Monday, June 15, 2009

The food police

Yesterday I heard Christopher Dodd say that improving “prevention programs” would be a way to subsidize so-called health insurance reform.

That’s a good example of what passes for rational thinking among liberals. When dealing with a liberal, it’s always necessary to explain the obvious.

There’s a reason why a lot of people overeat, or consume quantities of “junk food,” “fast food,” sweets, and all the other stuff the food police decry.

I think a lot of people figure that they’re going to die anyway. Jogging and counting calories is not a recipe for immortality.

So since, no matter what they do, death is inevitable, they’re prepared to shave a few years off their lifespan if that improves their overall quality of life. Given a choice, they’d rather die a little sooner, but enjoy themselves–than die a little later, and deny themselves.

This is no different in principle than men and women who engage in contact sports or water sports or other activities which involve an element of risk. They assume an extra risk because they like to have fun.

Now, we could spend a lot of time debating their priorities–although it’s none of our business–but my immediate point is that people who do this are making a rational calculation. A cost/benefit analysis. It’s not because they don’t know any better. Rather, this is a calculated risk. For them, the pluses outweigh the minuses.

Pouring taxpayer money into prevention programs won’t make a dent. For the target group isn’t doing what it does due to ignorance of the consequences. To the contrary, they’ve taken the consequences into account. They’re prepared to live with the consequences. For them, that’s a good trade-off.

I’d also note, in passing, that, on average, liberal Congressmen don’t strike me as being more fit and trim than their constituents.


  1. The problem is the target group is NOT willing to live with the consequences. When they have a heart attack at 50 because of all the Big Mac's they've been eating, or develop diabetes at age 40 because of getting overweight, etc. they still expect a heart bypass, or diabetes treatment, all without paying any sort of risk premium/penalty for their health insurance.

    I'm not saying "food police" are the answer but I don't think you are accurate in saying these people are willing to pay the price, at least in increased medical care they're not.

  2. Seems to me that that's a case of one liberal premise building on another. My impression is that liberal lawmakers don't allow health insurance companies to "discriminate" against applicants with preexisting conditions, even if they acquired their preexisting conditions due to high risk behavior. The insurance company is not allowed to refuse them coverage or charge a higher premium. Hence, low-risk policy-holders are subsidizing high-risk policy-holders. But I don't think that was always the case.