Heavy Duty: Puerto Rico’s Fat Tax

By Bill Maher

Is there any doubt that if conservatives could call all the shots in America they’d declare this a Christian nation, ban gay marriage and abortion, outlaw weed and flag burning and empower law enforcement to even more aggressively “keep the peace?” They say they’re against an authoritarian federal government but what they really want is an authoritarian federal government on their terms.

I’m not for a nanny state by any means but sometimes a government has to step in and try to curb people’s “freedoms” when abusing those individual liberties causes harm to society as a whole. Sensible gun regulations come to mind. Yes you have your precious right to bear arms, but when you insist on doing it with no government checks or limits, nuts who have voices in their heads commanding them to shoot up schoolyards or movie theaters can get their hands on semi-automatic weapons with no background check or even an ID at a gun show.

Puerto Rico is stepping in with a measure to curb their citizens’ rights to be big, fat lard-asses. According to a World News report, “Puerto Rican Sen. Gilberto Rodriguez filed a bill in an attempt to curb obesity in Puerto Rico by having schools find children who are obese and then refer them to health department advisers to determine the cause of obesity, formulate a diet and exercise plan and follow up every four weeks. If the situation persists six months, parents can be fined up to $500, according to the bill, and if a third progress report six months later still shows no significant weight loss, the parents can be fined up to $800.”

They call this a fine but what it's really a “fat tax.” How fat are Puerto Rico’s kids? They’re more obese than our kids. The childhood obesity rate in Puerto Rico is 28 percent, while here in America it’s just 18 percent. They used to produce major league pitchers; now they’re producing backstops.

Yes, you have your right to cram whatever you like into your pie hole but when that “personal freedom” is being abused to the point of an obesity epidemic that taxes the entire healthcare system and threatens the national budget, doesn’t the government have a responsibility to step in and tax you?