Friday, September 18, 2009

Can of Worms; Cost to Society

A comment (at KCL) from the last post about a proposed extra tax on drinks containing sugar brings up an interesting point. The commenter feels that the bad habits of others pose a burden to those who live a better life. The implication being that the consequences of the personal choices of the individual are shouldered by the collective. Under some systems there could be truth in that.

Assuming that the medical costs resulting from various choices are paid by the collective population at large, then it is only natural for many to believe they have every right to penalize or control such behavior. In this case it is sugar consumption that is alleged to be a health risk. Smoking and the like were also mentioned.

There are many choices that cost the general population. What are the ubiquitous WE to do? The easy solution would be not to shoulder the responsibility for the choices of individuals. But that would remove the legitimacy of controlling the behavior and habits of others. No, that won’t do. Best to find more ways to regulate and tax, and to save these costs.

One huge burden to society is the insistence of many on reproducing. All those damned kids in public schools and just hanging around. Schools cost a ton, not to mention the children’s section of the library, and all the diseases they spread. WE could save billions by taxing the hell out of giving birth, or enforce limits. 1.2 children per couple. If you have a child then get divorced, no starting over with the next spouse. Zero for you.

Wait a minute, once again, China beat us to it. Their version may be slightly different, but the idea is the same. Those who know best, and are in a position to enforce their wisdom, wisely keep tabs on these things. They must have saved a lot of money. Not only that but violators of this rule and dissenters can serve as very cheap labor, hence a thriving global economic force. Enough humans being produced to keep the army strong and replace police and government clerks as needed. There are even enough to populate the Olympic team. Not sure about their sugar intake or tobacco use.

So, the argument that justifies the state enacting measures to penalize or control personal habits and behavior gains leverage the more the state handles the responsibility for the individual. That brings to mind the current health care debate. Would more control actually lead to more freedom of choice or would it lead to stricter monitoring of body fat index, diet, drug choices, alcohol use, exercise, etc.?

What if there are current beliefs which prove faulty? Surely tort reform should be examined. Can WE afford more junk science lawsuits like the famous one in which John Edwards channeled an unborn child, resulting ultimately in a rash of unnecessary C-sections which may have posed more danger to mother and child than natural birth? That was expensive. Not sure who paid, but it was apparently “the rest of us”.

Remember when “cocaine is not addictive”? That was not so long ago. It was in the paper and opined by people with the finest credentials. They missed the boat on that one. Not so long ago the egg yolk was considered the good, healthy part. It gets complicated. If WE are going to be in charge of everything They do, We better figure out everything and the possible changes that might come to light.

And those people who live to 90 or so, eating food with sugar and smoking cigarettes; they need to be banned. It screws up the absolutes when dictating personal habits to others

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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