Someone Is Saying Something Wrong on the Internet in the White House Briefing Room!
The Downward Multiplier Process Kicks in...

Someone Is Saying Something Wrong on the Internet (Special McMegan Edition)

Congratulations to the bride-to-be, and the groom-to-be, and to their currently-unconceived issue-to-be (if any).

But...

McMegan:

Why I Oppose National Health Care: Look at the uptick in stories on obesity in the context of health care reform.  Fat people are a problem!  They're killing themselves, and our budget!  We must stop them!  And what if people won't do it voluntarily?  Because let's face it, so far, they won't. Making information, or fresh vegetables, available, hasn't worked--every intervention you can imagine on the voluntary front, and several involuntary ones, has already been tried either in supermarkets or public schools. Americans are getting fat because they're eating fattening foods, and not exercising. How far are we willing to go beyond calorie labelling on menus to get people to slim down? These aren't just a way to save on health care; they're a way to extend and expand the cultural hegemony of wealthy white elites. No, seriously.  Living a fit, active life is correlated with being healthier. But then, as an economist recently pointed out to me, so is being religious, being married, and living in a small town; how come we don't have any programs to promote these "healthy lifestyles"?...

And she quotes Paul Campos:

America's Moral Panic Over Obesity - Megan McArdle: There is literally not a shred of evidence that turning fat people into thin people improves their health. And the reason there's no evidence is that there's no way to do it...

Four comments:

(1) Both Paul Campos and Megan McArdle appear to have missed the point by several quadrants. We have managed to turn thin people into fat people--a great many Americans today who are fat would be thin if they had lived forty years earlier in the America-that-was a generation ago. Surely if we can do this, we can undo it?

(2) Both Paul Campos and Megan McArdle appear to have missed the point by several quadrants. Changing sedentary, high-cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar fat people into more active, low-cholesteral, normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar fat people certainly does improve their health.

The governor of California is incompetent at budgeting, but these words of his are well worth listening to:

This exercise is extremely effective for your lats[issimi dorsi] and your upper back. Stand with your feet on either side of an open door and grasp the doorknobs with both hands. Slowly sink away from the door so that your back jackknifes and your arms extend fully and lock. Now pull yourself back up to the starting position. Let your arms, not your legs, complete the motion. I will count out thirty repetitions. Beginners should do 10, intermediates 20, and advanced the full amount. LET'S DO IT! 1... 2... 3... 4, AND STRETCH YOUR BACK!... 5... 6... 7, DON'T USE YOUR LEGS!... 8... 9... 10... 11... 12... 13... 14... 15... 16, JUST USE YOUR ARMS!... 17... 18... 19... 20... 1... 2... 3, CONCENTRATE ON YOUR BACK!!... 4... 5... 6... 7, THREE MORE!... 8... 9, AND NOT LAST ONE!... 30... WE'RE DOING FIVE MORE!!... 31, 32... HA! HA!... 33, 34, 35. Next we have in our program a wonderful leg exercise, the lunges. This exercise develops the front part of your thighs...

(3) And we do have a great many programs and cultural norms to promote these alternative healthy lifestyles. As maureendowdsfriendwhoneverwantsanycredit@gmail.com emails:

Um, we do have public policies and programs that... subsidize or incentivize religion (nonprofit status of religious orgs, tax deductions for charitable contributions, various exemptions and civil rights protections for religious folk, release policies for religious instruction, etc.); being married (various legal benefits/protections connected to marriage, tax benefits for some people, and of course the government has actually spent money on programs explicitly promoting marriage!), and living in small towns (the U.S. Postal service, overinvestment in roads). In contrast, we have lots and lots of policies that incentivize or subsidize unhealthy food choices and not exercise and the measly policy efforts to encourage healthy eating and exercise don't hold a candle to those...

(4) The argument that "Obamacare is bad because it will oppress fat people" is... ummm... opportunistic. As maureendowdsotherfriendwhoneverwantsanycredit@gmail.com emails

We should just be clear that the embrace of this argument is 100 percent opportunistic. If the current political conversation were heading in a different direction, she'd be posting about how health reform will never save money and the real issue is that Americans are too fat. People may recall this argument from such events as "every time liberals point out that life expectancy is higher in Europe notwithstanding our allegedly better health care system."

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