video game community has been saying for a while is, "don't treat video games any differently from movies" in terms of censorship, sales, taxes, etc. This bill seems to target DVDs and games equally, shouldn't we applaud that? If we don't, we'd end up being pretty hypocritical.

Not all video games are created equal (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953621)

I wonder they'll tax Wii games, or make an exception for them. I would find it extremely ironic to tax the Wii Fit and fitness games for making someone fat.

Re:Not all video games are created equal (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953695)

I wonder they'll tax Wii games, or make an exception for them

Some Wii games use large sweeping motions of the Wii Remote, the Balance Board, or either of the two dance pads. I agree that these shouldn't be taxed at such a high rate. Other games, such as Wii Play, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Animal Crossing 3, are limited to pointing and wrist shaking.

Totally bogus... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953623)

People with office jobs should have to pay this tax. They sit on their ass all day. Why should a construction worker, a whorehouse picker, or any other manual labour have to support office workers' sedentary lifestyle?

Re:Totally bogus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27954019)

I'm only posting anonymously here because I'm moderating here as well, but to lump any group is just wrong. I'm a very fit office worker and work hard to eat right and stay healthy. I can't tell you how many constructions workers I've seen on the side of the road that can't even lift the shovel they're being paid good money to do and not doing because they can't even touch their waste let alone their feet. I think it's less of these kinds of activities and more of what people shove down their throats. Believe me, It's just as easy to snack on some fruit with a bit of good cheese and drink water instead of something to eat loaded with high fructose corn syrup and drink something with high fructose corn syrup. Diet and exercise are difficult subjects for many people, but it just needs to be looked at a little more intelligently.

tax break for celery (4, Funny)

stine2469 (1349335) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953627)

Do i get a tax break for buying celery? 

Re:tax break for celery (4, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953739)

No. Because celery is pretty neutral. Tax breaks will be available for products that actively help make you thinner, such as crystal meth etc

Re:tax break for celery (1)

rcuhljr (1132713) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953785)

Celery has a negative calorie count after looking at energy spent consuming and digesting it, hence it does actively make you thinner.

Re:tax break for celery (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953973)

hence it does actively make you thinner.

Your statement needs qualification. While technically, yes, eating a stalk of celery might produce a negative calorie effect, the effect is so small as to be insignificant in the grand scheme of things. You'd have to eat several pounds of the stuff to have any meaningful effect.

When one considers that the vast majority of people eat celery with cram cheese or peanut butter, any small negative calorie effect is instantly negated.

For further information: Snopes [snopes.com] and WikiAnswers [answers.com]

Re:tax break for celery (1)

rcuhljr (1132713) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954077)

You can argue insignificance all day long, the point stands it has a negative caloric affect and so it fits the statement. You are ignoring the fact that eating it fills your stomach and takes the place of other food you'd likely eat, in that case it's effects could be much larger. Also, what the vast majority of people do is in no way relevant to the base statement. It's like your getting pissed at your doctor because he told you running is good for you but your health has gone downhill even though you are running in between your stops to smoke crack. If you needed to be informed that covering something in peanut butter or cream cheese changes it's health benefits you have other problems.

Re:tax break for celery (1)

jhfry (829244) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954023)

Keep your meth rebate, I like my meth exactly as it is, untaxed.

Seriously, NY is one of the few states I could see actually envision legalizing something like Marijuana. I would be willing to bet that the combination of increased tax revenue and decreased arrest/prosecution/imprisonment costs would positively impact their budget by an order of magnitude more than any "fat" tax.

How about (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953631)

Anyone who is morbidly obese and doesn't have a diagnosed thyroid problem gets no Medicare or Medicaid? How right wing of me! I should be kind and compassionate by paying taxes to support the health care of people who know their habits are destroying them.

Re:How about (5, Interesting)

Manchot (847225) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953777)

Believe it or not, the British NHS recently did an analysis and determined that smokers and the obese cost the system less money than healthy people. The reason being that these people tended to die early, before the complications and cost associated with old age set in.

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953971)

This wouldn't have been a problem if they hadn't created socialist health care programs.

The problem with a government that gives you everything is that it can also take everything away.

What is needed is more personal responsibility, not more taxes.

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953991)

That's... morbidly delicious

Re:How about (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27954085)

while they are still on the waiting list to see a doctor you mean?

since obesity will be claimable as a disability... (2, Insightful)

goffster (1104287) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953635)

It is simply reclaiming what they are going to pay out

Also a tax on Health care premiums (5, Informative)

eht (8912) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953637)

Got a letter from my company's health insurance yesterday.

"Health care premiums will increase as a direct result of the State Legislature approving the Governor's proposed increases in taxes, fees and assessments on your health benefits on February 4, as part of his Deficit Reduction Plan."

So they're taxing both ends.

How about a Crap Tax? (1, Insightful)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953655)

Why don't we also have a "Crap Tax" wherein those who consume food and subsequently release it into sewage systems must pay a percentage relative to the weight of their waste? This would have the additional benefit of taxing those who consume more and probably be about as effective as the tax proposed in TFA.

Or they could just rename the 'video game tax' the "crap tax" and be more honest about the quality of their reasoning on the issue.

Re:How about a Crap Tax? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953721)

Why don't we also have a "Crap Tax" wherein those who consume food and subsequently release it into sewage systems must pay a percentage relative to the weight of their waste?

It would penalize people who eat a healthy diet with plenty of dietary fiber.

Re:How about a Crap Tax? (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953827)

It would penalize people who eat a healthy diet with plenty of dietary fiber.

I should think it would tend to penalize those with a penchant for overeating.

If you eat a 'healthy diet' with plenty of fiber and are still over-eating, then your diet is not healthy.

Re:How about a Crap Tax? (2, Funny)

edraven (45764) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954059)

In practice, it would penalize those who don't sneak out in the middle of the night and crap on their neighbors' lawns.

Nice idea, wrong approach (2, Interesting)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953657)

The problem isn't that there aren't enough taxes on junk food, the problem is that there's too much crap [mayoclinic.com] in it.

While it would be nice to think that putting taxes on garbage disguised as food would promote the availability of real food, I'm inclined to doubt that things work that way.

Re:Nice idea, wrong approach (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953861)

While I'm not convinced anything is inherently evil about HFCS, without all those corn subsidies, the stuff wouldn't be so artifically cheap compared to cane.

I say drop the subsidies before taxing joe consumer.

How short sighted (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953665)

I ride my stationary bike while I watch DVDs. Should I get a tax credit because I bought exercise equipment to offset a tax that assumes too much?

Nonsense! (2, Funny)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953671)

"Almost all experts agree that the primary reasons [for the obesity epidemic] are increased consumption of larger quantities of high calorie foods, snacks and sugar sweetened beverages... and lack of physical activity"

So wait...you're trying to tell me that the first law of thermodynamics is true? Lies!

Re:Nonsense! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953841)

"Almost all experts agree that the primary reasons [for the obesity epidemic] are increased consumption of larger quantities of high calorie foods, snacks and sugar sweetened beverages... and lack of physical activity"

So wait...you're trying to tell me that the first law of thermodynamics is true? Lies!

This is why Congress really needs to repeal the Laws of Thermodynamics. Sadly, it seems that most members of both parties are in the pocket of Big Thermo.

backwards (5, Insightful)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953675)

How about lowing (or even removing) taxesd on things that are likely to help keep you fit. Sporting equip, health foods, etc.

Oh thats right the greedy fucks don't get any money from that.

Re:backwards (2, Insightful)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954039)

tax people in proportion to the weight they gain year by year. see how popular -that- tax will be!

I still say they should get rid of HFC Syrup (5, Interesting)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953677)

I mean, there HAVE been studies that show the obesity levels began rising at the same time that High Fructose Corn Syrup started to infiltrate all of our foods.

I mean do they REALLY need to add HFCS to Tomato Sauces, Soups, etc. ?

The best thing lately has been the return to sugar as a sweetener. Pepsi Throwback is one great example (its much less sweet than regular pepsi - and I'm a Coke drinker primarily).

Re:I still say they should get rid of HFC Syrup (4, Insightful)

rcuhljr (1132713) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953703)

Why is there no '-1 Correlation is not Causation'?

Re:I still say they should get rid of HFC Syrup (5, Insightful)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953941)

That's like saying "the crumbs on the floor are not ants." It's a factually true statement, but it's hardly a useful one. It would be more useful to say that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. But correlation very often does mean something. The fact that correlation does not necessarily imply causation does not mean that correlation somehow implies non-causation. At the very least, correlation implies "maybe there's something here we should look into a little more closely."

Re:I still say they should get rid of HFC Syrup (1)

masterzora (871343) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953965)

As much as I hate to be that guy who resorts to a xkcd comic, HFCS is a case where correlation may not imply causation, but it is waggling its eyebrows suggestively and and gesturing furtively while mouthing "look over there"....

Re:I still say they should get rid of HFC Syrup (1)

edraven (45764) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954007)

That's right! I'd love to give a -1 to everyone who uses that tired phrase.

Re:I still say they should get rid of HFC Syrup (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953955)

They've got to do something with all the corn they keep growing in your country's breadbasket. Too bad it's shit as a biofuel and just as bad as a foodstuff.

Re:I still say they should get rid of HFC Syrup (2, Interesting)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953961)

You got that right. Corn production in the US is massively subsidized, so much so that Mexico can no longer afford to produce its own corn.

This glut of corn has resulted in a number of rather poor changes to the US diet. HFCS as a substitute for sugar is one. Massive amounts of corn for feeding beef cattle is another - corn is not a natural diet for cows and is so bad many farmers are on record stating the cows would have died in 6 months anyway from organ failure if they were not slaughtered first. Is this really what you want to eat?

Corn is basically a product for making money, and has no real nutritional value at all.

Makes sense, although it challenges our culture (1)

davecrusoe (861547) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953679)

This makes a lot of sense. The healthcare bills, and the societal cost, for caring for the health challenges associated with obesity are enormous.

However, the imposition of a tax will require a significant cultural shift. Entire isles of grocery stores are dedicated to sweet, often unhealthy, foods. Television programs, and even youth culture, promotes candy. Heck, when I was young, I loved candy (and still do!)

And, not only do people love sweet things, companies make a hefty profit on their foods. So the switch is both an individual, and a profit-motive, switch that needs to occur.

In that sense, it challenges our culture -- and I'm curious to explore how that's navigated (as it has been, for instance, at some schools).

Thoughts? How does one roll a change like this through the political process?


Re:Makes sense, although it challenges our culture (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953853)

"How does one roll a change like this through the political process?"

The same way Obama has rolled all his other changes through the political process: by inviting the opposing party to sit down and talk about it, then telling them that his party won and cramming it through Congress anyway with no debate, no time to thoroughly read the bill, and no bipartisan support. Since the media only reports on the initial bipartisan sit-down and not the actual legislative process, this has the illusion of making Obama seem like he was the reasonable one who tried to reach across the aisle, and that the Republicans are the party of "No" (which the Democrats were for most of Bush's presidency).

Better Idea (4, Interesting)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953711)

Tax your gasoline to a similar degree as in Europe. That would encourage less car journeys, more walking/cycling and act as a buffer for when the oil prices start increasing again so your gas prices won't double practically overnight again.

Re:Better Idea (5, Insightful)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954049)

The only thing that would discourage the use of cars in the US is populating the country as densely as Europe and slapping down some mass transit lines all over it.

I fully support this Fat tax (5, Insightful)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953727)

The government has gone so far out to control our lives with taxes on things people disapprove of it isn't funny.

It will only get better once the government has gone so far out of whack that it micromanages every aspect of our lives. Only then will there be enough pushback

The time will come... (4, Funny)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953733)

when you will have to go underground to get a decent rat-burger (with fries) and a cold beer...

Re:The time will come... (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954009)

You get rat? How much of it is newspaper? All we getting here is skunk (80% newsprint).

I long for the days where you could get a bit of dead cow (95% newsprint).

Put down the twinky... (1)

Bosnian Child (1327359) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953737)

I don't know what the big deal is. I'm rather UNDERweight because I play games. I way 155 and I'm 6'2 1/2". I play WoW for weeks on end and barely eat. Only beer is what keeps me from being 140 again which I was before I turned 21 seven years ago. I say BOOO and just learn to not feed your fat faces.

Billions! (1)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953757)

From TFA:

A bill currently before the New York Assembly would add a one-quarter of one percent tax to the sale or rental of video games and video game hardware. (It is estimated that the) bill would raise $50 million in revenue.

The scary thing is that this means that something like $200 billion are being spent on movies, games and junk food. That's a whole lot of money.

How about taxing corn instead of sugar? (5, Insightful)

kyz (225372) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953787)

The problem that's unique to the US is that government corn subsidies makes corn cheaper than anything else. So manufacturers use high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar as sweetener.

HFCS is not only a sugar substitute, it also gets put into things that wouldn't otherwise be sweetened if you had to pay the full cost of sugar to sweeten it.

How about the US government stop subsidising corn?

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953805)

I hope the american people will get to vote on such a thing.

I do offer another idea however, why dont we have stricter food regulations and maby re-formulate some of the ways we make food so that its healthy for us.

Maby also spend more on school sports and after school activitys?

Pull soda machines from schools, they have already done this in the state i live.

oh whats that none of these really make money to buy your mansions and mercedes? they must be bad ideas then.

Congratulations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27953809)

Now you can have fat kids and less money.

What the hell is going on in New York lately? I just read you folks are going to start charging people who live in homeless shelters.

Total BS (3, Insightful)

molex333 (1230136) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953825)

None of these things make people fat! Parents let their kids get fat. When I was young, I had a Nintendo and Gameboy and plenty of videos and TV to watch, but my Mother wouldn't let me sit on my ass and watch them all day. She made all of her children go outside. If we were bored, she gave us yard work and/or other chores to do! The children today aren't going to get less fat if they tax this stuff because people will keep buying it (look at cigarettes, we know that they will give you cancer and they tax the hell out of it, almost $8.00 a pack in NY, but millions of people buy them every day). If you want to stop kids from being fat do something to get the parents involved. Start making your kids play outside!!!!

Re:Total BS (1)

Sir Lollerskates (1446145) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954027)

A lot of parents would argue that it's safer to have a fat, unhealthy, indoors kid than it is to have one that plays outside. Most would probably pay the tax and not reduce the consumption for the privilege of not putting their children at risk... or something.

Funny this should come out... (3, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953833)

when I just read this article [scientificamerican.com] linked from the main page.

Judging by a large portion of the people I work with, and the cruft found between their keyboards when they whine their keys aren't working correctly, I'd say the study is spot on.

doesn't seem very principled (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953877)

If you're against sedentary activities in general, the list is surely much longer than videogames and DVDs. How about, say, books? Or televisions? Or board games?

I can't spend all of my time working out (2, Insightful)

aePrime (469226) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953879)

I'm a marathoner who spends quite a bit of time playing video games.

Do I get a tax deduction for the hours I spend running?

How about this (1)

Ziggy2k8 (1406541) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953923)

Instead of taxing the items, each child is weighed and then the parents have to pay for each pound above an "ideal" weight. To keep it fair the parents of underweight children should also be forced to pay, as this is also unhealthy. If govt decides the coffers are still lean then have a mid-year weigh in to get more cash.

I bought a PlayStation2... (1)

archer, the (887288) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953981)

for purposes of weight loss. I put it (and a tv) in front of a stationary bike. I'm 60% of the way towards my weight loss goal. I wouldn't be nearly this far without it. Playing Baldur's Gate or Fallout is *much* more fun than riding the bike alone. I actually have to force myself to get off the bike & stop playing.

Why tax the source? (2, Insightful)

EvilToiletPaper (1226390) | more than 4 years ago | (#27953993)

Why the 'ef is the city taxing these things that *fit* folks also enjoy.

I enjoy Video games, watching DVD's and the occasional 2^32 calorie baconator sandwich. I also work out with weights 4 days a week and try to squeeze in some cardio on the weekends. I work hard to keep myself in shape, why the heck should I be paying these dumb taxes just because the city decided to play nanny to some obviously retarded morons..

This reeks of the typical lawyer 'shift the blame' mentality. Tax the fat fucking folks not the source of their fat, charge them double on Airplanes and subways, the assholes take up 2.5 seats each, tax them for treating walkways like amusement park rides, tax them for holding up pedestrian traffic, No more disabled parking stickers for fat retards, let them walk and burn it off.

Make an exception in case of folks that can't help it e.g. thyroid disorders but all the other morons stuffing themselves with Big Mac's all day long, teach them a lesson. the Japanese way sounds pretty good..

Absurd - Every Bit Of It. (4, Insightful)

blcamp (211756) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954043)

I'm not a nutritionist, nor play one on TV, but I can make the argument that one can of Coke every day does *not* make a person overweight, while eating too much broccoli *will*.

The point: this is not about nutrition or health, but rather, about the government finding *any excuse it can* to extract more and more money from the pockets of it's citizenry... while at the same time imposing more and more of it's will on them.

A day will come... sooner than the busybody pointy-head academics, power hungry Congressional thugs, and greedy special-interest lobbyists think... when those of us peasants who continuously get ravaged by out of control lawmakers, have finally had enough... and we begin reaching for our pitchforks.

It's about time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27954065)

If you'

No need for tax (2, Insightful)

aaandre (526056) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954091)

Just stop subsidizing corn and corn syrup, and establish something like the FDA, but functioning.

I bet a lot of us are/were pretty damn fat. (2, Interesting)

KefabiMe (730997) | more than 4 years ago | (#27954093)

Growing up, and trying to deal with my diet, I realized at some point that all these drive-throughs kill people. You can't live off of McDonalds. If you ate Burger King for every meal you would die. Yet this food is marketed more, cheaper than, and more convenient than going to the grocery store. Going to the grocery store to pick up some fruit takes longer and costs more than stopping by Del Taco. Something is wrong here.

(To you people who can't live without your fast food, I just say this as someone who struggled with obesity, you diet is a huge part of your health. It's not easy. Going to drive throughs too often KILLS YOU.)

I've thought about this and similar subjects a lot (such as smoking cigarettes) and I think society has the following options.

  1. Let fat people (or smokers or whatever) just have a worse quality of life than everyone else. Bad habits will most likely be passed on down to their children. Here we blame the fat kid with fat parents for being fat. Hopefully the fat kid learns some will power when he grows up, because he sure won't learn it from his parents.
  2. Ban cigarettes and food not passing "nutritional requirements" completely. This is the fascist option. This removes the requirement for thought from the population.
  3. We take steps to encourage citizens to be healthier. I prefer ongoing education over generations in the hope that eating fatty fast food becomes a rarity in culture. If options 1 and 2 are the extreme responses to an unhealthy population, this option is the middle ground. We already sin tax cigarettes. Heart Disease is America's top killer right now, and it is natural for the government to try to think of ways to combat that.

Re: Fat Tax. It doesn't sit well with me. However, I admit that this tax will affect some people who might get something from the grocery store instead of ordering Pizza. It will make fat food cost more than healthy food. (I almost like this tax for this reason alone.)

After thinking about it, I realized I wasn't so against a fat tax as I thought I was. But damn, if you're gonna make a fat tax then lower some other goddamn taxes! Make my fucking carrots and apples and oranges tax free! (Oh god... who gets to decide what food is "healthy" and what food is "unhealthy"?)

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