Taxing fat people. What do you think?

Germany is weighing a tax on fat people – or so AOLNews is reporting.  Germany appears to have a national healthcare system that is funded largely by taxes or some kind of public outlay.  As such it is in the best interest of the nation to determine where to cut and/or allocate costs.  At least one member of the Parliament believes that fat people should contribute more toward the healthcare system through an increased tax because they will likely use more of the medical system’s resources.

Marco Wanderwitz, a conservative member of parliament for the German state of Saxony, said it is unfair and unsustainable for the taxpayer to carry the entire cost of treating obesity-related illnesses in the public health system.

“I think that it would be sensible if those who deliberately lead unhealthy lives would be held financially accountable for that,” Wanderwitz said, according to Reuters.

The articles explains that Germans love their fatty foods, which include pork, beer and chocolates.  But they aren’t the only ones to love such delicacies.  Americans love those food items and are following in hot pursuit with their own weighty troubles.  A poll conducted just last February shows that more than a third of Americans are overweight and more than a quarter are ‘obese’.  And with the new Obamacare program pushing toward a single payer outcome will we be next to consider such a tax on people’s weights?  Already in Massachusetts the Schools are required to measure student’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and report to the parents and the state of the results.  Gee, it sounds like we are one step ahead of Germany already!

The argument isn’t that far fetched though.  We tax cigarettes at a higher rate because we know there is a absolute correlation between smoking and health issues.  The same with alcohol.  However, those taxes are applied to the product, not the person that uses those products – or – should I say ‘presumably’ uses those products.  I notate that because there are many cases where people have medical issues that cause obesity and it is not simply a matter of eating poorly.

Now here is where it gets sticky.  If government decides to tax people based on their weight, lifestyle or consumption patterns, will they make it exhaustive.  In other words, will they tax ALL unhealthy foods and lifestyle decisions?  If we do then we need to tax gays and bisexuals in order to help cover their increased likelihood of getting Aids or HIV.   The CDC reports in their ‘Fact Sheet’ that gay and bisexual men are still far more likely to get Aids and HIV and are the only segment of the population where HIV infections are still growing.  If we have Obamacare and we will all be tied to our ‘healthcare footprint’ then gay and bisexual men need to be taxed at a higher rate due to their more precarious lifestyle choices.  Or, better yet, will we tax policemen and firemen at a higher rate because they have jobs that are particularly dangerous?  Certainly anyone that runs into a burning building will need to pay a higher tax than the guy that works a cash register.  And a man that is paid to stop bank robberies and gang battles should pay a higher tax than that same cashier!  Perhaps we could tie the tax to the dangerousness of where the people live?  Roxbury is far more dangerous than Groton – so Roxbury people will be more likely to need medical care.  Therefore tax Roxbury people more!

No doubt we are headed this way.  The lefties in the United States love to follow Europe’s lead and a tax on people’s weight and lifestyle choices sounds like it could be right up their alley.  If you thought your taxes were complicated now – just wait and see.

Your thoughts?  

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