Obesity: It's the State's Problem, Not Yours
May 08, 2012
RUSH: From Nanci Hellmich, USA Today, headline: "Obesity Could Affect 42% of Americans by 2030." By the way, did I put this in the right order? I'm asking myself the question. A story from yesterday, Snerdley, I told you about it. I didn't get to it. I didn't put it in the right order. Let me find it. I will find it. "A new forecast on obesity in America has health experts fearing a dramatic jump in health care costs if nothing is done to bring it under control." Well, that opening sentence has so many See, I Told You So's in it that I don't know where to start.
One of the most glaring See, I Told You So's is that once they get health care implemented, that's the way that they control every aspect of your life, including what you eat and what you can't eat, where you can eat it and where you can't and so forth, because of the impact your eating will have on health care costs. If your eating leads to your obesity, then that means you're likely to get type 2 diabetes and maybe more susceptible to heart attacks and early death or disease. We have to take care of you. It's not gonna be cost efficient. So they're gonna control what we eat on the basis that if we become obese, the costs on the health care system are unacceptable.
"The projection, released Monday, warns that 42% of Americans may end up obese by 2030, and 11% could be severely obese," adding billions of dollars to health care costs. I want you to think again, folks. Take a moment here, seriously. I want you to ask yourself, how far back in your life do you have to go to remember whether or not you're overweight being a factor in federal health policy. I'll give you an example of what I mean. I've always had a battle with weight. Roller coaster diet, I've done it all. Every diet there is, I've done it. I've even made some up. And every time I have gotten to the point of thinking I need to lose weight, I have never once said I need to do this for my country. I've never once said, "You know what? I'm so overweight, this is gonna have a negative impact on my country's budget." When was the last time you had that thought?
Seriously, folks, when was the last time your weight made you stop and consider the impact of your weight on the federal budget and federal health costs? My guess is, never. My guess is you have never equated the two. Am I right? Until the past couple of years. Maybe some of you have pain-in-the-rear bosses who have told you that you need to lose weight because the health insurance policy doesn't cover people who are obese. Maybe you've had some introduction to this. But my point is that whether or not you're overweight, which is as personal a matter as you can get, now your weight comes under the inspection authority of federal agents who have or will have the power to determine that your weight, if you are obese, has negative consequences.
Meanwhile, elected politicians have spent this country into near bankruptcy. And yet they want to blame it on you. They want to hold you accountable. They want to blame your obesity for breaking the budget via health care costs. And falling in lockstep is this reporter for USA Today: A new projection warns that 42% of Americans may end up obese by 2030, adding billions of dollars to health care costs. That's the concern? Obesity and rising health care costs, that's why we're worried about it? Well, if it is, that gives the government all kinds of power to deal with the obese. And they get to define what's obese, by the way.
Justin Trogdon, a research economist with RTI International, a non-profit organization in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park, said, "If nothing is done, it's going to hinder efforts for health care cost containment." Guess what? The federal government is soon asserting power and rights over your weight -- that means over what you eat -- on the basis of controlling health care costs. Now, before Obamacare was voted on, you were warned that we were headed in this direction. Some people pooh-poohed the idea, "Come on, Rush, you're just being paranoid and extremist as always. They're concerned about your health." Nope. It's gonna be an excuse to control your life. It's gonna be an excuse to exercise power over all of us.
As of 2010, about 36% of adults were obese, which is roughly 30 pounds over a healthy weight. Six percent were severely overweight. Obese, that's a hundred or more pound over a healthy weight. Eric Finkelstein, a health economist with the Duke University Global Health Institute, lead researcher on the new study, says, "The obesity problem is likely to get much worse without a major public health intervention." Major public health intervention.
Well, let's move on to the next story. I have it here right in my formerly nicotine-stained. Let me take a break. Let me give you the headline. It's in Reuters: "Obesity Fight Must Shift from Personal Blame - U.S. Panel." Obesity fight must shift from personal blame. So we have here a panel of federales who have opined that fighting obesity will no longer involve the obese. It's not personal. We are no longer going to blame the obese for obesity. No, there are other reasons, and those other reasons are an invitation to government to come in once again and take control over another aspect of your life.
RUSH: Snerdley just asked me a good question: "Where does this story come from?" Excellent question. What happened is that a university professor decided to do a study. He probably got a federal grant. He went out and studied obesity, and he came up with a conclusion that calls for government intervention to fix the problem, and, voila! Anything calling for government intervention by a university professor after a study, that automatically qualifies as front-page news in a lifestyle paper like USA Today.
That's how it happens. It's no different than that nutso group of vegetarians. By the way, you talk about flatulence? Have you ever been around vegetarians? I'm telling you: It is undeniable, and it's something you want to avoid at all costs. But these clowns at the Center for Science in the Public Interest are just a bunch of busybodies who want to try to tell everybody else how to live. So they got a little icon, they got a logo, they got a fax machine. They did a study, they put it out, and it calls for government intervention and banning certain foods.
The media says, "God, we love this: Government intervention!" It makes news. Same thing here. The Reuters story is simply their version of the same study that USA Today did the story on, and the Reuters story says "America's obesity epidemic is so deeply rooted that it will take dramatic and systematic measures from overhauling farm policies and zoning laws to possibly introducing a soda tax to fix it. This from the influential Institute of Medicine." The Institute of Medicine! Wow, that sounds important! That's really influential.
So did you know that you are getting fat because of zoning laws? Well, this study says so. And this study is 478 pages. "It refutes the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of willpower on the part of individuals." So 478-page study calling for federal involvement, happens to coincidentally include the notion that "personal responsibility" is not a factor. Well, if personal responsibility is not a factor in losing weight, well, then who's gonna be in charge? Oh, yeah, the federal government!
That's right, Obama!
Yeah, okay. Got it. Michelle Obama and her new Food Camp or whatever. Her food campaign. Yeah, so, you're fat and you are contributing to rising health care costs, but it's not your fault. Unlike global warming, which is your fault, this isn't. And so now drastic measures, zoning laws. Do you know that one of the reasons why there's so much obesity in this country is sidewalks? I kid you not. Lack of sidewalks are leading to obesity. From the study, I quote, "For instance, a lack of sidewalks makes it impossible to safely walk to work, school or even neighbors' homes in many communities. So while 20% of trips between school and home among kids 5 to 15 were on foot in 1977, that figure had dropped to 12.5% by 2001."
This is some of the stuff they're studying. That's right! You'd walk 20 miles to work, if there were sidewalks. But there's a shortage of sidewalks. We haven't invested in enough shovel-ready programs to build enough sidewalks. So you have no choice other than to sit in the car and get fat on the way to work. Now, the obesity study was paid for by the Center for Disease Control. It was released at the "Weight of the Nation Conference," w-e-i-g-h-t. The Weight of the Nation Conference was "a three-day meeting hosted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
The Weight of the Nation Conference.
They actually had a bunch of people assemble at the Weight of the Nation Conference. So I'm not making any of it up. All of this is, folks, why this regime has got to be defeated in November. This is why Obamacare has to be repealed. Every chance they get, they are taking personal responsibility out of the equation as the cause for anything. "You don't have a job? It's not because of you. No, no. It's 'cause rich people aren't hiring. They don't want to share their money."
There are any number of explanations for what's going wrong in your life -- and interestingly, you have nothing to do with any of it! You're nothing but a victim. Everybody's out to get you, and they are getting you. So you don't have a job, your house is underwater, and you're getting fat -- and pretty soon you're gonna start emitting gas just like the dinosaurs did, and the world is gonna end. Unless you agree to let the government come in and run your life. Actually, you won't have any say in the matter. You won't able to disagree.
RUSH: So far in discussing obesity, we haven't discussed: Exactly who are they talking about? Now, as you are out about where you live, when you notice the obese, who are they?
Are you able to categorize them?
Are they mostly women?
Are they mostly men?
Are they "white Hispanics"?
Are they one-thirty-second squaws?
Who are they? So far, none of the stories that we've discussed here have mentioned exactly who the obese are. Well, a very brave, courageous writer at the New York Times has tackled this one. She's Alice Randall. Alice Randall is an African-American woman. She wrote a piece that ran in the New York Times over the weekend. It might have run yesterday. I'm not sure. No, it was a couple days ago. I guess it's Saturday or Sunday. And the title of her column is: "Black Women and Fat."
Yes, there is a picture of the author. I didn't print it out. It's in the third page. I didn't print it out. I wouldn't consider her obese by virtue of her picture, but the government says 30 pounds overweight is obese. I'm sorry, it's not. But, anyway: "Four out of five black women are seriously overweight," says Alice Randall in the New York Times. "One out of four middle-aged black women has diabetes. With $174 billion a year spent on diabetes-related illness in America and obesity quickly overtaking smoking as a cause of cancer deaths, it is past time to try something new.
"What we need is a body-culture revolution in black America," says Alice Randall in the New York Times, an African-American woman. Why do we need "a body-culture revolution in black America?" she asks. "Why? Because too many experts who are involved in the discussion of obesity don’t understand something crucial about black women and fat: many black women are fat because we want to be," says Alice Randall in the New York Times. "The black poet Lucille Clifton’s 1987 poem 'Homage to My Hips' begins with the boast, 'These hips are big hips.'
"She establishes big black hips as something a woman would want to have and a man would desire," such as Sir Mix-A-Lot. "She wasn’t the first or the only one to reflect this community knowledge. Twenty years before, in 1967, Joe Tex, a black Texan, dominated the radio airwaves across black America with a song he wrote and recorded, 'Skinny Legs and All.'" Do you remember that song, Snerdley? I played that song on the radio, Joe Tex. "One of his lines," writes Alice Randall in the New York Times over the weekend, "haunts me to this day: 'some man, somewhere who’ll take you baby, skinny legs and all.'
"For me, it still seems almost an impossibility. Chemically, in its ability to promote disease, black fat may be the same as white fat. Culturally it is not. How many white girls in the ’60s grew up praying for fat thighs? I know I did," writes Alice Randall in the New York Times. I'm reading verbatim from the New York Times over the weekend. It's a column called "Black Women and Fat" by Alice Randall. Let me start this 'graph again:
"How many white girls in the ’60s grew up praying for fat thighs? I know I did. I asked God to give me big thighs like my dancing teacher, Diane. There was no way I wanted to look like Twiggy, the white model whose boy-like build was the dream of white girls. Not with Joe Tex ringing in my ears," Skinny Legs and All. "How many middle-aged white women fear their husbands will find them less attractive if their weight drops to less than 200 pounds? I have yet to meet one.
"But I know many black women whose sane, handsome, successful husbands worry when their women start losing weight. My lawyer husband is one" of these guys who does not want her to lose weight. "Another friend, a woman of color who is a tenured professor, told me..." See, folks, you didn't know that when obesity hit the news today that it was gonna end up here, did you? Alice Randall writing in the New York Times over the weekend, a piece called, "Black Women and Fat."
"Another friend, a woman of color who is a tenured professor, told me that her husband, also a tenured professor and of color, begged her not to lose 'the sugar down below' when she embarked on a weight-loss program. And it's not only aesthetics that make black fat different. It's politics too. To get a quick introduction to the politics of black fat, I recommend Andrea Elizabeth Shaw's provocative book 'The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women's Unruly Political Bodies.'
"Ms. Shaw argues that the fat black woman's body 'functions as a site of resistance to both gendered and racialized oppression.' By contextualizing fatness within the African diaspora, she invites us to notice that the fat black woman can be a rounded opposite of the fit black slave, that the fatness of black women has often functioned as both explicit political statement and active political resistance." Now, you might be asking, "Rush, what do you take from this?"
Well, it sounds to me like Alice Randall, "Black Women and Fat," says that a svelte, fit, black woman has links to slavery because they were so overworked (mercilessly so) that they had no chance to get fat and that the fat black woman represents emancipation from slavery. That's what I hear Alice Randall writing over the weekend in the New York Times. Already we've had several curious cultural references in this piece to the fact that black men like fat black women. She's attempting to explain why here. Her friend's husband told her "Don't lose the sugar down below" if you go on a diet.
So, let me read this again: "By contextualizing fatness within the African diaspora, she invites us to notice that the fat black woman can be a rounded opposite of the fit black slave, that the fatness of black women has often functioned as both explicit political statement and active political resistance." This is why I have warned you people: Don't try this at home. I make it look easy but it's not everybody who could understand this. It's not everybody who could break this down into its components and explain it to you, as I am doing here.
Let's continue. "When the biologist Daniel Lieberman suggested in a public lecture at Harvard this past February that exercise for everyone should be mandated by law, the audience applauded, the Harvard Gazette reported. A room full of thin affluent people applauding the idea of forcing fatties, many of whom are dark, poor and exhausted, to exercise appalls me," writes Alice Randall in the New York Times. "Government mandated exercise," writes Alice Randall, "is a vicious concept. But I get where Mr. Lieberman is coming from. The cost of too many people getting too fat is too high."
But we need to hold on to the black "sugar down below."
"I live in Nashville," writes Alice Randall in the New York Times. "There is an ongoing rivalry between Nashville and Memphis. In black Nashville, we like to think of ourselves as the squeaky-clean brown town best known for our colleges and churches. In contrast, black Memphis is known for its music and bars and churches. We often tease the city up the road by saying that in Nashville we have a church on every corner and in Memphis they have a church and a liquor store on every corner.
"Only now the saying goes, there's a church, a liquor store and a dialysis center on every corner in black Memphis. The billions that we are spending to treat diabetes is money that we don't have for education reform or retirement benefits, and what's worse, it's estimated that the total cost of America's obesity epidemic could reach almost $1 trillion by 2030 if we keep on doing what we have been doing. WE have to change. Black women especially. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blacks have 51% higher obesity rates than whites do.
"We've got to do better.
"I've weighed more than 200 pounds. Now I weigh less. It will always be a battle." This is Alice Randall writing in the New York Times: "I call on every black woman for whom it is appropriate to commit to getting under 200 pounds or to losing the 10% of our body weight that often results in a 50% reduction in diabetes risk." She's asking for this to happen, even though it will take her closer to the "fit black slave" link that she wishes to avoid, as previously expressed in this column, "Black Women and Fat," by Alice Randall in the New York Times, which ran over the weekend.
So there you have it.
RUSH: By the way, Alice Randall, I shoulda told you this. Alice Randall, who wrote the fat black women piece in the New York Times from which I just liberally quoted, is the writer in residence at Vanderbilt University. She once wrote a book, the title of which was, "Ada's Rules: A Sexy, Skinny Novel."
RUSH: This Tom in South Holland, Illinois. Great to have you, sir, on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Good morning, Rush. How you doing?
RUSH: Good. Thanks much.
CALLER: Getting to the point about the insurance policies and the government trying to take control of it for many years. Thirty years ago I weighed 300 pounds. Twenty years ago I weighed about 160. Ten years ago I weighed 135. Today I weighed myself this morning, I'm 201. I did this because I wanted to. I have a lot of self-control when I want to do things. I quit smoking 12 years ago. I did this all because I want a nice, healthy life as I get older, not sitting in a wheelchair with an oxygen mask strapped to my nose wondering where my health care is coming from. Well, you don't have to worry about your health care that much if you take care of yourself first.
And I'll tell you what, Rush, you're fighting the uphill battle against leftism. I admire you, and I respect you. I listen to you every day and I want to tell you one thing. I've been in personal contact with a left-sided person which is a friend of mine who walked up to me at a funeral about a year ago, looked at me and said, "Oh, my God." He says, "You're 69. You look like you're 60 years old, if not younger. What do you do?" I said, "I take care of myself, exercise every day. I'm at retirement age, but I still work 55 to 60 hours a week, and I take about 18 supplements a day." Supplements meaning garlic capsules, stuff like that. He looked at me and says, "That's too much. You shouldn't be doing that." I said, "You're about as left-leaning as you get without falling down. If you respect me and if you tell me that I look young and act young and feel young, why aren't you taking notes?" Because he's lefty.
RUSH: He doesn't approve of the way you're doing it. See, he knows better. Even though you're living it, he thinks he knows better than you do. But I'm glad you called. This notion that weight loss or your job or anything is no longer a matter of personal responsibility, you're absolved. That's what this study on obesity says. It's not your fault. It's lack of sidewalks. It's other socioeconomic problems. It's just another invitation for government or busybodies like your left-leaning friend to come in and tell you how to do it right.
RUSH: Here is Linda in Manhattan. Thanks for calling. I'm glad you waited. Great to have you on the program. Hi.
CALLER: I thought it was interesting that you might like to know that the CDC knows this, too, that obesity in America has risen in direct inverse proportion to people quitting smoking.
RUSH: I did not know that, but it doesn't surprise me.
CALLER: And that's perfect for government interference. Government interferes in your life to force you to quit smoking, which then creates another problem that they want to interfere in your life to just stop. So it's never ending.
RUSH: Well, and don't forget, the effort to quit smoking is contributing to the defunding of children's health care programs because the sales tax revenue from tobacco products is paying for child health care programs. So they're cutting that back. But you're right. Do you have any empirical evidence for this, or --
CALLER: Yes, I do. I could e-mail it to you. It's fascinating.
RUSH: So the reduction of people quitting smoking directly correlates to weight gain?
CALLER: Directly correlates to weight gain. There's a wonderful chart that I have that I took down from the Internet that goes from the 1980s through the mid-2000s, you know, about 2005 --
CALLER: -- that shows that, you know, smoking was 30% and obesity was -- I'm making up these numbers -- 20-something percent, and as smoking declined, obesity climbed almost in tandem. And I've seen the CDC charts in the New York Times basically showing the same thing. And sometimes researchers will say we have to sort of be quiet about this. We certainly don't want to encourage anybody to smoke. But it's logical.
RUSH: Well, wait a minute, now. Here's the question that we as a culture and society now must answer. If this is empirical, directly correlated evidence, then we, as a society, have a question that needs a scientific answer. Which kills more people, smoking or obesity. Do you know?
CALLER: I don't think either kills people actually. There used to be a wonderful website --
RUSH: Wait a minute. That is a very, very, very radical view that neither smoking nor obesity kills people.
CALLER: I don't think so. I think that there's plenty of proof that people who are obese can be very healthy and don't have problems. I do understand that there is apparently a link with diabetes, but --
RUSH: Well, they say there is.
CALLER: Yeah, that's why I said apparently. I don't trust anything they say.
RUSH: Well, my dad was the first mayor of Realville, and my dad, you know, when all of the hysteria about smoking and lung cancer came out, I can remember him shouting to whoever was in the room, "They can't prove it, son. How come people who never smoke get lung cancer and die and how come some people that smoke all their lives never get lung cancer? They can't prove it." They want us to believe everybody smoking a cigarette's gonna get lung cancer and die, and they can't prove it 'cause it doesn't happen. So then we're left to say, "Okay, well, people who smoke, are they more prone to lung cancer than people who don't?"
CALLER: I think the answer to that is that it may be a risk factor, but there's a big difference between a risk factor and a cause.
RUSH: Well, then the next question is, do you know anybody who has not died of something?
CALLER: (laughing) Well, yes, all the living people I know have not died of anything.
RUSH: Yet. But statistics indicate that they will die.
CALLER: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
RUSH: Do food stamps cause obesity? Have you seen any evidence linking food stamps to obesity?
CALLER: Well, Mayor Bloomberg seems to think they do, which is why he wants to, among everything else he wants to limit, what people on food stamps can spend their food stamps on.
RUSH: Here's another question for you. You seem to be really intelligent and wired. I'm gonna take advantage of you being here. Could you explain to me why health care spending on obese people is bad, but all other government spending is wonderful and good, such as on shovel-ready projects or bridges. Why is health care spending on the obese bad? I thought government spending was good. Why is it bad?
CALLER: I can't answer that question.
RUSH: Why do people that believe in big government want to shrink government when it comes to the obese? Isn't it that they're biased against fatties? They just don't like fat people.
CALLER: Well, they certainly just don't like smokers.
RUSH: Well, that's true, too. That's true, too.
CALLER: There was that guy who wanted to have people have a license, like for tobacco, to buy soda. Do you remember that? There was an article a couple months ago about how sugar was a poison and a toxin and it ought to be regulated?
CALLER: I mean they're just going crazy, and it does go back to if government stayed out of our health care --
CALLER: -- then government would stay out of our lives.
RUSH: Exactly. And the entree to government control of health care is the entree to control over every aspect of our lives.
RUSH: And that's what this is all about.
CALLER: And these are a bunch of control freaks.
RUSH: Well, yeah. It's worse than that, though. By the way, since we're on the subject, let me give you the details of this. Apparently there's research out that says -- and it happened at Missouri University of Science and Technology -- they looked into what happens to the compounds in sunscreen when they're exposed to light. And they found that zinc oxide, which is an ingredient in sunscreen, undergoes a chemical reaction when it's illuminated by bright light like the sun, that may release unstable molecules known as free radicals. And those free radicals readily bond with other molecules. In the process they can damage cells or the DNA contained within those cells and, in turn, increase the risk of skin cancer. So sunscreen at Missouri University of Science and Technology has now been linked, sunscreen has been linked to melanoma. Who knew?
CALLER: It's another case, I guess, of the health community -- a term I hate, "community" -- getting on to something, saying everybody should do this, and they're wrong.
RUSH: It's the latest. I wish I had a list in front of me where I could just recount for people. Saccharin was gonna kill you. Then it was okay. Then Equal and all the artificial, those were bad, they gave you bladder cancer. Then it turned out that oat bran was good for you, and then, oh, no, it was bad for you. Then it didn't matter. Coffee made you more prone to heart attacks. Then it doesn't make you more prone to heart attacks. All of this stuff. Coconut oil turns out to be one of the healthiest oils out there for human consumption, rivaling olive oil. You'd never know it. And all of this, Linda, is predicated on the fact that you won't die if you just follow these instructions. That's why I asked you, "Do you know anybody who hasn't died or is not going to die?" We don't. Milk was no good for awhile. Remember, milk was poison. White bread was poison. I don't know. It's just ridiculous.
RUSH: Serena in Loveland, Colorado, great to have you on the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thank you for taking my call.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: I'm "Sabrina" with a "B." (giggles)
RUSH: What is it? "Serena" with a "B"?
RUSH: What's going on in there? The last two names have been wrong.
CALLER: I wanted to make a comment about the weight thing.
CALLER: When they knew Romney was gonna be running, they came out with all the "hate the rich," and I think they're afraid that Romney's going to pick Chris Christie as his running mate.
RUSH: Who is afraid?
CALLER: The Democrats.
CALLER: And so now they gotta fight on the fat. (giggles)
RUSH: Well, maybe, but this fight on obesity has been around long before Christie was even thought of as a presidential candidate and now a vice presidential candidate. But I do think you have a point. I do think, for example, think that if Romney were to choose Christie -- who's now saying he could be talked into it after first saying he wasn't interested in it. If he's chosen, and if he accepts it, you know the stories that are gonna hit, don't you? "Well, boy, Romney better be healthy, 'cause, oh, man! What happens if...?"
You can just imagine the stories that are gonna hit. They're avoidable. They're gonna be totally... (interruption) Not recently! We haven't had fat presidents in our recent history. It used to be that an ample stature was a sign of power, success, and even dominance. In the pre-air conditioning days. I guarantee you, you go back and take a look some of the powerful presidents at corporations, banks, and political leaders; there were a lot of them who had a wide girth, and it was considered a sign of success.
They weren't hitting gyms.
They weren't running into Anderson Cooper every day.
They weren't running into all these people lifting weights and stuff.
She may have a point here.