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March 29, 2010
Cap and Fat: a modest proposal to help fight the war on obesity
A specter is haunting American health care - the specter of obesity. Previously a matter of individual concern, it is now a concern for us all. With the passage of health care reform by our glorious leaders, we each have a financial stake in the health (and cost to maintain that health) of our all our fellow citizens, non-citizens, illegal aliens, and non-human companions (San Francisco only).
Obesity (defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30) costs our healthcare system $147B per year. The obese are at major risk for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, certain forms of cancer, and the inability to fit into skinny jeans. Thus we all share a moral and fiscal duty to reduce our individual and collective "BMI footprints."
Fortunately, the First Lady is curing childhood obesity so the problem is solved for everyone 26 and under (I believe the healthcare bill now defines a child as anyone up to the age of 26). For the rest of the population there is work to do and I have a few modest proposals:
* The President should declare a war on obesity to help ensure the same success that we have had with the war on poverty, the war on drugs, and the war on illegal immigration.
* Immediate conversion to full body scanners at all airports, government offices, and supermarket check-out lines. This will provide the benefit of enhanced security over simple metal detectors and help identify citizens exceeding their BMI footprints.
* The issuance of a scarlet "B" to be worn by all folks exceeding their BMI (special exemptions for the big boned and members of Congress)
If the above actions fail to work then we'll need to be a little more aggressive in reducing the country's BMI footprint. The federal government will need to place a BMI cap on each of us to reduce our collective BMI footprint to say pre-1975 levels.
Those who can reduce their individual BMI footprint (lose weight) on their own will do so (i.e. Rush Limbaugh, the guy from the subway commercial, and all of the Jenny Craig babes). Those who can't reduce on their own can purchase BMI credits AKA "Skinnys" on the open market. "Skinnys" would be sold by the likes of anorexics and fitness nuts (under their BMI caps). For example:
Al Gore could purchase "skinnys" from Nancy Pelosi and Dennis Kucinich to meet his goal
Hillary Clinton could purchase "skinnys" from Condoleeza Rice
Michael Moore could make a purchase of all the "skinnys" from the entire cast of America's Top Model
All of these will only be needed on a temporary basis. As our country continues on its progressive path we are likely to eliminate the obesity problem in a similar fashion as China during the Great Leap Forward, the Ukraine under Stalin, and North Korea today.
M Allen Fritsch is an entrepreneur and business owner. He is a graduate of USMA and former Army officer. He enjoys increasing both his carbon and BMI footprint on a regular basis.