Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

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sardia
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Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby sardia » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:26 pm UTC

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/nation ... oo-little/
Why the obese are always hungry, and why it's so hard to fix. Food stamps are being used in poor rural areas to buy drive thru convenience store junk food. The alternative is walking 15 miles to the closest real grocery store. Since they have to make food stamps last, they buy the cheapest calories per dollar, aka junk food.

Reading it was pretty horrifying, these kids were eating hot cheetos covered in nacho cheese every day, yet they were always hungry because there's nothing else to eat. Reading the solutions were depressing too because nobody wanted to let them starve either. It's a clusterfuck of government, capitalism, and biology. Everyone is implicated here, the government helps too little, so they rely on medicaid and food stamps. They use the a combination of pills and junkfood to survive. There's no grocery stores, but dozens of convenience and fast food stores. You can't even give them fresh food, because the kids refuse to eat it. You'll have to reprogram the kids, put them out of their misery, or simply eat the loss from wasteful spending

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby WibblyWobbly » Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:43 pm UTC

That was a good article. I do think that one of the biggest problems is lack of availability of healthier foods coupled with the high availability of fast food and snack foods. My situation isn't half as bad as those of the people in the article, but there are some similarities: the nearest real market is a small one 2-3 miles away, which is close enough if you've got a car but a bit of a walk for a fat guy like me, especially in winter and walking through some bad parts of town. And the produce and other products there are generally 30-50% more expensive than what you'll find at the supermarket 7-8 miles away, which is still somewhat expensive compared to the megasupermarkets like the Wal-Mart supercenter 10-15 miles away. I hate shopping there, it depresses me to no end, but it's easier on the pocketbook than the nicer supermarket. Now, couple any of these with no car, currently, and shopping for fresh meat and produce becomes tricky. I know I should be eating things like more fresh fish and/or poultry, but if I'm forced to shop a week at a time and don't get to that fish for a little while, how long will it last? Fast food, processed foods, prepackaged foods are all simpler in those regards. I know they're hurting me, health-wise, but it's hard to get off this merry-go-round once you've been on it for so long. And while I don't make a lot of money, I'm not on food stamps - I can't even imagine what that would be like. I know there are people who are going to say "You can eat healthy on food stamps! Why, I ate nothing but rice, beans and old shoe leather all throughout college, and I'm doing great!" but the situation in a lot of places isn't like those people's situations way back when, or whenever. We need to find solutions, not blame. Seems that way with a lot of ills in society. Not sure that's a new thing, though.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:10 am UTC

Its a pretty depressing read. Healthy food does cost more, even if it is available and also usually takes more time for preparation and also has a tendency to spoil. And this is competing with food that is tasty, cheap and convenient. Its a hard sell.

The solution needs to start with increasing the availability and lowering the cost of healthy foods. Fundamentally the problem is that there isn't a market for it, not in the poorer areas anyway.

Government subsidies for this would probably be a good place to start, but probably political very difficult. These subsidies as an investment would save a lot in medical fees and early deaths. Investing in the health of the population is probably a good investment? When a market for healthy foods has been created maybe it can be self-sustaining?

I don't really have much hope here, just spit balling.

On a more personal note, on the few times I have visited the USA, I have literally been appalled at the quality of available foods. And this was in Boulder, one of the more health conscious places in the USA.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby philsov » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:01 pm UTC

I know there are people who are going to say "You can eat healthy on food stamps! Why, I ate nothing but rice, beans and old shoe leather all throughout college, and I'm doing great!" but the situation in a lot of places isn't like those people's situations way back when, or whenever.


Yeah. It's a lot easier when to cook you've got running water and a working fridge+stove. Which... isn't exactly case along the border towns talked about in the article.

But then again I think the majority of families on food stamps have these things, and just under-utilize them in favor of easy access and the short term. At this point it's a matter of mindset that needs to be addressed, so directly shoving either straight money or infrastructure at it won't fully solve the problem.
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:47 pm UTC

philsov wrote:
I know there are people who are going to say "You can eat healthy on food stamps! Why, I ate nothing but rice, beans and old shoe leather all throughout college, and I'm doing great!" but the situation in a lot of places isn't like those people's situations way back when, or whenever.


Yeah. It's a lot easier when to cook you've got running water and a working fridge+stove. Which... isn't exactly case along the border towns talked about in the article.

But then again I think the majority of families on food stamps have these things, and just under-utilize them in favor of easy access and the short term. At this point it's a matter of mindset that needs to be addressed, so directly shoving either straight money or infrastructure at it won't fully solve the problem.

That's like saying we can solve drug addiction by changing the minds of drug addicts. These kids are refusing to eat food that isn't a supersize soda with bacon cheese fries. In addition, the issues of food deserts, addictive junk food, and poor choices by the poor are trends that happen all over the country. Not just in poor rural regions.
There's gonna be a lot of reprogramming, excuse me behaviorial modification to get these kids off junk food. While they are surrounded by fast food and processed food, eating healthy is pretty tough. It's not simply a matter of bringing fresh veggies and fruits to their lunch boxes either. It means shoving real food down their throats, because if the kids aren't eating it; you are throwing money into the garbage. Normally I would suggest something along the lines of meals on wheels, but that leaves the personal choice of them actually eating the food up to the family. It's hard to be a paragon of health and virtue when you're struggling to stave off diabetes and working a full time job.

Some solutions?
Providing subsidized/free childcare + a healthy meal so the parents can work.

Unbrainwashing the kids so they aren't searching for the fat/salt/sugar hit.

Ending subsidies or putting taxes on corn. Cheap corn= cheap high fructose corn syrup. That alone should put a dent in consumption through higher prices.

All of these solutions cost money, time and resources. Not to mention the nanny state opposition that we are sure to run into.

The other solution? Mandated murder/cessation of treatment. The libertarians have been advocating this for years, but they never had the balls to outright state it. If you get sick, you should die. Preferably in the woods so no one can see you. If we find out about it, we might be tempted to help you.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:59 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Ending subsidies or putting taxes on corn. Cheap corn= cheap high fructose corn syrup. That alone should put a dent in consumption through higher prices.
Not taxes. Definitely not taxes. Taxing people in an effort to make sugar cheap, and then taxing people because sugar is too cheap is a double tax that is only going to hurt the poor.
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:12 pm UTC

Are you sure? Not to knock it, but increasing prices of junk food (if this classification can even be clear) would result in lower demand for said junk food. If the addiction is so strong that they spend all their money on junk food, then we have bigger problems, mainly our junk food is more addictive then crack. As a useful counterpoint, we routinely tax the poor. Cigarettes, other sin taxes, the lottery ( a tax on the dumb, aka the poor), the fat tax that California passed.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Belial » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:05 pm UTC

And all of those are bad ideas!
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Роберт » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:08 pm UTC

sardia wrote: the lottery ( a tax on the dumb, aka the poor)

Do I need to explicitly mention that this was a bigoted statement here?
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:16 pm UTC

Actually the lotto is a Hope tax. The horribly scary thing about poverty is the shear volume of wealth required to escape it. If you are willingly to live in a crap apartment (with crappier neighbors), eat government cheese, wear goodwill clothing, etc, you can live relatively comfortably. But the minute you try to make anything more of your life? Hah! Those bill collectors now actually have something to collect! Your subsidies disappear. Foodstamps declares you too well off the help. All your crappy neighbors see you as a walking arrogant asshole and had better pay up.

Earning even a few thousand extra dollars isn't enough to be worth it. So, lotto.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Adam H » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:22 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The other solution? Mandated murder/cessation of treatment. The libertarians have been advocating this for years, but they never had the balls to outright state it. If you get sick, you should die. Preferably in the woods so no one can see you. If we find out about it, we might be tempted to help you.
From a libertarian perspective:

How about readily available contraceptives and sex ed? These terrible parents make me want to puke. If you can't take care of yourself, don't have kids that you won't be able to take care of.

Free childcare is an excellent solution, one that doesn't offend my libertarian lean at all. These kids need to be taken care of by someone. A good meal and exercise at daycare is enough to make up for a crappy dinner at home, I think. The government taking care of people that can't take care of themselves is one of the few things a government is good for (libertarianismly-speaking).

Good healthcare is also part of the solution. Parents need to know how to take care of kids. Free healthcare for kids who need it is another good use of tax money.

End subsidies on corn, obviously. This is like the worst thing ever. :P A sin tax on corn seems a bit silly, though.


Now if adults want to eat themselves to death, let them go off and die somewhere, preferably in the woods so no one can see them. I have no problem with that. At some point in the future I may prefer dying with my vices over living without them, and I hope you will allow me to do so.
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:33 pm UTC

As a classic liberal-ish, I agree on free contraceptives and Sex Ed for all. While I don't like the idea of paying $200 a year so that someone else can have more sex, I like paying $20,000 a year per fuckspawn even less.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Wnderer » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:13 am UTC

This story is total bleeding heart bullshit.

they often repeated an aphorism about the border fence. “On one side you’re skinny. On the other you’re fat,”


Obesity: Mexico Overtakes United States As World's Fattest Country
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07 ... 71988.html

Mexico taxes soda to combat obesity
http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/11/mex ... s-obesity/

Mexican eating habits have nothing to do with US policy.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby nitePhyyre » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:11 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:
sardia wrote:Ending subsidies or putting taxes on corn. Cheap corn= cheap high fructose corn syrup. That alone should put a dent in consumption through higher prices.
Not taxes. Definitely not taxes. Taxing people in an effort to make sugar cheap, and then taxing people because sugar is too cheap is a double tax that is only going to hurt the poor.
sardia wrote:Are you sure? Not to knock it, but increasing prices of junk food (if this classification can even be clear) would result in lower demand for said junk food. If the addiction is so strong that they spend all their money on junk food, then we have bigger problems, mainly our junk food is more addictive then crack. As a useful counterpoint, we routinely tax the poor. Cigarettes, other sin taxes, the lottery ( a tax on the dumb, aka the poor), the fat tax that California passed.
I'm not arguing against a sin taxes in general. It's just that corn is already heavily subsidized. We tax the poor to make corn cheap, then tax them again, because it is too cheap. Just cut the subsidies.
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:27 am UTC

Wnderer wrote:This story is total bleeding heart bullshit.

they often repeated an aphorism about the border fence. “On one side you’re skinny. On the other you’re fat,”


Obesity: Mexico Overtakes United States As World's Fattest Country
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07 ... 71988.html

Mexico taxes soda to combat obesity
http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/11/mex ... s-obesity/

Mexican eating habits have nothing to do with US policy.


Teeeechnically, the US's farm subsidies affect commodity prices and thus affect Mexican eating habits. So arguably...

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Jplus » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:03 am UTC

The USA poverty problems are even worse than I already thought. I'm speechless.
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Chen » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:03 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:How about readily available contraceptives and sex ed? These terrible parents make me want to puke. If you can't take care of yourself, don't have kids that you won't be able to take care of.


While lack of education in the real costs of having kids is certainly a factor, I gotta wonder what other factors are at play here. There was an article about income inequality on CNN where the person they were focusing on in the story had 8 kids. That can't all be lack of education or accidents. After the first couple you're going to realize how much money and time it takes to raise a kid.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby sardia » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:58 pm UTC

Belial wrote:And all of those are bad ideas!

I get why the lottery is a bad idea, but why is a tax on cigarettes bad?

Spoiler:
There are ways to improve the lottery though. For example, instead of using it to fund government programs, you can use it to encourage the lottery players to save. Each ticket saves a portion of the ticket cost into a savings account, and then the rest gets sent into a small payoff, $100-$1000. The current lottery has too high of a payout. Why does someone need to win $2 million instead of $1 million. Instead, people are complaining about the prizes not being big enough at 10-15 million dollars.


I like the idea of childcare too, too bad it's not politically feasible. If it was, I'd take Agriculture subisidies and convert them into childcare + contraception ones. Oh and abortion, abortions and flagpins for everyone.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Cleverbeans » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:27 pm UTC

sardia wrote:I like the idea of childcare too, too bad it's not politically feasible.


Me too. There are places in the world where schools are required to provide nutritious meals to all the kids including breakfast and lunch. I also like the idea of making Home Economics a mandatory course focusing on cooking, menu planning, and budgeting.
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby PeteP » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:48 pm UTC

sardia wrote:There are ways to improve the lottery though. For example, instead of using it to fund government programs, you can use it to encourage the lottery players to save. Each ticket saves a portion of the ticket cost into a savings account, and then the rest gets sent into a small payoff, $100-$1000. The current lottery has too high of a payout. Why does someone need to win $2 million instead of $1 million. Instead, people are complaining about the prizes not being big enough at 10-15 million dollars.

1 million? With lottery the hope is to get rich by getting very, 1 million is a nice amount of money but kinda puny. If you distribute it over say 50 years you have 20k per year. A decent amount of money but for someone with a family with two kids that is below the "poverty threshold" in the USA.
Lottery is selling a dream, and 1 million just isn't that impressive.
I wonder whether your saving+lottery plan would increase lottery playing since people can justify it with the saving component, hmm.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby sardia » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:51 pm UTC

http://freakonomics.com/2010/11/18/frea ... ings-rate/
It's not a panacea, if anything it reminds me of the micro-loans that were popping up in Africa. The first wave were great, and picked at all the low hanging fruit. The 2nd wave, the fees were higher, and were much more suspect. They had "forced savings" and high fees/interest rates. We'll never know, because it's not very widespread.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby davidstarlingm » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:58 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Actually the lotto is a Hope tax. The horribly scary thing about poverty is the shear volume of wealth required to escape it. If you are willingly to live in a crap apartment (with crappier neighbors), eat government cheese, wear goodwill clothing, etc, you can live relatively comfortably. But the minute you try to make anything more of your life? Hah! Those bill collectors now actually have something to collect! Your subsidies disappear. Foodstamps declares you too well off the help. All your crappy neighbors see you as a walking arrogant asshole and had better pay up.

Earning even a few thousand extra dollars isn't enough to be worth it. So, lotto.

I'm certainly not impoverished -- I'm quite well-off, actually -- but I can absolutely see how this trend would work.

When I was starting college, my dad's income was too high for me to be eligible for need-based assistance, but not high enough that he had money left over after paying bills and debt.

During the recent government shutdown, I was out of work for 2.5 weeks. However, because I worked one day the first week and two days in the last week, I was only eligible for one week of unemployment -- it came to about 17% of the money I lost during that whole time.

All these programs seem to do is keep people dependent on them.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:40 pm UTC

We need to get healthy food to compete with junk food on price, appearance, and number of commercials featuring cartoon animals.

We need to fix this as soon as possible so we can stop feeling sorry for overweight people and go back to judging them for their poor life choices the way the Founding Fathers intended.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Belial » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:43 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Belial wrote:And all of those are bad ideas!

I get why the lottery is a bad idea, but why is a tax on cigarettes bad?


Because taxes that disproportionately target the poor are universally a bad call. I felt like that was obvious.
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Роберт » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:55 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
sardia wrote:
Belial wrote:And all of those are bad ideas!

I get why the lottery is a bad idea, but why is a tax on cigarettes bad?


Because taxes that disproportionately target the poor are universally a bad call. I felt like that was obvious.

Well, it's less obvious. Tobacco sales are not directly related to socio-economic status. It seems like it's just a tax on an unhealthy substance to help offset some of the external costs. However, it is worse than that.

http://www.moneynews.com/Markets/cigare ... /id/524546

They tax cigarettes significantly more than they do pipe tobacco, and cigars. It actually does look like it's targeting poor people. And when it turned out that poor people wanted to do extra work to get their tobacco from a lower tax rate by rolling their own cigarettes, congress made a law to explicitly target that sub-industry that had developed.
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby morriswalters » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:26 pm UTC

If the tax on cigarettes strikes the poor disproportionately so do the health effects.

The WHO states that "Much of the disease burden and premature mortality attributable to tobacco use disproportionately affect the poor".

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:41 pm UTC

So... We should tax tobacco production instead of cigarettes themselves. Like, $5 per pound of tobacco grown. That way cigars pay the same per gram of tobacco as cigarettes.

On the side, the rolling paper things for joints, made out of cheap cigars, might disappear as well.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Qaanol » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:43 am UTC

With regard to the health effects of tobacco, I am under the impression that nicotine itself is essentially harmless. Yes, it is highly addictive, and yes as a stimulant that raises heart rate it could possibly contribute to cardiac problems among people who are already at high risk, but by and large nicotine is entirely safe. It is the fact of inhaling smoke that makes smoking so carcinogenic, and such a cause of other lung diseases like emphysema.

So, if the reason for taxing cigarettes is to discourage an activity which has costly health effects, then the thing to target is not tobacco per se, but the things which are smoked. That alone provides a valid explanation for not taxing tobacco, while taxing cigarettes and the cigarette-rolling industry.

Then the question becomes whether cigars and pipes have comparable health detriments to cigarettes. I have never smoked anything, but I can do web searches with the best of them. The Mayo Clinic and WebMD both proclaim cigars just as bad as cigarettes. Various anecdotal sources state that cigars are not meant to be inhaled, just mouth smoked, so without smoke entering the lungs there should be a lot less associated health problems. Also, that the additives in cigarettes make them extra-addictive, so people will smoke more if using cigarettes than they would with cigars.

In any case, I feel like second-hand smoke ought to be considered reckless conduct with a deadly toxin. As such, smoking anything in public areas, or anywhere that children go, should carry a heavy fine, and perhaps even criminal penalties if done repeatedly or antagonistically. But if you want to imbibe your substances in a manner that doesn’t harm other people, go right ahead.
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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:42 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:With regard to the health effects of tobacco, I am under the impression that nicotine itself is essentially harmless. Yes, it is highly addictive, and yes as a stimulant that raises heart rate it could possibly contribute to cardiac problems among people who are already at high risk, but by and large nicotine is entirely safe. It is the fact of inhaling smoke that makes smoking so carcinogenic, and such a cause of other lung diseases like emphysema.

Then the question becomes whether cigars and pipes have comparable health detriments to cigarettes. I have never smoked anything, but I can do web searches with the best of them. The Mayo Clinic and WebMD both proclaim cigars just as bad as cigarettes. Various anecdotal sources state that cigars are not meant to be inhaled, just mouth smoked, so without smoke entering the lungs there should be a lot less associated health problems. Also, that the additives in cigarettes make them extra-addictive, so people will smoke more if using cigarettes than they would with cigars.

The Mayo Clinic and WebMD are both full of shit on this. Not only are cigars and pipes intended to be mouth-smoked rather than inhaled (limiting the action of any carcinogens to the lips and sinus cavity rather than the lungs), but they carry substantially fewer additives than cigarettes and they typically are not smoked in a high enough abundance to cause long-term damage. There is no link between an occasional cigar/pipe (e.g. less than two per week) and long-term health risks.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby morriswalters » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:50 am UTC

If second hand smoke is dangerous than cigars and pipes are also dangerous, that since your are in a cloud of smoke while you smoke them. But you are welcome to disagree. If the members think that the tax on cigarettes is too high and a burden on poor people, it must be a bad thing. Lower the taxes, the lower taxes will let them smoke more. As for myself, it isn't an issue, I managed to quit my 3 pack a day habit. And while I don't mind that others smoke, they can do so elsewhere, at least with respect to my location. Cigars and pipes included.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:15 pm UTC

sardia wrote:http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2013/11/09/too-much-of-too-little/
Why the obese are always hungry, and why it's so hard to fix. Food stamps are being used in poor rural areas to buy drive thru convenience store junk food. The alternative is walking 15 miles to the closest real grocery store. Since they have to make food stamps last, they buy the cheapest calories per dollar, aka junk food.

Reading it was pretty horrifying, these kids were eating hot cheetos covered in nacho cheese every day, yet they were always hungry because there's nothing else to eat. Reading the solutions were depressing too because nobody wanted to let them starve either. It's a clusterfuck of government, capitalism, and biology. Everyone is implicated here, the government helps too little, so they rely on medicaid and food stamps. They use the a combination of pills and junkfood to survive. There's no grocery stores, but dozens of convenience and fast food stores. You can't even give them fresh food, because the kids refuse to eat it. You'll have to reprogram the kids, put them out of their misery, or simply eat the loss from wasteful spending


This is, at least in part, the concept of food deserts coming back up again. They had a lovely online map of food deserts, and I was intrigued when I first heard the term, and looked to see what was near me. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was listed as living in one. A supermarket was right next to my apartment(also in the area listed as a food desert). A Giant, not some obscure brand. It'd been there a while, too. I literally walked there all the time. This gave me a good deal of skepticism in the data being used to fabricate this. Granted, extremely rural areas may not have a supermarket next door, but the rural poor I knew all had vehicles. I grew up in the extremely rural poor. Some of my friends didn't have power, but they all had at least an old beater of a car. Now, urban poor will often not have vehicles, of course...but they aren't the ones who have to walk fifteen miles to a supermarket.

Even the example given in the article is pretty clearly not a case of lack of access. They're driving to the doctor's office, and grabbing snacks on the way home. Also, I note that the most inexpensive foods are those staples for which preparation is required. TV dinners, chips, etc are not a very cost effective means of feeding a family. Prepared meals are also much more likely to be high in fat, sugar, etc than basic staples are. The Cheetos referenced in the article are not an obvious winner in the supermarket on cost/effectiveness. In fact, they're pretty far down the list compared to a bag of rice or a cans of corn or something. This seems at least largely cultural. I mean, the idea of these "hot cheetos" seems outright disgusting to me, and I have cheap tastes in food. This is probably because I grew up in the northern midwest, where culturally, people eat different stuff than in the south.

Sure, not allowing benefits to be used for energy drinks, soda, etc is in line with their stated purpose. If you want to prevent starvation, allowing the subsidy to be used for soda probably does little good. I'll grant that I don't particularly think that sorting all food and drink into healthy or unhealthy is necessarily best, but there are some fairly obvious improvements on the current model that can be made. It isn't "telling adults what they can eat", it's "telling welfare recipients what we will pay for". There's a huge difference there.

Belial wrote:And all of those are bad ideas!


For sure. The issue with addiction(alcohol, cigarettes, and to at least some degree, bad food), is a case of misprioritization. If a person prioritized their other needs over alcohol and were able to act accordingly, they wouldn't be an alcoholic. Therefore, increasing the price on alcohol without changing the prioritization does not reduce alcohol consumption, it merely crowds other things out.

So, it doesn't really accomplish what it supposedly is for, in addition to being a regressive tax. Most sin taxes run into these issues...and subsidies only compound the issue.

davidstarlingm wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Actually the lotto is a Hope tax. The horribly scary thing about poverty is the shear volume of wealth required to escape it. If you are willingly to live in a crap apartment (with crappier neighbors), eat government cheese, wear goodwill clothing, etc, you can live relatively comfortably. But the minute you try to make anything more of your life? Hah! Those bill collectors now actually have something to collect! Your subsidies disappear. Foodstamps declares you too well off the help. All your crappy neighbors see you as a walking arrogant asshole and had better pay up.

Earning even a few thousand extra dollars isn't enough to be worth it. So, lotto.

I'm certainly not impoverished -- I'm quite well-off, actually -- but I can absolutely see how this trend would work.

When I was starting college, my dad's income was too high for me to be eligible for need-based assistance, but not high enough that he had money left over after paying bills and debt.

During the recent government shutdown, I was out of work for 2.5 weeks. However, because I worked one day the first week and two days in the last week, I was only eligible for one week of unemployment -- it came to about 17% of the money I lost during that whole time.

All these programs seem to do is keep people dependent on them.


It's a very real issue, yeah. I saw a lot of people having issue with that for college...and if you try to work your way through college, the additional money made one year can reduce your benefits the next. I managed to do it, but it really did suck. Benefits really need to be structured with less 1 for 1 reductions, and a smoother curve to allow people to escape them easier. Now, there are still cultural barriers to escape in many cases, as mentioned above, but there's no need to pile on additional economic ones.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:28 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:If second hand smoke is dangerous than cigars and pipes are also dangerous, that since your are in a cloud of smoke while you smoke them. But you are welcome to disagree.

It's not that cigar and pipe and hookah smoke is that much less dangerous, though it all contains much less tar than cigarette smoke. The difference is in the way it is used. Cigarettes can support addiction via round-the-clock smoking; cigars and pipes and hookahs don't work like that.
the Mayo Clinic hilariously wrote:The tobacco is no less toxic in a hookah pipe, and the water in the hookah does not filter out the toxic ingredients in the tobacco smoke. Hookah smokers may actually inhale more tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers do because of the large volume of smoke they inhale in one smoking session, which can last as long as 60 minutes.
They're only correct insofar as the water in the hookah does not filter out all of the toxic ingredients in tobacco smoke. The whole thing about volume of inhalation is hilarious because it highlights the difference. A hookah is something you do in a single long session; the same is more-or-less true with cigars and pipes. Tobacco is dangerous because it is destructive over long periods of time and is addictive enough to prompt regular extended use, but this risk is mitigated if your method does not support constant use.

By analogy, a $2500 bottle of Remy Martin Louis VIII is no less alcoholic than a $1.83 bottle of Potters Vodka, but it's much less likely to be consumed all in one sitting on a regular basis.

And this was just priceless:
the Mayo Clinic also hilariously wrote:Hookah pipes used in hookah bars and cafes may not be cleaned properly, risking the spread of infectious diseases.


Their blurbs on cigar smoking are just as silly:
concerning cigars, the Mayo Clinic wrote:Cigars, like cigarettes, contain nicotine, the substance that can lead to tobacco dependence. A single full-size cigar can contain as much nicotine as do several cigarettes. If you inhale cigar smoke, you can get as much nicotine as if you smoked cigarettes. And even if you don't inhale, large amounts of nicotine can be absorbed through the lining of your mouth. Smoking cigars instead of cigarettes doesn't reduce your risk of nicotine dependence.

Not if you're chain-smoking them. But no one chain-smokes cigars, so this is a moot point. If someone smoked cigars at the same rate that they smoke cigarettes, they would not reduce their risk of nicotine dependence....but they simply aren't.
in conclusion, the Mayo Clinic wrote:Although occasional cigar smoking isn't thought to be as risky as regular cigar smoking, the only safe level of cigar smoking is none at all.
This is basically along the same lines as "every method of birth control can fail; the only safe sex is abstinence." Occasional cigar smoking is less risky than regular cigar smoking because it isn't risky at all.

Tyndmyr wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:When I was starting college, my dad's income was too high for me to be eligible for need-based assistance, but not high enough that he had money left over after paying bills and debt.

During the recent government shutdown, I was out of work for 2.5 weeks. However, because I worked one day the first week and two days in the last week, I was only eligible for one week of unemployment -- it came to about 17% of the money I lost during that whole time.

All these programs seem to do is keep people dependent on them.

It's a very real issue, yeah. I saw a lot of people having issue with that for college...and if you try to work your way through college, the additional money made one year can reduce your benefits the next. I managed to do it, but it really did suck. Benefits really need to be structured with less 1 for 1 reductions, and a smoother curve to allow people to escape them easier. Now, there are still cultural barriers to escape in many cases, as mentioned above, but there's no need to pile on additional economic ones.

These programs seem to focus on fixing symptoms rather than targeting the underlying causes. Obviously that's what everyone always says, but I think it's particularly true here. If the program keeping you solvent will go away when you make more money, you don't have any motivation to make more money.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby sardia » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:32 pm UTC

I think we're understating the addiction-like behavior and/or behaviorial traps that we set the poor up for. When they inevitably fail, we end up blaming the victim. For example, how many of us decided to eat out because we failed to prepare lunch/dinner? In addition, why do the corporations get a free pass to make whatever triggers the most dopamine/reward centers of the brain without getting any blame?

Are you saying that we can't push corporations to provide healthier goods? E.g. Salt/sugar/fat sells, period. Any corporation would be a fool to cut them without appealing to a niche "healthy" market. But, if we regulate all corporations to reduce salt/sugar/fat, then they can safely and slowly reduce levels of salt/sugar/fat without unduly threatening marketshare and without the customer noticing.

Why aren't benefits on a sliding scale, like the earned income tax credit? Is there political opposition to this?

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby morriswalters » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:04 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:It's not that cigar and pipe and hookah smoke is that much less dangerous, though it all contains much less tar than cigarette smoke. The difference is in the way it is used. Cigarettes can support addiction via round-the-clock smoking; cigars and pipes and hookahs don't work like that.
True, how true. Carry on. But like I said leave me out. The taxes on cigarettes work. If for no other reason than that they don't have enough income to buy as many as they might want.

davidstarlingm wrote:These programs seem to focus on fixing symptoms rather than targeting the underlying causes. Obviously that's what everyone always says, but I think it's particularly true here. If the program keeping you solvent will go away when you make more money, you don't have any motivation to make more money.
This assumes that you can fix the problem. The disease is the market place. For 7 billion people you can't produce enough jobs for everyone, I doubt that there are enough resources on the planet. Someone will always be poor. And the company that makes Cheetos is in business to sell Cheetos, not keep people alive. KFC for example, does extensive testing of its menu, which involves paying people to eat it. They want to sell product. And they test to make sure that what they sell is what people think they want. The road is littered with food sellers who didn't keep up.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:38 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So... We should tax tobacco production instead of cigarettes themselves. Like, $5 per pound of tobacco grown. That way cigars pay the same per gram of tobacco as cigarettes.

On the side, the rolling paper things for joints, made out of cheap cigars, might disappear as well.

That would make American tobacco farmers less competitive on the international market. It'd be like a tariff on your own goods. The cigarette tax is designed to allow Big Tobacco to sell cheap drugs to foreigners and make domestic drugs somewhat cost-prohibitive.
morriswalters wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:These programs seem to focus on fixing symptoms rather than targeting the underlying causes. Obviously that's what everyone always says, but I think it's particularly true here. If the program keeping you solvent will go away when you make more money, you don't have any motivation to make more money.
This assumes that you can fix the problem. The disease is the market place. For 7 billion people you can't produce enough jobs for everyone, I doubt that there are enough resources on the planet. Someone will always be poor.
You seem to be under the impression that jobs are a good that can be produced at need. Sadly, this is not the case. Instead, jobs are things people do when they are being productive. Can 7 billion people be productive? Sure. Can every person on the planet be productive? Probably not, some people are too old/young/disabled. Are there enough resources to keep everyone on the planet fed/clothed/sheltered? Definitely yes.

If you want to argue that distributing resources is hard, or morally wrong, feel free. But to sit here consuming vast amounts of resources while casually claiming there aren't enough to feed those children in the Phillipines is not only dickish, it's factually incorrect.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:15 pm UTC

sardia wrote:I think we're understating the addiction-like behavior and/or behaviorial traps that we set the poor up for. When they inevitably fail, we end up blaming the victim. For example, how many of us decided to eat out because we failed to prepare lunch/dinner? In addition, why do the corporations get a free pass to make whatever triggers the most dopamine/reward centers of the brain without getting any blame?


Eating out is pretty much part of American culture. It isn't inherently bad, but we must consider the stated justification for a program, and compare against that. Do food stamps, welfare, etc exist to keep people eating out, or does it exist to keep them from starving/malnutrition? These are very different goals, and will require different programs to meet those objectives. I'd imagine that the former would mostly only be embraced by the appropriate corporations who benefit from it.

I don't think any of us are exactly giving corporations a free pass. Nobody's really saying that of COURSE we have to subsidize cheetos or soda or what not. Well, except those companies, obviously. Personally, I'd be a lot happier not subsidizing any of that, either directly via food stamps, or indirectly via corn subsidies and what not.

However, punishing companies for making food that stimulate reward centers is very much like punishing companies for making tasty food. I'm not really sure that "make food taste like sawdust" is a great end goal either.

Why aren't benefits on a sliding scale, like the earned income tax credit? Is there political opposition to this?


Yes. The right has suggested cutting in a ramp-like fashion, and the left hates it. The left has suggested adding additional benefits in a ramp like fashion, and the right hates that. In theory, a compromise might be possible. In theory, anyway.

Heisenberg wrote:If you want to argue that distributing resources is hard, or morally wrong, feel free. But to sit here consuming vast amounts of resources while casually claiming there aren't enough to feed those children in the Phillipines is not only dickish, it's factually incorrect.


I do find it interesting that proponents of equality usually define equality in such a way as to disclude those it is advantageous to disclude. The poor in the country are rich compared to starving kids in the wake of a building-leveling storm...but of course, they don't lobby for others to redistribute their wealth. Everyone in a first world country has life really good compared to average. People lose perspective. We're all rich, arguing about who among us is richer. No doubt the same is true at pretty much every scale of society.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby morriswalters » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:29 pm UTC

Obviously I have to be explicit here, I had somehow forgotten. You can't fix the things that make people poor. All people are not created equal. You can't even assure equal access to the things needed to make things better for those who are able to use them if they could get them. There aren't enough good teachers to teach them, or enough money to hire them if they existed. And it will get worse. Every year education gets more expensive. Some degrees will go extinct because it will be to expensive to teach a skill that nobody needs.

People eat Cheetos covered with cheese sauce because it is easy. They don't have the skill sets to do better. They haven't been taught self control, the ability to defer gratification. All of the basics skills that a well brought up child has. They are broken and by the time you can get to them they might be unfixable, depending on whose research you choose to believe.

Heisenberg wrote: But to sit here consuming vast amounts of resources while casually claiming there aren't enough to feed those children in the Phillipines is not only dickish, it's factually incorrect.

I never said anything about the Philippines. My sympathy button has been pushed to much. We should do what we can, but beyond that my interests revolve around my home.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:53 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:You can't fix the things that make people poor.

You can't tell me how to live my life.
morriswalters wrote:I never said anything about the Philippines. My sympathy button has been pushed to much. We should do what we can, but beyond that my interests revolve around my home.

Oh good. You've shifted from "it can't be done" to "I don't want to do it." That's fine, then. I don't want to do it either, but it has to be done.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:43 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
morriswalters wrote:You can't fix the things that make people poor.

You can't tell me how to live my life.
morriswalters wrote:I never said anything about the Philippines. My sympathy button has been pushed to much. We should do what we can, but beyond that my interests revolve around my home.

Oh good. You've shifted from "it can't be done" to "I don't want to do it." That's fine, then. I don't want to do it either, but it has to be done.


No, it doesn't. Maybe it would be morally good to do it, but it is not inevitable. "I don't want to do it" is a very honest reason why things don't get done.

Of course, it is also entirely normal to expect that people similarly distant from you socially may feel the same way about you.

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Re: Eat Too Much, Get Too Little

Postby morriswalters » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:08 am UTC

I haven't moved anywhere. What I've seen is countless attempts to make it better. Most of them don't work. The green revolution has done more than anything to reduce hunger and want. We've thrown the kitchen sink at it, and I have seen them fail.

As to the the Philippines they have as little power over me as I do them. And why are they special? Say more special than the Congo, Niger, or the hundreds of other places where people are poor and have needs?


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