Jumbo Soda pop and the Marlboro man . How much can we afford?

Do you remember when the Marlboro man used to hawk those cool cigarettes on television to great effect?  Persons older than 50, may have a clear memory of how business used to be conducted.  Its intention was sex appeal, and hipness that it brought to the youth of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.  Then we began making advancements in medical research.  Medical science conclusively determined that nicotine and other toxins were deadly substances.  We began to make changes for the benefit of society.

 

These pro-active benefits are seen by some to over burden our medical system.   But how does a just society rationalize the worst effects to those families that have anguished over early death of loved ones?  Understanding we have limited resources we must prioritize our needs and goals.  What justice is served by financial manipulation?  The answer to this rhetorical question is obvious.  The consolidation of accumulated wealth by executives, board members and profiteers is unjust to the rest of society at large!

 

Cigarettes are no longer advertised on T.V., radio, or by print media.  There are harsh clear health warnings on every package.  We’ve imposed higher taxes on cigarettes, making them less affordable for smokers, and hopefully adding an incentive to quit.  But in essence, it acts as an added upfront heath care deductible.  Continued tobacco consumption therefore, presents future health problems which nonetheless remain every taxpayer’s burden under this system.  Placement of entire costs singularly upon smokers may be more just.

 

N.Y.C. Mayor Bloomberg works to act akin to a futurist and he’s well ahead of the curve.  The attempted ban on Jumbo sodas is an obvious marker in the sand.  How society must improve medically and financially involves additional changes to both medical information and the excesses of the capitalist system.  Instead of unsuccessfully trying to ban 32oz + sodas, [i.e.: in the real world improbable] I propose a different approach.   Levy a sizable tax on all containers that allow unhealthy excessive amounts of poisoning foods and beverages.   Disproportionate consumption of products that promote poor health, unduly burden an out-of-control medical system.  We must not allow some citizens to burden health services at the cost of those who practice healthier lifestyles.

 

Not only unfair to individual taxpayers, it’s not good for business interests.  Any loss of otherwise available disposable income is undesirable.   Exponential taxpayer subsidy of unnecessary medical costs, created by overindulgence means business suffers in the process.  It’s not now and can never be in the best interest of American families as a whole.   Whereas preventive medicine – it’s exact opposite, benefits individuals and financial interests at large.  An added bonus is a healthier domestic workforce, using fewer sick days, less extended care and providing even greater potential productivity.  Just as we know exercise and a balanced diet promotes better medical health, it likewise benefits financial health in the manner described.

 

Try to buy life insurance and notice the sizable extra premium smokers and individuals living with morbid obesity pay.  Risk and cost is inexorably tied.  Conversely, private insurance providers offer employers lower premiums based on companies whose culture promotes improved health.  Companies that sponsor weight loss contests, provide work-out facilities, host and/or sponsor marathons, and serve healthy nutrients in their cafeterias save significant costs.

 

Despite the insistence of too many, this is not a Liberal or Conservative issue.   It’s correct to state that Conservatives insist on individual responsibility, and that Liberals like to project an image of progressive actions forwarding healthier lifestyles.  Both sides advocate elimination of wasteful spending.   The problem, well known, is how to get to where most seem to want to be.  Liberals promote medical advancements by supporting higher taxes that fund research, and costs of higher education.  This while clearly beneficial poses political hurdles in accomplishing common ground.  But overcoming these challenges is imperative if we are to produce waves of bright futures.

The type of thinking whose motive is common ground, tackles these and other challenges.   Acceptance of the need for justifiable increased taxes should go hand in hand with reasonable reductions in entitlements.  The sequester issue may be solved with this type of action.  Americans are anxious for both major parties to compromise on which taxes to increase, and what spending may be decreased.  To reduce costs, Liberals and Conservatives must act with the wisdom of restricting and taxing individual unhealthy lifestyles.   They contribute to the downfall and ill physical and economic health of our country.  Additionally, they dampen the future success of our children.

 

Sorry – Super-Bowl fans, ads sponsoring sexy Pepsi-Cola need to go!  This is the time for us to make major changes.  Just like what happened to the Marlboro man.  The oft used phrase is apropos; we’re all in this together.





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