I love Laura Ingraham so am surprised to find myself disagreeing with her on an important topic. On her website, Laura endorsed the Arizona initiative to levy a tax on smokers and obese people. The tax is ostensibly aimed at helping to defray healthcare costs.
Laura tries to lay out a solid argument about taxing smokers by saying “If there is no penalty for increasing costs for a service that you use, but others pay for, what is the incentive to live a healthy lifestyle? There isn’t one.” Except that there sort of is a built-in incentive to living a healthy lifestyle-if you don’t want to die early or in pain, one should make healthy decisions.
To me, that’s a pretty big incentive!
The problem is that humans simply don’t always make the best decisions for themselves. And no government program should or can change that.
I was even more disturbed by her seeming acceptance of a tax on obese people. Unlike tobacco products, many individuals don’t choose a life of obesity. People don’t simply pull out their fat suit each morning and put it on.
Obesity is an extremely complex issue. Yes, some people are fat because of the bad decisions they make, there are a universe of reasons a person might be obese-genetics, race, certain medical conditions; even some medications can cause great weight gain.
And let’s not forget just how the “obese” label is applied. Currently, a doctor determines your weight category by measuring your body mass index, or BMI, which most doctors and nutritionists agree is no measure of a person’s health. And let’s take a look at who fits into the obese category: Mel Gibson, Matt LeBlanc, The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone. The mere overweight include: Nic Cage, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Tom Brady, and President G.W. Bush.
So, I still love Laura but I sincerely hope she takes another look at this issue.