T Nation

Government Regulation of Slobs.


I in no way advocate government support for sloth and gluttony. In fact, if we don't have state subsidy for those activities, they will decrease.

We don't live in a democracy in the U.S. despite the governments best effort to tell you otherwise. Democracy always has and always will fail, especially when 51% decide how to spend the money and regulate the lives of the other 49%.


I don't either. And I also have an issue with Medicare/Medicaid paying the medical costs of people with health problems from smoking or overeating. However, I also realize that just letting people die can be cruel.

The other problem is, what type of law would you pass to "discourage" people from getting fat? Have mandatory weigh ins each month? That's gonna screw up those with lots of muscle mass. I could list the numerous problems here, but that would take too long.

The solution lies in the private sector. Health insurers should provide incentives for those who live a healthy lifestyle. Some insurers already do this. Businesses should encourage employees to take exercise breaks. Maybe give them one day off each month for "exercise" day.

What can the government do? Provide tax breaks to those insurers that provide incentives for healthy living and businesses that provide employees with time off for exercise. Business and individuals should be given tax deductions for the purchase of exercise equipment for the workplace and the home. Granted, buying exercise equipment and using exercise equipment are two different things, but it would be a start.

Government should facilitate solutions that come from the private sector, not regulate the heck out of people's lives.


Interesting point. In Canada, on Tuesday the Government did take a first step. Like all big announcements, the hype is actually not completely backed up by the action, but a first step none-the-less. In the federal budget a tax credit of up to $500 (not sure if this is per family or per child) can be claimed against organized sports registration. In actual fact note I said up-to so if registration is $400 then thast will likely be the credit. Also, unfortunately they then apply the credit against the lowest tax rate (15.5%, versus the taxpayers marginal rate, up to 29%). So a $500 credit becomes an actual savings of $77.50 ($500 x 15.5%).

As I said, not a big impact but at least it opens the door.


I see a potential problem with this thread, in that we can be a like minded group at times, especially when it comes to personal acountability. So this post is to play devil's advocate.

Why? Government's (not just the US, but thinking about Western society in general) regulate a significant portion of our lives. Relevant to this topic, they regulate how foods (and how much) are grown, processed, methods of production/distribution, etc...

So my question is, with the food industry already being so heavily regulated, why should this regulation not extend into consumption and/or availability for consumption?


I wouldn't even go that far. I think the government should have no business in any part of the process. The insurers should create two pools, one for high risk people and one for healthy people. I shouldn't have to pay extra for the unhealthy choices of others.

As for incentives, if people really don't care about their health, why should we? Other than providing information and support, if someone can't put forth the effort to keep themselves healthy why waste time and money convincing them that they should. Everyone deep down inside knows already, they just choose the path of least resistance.


The governments sole business should be administrative affairs of the country, not social engineering or directing the economy according to how some policy wonk thinks it should be.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


And you think that they would deal with one 'pool' independently of the other? If they lose too much money on the unhealthy people, they're going to raise rates for healthy people so that they can keep profits up. Insurance is about shared (distributed) risk. And keep in mind, once you go down that road, all sorts of people might start getting denied health coverage for all sorts of reasons. When they have to go to the emergency room for basic medical care, who do you think will pay for it?


But how do you define where administrative affairs end and social engineering begins?

Would food additives be admin or soc. eng. (it's likely a combination of both, but which would it more likely fall under). The choice of food additives can impact food choice in many ways, including price, shelf life and nutrient/coloric content.

For a specific example, should the government have input into the use of hydrogenated oils which result in trans-fat?