July 19 2012
Vicki E. Alger
Obesity has now surpassed smoking and alcohol consumption as public enemy number one, according to a new Gallup Poll. Fully 81 percent of Americans now say being overweight is an "extremely" or "very serious" societal problem, compared to 67 percent who say the same of smoking, and the 47 percent who point to alcohol. More troubling is that 57 percent of Americans polled say it’s the federal government’s job to address obesity and its associated health risks.
Talk about the blind leading the blind—or in this case, the big leading the allegedly big. Here are some eye-, or should I say, button-popping statistics based on information from the Cato Institute:
116 percent—the growth in the number of federal subsidies from 1970 to 2012 (Slide 6 here)
111 percent—the growth in federal spending from 2000 to 2012 (Slide 1 here)
400+ —the number of federal subsidies administered by the Health and Human Services Department (Slide 6 here)
$7,500—the approximate federal spending amount per household just to prop up the Health and Human Services Department (Slide 2 here)
$350 billion-- Health and Human Services Department’s aid to the states in 2011 alone (Slide 5 here)
With all this spending we need to ask: Is government really better at running our lives than we are? I have a hard time believing that most Americans truly think so. But based on surveys like this one, though, it seems some Americans are far too comfortable with the idea of government running other people’s lives.
Anyone tempted to think that way should consider how willing they’d be to pay for an expensive but chubby personal trainer for themselves or someone else. Along the same lines, anyone willing to turn loose a big, bloated government on someone else should be prepared to have that same government come lumbering after them some day soon.