Our Producer Rob brought this story to my attention. (This is Kelly writing) Over 90% of American's say our country is being weakened by an obesity epidemic. Our military isn't as strong as it could be because so many young people are too fat to serve. Our medical system is clogged like fat folks arteries with obese people making up the vast majority of cases being attended to. The point is clear. Even if you yourself are a perfectly fit human, your quality of life is less than it could be because of the tremendous um...weight, that obese people put on our system. And it's getting worse by the day. We have ballooned to over 35% of us being obese, and at this rate about half of all American's will be obese in the next 30 years.
The cause for this epidemic according to the people being surveyed is too little exercise and too much cheap junk food. I'd have to agree with them. In the depression American's spent 25% of their income on food. By the 1970's it had dropped to 15%. Since 2000 it has been under 10%. Food is about the cheapest thing you'll buy in America. And we get what we pay for. Food was for the most part something a farmer grew and you paid to have delivered, from the beginning of society till the 1970's. Then 2 things happened. First was the continuation of processing food. In the 50's companies noticed that some American's would pay more for convenience or even to prevent spoilage. No need for fruit to go bad now that we can process it for you.
By the 60's it was becoming all about convenience. Make soup? Why? We have done all the work for you, so go have fun!
You would pay more for a can of soup than you would to buy the fresh ingredients and make it yourself, so people didn't eat processed food most of the time, but rather as a treat to give themselves more time. Then in the 70's as we continued improving on processing everything, the cost for processed food started getting cheaper.
Combine that with the government starting to supplement farmers, especially corn farmers, and you have the beginning of an epidemic. The corn ended up being cheaper than grass so some farmers used it to feed their cows which gave us cheaper fatter beef. Did you ever wonder why you can buy a burger at a fast food restaurant for less than you can buy the raw meat at a grocery store? The meat is cheap because, we the taxpayers, have subsidized the meat. We also subsidized the fries and soda. If we didn't do that than there would be no dollar menu. Your lunch would go from 5-6 bucks at the drive through to 10 or 11 which would make you a lot less likely to go there. The corn sweeteners that replaced real sugar by the 1980's are worse for your body, and make soda a lot less expensive. We also started introducing all kind of artifical sweeteners then too. As can see a can of coke or diet coke was 75 cents in the 1980's Today it's less than half that at your Piggly Wiggly.
The government created this problem by spending billions of our dollars to supplement farmers. There's 2 things we can do now and neither of them are fun. Stop sending the billions. That drives some farmers out of business, raises costs of everything from food to gas and we head in to a recession. Or increase the tax on foods that are making us fat.
Governments have always tried to modify citizens behavior. Some governments just announce 'this is what you're now going to do or we will kill you'. Thankfully we are free. So we can be manipulated. The government knew in the 1960's that smoking was killing people. So in 1966 they said every pack sold had to have a warning. Nothing changed, so they made the warning sound more dangerous and started running ads talking about it. Not much changed. They flipped the warning in 1985 to make it a positive to quit. SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health. Nothing was getting American's to quit killing themselves. Public survey's of smokers in the 1980's said 90% believed they were shortening their lives but enjoyed smoking so much they'd rather die happy. Dying of cancer isn't a happy death and I'm pretty sure they knew it. So in the 1990's states started jacking the tax rates on cigarettes. In 1995 20% of American's smoked. In 2010 it was down to 15%. When Wisconsin raised their tax by 1 dollar a pack their hot line looking for info on how to quit received 20,000 calls in 2 months. They hadn't received 20,000 calls total over the past 2 years!
American's are in the same spot now with obesity as they were years ago with smoking. We know it's killing us. We know it's a painful death of diabetes, stroke whatever. We want to stop, but it's too damn good to quit! I bought a freaking entire German chocolate cake the other day for 5 bucks! If cake cost $15 no one would buy it just to have around, to snack on whenever you want. You'd buy it for a special occasion, and CSI night wouldn't qualify as a special occasion. American's know they need help but dont want the government's help. Because they know the government will make it painful to continue down the road you're on. You'll still be free to kill yourself eating crap, it just won't be next to free to do it.
Now I can hear a bunch of you throwing Bloomberg's soda cups at me. That was bad execution of a good idea. He thought it would be more painful to refill your cup so people would only drink their 16 ounces at a restaurant. Mike's a billionare so he doesn't go to a lot of fast food joints. I'm not a billionare so I go to a lot of them, and I see people refilling their 32 ounce soda's all day. It would be like the government telling Cici's pizza 'your never ending pizza buffet for $5 can only have slices as big as your palm'. Whatever? People will go up 10 times instead of 5 then. But if Cici's had to charge you $3 every time you went through the line then you can see where you and your kids would eat less. I still hate taxes but I like them more than the only other thing that's guarenteed...death. If we can use one to help prevent the other, that's a good trade off in my opinion. And for those of you who don't eat a lot of junk food then this still helps you by giving you a healthier society that can produce more, and do more.