Fatty Footprints: A Modest Proposal Based on Liberal GroupThink

Fact: The USA is in the midst of a obesity epidemic.

Fact: Fat people are more likely to need health services, work fewer years, and pay less in taxes. They “free ride” by consuming scarce health care resources paid for by those who are healthy and thin.


For their own good, and for the Public Good, the Departments of Health (state and federal) will calculate the “fat footprint” of every product that enters the stream of interstate commerce (by definition, everything in the universe). A new value added tax (VAT) will be added to all food items to cover health care costs and encourage healthy behavior on the part of those “irresponsible” fat people.

The government will also require all state and federal workers to work out at their local gym, eat food from an approved list, and reduce their weight to a level deemed adequate by F.A.T.S. (Federal Agency for Trimming and Slimming America).

This regulation will also extend to employees of businesses that contract with the federal government. Currently, F.A.T.S. is working to devise universal coverage beyond those groups. After all, one reason why children are “left behind” is that they are too fat to catch up with their peers. This must change.

Civil rights laws will be revised to add thin-to-normal weight people to the list of protected classes for affirmative action purposes. Employers must seek out thin-to-normal weight employees by casting a wide net in their recruitment. These workers will boost the bottom line of companies and make for a more socially just distribution of resources. The EEOC will supervise the formulation of goals and timetables to achieve real progress.

The tax code will extend credits to those who can document weight loss. Other candidates for tax subsidies: those with reduced cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and other markers of good health.

A half century ago, normal-weight president John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” His promise lays unfulfilled next to the potato chips on millions of American couches.

Fifty years is too long, we know what you can, should, and must do for your country: lose weight. Let us move ahead and get the job done!

Jonathan Bean is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of History at Southern Illinois University, and editor of the Independent book, Race & Liberty in America: The Essential Reader.
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