Opinion on Arizona’s Fat Tax

April 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm 1 comment

So, normally I don’t use opinion articles as a basis for posts, but I’m making an exception today because this one was too good to pass up. A few days ago I wrote a post about Arizona’s proposed “fat tax” in which obese residents of the state of Arizona who are unwilling to follow doctors orders to lose weight would be taxed an extra $50 dollars a year, along with residents who smoke. Today, Art Caplan Ph.D, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote this in an opinion article that was picked up by msnbc.com, “With more than 25 percent of Arizonans obese and 16 percent who smoke, there will be plenty of money available. And just to be fair, the governor can add the same tax to water-skiing, jet skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, owning a swimming pool, paragliding, rock climbing, failing to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle (Arizona has a very weak law) or choosing to work in roofing, mining or construction — or any other activity that carries a risk. Actually, if the governor really wants to make money, how about a tanning tax for those who bask in the Arizona sun and hike their risk of skin cancer? The way to get at the costs of health care is to take a long hard look at prices, overuse of services and fraud. But that would be too hard. Picking on the poor is just lazy and mean.” Dr. Caplan’s University of Pennsylvania bio states that he is a professor of bioethics and philosophy, and that he has research interests in transplantation research ethics, genetics, reproductive technologies, health policy, and general bioethics.

Here’s what I want to know, how is someone who studies health philosophy and bioethics qualified to compare water-skiing to obesity? I do think that Dr. Arthur Caplan makes some very valid points about the unfairness of a law that will tax the poorest in a state who already need government assistance, but I fail to see how his argument about activities that are generally seen as ways to lower your health risk by being active compare to poor nutrition and exercise choices. So, weigh in America, what do you think? How weighty are Arthur Caplan’s arguments, and how much consideration should we give his opinion?

Oh, and just for fun I thought I’d include a picture, because he failed to submit one with his opinion article to msnbc.



Entry filed under: Arthur Caplan, government action, weight.

Pouring On the Pounds? Fat Talk

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. basnow  |  April 7, 2011 at 1:06 am

    I think this is a hard topic but he does have a point. Alot of the time obese people have lower incomes and struggle to make ends meet as it is. Wouldn’t it be better if they could keep their $50 and spend it on apples?


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