Subsidizing Fat


Ezra on the politics of obesity:

Obviously, obesity isn't something the government can reverse by fiat. But nor need public policy be arrayed so as to intensify the epidemic. Schools raise money through vending machines and exclusive deals with snack food companies. Corn production is subsidized to such an absurd degree that industry had to figure out a way to make it not-corn, so they could use it more, and so we got high fructose corn syrup and the heavily processed, nutritionally inadequate, dead cheap foods it tends to sweeten. In 2005, Congress passed a $286 billion highway bill -- an enormous subsidy meant to make the country more drivable. No equivalent sum was spent to make our communities more walkable. In essence, we're paying to make our country fatter, then paying even more to keep our alive as the health costs of obesity come due. It's insane.

He then goes on to explain how you can, actually, reduce obesity by fiat.

(Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty.)