Is it the government's job to protect you from yourself?
It sure seems that way.
Uncle Sam knows smoking is bad. Hike the cigarette tax enough and maybe people will quit. In the meantime, it's a great and easy source of revenue for a government that likes revenue.
But what happens if you extend that out.
Let's say Uncle Sam similarly finds Yodels or Twinkies cause obesity. Tax them too? Think it sounds outlandish? Maybe not.
We've been telling you about a bill in California to tax soda to fight childhood obesity. The idea is make the soft drink pricey enough so that kids won't buy it. And I guess they won't get fat. I don't think so.
It's not the government's job to safeguard us from us.
The whole idea of a democracy is essentially letting us screw up our own lives.
We know cigarettes kill. But it's up to us not to smoke. Not the government.
We know certain foods can clog our arteries and lead to heart attacks. But it's up to us to eat healthy, not the government to force us to eat healthy. And it's up to us to raise our kids. Not to the government to raise them for us.
Proponents of these taxes say, yes, but we all pay for smokers and we all pay for obesity-related ills.
But let's be callous here. If they die early, who really is paying for whom?
My point is this isn't a police state. I eat a lot of yodels, I'm gonna gain a lot of weight. But that's my call, not the government's.
Some people are uncomfortable giving all people the chance to make their own choices. All I'm saying is give all people that choice: good, or bad.
A democracy is only as good as its people are free. Not only in what comes out of their mouth. But what goes into it, as well.
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