Report on the Results of the Meeting

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johnkarls
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Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Report on the Results of the Meeting

Post by johnkarls »

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For the sake of good order, since a Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign had been laid out in the Proposed Discussion Outline, it is probably worthwhile recording what happened in case the topic is ever re-visited.

A great deal of time was devoted to the issue of what to request in such an E-mail Campaign.

(1) The Proposed Discussion Outline had suggested requesting premium surcharges for unhealthy conditions such as obesity and high cholesterol as are currently featured by many companies in their employee-healthcare plans. [NB: Medicare participants have seemingly forever been charged a subsidized insurance premium currently approximating $1,200/year, so even under Obamacare governmental programs (both Medicare and the expanded Medicaid) could feature premium surcharges for unhealthy conditions.]

(2) The Proposed Discussion Outline had also noted proposals in other countries for so-called “Fat Taxes” which, like premium surcharges, could be designed to cover the societal cost of unhealthy conditions such as obesity and high cholesterol. The disadvantages when contrasted with premium surcharges are that: (A) everyone bears the cost, rather than the individuals who refuse to take available action to correct their unhealthy conditions, and (B) Fat Taxes have been attacked by the Food Industry, whereas private employers who have used premium surcharges in their employee healthcare plans have not attracted serious criticism from anyone.

(3) The suggestion was made for a Media Ad Campaign similar to the life-long female cigarette smoker who seems reasonably attractive until she takes off her wig and begins to speak with a raspy voice.

(4) The suggestion was also made to have a governmentally-owned food company that would create and market solely healthy foods at subsidized prices. [This is already done quite widely in the context of School Lunch Programs.]

(5) The suggestion was also made to have created special Dietary Foods that feature tastes that will out-compete the commercial alternatives but contain no salt-sugar-fat; such special Dietary Foods could be substituted for whatever portion of the regular diet that a person or her/his doctor deems desirable. In this regard, it was noted that experiments always show that taste is 90% smell and that other experiments always show that the most-craved tastes of existing food products can be synthesized by extremely small amounts of harmless flavoring (and, indeed, frequently are in the existing products) – since the human body cannot digest (but merely passes through) cellulose, the suggested Dietary Foods can already be created with a cellulose mass and existing flavoring.

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However, when we began to wrestle with which approach (or combination thereof) to request, the discussion took an unexpected turn and there was insufficient time for a resolution (our meetings are time-constrained by the SLC Public Library’s closing time).

One of our members recalled that our author had recounted at length in Salt Sugar Fat that there are massive federal-governmental subsidies for the farm industry in general and the milk industry in particular – which even feature a massive buying and perpetual storage program for excess cheese and a US Department of Agriculture promotional program for cheese consumption!!!

Accordingly, she opined that rather than an E-mail Campaign based on one (or a combination of) the five approaches discussed, she would prefer to see one based solely on trying to get rid of the U.S. government’s support for cheese. She was immediately joined by several other participants who had been shocked and appalled by the central role played by cheese in the nation’s obesity and the federal government’s prominent role in promoting cheese consumption.

This approach was opposed by at least two participants (including Yours Truly) who remonstrated that even a complete elimination of cheese from the nation’s diet would not solve the obesity problem because the food industry would simply substitute other sugars, fats and salt to produce addictive tastes and that an approach that attacks obesity directly, preferably emphasizing the first and third approach set forth above, would be more effective.

This, of course, produced an at-least-temporary procedural impasse because our Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaigns require unanimity or at most one dissent.

We probably would have needed an additional hour to resolve this matter (if, indeed, a resolution would have been possible) and then wrap up the other details such as who the recipient of the E-mail Campaign should be.

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