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2018-02-03 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Social Issues , 159 references Ignore this thread
Who Cares About Secondary Effects?
[Comments enabled]

Well who could have ever seen this coming....

Sugar is having a tobacco moment, not just here, but around the world.

Urbanization, falling poverty rates, and growing global trade have changed the diets and expanded the waistlines of the world’s poor, with processed food and sweetened drinks becoming household staples. Even very low-income communities are seeing rising rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease as a result. But many countries lack the tax revenue and medical infrastructure to treat such conditions, leading to a burgeoning global-health crisis. To tackle it, a new task force of well-known academics and advocates is encouraging developing nations to treat candy and soft drinks as many of them treat alcohol and cigarettes—and to tax them.

There's never a mention about the other way to handle this: Stop financializing medicine, stop "guaranteeing" access, stop socializing it all, in short and let people make their own choices and pay the consequences.

My late aunt smoked like a damn chimney her entire life and the tobacco never got her.  I'm sure her lungs looked like the interior of a coal mine, but she died of old age (and ripe at that) without ever getting lung cancer or heart disease.  She's the exception, of course -- most people who smoke do wind up getting screwed by it, and hard.

Further, it is true that taxing something, especially if you heavily tax it, does reduce consumption.  This makes such an approach look very attractive to government wonks and those who love socialism.

But the secondary effects are either ignored or worse, get dismissed with a "so what" attitude.

Let me give you an example.

Take an elderly person who has one of their kids "boomerang" back.  Maybe add a boyfriend to that.  Said boomerang'd "kid", now very much an adult, smokes and is not working.

Who's going to pay for the smokes?  Said elderly person will -- one way or another.  You'd say "well they could just say no" but the "saying no" means kicking that boomerang'd kid, who has no job and perhaps has some serious health issues themselves, out of the house.

Should they do that?  That's a clean argument to have but the reality of it is that it's pretty easy between one or two such parasitical individuals that get attached in this fashion to run several thousand dollars up on the other person's tab every year.  If that person also has an issue with alcohol or some other drug then it's even worse, but absent that -- just on tobacco -- it can be enough for someone on fixed income to be completely screwed economically.

The people who put these tax systems in place don't care about this.  They call this "choice" and on a purely-technical level they're right -- it is personal choice of the person being exploited to tolerate it and not toss those who are cost-shifting this crap out on their ear.

But look at the alternative -- instead of giving the adult boomerang Medicaid or Medicare+Disability, how about if you cut off both and at the same time break the medical monopolies?  Now the person who today can "attach" themselves like a parasite and drain someone's finances through throwing a pity party, which can be very effective, is left with (1) tobacco that can be had for a tiny fraction of the current price so the financial exploitation ends but (2) they get nothing in terms of medical support on everyone else's check.

This makes it possible for them to pay their own bill in all respects but if they choose not to, and also choose to continue to trash their health, we do not get the bill for it, they choose not to spend it, and they die.

Oh, and the elderly person in question?  They're not financially destroyed either; instead of their "boomerang" smoking up all their money they can take a cruise with it and enjoy some sun and adult beverages -- several times a year.

This is where "socialism" has its rubber meet the road.  It is so seductive to simply say "well, we have all this cost in medical care due to these bad habits, so tax the habit to both reduce it and pay the bill for the care."  The problem is that this simplistic answer doesn't work because especially with addictive behaviors like eating carbs, smoking or drinking too much the person doing it will find a way to cost-shift the tax to someone else and thus you not only don't get the reductions you think you would you also financially assrape people who are not doing the bad thing!

The better answer is to get rid of the subsidized "fixing" (e.g. health care) and kill the monopolies which takes the cost pressure off both the person doing the bad thing(s) such as smoking or eating carbs and stops screwing those who would otherwise have their heartstrings manipulated into paying for it.  The people who choose to kill themselves anyway still suffer the mortality and morbidity but the damage stops with them instead of being shifted onto myriad other people through emotionally-abusive tactics -- which, I remind you, includes parading around children and adults who "need subsidized health care."

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Uwe
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A True American Patriot!
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Everyone knows smoking is bad. Hell, I knew it when I started in the 1970s; it was "common knowledge" already. I don't think the same can be said for the over-consumption of carbs. Maybe sugars, but most folks haven't gotten the message that "staple" carbs are metabolically the same as sugar. Then there's the simple fact that staple carbs (grains and grain products) are by far the cheapest source of calories available and I doubt it would be possible to feed 7 billion people a LCHF diet.

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"I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do." -- Robert Heinlein
Asimov
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East Tennessee Eastern Time
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Just had to share the "image" at the bottom of your post.

Inline

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Tickerguy
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A True American Patriot!
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smiley

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Winding it down.
Jtmo3
Posts: 705
Incept: 2009-07-31

Missouri
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Spot on. I've been preaching this for years and people look at me like I'm a nut and evil. Maybe it's because I use the motorcycle helmet law as an example. I think it's wrong to force someone wear a helmet. We "supposedly" live in a free society right? You are free to choose and also live with the results. If you choose to ride without a helmet that's fine. If you get in a accident and can't afford medical care, you're gonna die. Don't come crying to me after the fact. You live in a free country, right? You made your choice. If I choose to pay for your medical care fine, if not sorry. People have no idea anymore what living with consequences means.
Click
Posts: 112
Incept: 2017-06-26


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Social engineering through taxation is the hallmark of a Marxist (aka cattleman). It never works out well --- if at all --- and it only empowers the social engineers to build a bigger beauracracy until the point in time is reached that "the beauracracy is expanding to meet the needs of the beauracracy" and not We the People.

This is an even bigger problem in places like Euroland. Collectivism is so prevalent there that the social engineers actually treat those of whom they claim to help as cattle. Do you know the linguistic roots of the word, "pecuniary"? --- pecu.

Pecu was the word for cow. Cows were food. And food was money --- real money --- not the ****e currency that's pasted off as money, today.

The Roman elites understand what money actually is. They understood that cow-people ( I call them pecu-people) are the highest from of money. "Human resources" are just that, viz., resources. Human resources can actually be turned into a currency. The Romans, for example, judged how rich was a man by the number of slaves he owned. Yes, there was gold and silver as a medium of exchange, but true wealth was measured by human resources, e.g., slaves.

Actually, the same standard is in place today. The real value of a nation is not counted in "commodity money", paper money, digital money or anything other than human capital. This fact is extremely difficult for the ignorant masses to conceptualize. Look at Japan, a country without commodity resources, and notice the reasons why they enjoy a higher quality of life than Russia which has abundant mineral and petroleum deposits.

Here is the bottom line regarding social engineering: the fundamental difference between a collectivist and a free-market capitalist is the former wants to actually own you and the latter wants to enter a voluntary exchange with you and treat you not as a cow but as a free moral agent with individual rights ....

Unless and until the ignorant masses ( aka pecu-people) stampede and kill off their owners nothing is going to change. And until then, We the People should be rewritten as We the Cattle...

Mangymutt
Posts: 500
Incept: 2015-05-03

Vancouver WA
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There is no country in the world better than America for providing trauma care, fall off a latter, cut your arm off, get into a car crash the drs, hospitals and health care providers will have you healed up lickity split.

There was a time not too long ago that hospitals would admit trauma patients, care for them and settle the billing out at a later date and in fact sometimes with reduced costs as some charities provided assistance for true trauma care.

Perfect system? No way, but I saw it work and it was a decent way of handling life's unexpected problems.

Today we have a system more interested in providing sick care, the sicker you are the more they care. I do not diminish the addictive nature of smoking but it IS a life choice, sick care has taken the responsibility away from the person and given it to society.

Can't quit smoking, try Chantix (sp???)never mind what it does to your body chemistry and those side effects. Those side effects can easily be taken care of with other sick care drugs.

Alcohol is another addictive substance that is a persons choice to consume, I have heard (Not sure it is true) that there are some people receiving disability because they are addict to alcohol.

Many of the drugs provided by sick care come with a warning, not to stop taking them without dr's consent.

I am all for socialism at home, at church and within the community because in those settings the individual who is being asking to help fund the social project has a say in the matter.

However when the state comes in and tells us we have to not only pay for the smokers health issues, we also have to pay for the disability of an alcoholic, why should I care about them? Seriously, why?

If I am going to pay for anybody to sit home, smoke, drink and play video games all day, it will be for me.

The secondary effects of our current socialism has hurt and will continue to hurt the American people as they grow to believe it is mine or your job to support their life's choice.
Sloonie
Posts: 2239
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waaaaay up North
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Quote:
I've been preaching this for years and people look at me like I'm a nut and evil. Maybe it's because I use the motorcycle helmet law as an example. I think it's wrong to force someone wear a helmet. We "supposedly" live in a free society right? You are free to choose and also live with the results. If you choose to ride without a helmet that's fine. If you get in a accident and can't afford medical care, you're gonna die. Don't come crying to me after the fact. You live in a free country, right? You made your choice. If I choose to pay for your medical care fine, if not sorry. People have no idea anymore what living with consequences means.


Yes, yes,
Live free or die!
Simple....take back your own life.

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"If might is right, then love has no place in the world. It may be so, it may be so. But I don't have the strength to live in a world like that..."-Father Gabriel, 'The Mission'


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