The mere suggestion by me that a small tax on fattening foods would be a smart way to help finance the cost of fixing America's broken health care system sent some readers into rants, questioning my sense of fairness, intelligence and even my parentage.
I stand 100 percent behind my mother and father who did a fine job raising me. And while I wasn't a straight-A student in school, my tests scores weren't anything to run away from.
However, questions about the basic fairness of a proposed fat-food tax have the most merit – and therefore deserve answers.
Even critics of the tax concept agree that overweight, unhealthy folks strain our health care system with disproportionate rates of diabetes, heart disease and other maladies. And delivering quality health care to this segment of the population ends up costing us all.
So why not make the food producers who make huge profits but create this unhealthy situation pay their fair share? You can't tax someone for being fat in America, but you can tax the people who are making Americans fat.
Folks who smoke tobacco or who drink alcohol pay taxes on the products they imbibe to their health's detriment. It is time for fat-food producers and consumers to do the same.
The argument comes back. "I have the right to be fat, so leave me alone."
Of course you have a right to be as large, fat and unhealthful as you want. But when it costs me in skyrocketing health care costs and jeopardizes the financial futures of generations to come, then it is my business.
The same "stay-out-of-my-business" arguments were used when seat belts were made mandatory. And that logic applies here. I shouldn't have to pay higher car insurance premiums because you get in an accident.
Second, just a few pennies tariff added to a wide range of fattening foods would raise billions in added revenue.
I must admit that seeing the government (and it doesn't matter who is president) get its hands on new pots of money makes me a little queasy. Waste, fraud and mismanagement could end up eating away much of the new money stream. But for now, the issue is raising the funds to fix health care. And taxing fattening foods would do it.