Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Thursday, June 22, 2006

An Alternative Fat Tax

The politicians are in the news again, trying to curb fast food joints. Their latest shtick? Trying to redo zoning laws to limit fast food joints, especially in low-income neighborhoods.

This is a disturbing and unfair precedent. After all, the only reason there are so many fast food joints is that there's lots of demand for it! People have very little free time, and need a quick and cheap meal. All these laws would do would make the poor poorer, and give these politicians another lame excuse to pry away our hard-earned income.

Also, it's unfair to the skinny folks out there. I know many guys who could have 3 steaks a night and not gain a pound. And then there are people out there who "fill quickly" and thus stay thin as a wire. Why should they be deprived of their McDonald's fix?

To me, the only fair solution would be that for everyone over x number of pounds, they should be charged double for using city buses and subways.

After all, their weight doesn't affect me or anyone else otherwise. I have nothing against fat people, especially the jolly ones, like Norm from Cheers. It's when I'm commuting and they take up three seats on the train (or all the standing room) that they get under my skin. When I was in 8th Grade, there was a heavyset women that got on the bus every day and took up an entire two-seater. Chutzpah!

The only question is, practically speaking, the implementation of such a scheme would be a logsitical nightmare. How do we enforce it? Do we let station agents and bus drivers make their own judgment calls as to who should pay double? Do we spend thousands of dollars on scales at each turnstile? And let's say someone has a lot of luggage with him? I say pay double also, I hate people who get on to the subway with tons of stuff! And some morons will probably go to court and file some silly lawsuits. It would be a disaster.

To me, it only makes sense to pass anti-fast food laws when it comes to kids. When a kid sees Ronald McDonald and a Happy Meal with free toys, of course he'll come running to eat that crap. And that kid doesn't know how artery-clogging that stuff is. So the same way that the "Camel" camel had to go in the early '90's, I would send the Happy Meals packing. And maybe don't let them advertise on kids channels, while we're at it.

But if I want my greasy burger, I don't want anyone giving me a hard time about it. And if there are some people who will gorge themselves on that stuff and never do a stitch of exercise, well - NMP - Not My Problem.


Blogger Michelle said...

I whole-heartedly agree.

Everyone has the option not to eat McDonalds, or to work it off, not even in a $300 gym, just walk there and back--don't go through a drive through.

McDonald's is a business. They have a right to run. They offer healthier options. Isn't part of America the freedom of choice? If people CHOOSE to eat McDonalds and clog their arteries, that's THEIR choice. Why should OUR tax dollars go toward people making unwise choices?

They can also make healthier Happy Meals for the kids. I don't know if I agree with you about abolishing Happy Meals.

Also, re: the seating. I don't agree. For the people who are obese due to genetics, it is unfair to punish them because of their heredity. Many people inherit a tendency to be overweight, as well as thyroid problems and other conditions,and it is unfair to treat them as an irresponsible McDonald's customer of the month. Thus, let them pay single fare.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

OMG--I mean, Drive-Thru (what am I? the Yated?)

12:43 PM  
Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

Re: the subway fare

The question is, do you view a token as a right to get on to a bus/subway, or a right to space?

I view it as a right to space. And if you take up more space, you've gotta pay more. Would you say it's unfair that some stores charge more for XXL and XXXL stuff - "it costs more for genetically obese people to buy clothes!" - nope. When you're bigger, it costs more to live. So is life.

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