Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's wrong with a "fat tax?"

The Root has an article about a new Alabama initiative to deal with the growing obesity problem (pun intended). It's an interesting idea, and I think it has the potential to do a lot of good. Essentially, it offers state employees free medical screening for routine health problems. The employees are not obligated to get the screening, but if they don't, they have to pay a $25 fee.

Critics are calling this a "fat tax." I disagree. If the government is being asked to deal with the health problems of its employees (and it should), then it ought also to have input into how serious those problems become. I'm not in favor of direct government commands - think "thou shall not eat that Big Mac" - but I'm all in favor of the right set of economic incentives. This is a good incentive.

The Fat Tax:

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