[quote="cymonk, post:5, topic:190208"]
Well, I guess I would say there will likely be people looking at the dollars and cents of the health care bill saying, "why are these people making poor decisions? We should stop them." Not defending the indulgences... but there is things such as smoking and being overweight that people are already trying to exclude. Why not throw in salt... transfat... all of fat... meat.... coffee... who knows. That's my little apocolipse speech. If you aren't prepared for the ice age.... Doom on you!
Ok, let's go with this. In the first place, this isn't directly related to healthcare reform, so we can put that to one side.
Paying for health care and various health costs is costing a lot of Americans tons of money, and we know that plenty of people can't afford health care. If we had a healthier population, the argument goes, it could conceivably drive down health costs. [We'll accept this premise for the purposes of this discussion, though I would certainly challenge it; I think that realistically, the only thing that's going to bring down health costs is real and significant health care reform, which, as we've said, is a separate issue]
With this in mind, there have been some proposals to do to unhealthy food what we've done to cigarettes: tax them heavily so that people become disinclined to use them excessively (and to generate extra revenue from those who choose to continue using them excessively).
An outright ban on something basic like salt is obviously stupid, and it certainly won't get past any assembly worth its salt (pun embarassingly intended), but the suggestion that we could tax really salty snack foods and sodas and things of that nature might be a workable plan to lower the consumption of such unhealthy foods.
I fail to see how such taxes would constitute a "nanny state." People will always be perfectly free to eat all the salty snack foods they want; what we're discussing is whether we should take measures to discourage people from making certain choices so as to effect a social change that we want to see.
EDIT: To be clear, I'm saying that all legislation consists in providing incentives to get people to behave in certain ways that we want. Saying that discouraging people from smoking tons of cigarettes equals a "nanny state" makes no more sense than saying that discouraging people from drunk driving equals a "nanny state."
I could see arguments for and against taxing unhealthy foods -- I can't see an alarmist cry of "OMG! It's a tyrannical nanny state because they want me to pay slightly more money to indulge in my disgusting eating habits!" Come on. Get real.