If no fat tax, then what about taxing parents of obese kids?
There’s a reason the fat tax story won’t die.
For every detractor that points out the idea’s a little totalitarian – “Where does it end?” wrote one commenter when MSN floated the idea back in 2009. “Should people who engage in activities such as sky diving or riding motorcycles pay a danger tax? Should people who have sex with more than one partner pay an STD tax?” – there’s someone, anyone, that suggests it’s not as hypocritical as you might think.
“I’m a smoker and have been taxed a lot with the so-called sin tax,” replied another reader. “We are told that it’s because we cost the system more. I don’t see the diference (sic) from taxing a smoker or taxing the fat. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
So as we continue to kick around variations of the proposal (a soda tax was another manifestation), it’s becoming clear there’s enough interest from at least one side of the debate to keep things going.
The latest incarnation? A fat tax not against foods or sodas or muffins, but against parents of obese children.
Though he’s since distanced himself from his remarks, Illinois Republican Senator Shane Cultra caused quite a stir this month in suggesting a bill that would take state tax deductions away from parents with fat kids. (In Illinois, parents receive a standard tax deduction of $2,000 annually.)
After Rush Limbaugh, the New York Times and even the U.K.’s Daily Mail caught wind of the story, Cultra backed off his proposal. But you have to admit, if anyone would even think to entertain a fat tax, penalizing parents for raising obese children – or, rather, rewarding them for instilling health lifestyles upon their kids – certainly falls in line with the overarching theory.
What do you think? If a fat tax wouldn’t work, would punishing parents for raising overweight children change things?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
*Follow Jason on Twitter here.
Posted by: D | May 19, 2021 9:25:45 AM
Haha.....ok, this logic seems a little simplified maybe. Where do we draw the line? Perhaps we should go all out and allow only responsible people to have children in the first place?
Posted by: Eric | May 19, 2021 11:01:52 AM
Another option is to introduce a tax credit against gym membership.
Which is based on the amount a person is overweight.
100% overweight – cover full gym membership
50% overweight covers 50% of the membership price.
Encouraging people to become more active and healthier, works better than the attempting to punish them. Attacking overweight people will not help solve the issue and will only make them feel victimised and marginalised. Both of with will normally cause the person to eat more.
Therefore, we have to decide if we really want to help and solve this problem or sit back and smugly criticize and punish anyone who does not conform.
Posted by: John Gaul | May 19, 2021 12:57:21 PM
Just plain wrong. Our failure to adequately regulate the food industry is the major reason why kids are fat. They have marketed high sodium, sugar and fat foods to children. They have marketed fast food restaurants to children and their parents. They have created a huge number of food additives some of which are suspected of increasing appetite. Marketers have implanted convenience as a major value. So physical effort is eliminated in day to day life. Fewer calories burned while more consumed.
Most parents do not have the time to become food experts. Government however can take the time and with adequate resources do research that would lead to better diets if they had the courage to regulate to bring them into being.
The complexity of the modern world cries out for regulation. The consumer whether of food or any other product simply does not have the time or expertise to make reasonable decisions in the face of outright lies and deceptions by marketers. Parent consumers are at the same disadvantage. They are victims along with their children. The people that should suffer punitive taxes are the food corporations and the marketers that serve their interest.
Posted by: Khrum | May 19, 2021 12:57:47 PM
Stupid to go after the people period.
Why not going after the Companies who make that crap in the first place.
Arent they the one pushing advertising to confuse people with hidden messages in them?
They do everything possible to bring chaos in familys.
Junk food is cheaper then what we really need to be healthty so go after the Companie.
You blame smoking cigarettes for lots of crap but what you dont realise is the fact that many none smokers use Marijuana and this is compile in the wrong survey.
People weak up our suppose ELITES are the worst exemple for the regular person.
How many people can afford Sirloin steaks?Not many since the price is so high but the rich can so why not double the price so regular meat can be affordable to all.
Time to make Food Companies responsable for their actions.
They do so much wrong they need to pay for it.
With all those over price items no wonder kids eat junks foods.
Why does a managers needs to make Millions a year while so many suffers?
Time for changes and seems it wont happen untill people start to work together and boycut many product make them suffer where it hurts.Their revenues.
All you see is companies taking over each others so they can inflates prices under the pretention its all about prifits.Bullshit its all about control and fixing prices.
Just look at the chocolate makers who got cut in fixing their goods prices.And all they get is a slap on the hand with dont do it again.
Well to me our ELITES are the worst in this world.
Looks like EDUCATION is the key to be the best CROOK.
Posted by: Elis | May 19, 2021 1:37:32 PM
You dont tax people cuz ther fat thats rong the goverment is just trying to get money out of fat people just like everyone else
Posted by: Ron Joseph | May 19, 2021 3:08:38 PM
Tax, Tax. Tax. just like people with Hummers, F-350's, Ram3500's and jeeps, Suv's etc. you pay more because you use more of the already taxed to the hilt commodity. So you pay more if you eat more junk food. Where you should pay more is on your health care premium, ie, if you are 50% overweight then you pay whatever health risk % more that you are at risk. Keep the tax in the area where it belongs.
Saying that my occassional sirloin burger, bucket of deep fried chiken(yummmmmm!!!!!) or double scoop ice cream cone should cost more because someone else can't resist eating that stuff everyday is rediculous. You could gain weight on a so called 'healthy" diet by just eating a lot more of that so called 'healthy' stuff too. Try pounding cheese, eggs, pork cutlets, T-bones and several loaves of bread into yourself evey week. To top it all off wash it down with fruit juice and 2 or 3% Homogenized milik! See what you gain after just one week of that regime!
Posted by: healthy mom | May 19, 2021 3:39:10 PM
Raise the tax on junk food, just like the tax on cig's are high. Eating healthy is NOT rocket science - fresh fruit and veg, whole grains and PORTION CONTROL people! This isn't the food industries fault - stop buying and eating crap and they will have no incentive to make it! Think about it... for a snack, an apple or a banana costs what... maybe $0.50? Do people eat that - no - they go to a vending machine and buy crap for $2 then complain they can't afford to eat properly - no logic! I can make a healthy nutritious meal for a family of 5 with regular grocery store ingredients (frozen veg - as good as or maybe even better than fresh) for $2/head. Can't get a Mc Crappy burger for that!
Posted by: lee | May 19, 2021 3:47:44 PM
I think they should tax the hell out of junk food, just like cigarettes. That way the healthy food will be the more affordable food. (though it's a completely different argument, healthy food is actually cheaper than junk food. I'm totally poor, but I can afford fruits and vegetable but I can't afford to go to mcdonalds. You don't need to eat as much when you have healthy food around either, another reason why it's cheaper)
The FDA should also start doing the job they were created for and actually regulate the things that are put in food. Keep the addictive stuff out, control the chemicals and preservatives that are found in foods.
You can't tax parents for obese children, really, who is going to go around and keep an eye one each family to see if the children are obese anyway. You can tax food that falls under a specific category such as comparing it's caloric, fat and sugar count per serving with the nutritional value it can provide. Therefore you tax soda more because it has a high sugar content and no nutritional value vs. taxing cheese less because it has a high fat content but does provide nutritional benefits.
The reason all this is coming up is because people apparently cannot take care of themselves so government is trying to give incentives for them to get off their butt and change. Their ideas aren't always great and yes, they get financial benefit. But really, a lot of people are fat and lazy and causing a stress on health care. If people were smart enough to take care of themselves and their children properly, this wouldn't even be an issue
Posted by: Jon Rogers | May 19, 2021 4:15:53 PM
I say we should tax junk food and restaurants. Taxing a person just because they're obese is discrimination. Tax the sourse of obesity (Unhealthy food).
Posted by: Bernadette | May 19, 2021 4:35:26 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of subsidizing gymn memberships, particularly for people who cannot afford it, such as the unemployed. Taxing junk food is also a great idea. But taxing the overweight is extremely unfair. There are sometimes reasons for being obese other than lack of willpower! Pituitary or thyroid problems, for example, or side effects of medications. Following a cardiac event, I had to go on medication which I will have to take for the rest of my life in order to live, and the most common side effect is substantial weight gain. People who are unemployed may know a great deal about nutrition and have all the willpower in the world, but if they're forced to use food banks to survive, they get given a lot of pasta, peanut butter and sugary cereals, not spinach and dried beans. I should know - even with 4 university degrees, 3 of them at the Master's level, I have been unemployed for 4 years now, and have had to rely on food banks for the last 2. If I had a decent job I would be at the gym every day and my fridge would be filled with fruits and veggies and fresh salmon. As it is, I can't afford a gym membership, my diet is way higher in starch and fat than I would choose, and so my health gets progressively worse, my weight goes up (and therefore my chances of obtaining and keeping the kind of job my education should garner become increasingly remote). And frankly, I really resent being characterized as lazy and having no self control because current economic conditions leave the well educated virtually unemployable! Perhaps before issuing blanket condemnation and scorn on a whole class of people, it would be wise to do enough research to have some idea what you are talking about.
Posted by: james | May 19, 2021 7:13:36 PM
There are many options. But I would try to simplify down to three, 1) tax credit for entering in a medical supervised health monitoring program with rewards based on achieving ideal body mass and getting a complete physical once per year, 2) federal transfer payments to provinces who implement a sound food program for P to 12 schools where junk food was banned and gym membership was complusorary at the schools, and 3) a tax levy against junk food resturants where if a certain portion of canada food guide content was not actually sold (say 35%), the resturants would pay an increase tax.
Posted by: Rob | May 20, 2021 12:01:12 AM
Hi - strange tax law...how about taxing the internet, video game manufacturers, or producers of any other thing that keeps our kids from going outside and exercising? It's dumb. Our lifestyles have changed due to growing technology and nothing else is changing with it.
And to all who commented that eating healthy food is cheap, pull your head out of the sand. Although I agree that fast food is expensive and totally bad for you, buying groceries for a family of 4 to live a healthly lifestyle is far more expensive than you think. I'm not talking about buying a bag of apples or oranges, I'm talking about eating nothing but healthy food...grocery stores do sell food that is better for you, but it is more expensive....how about we make it cheaper, or maybe give a huge tax credit to familys that sustain a healthy lifestyle? Make it worth while!! We're quick enough to place blame, but we don't do enough to encourage people to change.
Posted by: Geoff | May 25, 2021 12:55:49 AM
Obese people actually cost less to the healthcare system, as they typical die earlier and suffer more catastophic health failures. Thinner people generally live longer, but when they start using the health care system at older ages, the present with more chronic, and typically, more expensive illnessess. Since the article is debating taxing 'users' of the system, go after the people who use it most: Old people. We should tax the hell out of Buicks, white shoes, brycream, geritol, lemons, pie, buffet dinners before 4pm, rambling stories that don't have a point, etc etc. What a ridiculous article.
Posted by: Kevin | May 25, 2021 1:05:55 AM
People are suffering enough as it is. Taking away people's money (i.e. taxing them) only makes making ends meet more difficult. Making working out affordable would be a more positive step - say a tax credit for time spent at the gym, especially if it's consistent. I lost 14 lbs of fat and gained 12 lbs of muscle 7 years ago and have been losing weight ever since. "No food tastes as great as slim feels" - a quote from Weight Watchers. The feeling of being slim is a very big reward in and of itself.
Posted by: kelly | May 25, 2021 2:05:18 AM
No one needs a gym membership to work out and exercise to stay healthy. Go outside, for a walk, each day, eventually you can go for short runs, and then long runs and your body will be in great shape. Do some in-home crunches and squats, or punching... No time? How long does it take to drive to the gym, park, sign in, change, work out, shower, change, sign out, and drive home?? More. Much more time. Better yet, take a walk each day to the farmers market and buy the daily food and walk home! The best of both worlds. Oh, and hey, unplug the X-box and take your kids with you.
Posted by: Elizabeth Stanley | May 25, 2021 3:54:22 AM
I believe that taxing supposed "junk foods" (unless you propose taxing MacDonalds) and taxing "parents of obese children" is not feesable considering that people who live below or at the poverty line, are unable to buy the more "healthy foods" or put there children into extracurricular programs, such as sports, gym memberships etc., so it could potentially add to the problem not fix the problem. Also pushing people farther below the poverty line. Also people spend so much time working just to make ends meet, that preparing "healthy fresh meals" becomes difficult, and "so called quick meals, frozen dinners that claim to be healthy, but in truth are loaded with salt and perservatives", Society in general needs to work towards changing our lifestyle habits, through educating our children at early ages and revamping our entire food industry. However this could unfortunately take generations to accomplish, considering that most people are not even aware these problems exist. Its easy to propose such simple suggestions as above, but much harder to implement!
Posted by: John | May 25, 2021 7:01:06 AM
First and foremost i agree with several other commenters that taxing the companies that wish to sell the sub standard food products at a higher rate to get them in line first. secondly with smokers crying about their habit being taxed take into consideration everyone needs food, no one needs tobacco or alcohol products daily.
Posted by: colleen | May 25, 2021 7:18:07 AM
Hi what do you do in the sense of two kids I am an obese mother of two boys! One 15 and 200 lbs and the other a heathly active 6 year old! Both my boys have a form of autism and well I strive to get my older son to be more active I tell him all the time he doesn't wnt to be big like me it's not easy! My older son is a very fusy eater where my younger son is a way better heathly eater. I myself have IBS have had been diagnosed with that condition since I was 24 and I stay away from most junk food. I was told not to eat chocolate, pop etc. They can irrate the bowel and cause more diarrhea and so I do as I am told. I don't eat hardly any vegtables because I get very sick after eating them. I think it's sad to blame parents not every parent wants there kids to be unhealthy. I tell my son every day go for a walk with me but I think computers and technology are to blame not parents. Computers make us sit and play or sit and talk. I am even less active so it's time for a change. I grew up obese and my mom couldn't afford vegtables everyday of fancy foods or gym memberships it sad. really really sad. It always come down to the parents fault. If parents are at fault then so is half of our food suppliers and companys that make food because alot of them are high in sodium and who knows what else that are not good for us or our children. I wish people would grow up. Should we tax lasy people. should we tax anorexic people, should we take people with more money, should we tax people who are poor. What is this world coming too. People are suffering enough as it is. Taking away people's money by taxing more only makes making ends meet more difficult it is not going to solve the problem. What if a parent doewsn't know how to cook, or have even the basic training.
Posted by: betty | May 25, 2021 7:54:14 AM
I am overweight too. I have diabetes and other health problems. I was doing just fine for years and suddenly after the birth of one of my children, I just ballooned. I think that was the start of the diabetic thing. EVERYTHING I ate turned to fat, and I was eating the right things and in small portions. Because of diseases like this, it is really difficult for some people to stay slim. I am presently trying very hard for weight control, and have lost a massive amount of weight in the last few years, but I have had to fight like crazy to keep that control. I used to weigh myself every day and sometimes several times a day, and when I started to gain weight, could not understand why that was happening. We need to know just what causes the diabetic thing as I feel this is at the root of my problem and for others too no doubt.
As for taxing people for being fat, that's ridiculous. I think there is already much too much government control on people's lives and pocketbooks.
Posted by: Hells_partsman | May 26, 2021 11:26:15 AM
The whole problem with this issue is no one is sure of the cause some people say food it's the food industry fault; some say it's all the modern conveniences (drive thru, remote controls, boxed meals). It would seem that in trying to make our lives easier we have put our health at risk. yet to solve this problem we have at least marginal support to a politician that thinks a problem would be solved if you just throw money at it.
You want to make obesity stop living lazy; if the government has to tell you to do something that's being lazy. if you order you order your groceries thourgh the internet you might as well be in a coma.
Apply this formula to yourself: amount of food consumed - time not sitting or sleeping . now apply this formula to your parents and grandparents you'll find that both terms in the formula increase as the generation gets younger.