Last Friday night, my wife and I enjoyed a night out on the town. It was late when we decided to stop at IHOP, on our way back to the hotel. However, as we sat there, it was hard not to notice the other diners.
Not once in my life have I ever been called svelte. When I was first sent to Officer Candidate School in the Army years ago, I was assigned to sit at the “Fat Table” and permitted to eat only half-rations.
Nonetheless, sitting in that pancake palace last Friday night, I realized I was the skinniest man there!?!
They were all around me, eating white flour pancakes, slathered with butter and syrup, washing it down with whole milk and soft drinks. Don’t they know better? We are bombarded with that information every day!
Then, I started thinking about the estimated $300 billion annual cost of obesity related diseases and wondered why I have to pay for their bad habits. Their collective lack of responsibility will eventually cost me money!
Curtailing personal options is distasteful — but not as distasteful as taking money out of my wallet to pay for those who make poor choices. An alternative to regulating food choices is repricing it. We tax tobacco, but we subsidize sugar. Does that make sense? If the irresponsible cannot control their diet, then they should pay more to eat it. Shouldn’t a large plate of pancakes have a 50% excise tax, increasing the cost to $6 instead of just $4?