Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Obesity...a partial solution

Michelle Obama is spearheading a war on obesity.

I think obesity has indeed become a problem.  I do not, however, agree with Mrs. Obama that the answer is to  mandate, from the Federal or State level, what we can and can't eat.  That's just more government, more tyranny, more bureaucracy, which means more cost.  It's ultimately not sustainable anyway, and will cause more harm than good.

The actual problem runs deep: consumerism, which manifests as gluttony.  We cannot fix that with any government incentive.

However, there is another thing that is exacerbating the problem immensely, and we can fix that legislatively, since it is caused by legislation.  That "thing" is the vast array of obesity-helping products that we consume in rather vast quantities, including (but not limited to) high-fructose corn syrup.

Scientists and doctors agree that over-consumption of high-fructose corn syrup is one of the leading causes of obesity.  But why is it so plenteous and cheap?  Shouldn't this be a self-fixing problem?  Given the vast level of consumption, shouldn't the price for this substance have gone through the roof?

Well, yes, it should have.  But it hasn't, because the ingredients to make it are subsidized by the government, keeping prices artificially low.  If the government didn't subsidize it, it's price would go through the roof, and consumption would decrease, and obesity with it.

So...Mrs. Obama, the solution is not to go all nanny-state on us.  The solution is, on the legislative side anyway, to stop subsidizing corn.  Pretty simple.  Reduce obesity and save a ton of money doing so.

"But Steve!  Corn is a food staple of the world!  We can't stop subsidizing it, or we'll all starve!"  No, Chicken Little, the sky is not falling.  We won't starve.  Why we won't is a whole 'nother post, though.

Edit: This post inspired by this one.

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