Things That Might Happen.

So I read about this the other day. Arizona contemplating levying a $50 fee on smokers and the obese to prop up the solvency of Medicaid. (Obligatory rear-view photo of people with big butts:)

Apparently this fee will fix people who are suffering from a deficiency of $50 fees.

(If we were truly concerned with this country’s excess of butt tissue, we’d remedy this by correcting the liposuction deficiency, right? Har, har.)

I have no problem fining the smokers. Smoking stinks, it generates obnoxious, spit-covered litter, it encroaches on my right to not smell like a$$, and I’m damn sick of getting hit in the windshield by chain-smoking twits who ditch their cigarettes on the highway by flicking them high & away. Rule one: If you smoke, you’re obligated to use your car’s ashtray. It’s your punishment for being the lackey of Big Tobacco. Yeah, I’m mean. But I’m also an ex-smoker (college makes smoking sooo coool), so I can be a jerk about this. (Obligatory smoker’s mouth photo:)

I also have no problem with drug testing for welfare recipients. These folks can pee in a cup just like every other guy with a job. Or they can find a job, where they’ll probably be drug tested. Either way – stop sniffing glue. Yeah, it sucks that mary-jee-wana is illegal; it’s arbitrary, you want to smoke it, it’s a plant, free will…but sometimes, you just have to not smoke stuff. Such is life. Just be glad that raw milk isn’t illegal. Wait, er…

Smoking and obesity aren’t even close to being in the same class. Obesity is a condition that even the most brilliant scientists don’t fully understand. The mechanisms behind body fat regulation don’t boil down to simply stuffing in more calories than you burn = fat butt. (Sorry, Jillian Michaels.) Though type-2 diabetes is commonly associated with the overweight, there are type-2 folks who are slim as rails. Are they being fined? What about the skinny folks who suffer from joint pain and breathing problems? I’d say that fining someone for obesity is like fining them for cancer. Both are poorly understood diseases of civilization. Both are exacerbated, albeit indirectly, by the US government through policies on GMO foods, chemicals, and public health.

Of course, that leads to another point: people rely too much on the government for their information.

How is it that the producers of food-like swallowable products like soda and candy have again escaped judgment in this scenario? While the “soda tax” was fiercely debated on facebook as infringement upon Free Will, the folks at Willy Wonka were chuckling to themselves as their fight was carried out for them by the very folks they endeavor to distract from the actual problem. They had a good belly laugh from the ergonomic chairs in the R&D office, where their newest research on “reward centers” and “color motivation” indicated that if they make the red Skittle just a little more red, children will be unconsciously driven to throw a seismic tantrum in the checkout line at *The Wal-Mart.

And then, in 30 years, they’ll be fined $50 for being fat.

*Yes, I said “The Wal-Mart.” That’s how people who really belong at Wal-Mart say it. 

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9 Comments to “Things That Might Happen.”

  1. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You rule.

  2. Great article as usual. Thought of you the other day when I drove past Arrowhead on my way through KC.

  3. That or “WalMarts.” I love it CaveGirl. I have no issue with whiz-quizzing people who want welfare. I also think the change starts with ourselves and the choices we make, not a government agency making the decisions for us.

    Plus, in Missouri, they’ve outlawed lap dances because Missouri wants to “save people from themselves.” Again, stupid logic in my humble opinion but it seems this expression of “Free Will” is more of a danger than what’s really killing us.

  4. Where’s this Arizona Aritcle? I wanna read it….I heard about Texas gonna be taking pictures of elementary students lunch trays to analyze what food they do and don’t eat to see how many calories they take in each lunch meal. They have software analyzing program and everything. Some schools are banning “brown bag lunches” …kids have to eat schools lunch because apparently it’s more healthy. So my kid will have to eat a cheap burger on white bread, fruit in syrup and tator tots? ew.

    • I feel like you should be able to sue for that. It’s absolutely thoughtless and asinine and every other word that describes the ignorant, baseless, ridiculous concepts of healthy food in this country.

      The AZ article should be linked at the very beginning of the post.

  5. I think it’s interesting that some obese people probably receive sub-par health care. At one point in my life I would stop going to the Dr. because everything I went in for, he would point to my weight. I already know I’m overweight..but the fact that I have fibrous breasts doesn’t have anything to do with that.

    I gain weight easily…it’s just that simple. There are people who struggle with putting on weight when they need to. Everyone is different. I think implementing a system such as this is just a slippery slope. How about taxing people who drink? Let’s tax people who go to the tanning salon as they’re more prone to skin cancer…heck how about taxing redheads?

  6. *I* have a problem with drug testing for welfare recipients. Hold your horses before you yell at me. I think I actually have good reasons for possessing said problem.

    No yelling! I appreciate the passionate and intelligent response.

    Before they got swallowed up in the whole abortion controversy, NOW fought for years to get stay-at-home motherhood recognized as work for which housewives deserved to earn credits for Social Security benefits. A few of the more radical of their number believed housewives actually deserved a paycheck, too. And if you think about it, someone who’s at home and actually doing housework and childrearing stuff is basically being a daycare worker, a teacher, a maid, a cook, a nutritionist, a child psychologist, etc., etc., ad infinitum, and how much do *those* people get paid? So these ideas wouldn’t seem all that unreasonable to someone who actually stopped to think about it.

    This is so interesting to me. And I agree that a SAHM is technically all of those things. But in the (well deserved) compensation scenario, wouldn’t folks take unfair advantage of the opportunity to stay home in the same way they take advantage of the welfare system? How would you judge whether someone was deserving of compensation, and how much? Could there be performance reviews? (No Child Left Behind comes to mind…how would one judge whether a SAHM is doing an effective job?) Just the first ideas that come to mind…I know this wasn’t necessarily the crux of your argument.

    Except, for some reason, most people refuse to think about it. They have this nasty, visceral, violent reaction to the notion that a mother’s hard work at home should actually earn pay. Or even Social Security benefits. Or they just think it’s funny. Either way, the public scoffs at such notions.

    I absolutely think a hard-working SAHM deserves some kind of recognition or compensation. I’m just not sure how that would be done in a way that ensures we’d circumvent the pitfalls of the current welfare system, which I think is in dire straits. How do we support children – and the well-meaning and committed parents of those children – without pushing funds toward those who would take advantage? Privatize so that employees have some greater incentive structure for identifying waste and helping to triage toxic family conditions?

    Now those very selfsame people are going to say it’s a good idea to drug-test welfare recipients because “it’s just like getting drug-tested for your job.” Say what? But I thought being an at-home mother was NOT a job. Welfare recipients are receiving aid for being poor, not being paid for staying home with their kids. Especially now that there is a work requirement. In fact, in at least some states, TANF recipients are required to work *for free.* The employer gets a tax break, and the recip gets nothing. I personally know someone who went through that. And it wasn’t even her fault she was on TANF. Her husband committed suicide and left her with her traumatized child (who found his daddy in the first place) to start all over again.

    So the sometimes-disparity between a SAHM and the poor… It’s shitty that one should receive compensation/aid and not the other based on “job status.” Is that what you’re saying? And I wasn’t familiar with the “work free” scenario. This seems a bit backward. Was the incentive created to help the unemployable re-enter the workforce? How could one possibly have a home or food if that was the case? How could one possibly move forward?

    And I think it’s crappy that people who have paid jobs are drug-tested in order to be hired. If you’re doing work that involves heavy machinery or where you might have to cut open a person and operate on them, OK, I guess that’s fine, but also? There’s a difference between doing drugs on your days off, and being high on the job. Employment drug testing can get you fired, or not hired, for doing the former, because most (if not all) drug tests pick up on metabolites from past use–they are not like the breathalyzer. Managers need to be watching for you being high at work rather than worrying about what you do on your own private time but hey, that would take actual management skills, which most managers do not in fact seem to have. Or enough proper give-a-damn, either.

    This is a tough one. I feel like if an individual is sent for testing DURING the work day, and there was a means to determine the time period of use, it’s valid for a company to consider that a problem. It sucks that certain laws are in place, especially when they don’t quite make sense, but when it comes to employment I think an employer has the right to employ only people who are not prone to breaking the law (doing illegal drugs) This would include alcohol, in my opinion. This reminds me of a line from M*A*S*H the movie (yes, a M*A*S*H reference) where the loudspeaker announced that the US had deemed marijuana a dangerous drug, despite claims that is was no more dangerous than alcohol. The scenario was staged with perfect irony.

    The other angle on the drug testing for welfare thing is, no one drug tests parents who aren’t on welfare. It’s only the poor being targeted, and only the poor on TANF at that–but people from all social classes, income levels, and walks of life have drug problems. And it’s funny how illegal drugs are targeted over, say, alcoholism when, last I checked, alcohol is a drug and you can become addicted to it.

    I think people should have to apply for a parenting license. I wish there was some way to de-activate baby-making until somebody was deemed a potentially fit parent. Obviously this is completely impossible, vulnerable to perverse misinterpretation, and a horrible idea if you think about it for more than 5 second. Yet I can’t help but wish there WERE more checks on parenthood. Then again, if that was the case, some of the best and strongest people I know wouldn’t be here today.

    Well, I grew up with an alcoholic dad and an alcoholic stepmom. And it messed me up for a good long time. And no one looked out for me. No one stepped in. No one said, “hey, maybe these kids need some help” (me and my little brother). Nope, we were left to our own devices. Why? Because we weren’t on welfare.

    Thanks a lot, America. Hey, let me know when y’all get over your class bigotry, OK? Because last I checked, it is not a crime to be poor. It’s not a crime to pick on the poor either, and to ignore all the other people who more greatly deserve your ire and your micromanagement–but it ought to be. So quit it.

    No love,
    Me.

    Thanks for replying – there’s more here than I’m either qualified or smart enough to speak to!

    P.S. I am TOTALLY WITH YOU on the obesity thing though, CG. Thank you.

    Amen!
    -Liz

  7. Replied to your comment within-the-comment!

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