Here's an article discussing a paper published in the Journal Nature yesterday.
Summing up the paper the article says "Like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is a toxic, addictive substance that should be highly regulated with taxes, laws on where and to whom it can be advertised, and even age-restricted sales, says a team of UCSF scientists."
Here's another quote concerning the cause of T2. "It's sugar, not obesity, that is the real health threat, Lustig and his co-authors - public health experts Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis - say in their paper. They note that studies show 20 percent of obese people have normal metabolism and no ill health effects resulting from their weight, while 40 percent of normal-weight people have metabolic problems that can lead to diabetes and heart disease. They contend that sugar consumption is the cause.".........'The gestalt shift is maybe obesity is just a marker for the rise in chronic disease worldwide, and in fact metabolic syndrome, caused by excessive sugar consumption, is the real culprit,' said Schmidt, a health policy professor who focuses on alcohol and addiction research."
Although I'm not a big fan of social engineering thru taxing at least this is something from the popular press that shows a little more understanding of T2 as opposed to the recent Paula Deen media storm. I would also note that as usual the article make no distinction between T1 and T2.
As a note; I did not ask which programs or enterprises had merrit. I asked for which one if any were better than disfuntional at best. Merrit is another question all together.
Thanks for your replies, Randy. I think it's more of a question of "organizing principles" than waste or efficiency.
To me, the organizing principle of healthcare is doing our level best to provide high-quality, affordable health care to all people, regardless of their ability (in that moment of need) to pay. Because we're all human and we will all need healthcare, either for ourselves, our children or our parents. It's a universal, inescapable human need.
To others, the organizing principle of healthcare is to maximize profit while providing an acceptable level of healthcare to the people who can afford to pay for it in their moment of need.
Depending on one's organizing principles, having millions of uninsured folks with zero access to quality healthcare is acceptable (via cherry picking, rescission, pricing people out, forcing them to rely on the E.R., etc.) For example, plenty of people turn a blind eye to the agony of the poor who cannot afford any dental care until they show up in the E.R. with a life-threatening abscessed tooth. As long as dentists make high-six-figure salaries and dental insurance companies are profitable, they don't really care if someone is in white-hot agony due to lack of funds for dental care. Other folks believe that universal dental care is a better, more humane choice.
We don't need to have a perfectly run, perfectly efficient fire department to know that when the fire breaks out, it's in everyone's interest that they show up and start putting out the fire.
The Manhattan Project worked very well, with the possible exception of Klaus Fuchs.
LOL -- yes, there have been lots of very successful war-time projects, eh? Perhaps they cost a bit more than we planned, though?
Admiral Grace Hopper did some ground-breaking work on computers during WW II -- private businesses have profited mightily from her gubmint research, (Hint: She invented the first compiler.)
The ARPAnet turned out pretty well, too.
During WW II, rationing of calorie-dense foods resulted in a decrease in all kinds of "diseases of affluence". This has been well-documented. There's no question that de facto rationing of unhealthful foods via high taxes would result in improved general health, as long as there was also easy access to healthier, natural foods at affordable prices: vegetables, fresh fruit, sufficiently high-quality protein, etc.
If an inner-city family could get two pints of fresh blueberries for $3 while a container of full-fat "berry" ice cream cost $15.00, which would they buy? Doh. Which is healthier? Double doh.
The problem is that blueberries (where I live, in Seattle) are $4.00 for only eight ounces while at the same time you can buy two 1.5 quart containers of full-fat, full-sugar, artificially-flavored ice cream for $6. Which is a poor family more likely to purchase for dessert? A few tablespoons each of healthful blueberries? Or a heaping bowl each of fatty, sugary ice cream?
Why is the ice cream so much less expensive? CHEAP ingredients, the economy of scale inherent in large-scale manufacturing and the most important factor: government subsidies.
Even so, you will note that we are already starting to see a kind of "rationing" via deceptive food packaging. Those 1.5 quart and 1.75 quart containers used to be full half-gallons. The manufacturers are stealthily gouging us by charging the same while they shrink the containers. Maybe they're inadvertently doing us a favor?
I think that just supplying people with correct nutritional information would be a good start. Right now diabetics can't even get that from the ADA. It's no more clear right now that sugar and overprocessed foods can kill you than it was that cigarettes would do that when I was a kid. I don't care if other people eat wrong, but I hate it that their crap takes up so much space in the grocery store. I don't know, put a skull and crossbones on the cookie aisle? Just stop letting that stuff seem like it's harmless.
Just what we need is to get the government involved in controlling sugar. I'm sure it would do great. They can use the Prohibition model from years past or the current war on drugs as a model. If the government gets into regulating sugar will we see sugar speak easies where sugar flows more freely than before sugar Prohibition. Or maybe there will be sugar dealers on every corner willing to sell untaxed sugar and the sugar trade will become so lucrative that people will be willing to kill for it as it now happens with drugs.
The government needs to stay the hell out of deciding what someone can and can eat.
I'm sure the purveyors of patent medicines and toxic lotions and potions in the 19th and early 20th centuries felt the same way:
"New and improved Lead Powder makes your skin so pretty!"
But seriously, the FDA and the Department of Agriculture are already deciding what we can and cannot eat (well, what can or cannot be marketed to us as "food".)
I don't think that prohibition works, but taxes work great. When I was a girl, 85% of people smoked. Now, 85% of people in my area do NOT smoke. All kinds of government regulations, policies and programs went into effecting that change. Most of us are very happy to not be gassed all the time everywhere we go, even ex-smokers like me. Some current smokers don't like it very much, but I think overall it was a success and it made it easier for me to quit.
If they'd just remove the price supports for HFCS, that would be a great start.
I was once a smoker and I quit twenty something years ago. I didn't quit because of the taxes I quit due to the education. As an addicted smoker I would have bought the cigarettes no matter what the cost. I quit for my health. Thats the same reason I now avoid sugar.
Maybe I'm of a different mind set. Taxes would not curb me but knowledge does. It would be wrong to punish everyone with taxes for the sake of those that have a problem.
I don't think the sugar lovers of this world have a real worry. There are way to many special interest involved here for any such proposal to have much of a chance. There's the farm industry, the restaurant industry, the packaged food industry , the refreshment industry and who knows what others that make their living off of peoples sweet toothes. I'm sure all will scream bloody murder if their livelyhood is threatened.
That's true, Gary. There are a lot of special interests who would scream bloody murder.
I can't say that I quit smoking "because" of the taxes, but the cost of smoking did help me quit. I had a teacher that made the smokers in class total up how much we spent on tobacco per day, per week, per month, quarter and per year. Then we discussed how we could spend that money instead. When I saw the eye-popping totals, this knowledge started tickling the back of my brain: "I could go on an European vacation, in just a few years, I could have a down-payment on a house..." etc.
In today's dollars and prices, my former habit would add up to almost $11,000 per year. That's nothing to sniff at. ;0\
The laws that had the biggest impact on my habit were the indoor smoking bans, first in the workplace and then in restaurants, bars, etc. Not being around it all the time made it so much easier to quit and stay quit.
In my twenties, I was a graphic artist in a work-studio with seven women. Five of us smoked, two didn't. To this day I feel terribly guilty about the two who didn't smoke, because the other five of us smoked like chimneys -- even in a closed room, in winter, with two non-smokers. That was normal back then, but now it seems positively evil.
I too feel guilty about what I was doing to those around me. My dad smoked and I never thought anything about it but my youngest son had asthma when he was young and spent several nights in the hospital with asthma attacks. After I quit he never had another attack period.
I wish it were the same with sugar. If one person reducing consumption would help others I would be all for any kind of drastic measure to curb its use. Sugar consumption is a personal decision one needs to make for themselves.
I would be all for an education program about the dangers of high sugar consumption but not one quite as graphic as the stop smoking campaign. Pointing out the sugars in our diet and it's effect on ones health might be a good idea. A warning label on products containing high levels of sugar might not be a bad thing.
I live in a sugar producing area. Currently, the Cooperative that contracts with the farmer-growers are in a bitter labor dispute and lock-out with the union processing workers that actually make a high quality useable sugar product from the beets of which tit originates.
The current U.S. farm bill, that makes possible the SNAP food stamp program, school lunch programs and inexpensive food for all contains a sugar subsidy. This subsidy is in jeopardy, due to the current spending slash cry from the right aisle of Congress. This subsidy is paid for though tariffs on imported sugar, and other costs assessed in the Farm Bill. It costs the American tax payers next to nothing.
Adding a tax on sugar, for whatever reason, legitimate or lame, will open the door to cheaper, lower quality and less sweet cane sugar from foreign sources, thus killing one more American industry and sending jobs somewhere other than here. I find it interesting that this report comes out just as the Government wants to undermine one more American industry and takes away the very jobs that they are begging the private sector to create. In doing so, the same Government proposes to make the sugar industry a giant cash cow, just as they have with tobacco.
So let me see if I understand this correctly. The study says that Sugar is Bad. So, to combat its evil existence by taxing it; rather than banning it. That will accomplish several things. It will end the sugar subsidy so that the government doesn't support what is bad for you. It will add to the tax revenues by charging for what is bad for you. Therefore, if it is really bad for you, ban it. If it isn't that bad for you, tax it. But whatever you do, make sure you get into our faces so that we cannot make our own decision.
I have heard of a cause of death from alcohol poisoning. I have heard of a cause of death from overuse of tobacco. I have heard of death due to diabetes. I have never heard of a cause of death from sugar poisoning.
I don't get this. When is enough regulation enough?