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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Posner on Stupid Fat People

http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2009/08/health_reform_a.html

So, according to Dr. Posner, the key to the health crisis is to educate stupid fat people. If only they knew or could comprehend with their little pea-brains, he seemingly surmises, would they then stop eating their Ho-Ho's and Big Mac's.

Posner can be, and is in this case, absurd.

I'm pretty sure that even the most idiotic of idiots are aware that like, omg, I could like get fat and stuff if I super size my meal along with a box of Little Debbies.

Education is not the issue - there's plenty of education. Will power, self control - these things are important but that's not just about education - that requires a complete change in psyche and behavior. Plus, food is an addiction, and no amount of education can totally reverse that.


I'm at least glad he's talking about health care costs - I agree that is the crux of the health debate. I actually agree with most of his last paragraph about needing to discriminate sales taxes based on food purchases varying in calories / fat. We need to incentivize people to be thin, and punish those that eat out of had. That won't necessarily change fat people's psyches right away, but numerous studies show that higher prices, even on addictive behaviors, reduce the consumption of those behaviors.

6 comments:

Ken Houghton said...

"Education is not the issue - there's plenty of education."

I'll agree with you if you're distinguishing between education and information.

I know a Big Mac is not healthy--but I would have guessed it's calorie count closer to 500-600 than 1,000-1,200. (Similar to the claim of most people that they probably use around 10-15 gallons of water a day, not the 50ish that is about the average per capita household usage.)

Let people know that a Big Mac alone--forget the Fries and Soda--is already more than 50% of the already-ridiculously-high 2,000-calorie/day "recommended" American diet. (I seem to remember when the recommendation was closer to 1,600.)

If the food sellers object to doing that, it seems reasonable to assume that they do so because they would expect their profits to decline. Meaning that they, unlike Richard Posner, believe that those of us who could spare a few pounds might decide to shift our diets if we knew how much of an advantage we would be gaining by not eating those Big Macs.

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