Saturday 20 December 2008

Do you want people to starve?

I was listening to a recording of Barney Frank (aka Daffy Duck) the other day and he came out with the line:

"Are you against welfare? Do you want people to starve?

I think this was in relation to the US car industry bail-out. Somehow he managed to equate stuffing billions of dollars into the maw of the UAW with starving peasants collapsing and dying by the roadsides (ala the Irish Spud Shortage).

It's a great line though, since it utterly demonises anyone it's used against. It's like saying, "Are you against motherhood?".

But I have a retort.

And that retort is obesity.

Study after study tells us that we westerners are getting porkier by the year. Our waistlines are explanding like a cane toad sucking on a cigarette.

But this lard epidemic is skewed - rich people are remaining lithe and supple, whilst the poor are going the way of Augustus Gloop.

So how do you get poor people to lose weight?

If you are the current government, you could always declare war on obesity (especially childhood obesity), and conduct the war via an information campaign (ie, TV ads).

I'm always fascinated by these "preventative health" campaigns. They are launched with great fanfare, with an annoucement along the lines of:

Obesity is costing the community $9 billion a year in lost work times, extra health costs and broken ambulance gurneys. That is why the government of (insert name here) has announced a comprehensive package of measures, including a $480 million advertising campaign, to combat obesity.

Two years later, after the campaign has been quietly shelved and forgotten about, we forget to do an after-action report to see whether the campaign had any impact whatsoever.

One nevers get done because at about that time, another report comes out telling us that we are fatter than ever. The $9 billion was never saved, and the $480 million was used as liquid tree fertiliser. You could surmise that spending money on these campaigns has the opposite effect, and all they do is give people the munchies.

So we know that advertising campaigns don't work.

In that case, how do we stop the poor getting so fat?

If they are on poor, they are probably recieving welfare benefits.

Therefore we could say that welfare is the cause of obesity (big jump there).

So if the fat bastards won't go for a walk around the park, we have to stop them eating.

We do that by cutting off their welfare.

ie, we make them starve, because it is good for them.

So, Barney Frank (aka Daffy Duck), being against welfare can be good for the community at large (no pun intended).

No comments: