The Fat Nanny State

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Once you define a problem, then you convene groups to find a solution. The source of Bloomberg’s soda war was a report by the New York City Obesity Task Force, which claimed, among other things, that obesity disproportionately affects minorities and that it is an environmental disease. Among a wide range of initiatives, it called for a cap on the size of sodas that can be sold in restaurants. But that’s small potatoes compared to its Active Design Guidelines, which involve restructuring the landscape of the city in a way that will force people to engage in more physical activity. Among other things that means forcing buildings to be designed in a way that will compel people to use staircases.

It’s not just about the power; it’s also about the numbers. Government health care means that everyone is a government customer, buying a product that can’t be paid for, and that requires constant cost-cutting efforts.

The current bottleneck is obesity. Get rid of the fat people and government health care will work fine. After the fat people, it will be the old people. The last of the smokers. After that, a bid to keep people with genetic diseases from reproducing. There’s no end to this sort of thing because the system is inherently broken and is trying to fix itself by fixing the people.

The obesity epidemic is a convoluted way of saying that the problem with government health care is the people. But that’s not the problem. Obesity may not be healthy, but if we ban sodas and force everyone to exercise in the yard before work, the numbers still won’t balance. Because the real problem with government health care is government. It’s a classic case of the problem trying to treat the problem. Every new gimmick only adds to the bloat. The war against obesity will end up devouring whatever health care savings are gained from reducing obesity.

It’s easy to blame individual obesity rather than collectivist obesity, and so we are treated to the obscene spectacle of a system that can’t stop wasting billions and trillions of dollars, peering into everyone’s soda cup, because down the road they may lose weight and that may lower the cost of covering their health care.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in grant money flows from private foundations to obesity researchers, from national to local governments, from local governments to consultants and from health insurance companies to obesity alliances. Offices are renovated, executives are installed, papers are authored, charts are drawn up, presentations are given, conferences are convened, policy is made, and people’s lives are made miserable by this army of public-private overlords obsessed with their ounces.

Money that could genuinely be used to help people is being spent on an administrative infrastructure in a national policy campaign against human biology. King Xerxes ordering that the sea be whipped showed more reason and sanity than a global obesity hysteria over the inevitable outcome of a society with sedentary jobs and plentiful food. Not to mention hordes of immigrants from cultures in which obesity is considered to be a good thing.

Government can’t make people thin, but people can make government thin. And studies have shown that slimming down government prevents tyranny, oppression and inspectors measuring your soda cup with a ruler. A healthy society may have fat people, but it has skinny government. It is not a nation tasked with a war on weight, but a nation of free people of all sizes.

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  • koran kid

    What happens when all those thin people charged with saving the fat ones using other people's money get lazy and fat as well? I suppose that at the other end of the spectrum from survival of the fittest, is survival of the fattest. Better get off down the nearest Dunkin' Doughnut, and stock up, or that fat bitch nanny state will tax me!

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The idea that more is better has been played out and the results are on the scale and it reads
    'get off me fatso'…………There is one answer that has many side benefits, 'Keep your mouth shut'.

  • Vic Kelley

    Thank you for a thoughtful article and honest assessment of America's government problem (not obesity problem.) If Mr. Bloomberg had instead targeted large, high-calorie coffee drinks he'd be the target of a city-wide recall vote by now. Eventually people will take him seriously and get rid of him. Hope that the rest of the country realizes people who think and act like Mr. Bloomberg are a threat to us all.

    • scum

      It's not a thoughtful article. It's vindictive crap.

  • Alex

    what a naive oaf Mr. Gloomberg – a person may buy a large (to the limit) drink,
    then buy another one – smaller.
    ……………………………………………..Why liberals are so stupid?
    …………………………………………………………………………………..Because liberalism is a mental disease.

    • scum

      That's right, people will figure out how to get fat any way they can. And Bloomberg isn't a liberal.

      • Alex

        RINO is a liberal…

        • scum

          He's a Republican. Just because he's not a right-wing extremist, doesn't mean he's a liberal. There are more than two colors in the universe.

  • Alex

    e.g. – Starbucks will keep the price of (smaller now) Venti, then offer a free "addition" drink —– it is so easy to go around

  • scum

    "You might be laughing, but don't" ? ? ? I'm not laughing, and nor is anyone who actually gives a flying f, rather than trying to score cheap political points. There's an acute health care crisis in our country. An epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in children, to start. Whether outlawing ridiculously large, factory produced sugary garbage will either be legal or effective is a fair question, but to pooh-pooh the problem suggests that you've aligned yourself with the factory-food sector that's destroying the American diet. At least pretend that you care about America and the people who live here. What we can do, at the least, is keep that crap out of our schools, and teach kids to eat fresh vegetables.

    • Alex

      you will not get fat from a coffee….. Every stick has two ends –> the reverse of your statement: "you've aligned yourself with the factory-food" is:
      – you ("scum") align yourself with food police".
      Both Obamas are woofing fat foods/desserts when the other one is not watching.
      YOU CANNOT stop people from getting fat…..
      BTW – main problem with welfare? Obesity. People sitting in front of TV and filling up; looking for a job is not on their agenda. That's one of the main problems with many sub-problems. And you and I pay for that.

    • tagalog

      And the solution is one involving government intrusion. You know, when they first started trying to get the government to step in on the cigarette front, the Surgeon-General's warning was controversial. Now they can just outlaw a given size of Big Gulp. We've come a long way down a darkening road, baby…


      'There's an acute health care crisis in our country.'

      Well, YOU are 100% PROOF that we have a severe mental health issue

  • tagalog

    Obesity and getting people to exercise, along with unemployment and finding renewable energy sources, can all be fixed with one easy solution: bring back manual labor a la Red China: "All right, everyone, time to get on the community treadmill and start producing electricity!" Hey, better than wind and solar power, eh? Just keep steppin', rain, clouds, no wind, whatever…

    "Hey, Mr. Overseer, I'm getting cold/wet!"

    "Step faster! You'll notice it less!"

    From there, we could easily move to the labor camp, where free productive labor can be exploited for very little expenditure. People around the camps would probably provide "free" food for the zeks, so that the government wouldn't have to pay taxpayer funds for that.

    It could be a shot in the arm for the economy, too. More barbed wire, searchlights, and whips to be manufactured.

    Also, it'll help get rid of the old, the unfit, and the unhealthy.

    I'm surprised President Obama hasn't thought of it by now. Well, maybe after re-election…

    • scum

      Sure bro, great post. Paranoid claptrap.

  • BS77

    Next, outlaw any foods containing high fructose corn syrup, then cheese, then anything with artificial sweeteners, anything with dyes, preservatives, ten syllable chemical ingredients….let's outlaw all deserts, donuts, candy, margarine, sodas….then all the "Franken foods", the genetically modified corporate boloney …..then anything that has even one molecule of fat, sugar or salt in it. All you can have is oatmeal, broccoli and tofu. Bon appetit!!! Isn't it great having the Nanny State there to make sure you are safe from yourself????

    • scum

      I don't agree with the NYC law, actually. But it would be nice to have the option not to consume Frankenfoods. Of course, the evil Monsanto is monopolizing the industry with catastrophic results. That's not freedom. You should read up on it.

  • BS77

    The greatest cause of obesity and other related health disorders is the sedentary couch potato "lifestyle" of many Americans…..Our pioneer forbears ate fatty meat, salt and sugar…but worked all day logging, farming, ranching and mining etc etc……..Now people sit on their duffs playing with their phones, driving, sitting, watching idiotic TV shows and commercials that tell them to eat more fast food and junk food…….still, it is YOUR responsibility to take care of your diet, healthy, nutrition, not a bureaucrat.

    • scum

      Couch Potato disease is part of it. Factory foods without nutritional value contribute. Sugar that's found in almost all processed food is partly to blame. All of the above.

  • Ann

    The food was changed in the USA, UK and Australia 30 years ago when dangerous food chemicals from the USA was allowed into European. The food today causes stubborn insulin If you have stubborn insulin you hold fat and have a hard time losing weight. You can eat very little and the weight still does not come off. Stubborn insulin will hold fat and diets won’t work. When researchers used a specialized diabetes diet on overweight people all lost weight even those who did not have diabetes.

    Just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

  • RFYoung

    I can tell you without a doubt that the attack on sugar/obesity is not about health or obesity. If you want to cure obesity the simple formula is as follows:

    Eliminate food stamps
    Eliminate agriculture subsidies.
    Eliminate school lunches
    Establish Physical Education in the schools again.
    Drop sugar industry subsidies and place a punitive tax on sugar similar to the tobacco tax.
    Place a punitive tariff on food imports
    Place a 10% excise tax on food at the point of sale.
    Place a heavy excise tax on food shipments within the US and promote local agriculture only.
    Establish a nationwide federal body mass index limit as was accomplished with the federal speed limit on highways.
    Make exceeding the BMI a misdemeanor offense.
    Increase government subsidies of ethanol production and mandate a higher percentage of ethalol in gasoline.
    In the same vein as "stop and frisk" in New York City, establish "stop and weigh" checkpoints.
    Allow EPA PM2.5 standards to be universally applied to the smallest agriculture operation.
    Allow the EPA to regulate methane emissions from cattle feed lots.
    Radically reduce the number of SKU's allowed on an individual store shelf
    Obesity will become a thing of the past.

    • Rifleman

      You started out pretty good but went straight back into nanny state. I've got a better idea, ship people like you to north korea or zimbabwe where you can enjoy heaven on earth without bothering us Americans.

      • RFYoung

        Like I said, it isn't about obesity. It is about control. When all of the existing possibilities of control are even suggested, people et rebellious and want to send you to North Korea. Better to apply the prod more subtly and just ban large beverages. If he populous caries that bit, more constraints can be applied later. It is not about obesity!

  • al22

    Thoughtful people are beginning to realize if government hacks like a New York Mayor who thinks he's an emperor can control how many ounces of soda one drinks, it's just another progressive milestone along the way to controlling how many calories one can legally ingest, or how many push-ups one will be required to do–all to satisfy our wannabe social utopian masters. And mind you, nothing has to have the weight of hard evidence behind it. Only an idiot would focus laser-like on soft drinks, when public schools across the nation have severely curtailed phys ed courses, and when recreation fields remain largely unused by a couple of generations addicted to video games, texting, and perhaps the most sedentary lifestyles in history.

    Should we limit the number of hours one can sit in front of a computer as well?

    Freedom, among others things, implies the ability to make choices–including bad choices. The dirty little secret of progressivism is that their five decade love affair with moral relativity has largely eliminated the inevitable consequences that accompany bad choices. Why are millions of kids growing up without fathers? Because millions of sperm donors know government will take care of their kids, and maybe more importantly, virtually no one in the community will shame or ostracize them for their rotten behavior. Eliminate shame and personal integrity becomes the next casualty. A lack of personal integrity leads directly to many things, one of which is a sloven lifestyle accompanied by endless rationalization that allows many Americans to walk around morbidly obese. How do progressives fix the plethora of bad choices absent consequences their ideological worldview engendered?

    Eliminate choices.

  • SoCalMike

    Parasites NEVER rest.
    Notice how the parasites claiming to lead the fight are themselves obese and it isn't even a question in their minds that they exempt themselves from any hair brain schemes they cram down our throats like Social Security and Obamacare.
    Parasites left unattended just keep growing.

  • mlcblog

    The author is right. It boils down to eugenics.

    • scum

      No. The statistics of a ballooning population absolutely belie that. Read the article in Yahoo today.

  • Reason_For_Life

    There are no savings in getting people to lose weight. Fatties, like smokers, die from expensive diseases just like other people. The difference is that they die sooner. Since medical costs are continually increasing faster than other costs dying young saves the government a great deal of money. In fact, because of Social Security and Medicare the best course of action for the government would be to provide free banana splits and cigarettes to teenagers in the hope that they will die long before they get to collect their benefits.

    The issue has nothing to do with health costs, it has to do with controlling the populace.

    • scum

      Wrong. While I don't agree with the law (it DOESN'T outlaw soda, contrary to posts here, however), Bloomberg isn't trying to 'control the population.' That's just more right-wing paranoia, which is yet another problem.

  • Flowerknife_us

    The Fat laws are comming. Sponsored by Bloomburg who is no Slim Jim himself..

  • g_jochnowitz

    Parents frequently teach their children to finish what's on their plates. By doing so, they inflict a curse on their children that will follow them the rest of their lives. Even when they are not hungry and know they are overweight, they will finish what's in front of them.