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Food Safety Bill





jwellsy
Bake sales, farmer's markets and home gardens are now being threatened at a cost of 1.4B of additional debt.

Quote:
Food safety bill passed by Senate
Measure will increase fed control over food safety, recalls
Dec 7, 2010
DVM NEWSMAGAZINE



Washington -- Increased food plant inspections and more government authority in food-recall cases are on their way with passage of the long-awaited federal food safety bill by the Senate Nov. 30.

Senate Bill 510, also known as the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act, was passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Nov. 18 by a unanimous bipartisan vote and by the full Senate by a 73-25 vote nov. 30. The House passed the bill by a 283-142 vote in July 2009.

The $1.4 billion bill will amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to regulate food. What does this mean for veterinarians? It is aimed at making greater attempts to prevent food-borne illnesses from reaching the dinner table by requiring food-processing plants to conduct inspections with greater thoroughness and frequency. Food facilities that are suspected to be causing adverse health conditions to humans or animals could have their registrations suspended under the new bill.

The bill also directs the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) and the Agriculture Department to develop a joint national plan called the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy to improve safety and prevent food-supply problems. HHS would have more authority to order recalls of food suspected of being tainted, and food processors would have more strict requirements on record keeping for preventative controls and performance monitoring.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) supports the food-safety bill as being in line with its own Food Safety Policy, but is concerned about a provision in the bill concerning accreditation.

“It is the AVMA’s opinion that accreditation of accrediting bodies should remain with the independence third-party system currently utilized and that third-party accrediting bodies should be able to accredit foreign laboratories,” AVMA says in its official position on the bill. However, “the AVMA recognizes that much progress has already been made towards an integrated consortium of laboratory networks and a food defense strategy and believes that provisions in SB 510 would enhance implementation of these concepts and possibly provide additional funding for these efforts.”

The road to passage already has been long for the bill, which initially was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in March 2009.

http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/Veterinary+news/Food-safety-bill-passed-by-Senate/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/699056?contextCategoryId=378
ocalhoun
jwellsy wrote:
Bake sales, [...] are now being threatened

Quote:
cost of 1.4B of additional debt.

Not that we're trying to put a slant on it or anything. ^.^
deanhills
Would be wonderful if they could start legislation to recall fast foods like MacDonald hamburgers and Kentucky Fried Chicken. That stuff has to be hazardous for human health and not fit for human consumption. Wonder whether there has been research studies linking consumption of MacDonald hamburgers to chronic diseases.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Would be wonderful if they could start legislation to recall fast foods like MacDonald hamburgers and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Really? Would it?
Somehow, I don't think that the government mandating what you can and can't eat is a good idea...

The government's job in this situation should end at informing consumers about the hazards, then letting them choose for themselves.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Would be wonderful if they could start legislation to recall fast foods like MacDonald hamburgers and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Really? Would it?
Somehow, I don't think that the government mandating what you can and can't eat is a good idea...

The government's job in this situation should end at informing consumers about the hazards, then letting them choose for themselves.
Well, then by the same token there should not be a Food Safety Bill. As there are so many toxins and ingredients in those Fast Foods, burgers, Chinese take aways, processed foods either frozen or available on the shelf that are more than unsafe for human consumption. That can really hurt people.

I thought this was a good eye opener of the ingredients in a MacDonalds Burger for example:
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Well, then by the same token there should not be a Food Safety Bill. As there are so many toxins and ingredients in those Fast Foods, burgers, Chinese take aways, processed foods either frozen or available on the shelf that are more than unsafe for human consumption. That can really hurt people.


In the case of contaminated and/or adulterated food, that's already within the jurisdiction of the FDA.
If a business is selling truly poisonous food products, and not making it abundantly clear that they are doing so, then yes, the FDA (or local health inspectors) should shut them down.

But for any product that is safe when consumed in moderation, the government's job should end with making sure the public is informed, and has alternatives. If this means requiring big warning labels on every menu, that's fine... It would even be acceptable to put an age limit on it, like with cigarettes. But the people should still have the freedom to eat what they choose, even if it is unhealthy when eaten in large amounts.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
But for any product that is safe when consumed in moderation, the government's job should end with making sure the public is informed, and has alternatives. If this means requiring big warning labels on every menu, that's fine... It would even be acceptable to put an age limit on it, like with cigarettes. But the people should still have the freedom to eat what they choose, even if it is unhealthy when eaten in large amounts.
I have mixed feelings about this. As yes, I agree with you, we always need to have a freedom to choose. But then on the other hand foods that are consumed in abundance like Kentucky Fried Chicken and MacDonald burgers don't kill outright on the spot. They have a long term accumulating affect of creating real bad health. For some people burgers are even addictive creating obesity and through obesity other chronic diseases. For those people with a healthy metabolism etc. the occational burger is probably OK. They burn all of it off, including the chemicals in it and are able to eat it in moderation. But some people are unsafe and are bound to end up in the medical system.

Think all one can hope for is that people will eventually wise up to the dangers of overconsumption of burgers and demanding fast food that contains fresh ingredients. The MacDonalds will have to wise up to the demand. That is probably the only way that it will change in the end. Through plenty of health education.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
But some people are unsafe and are bound to end up in the medical system.

Indeed they will, just as some people continue to smoke lots of cigarettes despite knowing that they're bad for you.

Who are we to say they made the wrong choice though? Perhaps they enjoy it.

It's just yet another choice between freedom and security.
You can choose the security of having the government prevent you from eating dangerous things.
Or, you can choose the freedom to eat what you want.
... People choosing the former option are the reason the 'nanny state' phenomenon is growing.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
But some people are unsafe and are bound to end up in the medical system.

Indeed they will, just as some people continue to smoke lots of cigarettes despite knowing that they're bad for you.

Who are we to say they made the wrong choice though? Perhaps they enjoy it.

It's just yet another choice between freedom and security.
You can choose the security of having the government prevent you from eating dangerous things.
Or, you can choose the freedom to eat what you want.
... People choosing the former option are the reason the 'nanny state' phenomenon is growing.
Well perhaps while medical care may still be affordable, this could be OK, but as the people are getting less and less healthy because of poor food (and other life style) choices, the Government may have to think of interventions. People may become more and more unhappy when they have to contribute to a medical system when they are healthy, however others are putting a burden on the system when they are making lifestyle choices that may lead to chronic diseases.
Afaceinthematrix
I have the exact same view on banning fast food as I do on banning drugs and basically anything else that doesn't cause harm to anyone other than the user. That view is that government bans are unconstitutional and a direct restriction of freedom.

The government has absolutely no business butting in the personal lives of citizens that you shouldn't be able to press your beliefs onto others. If you don't like fast food, drugs, or whatever, then do not use them! But if you're going to try and stop me from using it on the basis that you don't like it, then you're just being a bossy little jerk.

I don't eat that fast food crap and I don't really intend on eating it. But if you like it, then eat as much as you want. I will probably at some point tell you that you should stop but I'm not going to try and force you to. If you like it, then use it at your discretion. I am for freedom and against all restriction of freedom.
jmi256
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I have the exact same view on banning fast food as I do on banning drugs and basically anything else that doesn't cause harm to anyone other than the user. That view is that government bans are unconstitutional and a direct restriction of freedom.

The government has absolutely no business butting in the personal lives of citizens that you shouldn't be able to press your beliefs onto others. If you don't like fast food, drugs, or whatever, then do not use them! But if you're going to try and stop me from using it on the basis that you don't like it, then you're just being a bossy little jerk.

I don't eat that fast food crap and I don't really intend on eating it. But if you like it, then eat as much as you want. I will probably at some point tell you that you should stop but I'm not going to try and force you to. If you like it, then use it at your discretion. I am for freedom and against all restriction of freedom.


And what do you think happens when your enjoyment of a nice burger or fries, or whatever means that others *might* see increased healthcare costs down the road? “Having it your way” will mean having it whatever way the people in Washington say you can have it.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Well perhaps while medical care may still be affordable, this could be OK, but as the people are getting less and less healthy because of poor food (and other life style) choices, the Government may have to think of interventions. People may become more and more unhappy when they have to contribute to a medical system when they are healthy, however others are putting a burden on the system when they are making lifestyle choices that may lead to chronic diseases.


jmi256 wrote:

And what do you think happens when your enjoyment of a nice burger or fries, or whatever means that others *might* see increased healthcare costs down the road?


Ah, the collective medical argument rears its ugly head once more...

With personal freedom comes personal responsibility.
Any medical system that redistributes costs (responsibility) will therefore be opposed to such freedoms.

Why was I against the health-care legislation to begin with? Arguments exactly like these.
I want to stop and reverse this inevitable creeping of the government into people's lives; every time you give it the power to do one thing, it means the government will require the power to do another, and so on.
Somewhere, we have to draw a line in the sand and say "This is NOT the government's responsibility; it's MINE." ...Or, you could just wait for -- and presumably enjoy -- the inevitable dystopic autocracy.
deanhills
My argument had more to do with the topic of the discussion. I.e. if you want to legislate safety of food in the interest of public health, then you have to go the whole nine yards in this. Either that or scrap all legislation. Food that in the short term may have the appearance of being safe, may not be safe in the long term. Fast Food such as Burgers is very cheap and easy, and also easy to get addicted to. If consumed every day for say a month, it can be harmful for health. Ditto sodas such as coke etc. I notice for example that MacDonalds is heavy on marketing breakfast food. The idea is for people to make MacDonalds their breakfast meal and a large number of people do just that on a daily basis. Given that they are consuming it in large quantities the ingredients would be harmful to them on an accumulative basis, whereas of course the safety of the burger is usually measured on the basis of only one burger at a time.

One thing I do like in legislation is where food manufacturers are forced to label all the ingredients in their products, I wish that they could list those ingredients that are harmful for health separately and in red. Also that people are given full information of the harmful effect of consuming those ingredients on a regular basis.
coolclay
While in college in Maine I was very active politically. There was a bill that was written that would have labeled, not banned or restricted or anything of that sort, just labeled all foods with the actual ingredients, and whether or not it contained genetically modified organisms.

75% of people in Maine supported it, but lobbyists came from Monsanto and other industrial farming groups and poured several million dollars into the state, and magically it didn't pass by just a few votes. Similar labeling bills have gone through several states and they all get shot down because of similar tactics.

All because they are afraid if people actually find out what is in the food we eat we won't eat it any longer. I don't think we should ban foods, the free market will take care of that by itself if consumers actually were aware of what they are consuming (which isn't the case).

I've seen the old sickly half dead dairy cattle that get sent to auctions and sold to McDonalds, TacoBell and the like and you couldn't pay me to eat meat from a fast food joint. That's one of the fortunate things growing up in the country, you see things that 99% of the population don't, and it just makes one sick.
jmi256
Here in New York City, the City government tried to do something similar in which restaurants with over a certain $$ in revenue, number of customers or chains over a certain number of restaurants were required to post the number of calories in their menu each item contained. The idea was that if people knew how many calories an item contained, they would make better decisions. Of course the larger chains simply split up operations into smaller parts to avoid the regulation (for example Houston’s split out Hillstone, which don’t include the calories in their menus). The smaller mom and pop-type places of course couldn’t afford to rebrand, but were forced to incur the costs of testing all their food for calorie counts and reprinting signage and menus thanks to the new regulations. The result, however, was that consumers ended up increasing their calorie intake! They decided that items with more calories were a better value than items with fewer, and therefore the new regulations promoted worse food choices. The funniest thing was when the results/scorecards came out. Liberals just couldn’t wrap their mind around the fact that people would not be forced to make the decisions they were trying them to make. They just couldn’t understand that sometimes someone wants a slice of pizza instead of a salad.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
One thing I do like in legislation is where food manufacturers are forced to label all the ingredients in their products, I wish that they could list those ingredients that are harmful for health separately and in red. Also that people are given full information of the harmful effect of consuming those ingredients on a regular basis.


Now this is within the government's legitimate responsibility.
If the restaurants/food chains were required to conspicuously print,
Quote:

Contains
XXXXX
XXXXXxXX (Causes 15% increased risk of heart attack, 10% higher risk of stroke.)
XXXX
XXXXXX
XXXXXXXx
XXX
XXXXXXX (Has been shown to cause cancer in lab rats.)

Then consumers would start to avoid buying such things... which in turn would cause the stores to stop selling such things.
Heck, many restaurants would stop selling such things as soon as the legislation requiring labeling passed, in order to avoid ever having a sign in their place describing how harmful their food is.

You get the same effect (protecting consumers from harmful food), but you do so with a lighter touch.


*edit*
Of course, as coolclay points out, we can't have such things, largely because of lobbying from interest groups. That's why we can't have nice things, America. First and foremost, the corruption needs to be rooted out before any significantly good changes can by made in any field.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
First and foremost, the corruption needs to be rooted out before any significantly good changes can by made in any field.
TOTALLY agreed! As well as a new political system where beneficiary politicians do not have to toe the line of those large food companies that contribute to their election campaigns.
jmi256
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
One thing I do like in legislation is where food manufacturers are forced to label all the ingredients in their products, I wish that they could list those ingredients that are harmful for health separately and in red. Also that people are given full information of the harmful effect of consuming those ingredients on a regular basis.


Now this is within the government's legitimate responsibility.
If the restaurants/food chains were required to conspicuously print,
Quote:

Contains
XXXXX
XXXXXxXX (Causes 15% increased risk of heart attack, 10% higher risk of stroke.)
XXXX
XXXXXX
XXXXXXXx
XXX
XXXXXXX (Has been shown to cause cancer in lab rats.)

Then consumers would start to avoid buying such things... which in turn would cause the stores to stop selling such things.
Heck, many restaurants would stop selling such things as soon as the legislation requiring labeling passed, in order to avoid ever having a sign in their place describing how harmful their food is.

You get the same effect (protecting consumers from harmful food), but you do so with a lighter touch.


*edit*
Of course, as coolclay points out, we can't have such things, largely because of lobbying from interest groups. That's why we can't have nice things, America. First and foremost, the corruption needs to be rooted out before any significantly good changes can by made in any field.


How’s that worked out for cigarettes?
deanhills
coolclay wrote:
While in college in Maine I was very active politically. There was a bill that was written that would have labeled, not banned or restricted or anything of that sort, just labeled all foods with the actual ingredients, and whether or not it contained genetically modified organisms.

75% of people in Maine supported it, but lobbyists came from Monsanto and other industrial farming groups and poured several million dollars into the state, and magically it didn't pass by just a few votes. Similar labeling bills have gone through several states and they all get shot down because of similar tactics.

All because they are afraid if people actually find out what is in the food we eat we won't eat it any longer. I don't think we should ban foods, the free market will take care of that by itself if consumers actually were aware of what they are consuming (which isn't the case).

I've seen the old sickly half dead dairy cattle that get sent to auctions and sold to McDonalds, TacoBell and the like and you couldn't pay me to eat meat from a fast food joint. That's one of the fortunate things growing up in the country, you see things that 99% of the population don't, and it just makes one sick.
Good post coolclay. I saw a DVD over the summer that showed how milk cows are literally milked to death. It was an awakening education for me who used to like dairy products and thought that they were very healthy. I was unaware of the depth and extent of torture animals have to go through to provide milk, including being injected with lots of hormones and barely able to carry the milk and still being milked when they are lame. And now you have managed to provide a further insight of what happens to those poor cows when they have been milked out and are over the hill. Anyway, that Video caused me to stop consuming milk products as well as change my diet completely to vegetarian. I am not a conscious objector to eating meat etc. more concerned about the source it comes from. If I were on a farm for example where the animals are treated well and are able to graze in the field, I probably will eat meat products. Bottomline being that I have to know where the food I eat originated from.

I therefore agree completely with you that education is the key to making food decisions. And if people were aware of what goes into food, they may make different decisions. I had a rude awakening this summer when I watched that DVD.

Shocking to hear about what happened with the Food Bill in Maine. I'm just puzzled though, if 75% people supported it, and lobbyists are flown in, why did they not protest the lobbyists? Seems as though there is something really horribly wrong with how legislation is enacted?
ocalhoun
jmi256 wrote:


How’s that worked out for cigarettes?


It has worked perfectly. Everyone who smokes (and 99.9% of those who don't) knows the health risks involved.
Those who know the risks, and want to smoke anyway still can though.

Do you really want to tell people "Yes, you know the risks. No, you want to smoke anyway. Well, too bad, we know what's best for you and you don't."?
I'll reiterate it once more- that way lies dystopia.

Whenever possible, the government should allow people to make their own decisions.
(The government does have a responsibility to make sure those are informed decisions, especially when a poor decision could be harmful.)
(And when it is not socially possible to give power to the individual, the decision should be made at the lowest feasible level of government.)
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Whenever possible, the government should allow people to make their own decisions.
(The government does have a responsibility to make sure those are informed decisions, especially when a poor decision could be harmful.)
(And when it is not socially possible to give power to the individual, the decision should be made at the lowest feasible level of government.)
I agree with this. But then consequences should also include greater sanctions with regard to medical care. It is unfair that those who are making responsible decisions with regard to not smoking, should be sponsoring the medical care of those who developed a chronic disease as a direct consequence of smoking. With regard to medical insurance, there should be tests to verify that the person is not a smoker, and if the person is a smoker, this should be built into the premiums of the insurance policy. Ditto obesity. If the BMI of an obese person is in a risk category, then depending on that category, the premiums should be adjusted as well.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:
jmi256 wrote:


How’s that worked out for cigarettes?


It has worked perfectly. Everyone who smokes (and 99.9% of those who don't) knows the health risks involved.
Those who know the risks, and want to smoke anyway still can though.

Do you really want to tell people "Yes, you know the risks. No, you want to smoke anyway. Well, too bad, we know what's best for you and you don't."?
I'll reiterate it once more- that way lies dystopia.

Whenever possible, the government should allow people to make their own decisions.
(The government does have a responsibility to make sure those are informed decisions, especially when a poor decision could be harmful.)
(And when it is not socially possible to give power to the individual, the decision should be made at the lowest feasible level of government.)


Not only has it worked well for cigarettes in that way, it has also worked well in reducing the number of smokers. There has been a steady decline in the number of smokers in the developed world (and an opposite effect in the developing world where they do not have the same education and resources).

Meanwhile, marijuana (which has been made illegal), still has a large population of smokers (especially teenagers and young adults). So making it illegal obviously just fails...

The fact of the matter is that the government telling a grown adult what the can or cannot put in their own body is just immoral. I don't want the government telling me that I cannot put something (fast food, drugs, whatever) into my own body that is mine!

Quote:
Of course, as coolclay points out, we can't have such things, largely because of lobbying from interest groups. That's why we can't have nice things, America. First and foremost, the corruption needs to be rooted out before any significantly good changes can by made in any field.


Hell yes! I want a politician with balls (that's why I voted for Ron Paul). I want a politician just to come up and put up their middle finger towards all the special interests groups and just take care of business. My friends always tell me that I'd be a good politician because I do not give a crap about money (other than the money that I need to survive, and politicians make plenty) and I am highly assertive - I almost live with my middle finger raised and am a huge fan of cussing people out. Furthermore, if I say I'm going to do something - it gets done. Unfortunately, people wouldn't vote for me because I actually stand for something (unlike every other successful politician) and I will not lie to get elected.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Whenever possible, the government should allow people to make their own decisions.
(The government does have a responsibility to make sure those are informed decisions, especially when a poor decision could be harmful.)
(And when it is not socially possible to give power to the individual, the decision should be made at the lowest feasible level of government.)
I agree with this. But then consequences should also include greater sanctions with regard to medical care. It is unfair that those who are making responsible decisions with regard to not smoking, should be sponsoring the medical care of those who developed a chronic disease as a direct consequence of smoking. With regard to medical insurance, there should be tests to verify that the person is not a smoker, and if the person is a smoker, this should be built into the premiums of the insurance policy. Ditto obesity. If the BMI of an obese person is in a risk category, then depending on that category, the premiums should be adjusted as well.

Increasing the medical costs for everyone is a problem.
There are three ways you can solve it though:

A: Ban unhealthy behaviors to make everything fair.
B: Force everyone to participate in the same unhealthy behaviors, making it fair.
C: Don't share health care costs.

Given that I'm for smaller, less intrusive government, which option do you think I would choose?
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Whenever possible, the government should allow people to make their own decisions.
(The government does have a responsibility to make sure those are informed decisions, especially when a poor decision could be harmful.)
(And when it is not socially possible to give power to the individual, the decision should be made at the lowest feasible level of government.)
I agree with this. But then consequences should also include greater sanctions with regard to medical care. It is unfair that those who are making responsible decisions with regard to not smoking, should be sponsoring the medical care of those who developed a chronic disease as a direct consequence of smoking. With regard to medical insurance, there should be tests to verify that the person is not a smoker, and if the person is a smoker, this should be built into the premiums of the insurance policy. Ditto obesity. If the BMI of an obese person is in a risk category, then depending on that category, the premiums should be adjusted as well.

Increasing the medical costs for everyone is a problem.
There are three ways you can solve it though:

A: Ban unhealthy behaviors to make everything fair.
B: Force everyone to participate in the same unhealthy behaviors, making it fair.
C: Don't share health care costs.

Given that I'm for smaller, less intrusive government, which option do you think I would choose?


There is a fourth option, I think.

Tax unhealthy behaviors and apply those tax dollars to the health system. This will not completely even things out, but it will at least somewhat make it an even playing ground. Let's crunch some numbers real quick:

Cigarettes are highly taxed. In some places, they are taxed up to $2 a pack. Many smokers I know smoke a pack a day. Now you will not get lung cancer after smoking for a week. You get it after smoking for years and years. Furthermore, you lose a decade of your life.

So, if I smoke a pack a day, then I am paying $2 a day in taxes. Now let's assume that I get lung cancer after smoking for 40 years (which is a reasonable estimate). There are 365.25 days in a year (the .25 accounts for the leap year every four years). Then $2*365.25*40=$29,220.

So If I start smoking today, then I will most likely pay at least (because I will actually end up paying more due to inflation) $30,000 in extra taxes that can go directly to cover the extra health care costs.

Now what if lung cancer costs the health care system more than $30,000? Well, smoking takes a decade off of your life. Obviously, you can only lose a decade at the end of your life - when you will most likely be retired and collecting social security that is owed to you because you've been paying into it your whole working life. So smokers help reduce the social security strain in the U.S. Furthermore, smokers tend to die younger and most health care costs are spent at the end of your life from natural problems that arise as you get older. Smokers also skip many years of those health care costs.

There is one more factor to take into account. Only one out of four smokers die from smoking related diseases. Therefore, that $30,000 in extra taxes that we took into account that smokers pay really becomes $120,000 in extra smoking taxes that goes into the system since three extra people pay the taxes for every one person who needs to use the extra health care. This last part is slightly flawed because many life-long smokers do not die from smoking because they die young for other reasons (accidents and such) or they quit before the forty years that we were assuming (which means that they don't pay the full taxes).

Speaking of that last sentence, what about people who quit young? If I start smoking at age sixteen and smoke for ten years, then I'll quit when I'm twenty six. Young people's bodies are much better at healing themselves than older people. So the person who smoked for ten years when they were young and then were able to quit may avoid many of the negative effects of smoking. Smoking is really dangerous when you do it for years and as you get older. So those people paid ten years of extra taxes that they probably will not even need to use. This pumps even more money into the health system...
deanhills
Fast food is probably the cheapest of foods, especially for your daily wager labourers who stop by MacDonalds for example for their breakfast specials every morning, and burgers for lunch every day, as they are affordable and dirt cheap. So how does one get to tax that unhealthy behaviour? This would of course be the same argument as yours with regard to cigarettes, i.e. tthe breakfast specials may not do harm for one week, or a month even, but its cumulative effect would show up in a year or more depending on how healthy the individual is and the kind of metabolism and other factors such as exercise. I am almost certain that food like this can be as harmful to the body in the same way as cigarettes in terms of the development of chronic diseases later on.
ocalhoun
Hm, that is a good fourth option.

Though, I would still prefer 'don't share costs'... To avoid the whole unhealthy-activity-penalty-tax. (which would logically need to be applied to almost every kind of unhealthy activity - and so would require quite a lot of new labyrinthine tax laws, and a huge increase in tax administration and enforcement - and also would require the government to pass laws describing what is healthy and what is not, which they might often be wrong about)
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Hm, that is a good fourth option.

Though, I would still prefer 'don't share costs'... To avoid the whole unhealthy-activity-penalty-tax. (which would logically need to be applied to almost every kind of unhealthy activity - and so would require quite a lot of new labyrinthine tax laws, and a huge increase in tax administration and enforcement - and also would require the government to pass laws describing what is healthy and what is not, which they might often be wrong about)
In the case of MacDonalds, wouldn't it be better to tax MacDonalds then? Smile
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
In the case of MacDonalds, wouldn't it be better to tax MacDonalds then? Smile

Problems:
1- Not everything served there is unhealthy. Individual menu items would need different tax levels depending on their particular healthiness.
2- High calorie foods alone are not necessarily unhealthy for all people; people with a high metabolism or who do a lot of exercise can sometimes eat lots of junk food with no adverse health effects.
3- It would be extremely unfair to single out a particular restaurant - all eating establishments would need to be subject to the same rules.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
In the case of MacDonalds, wouldn't it be better to tax MacDonalds then? Smile

Problems:
1- Not everything served there is unhealthy. Individual menu items would need different tax levels depending on their particular healthiness.
2- High calorie foods alone are not necessarily unhealthy for all people; people with a high metabolism or who do a lot of exercise can sometimes eat lots of junk food with no adverse health effects.
3- It would be extremely unfair to single out a particular restaurant - all eating establishments would need to be subject to the same rules.
Right. It is a bit problematic. Guess the only way to fix things is education of the public and perhaps legislation to force food companies to list the harmful ingredients in their products, such as for example MacDonald Burgers.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:
Hm, that is a good fourth option.

Though, I would still prefer 'don't share costs'... To avoid the whole unhealthy-activity-penalty-tax. (which would logically need to be applied to almost every kind of unhealthy activity - and so would require quite a lot of new labyrinthine tax laws, and a huge increase in tax administration and enforcement - and also would require the government to pass laws describing what is healthy and what is not, which they might often be wrong about)


Yes, yes. So would I (for the most part). I posted it, however, because I felt that it's necessary to look at all aspects of an issue. I do not like the idea of the government taxing me for things that they feel I should not do because then it's them saying that they know what is best for me.

However, if there is a social cost to an activity then it is not fair that society has to be hurt from an individual's activity and so I would endorse taxing something with a social cost just enough to make up for the social cost. If we do not have shared health care costs (which in some ways I support health care reform, but not Obama's entire plan) then we do not have to worry about fast food and cigarettes. Besides, what would annoy me about taxing fast food is that fit and healthy people, like myself, who occasionally like to eat at fast food will have to pay even though the fast food isn't really make us any more unhealthy. I doubt my Taco Bell that I had two weeks ago and probably won't have again for another week or two is really going to make me die younger and cost society more money in health care... Hell, if someone was able to smoke one cigarette a month then they probably wouldn't see any bad health effects from it (although nicotine is so addictive that I doubt people like that exist).
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:

Yes, yes. So would I (for the most part). I posted it, however, because I felt that it's necessary to look at all aspects of an issue. I do not like the idea of the government taxing me for things that they feel I should not do because then it's them saying that they know what is best for me.

Oh, it gets worse...
If we want to press the issue, they would need to tax you for healthy things you don't do.

Don't exercise 3 times a week? That's unhealthy; tax it.
Don't eat enough corn? That's unhealthy; tax it.
("Wait," you say, "why specifically corn; I eat lots of other veggies?"... Well, the corn lobby said eating corn was healthy, so now you have to do so, or pay a tax.)
Haven't seen your doctor for your yearly checkup? Not detecting diseases early causes treatment to be more expensive, we'll need to tax that very heavily.
(Just ignore that health-care lobbyist in the corner.)

Having government-mandated shared medical costs opens up a million new ways (and reasons) to interfere with your life.

*edit*
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On another note, it has been pointed out that junk food is eaten more commonly by poor people, because it is cheap.

So, any tax on it would be highly regressive, on average costing the poor a lot, while not costing most rich people as much.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:
Don't eat enough corn? That's unhealthy; tax it.
("Wait," you say, "why specifically corn; I eat lots of other veggies?"... Well, the corn lobby said eating corn was healthy, so now you have to do so, or pay a tax.)


This, to me, is the absolutely largest problem in the U.S. The fact that all of our politicians seem to bow down to lobbyists completely ruins this country. Furthermore, it seems like all policies are made because of personal preference instead of what is actually right. I could easily see that corn tax being passed (if this hypothetical situation actually existed) because of some politician bowing down to some corn lobbyist. They would also probably tax (or ban) all sorts of other behaviors (thus restricting our freedom) because of something that they do not personally like.

I was initially for universal health care a couple of years ago. I've always been a libertarian at heart (for the most part... I definitely believe in personal freedom and doing things such as legalizing drugs, prostitution, gambling, and all sorts of other nanny-state things) and so this may sound hypocritical. But my reasoning was simple: too many bankruptcies happen because of health care costs and since bankruptcies are bad for the economy as a whole, then universal health care will benefit us all.

But now there are too many problems (like this one). I only listed this fourth option because, like I said, it's important to examine all angles. You posted another angle to my angle and so I'll post another angle to your angle. What they could do (this is hypothetical, I do not think this is an ideal solution but I am just posting all sides) is heavily tax everybody and then allow you to, once a year (before tax time), visit a doctor with a waiver that allows you to get some of it back in your income tax return. So you pay the full taxes that you'll have to play if you're completely unhealthy, and then when you visit the doctor, the doctor fills out a paper that says your BMI, cholesterol, smoker/nonsmoker, and a whole host of other things... The healthier your life style is determined to be then the more money you get back... Therefore, healthier people pay less than non-healthy people... However, this is way too much government for my liking...
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:

I was initially for universal health care a couple of years ago. I've always been a libertarian at heart (for the most part... I definitely believe in personal freedom and doing things such as legalizing drugs, prostitution, gambling, and all sorts of other nanny-state things) and so this may sound hypocritical. But my reasoning was simple: too many bankruptcies happen because of health care costs and since bankruptcies are bad for the economy as a whole, then universal health care will benefit us all.

Yep, statists are not inherently evil... Most everything they do is 'for the benefit of everybody'. The problem is, they hardly ever look at the potential cost... They're always willing to sacrifice the individual to keep the whole system running smoothly. (Especially if the individual is 'somebody else', or somebody they can vilify.)
-That's why it's so insidious, you see.
deanhills
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
This, to me, is the absolutely largest problem in the U.S. The fact that all of our politicians seem to bow down to lobbyists completely ruins this country. Furthermore, it seems like all policies are made because of personal preference instead of what is actually right.
In your opinion, how can this be corrected, as obviously there are a large number of the population who feel the same, but the lobbying system and large big brother corporation seem to be ingrained in the political system.
Afaceinthematrix
Ocalhoun, you'll really like this one:

Somebody avoided jail time because he was too fat! Ironically, his crime was basically stealing (or scamming to get it) food. He didn't go to jail because if he did, the state of Florida would be required to cover his medical bills.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/04/02/2010-04-02_obese_florida_man_is_too_fat_for_jail.html

This is the second worst part about our justice system, in my opinion. The worst thing about our justice system is that we have some unjust laws (you know how I feel about drugs, prostitution, gambling and how those related to personal freedom).

But what gets me almost as much is that far too much money is spent on criminals. Far more money is spent on each criminal than what I live off in a year. Hell, there's whole families who live off of less money than what a high-security prisoner has spent on him/her. We need to strip all of these "rights" that they have. They do not need cable television, work-out equipment, name-brand tooth paste, etc. They need bare minimum and what they get should be crap (like food that no one would really want to eat). They are criminals for a reason...
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
They are criminals for a reason...

Even the prostitutes, druggies, and gamblers?

The answer -- I think -- is two-fold.

a) Reduce prison populations by eradicating the unjust laws you mentioned.
b) Make prisons self-sufficient through prison industry.*

(*NOT profitable - only self-sufficient. One prison can manufacture that toothpaste, and export it to the other prisons, some of which grow food, some sew prison clothes, et cetera. Prisoners can be motivated to work with rewards like good-conduct sentencing and access to entertainment. BUT, they can only sell their wares to other prisons. They cannot sell their products to the general population, the government, or foreign countries. -- If it were profitable, that would give incentive for more unjust arrests to keep the labor supply high, and it would suppress non-prison industry by circumventing minimum wage laws.)
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