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Anti-Communitarian League : Research & Analysis of the Ultimate Third Way
"The weighty problems of the Alaska majority would mean nothing to me if the health costs related to obesity didn't amount to $117 billion per year, according to the surgeon general. Personally, I don't really care what you do to make a mess of your life -- be it smoking, drinking, taking drugs, eating or in any other way behaving recklessly. I just don't want to pay for it.
But today, obesity is costing all of us.
Medicare was a program projected to cost $10 billion when it was created in 1965. It cost $244 billion last year, and with Americans not only getting older but ever wider, there is no telling how much the costs will grow in the future.
As fiscally conservative as I might be, I can accept paying taxes to help those who inadvertently get sick. But why should I be forced to pay taxes to cover the health care needs of people whose problems arise largely because they are so lazy they have to drive everywhere?
These people now cost the national health care system as much as smokers, according to the CDC. But smokers at least help pay for their problems. The federal and state governments have imposed huge taxes on cigarettes. Every time a smoker buys a pack, he or she is forking over a big chunk of change for their bad habit.
Why not give drivers the same treatment?
Why not impose significant state and federal taxes on four-wheelers, motorboats and even snowmobiles in Alaska? Maybe even put a tax on those motorized scooters that are illegal to ride almost anywhere in Anchorage but are still advertised in such a manner as to entice overweight kids to buy them.
Yeah, I know, there are people out there who will whine about how they "need'' their four-wheeler for "subsistence,'' or how the "handicapped" would be burdened by such a tax. It's a nice smokescreen. The handicapped among this big group of motorized recreationists are a tiny, tiny minority, and subsistence was working quite nicely in Alaska long before the first internal combustion engine showed up.
Not only that, anyone opposed to such a "fat tax'' on off-road transport could find an easy way to avoid it: Don't buy the gear.