Tax The Fat: A Case For Plausible Nonsense

Posted: January 8, 2012 in Crazy ideas, humor, Humour, Random nonsense
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mathematics is one area that comes close to making a somewhat binary distinction between nonsense and plausible nonsense. For instance, calling 4 as Odd would unanimously be classified (by most) in the former category, with the caller being suspected of tending towards idiocy. Plausible nonsense, on the other hand, is the realm of conjectures; possibilities that people think exist but do not know with conviction, either way.

Away from the precise world of arithmetic, one finds that the line separating the two blurs rapidly. Subjects that allow subjectivity (pun unintended) lead to various instances of plausible nonsense. Where beliefs and biases are allowed a free rein, plausible nonsense takes shape.

Nonsense value drops automatically when we encounter speakers/experts that echo the exact same belief(s) as ours. Those that hold opposite views automatically fall under the purview of the nonsensical. It is in such cases that plausible nonsense comes into its own; as a tool that encourages inversion of ideas, exploration of unconventional solutions, and healthy discussions (sometimes heated and expletives-laden).

Consider incurables ailments. We still have no cure for the common cold, or diarrhoea or obesity.

Let’s focus for a moment on the last of these items.

We, as a world, faithfully grow fatter, by the second. The direct and indirect costs of obesity in US alone was estimated at about $150 billion annually in 2009. Include the rest of the planet and we’d quickly be staring at a number close to several fat three-digity billions.

Billions in funding over the years has done little to thwart or slow down this phenomena. Alternative measures may be worth considering. A Tax on the Fat perhaps? The arrangement could be pretty straight-forward. A Body Mass Index classification would help differentiate the obese from the non-obese. The obese could then be forcefully requested to pay a tax on consumption, travel and all other areas where they contribute to public inconvenience. Genuine cases (historical thyroid/diabetes issues, other evolutionary stimuli) would be exempt from this tax, but the voluntary obese could be called upon to contribute their rightful share of doubloons.

Punnily, the obese would be worth their weight in gold. This would not only garner governments additional revenue in these cash-strapped times, it would also encourage the voluntary obese to think hard about toning down. As an encouragement to this beleaguered group, government-run gym memberships could be free. As yet another added incentive, lowering BMI within a certain time-frame could result in reversals of taxes shelled out in the past. As a disincentive, a relapse into higher BMI would lead to imposition of retrospective payments, including a penalty compounding at usurious rates.

(Historical experience with gym memberships should make governments optimistic on the low levels of maintenance expenditure that would be required, owing mainly to large-scale non-usage).

Plausible nonsense. Worth considering.

Cretacean goobledygook, is another case of plausible nonsense. In a spiritedly successful attempt at getting consumers to pay a bomb for rain water, Evian et al dutifully remind mineral water drinkers around the world that the liquid in their hands evolved slowly at the foothills of the Himalayas/Alps/Urals etc. over hundreds of thousands of millions of awzillions of years. Uh, however, would they care to consume it before the expiry date please? Thank you Sir, but I’m perfectly fine with my friendly tap dutifully spouting water at my behest, every day. (I’m alive and well).

How plausible is this thousands of years story? Even if right (which it is), why include the expiry date? Plastic bottles! Adding plastic and other chemical contaminants, labelled of course as essential additives, to the elixir of Nature is an encore bordering on the laughable.

Plausible nonsense?

Many such examples abound around us. Plausible nonsense can be employed as a means of concocting ingenious and cost-efficient solutions to intractable and irresolvable problems.

Adhering to the status quo has its benefits. But it also falls short, frequently. Plausible nonsense could, in the very least, encourage a rethink.

Let the expletives begin.

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Comments
  1. Rob Rubin says:

    While I agree that fat people should say pay more for a box of Twinkies, taxing based on BMI would be bad. BMI is severely flawed. I lost 40 pounds this year. I run several 10k races a year. But my BMI still says I should be found dead sitting on a toilet with a bucket of chicken.

    • HaLin says:

      🙂 🙂

      The evils conniving to discourage us from the path to slimming. Terrible. Perhaps you should blame the flaws of statistics and continue in your state of rest, or uniform motion, whichever is preferable.

  2. mrtinney says:

    Perhaps we could tax the humorless? This would cause more laughter… or more eating of fatty foods from being laughed at. Now I am confounded. Damn! (There is your first explitive)

    • HaLin says:

      Brilliant idea! The possibilities of such a scheme seem limitless. A necessary indulgence that hasn’t garnered its rightful share of attention.

  3. LOL @ at the mineral water “plausible nonsense”!

    How true and yet we never think of this really.

    • HaLin says:

      I have never understood the love for ‘purified’ water. 🙂

      • Consider (areas of) countries where there is a dearth of (drinking) water and/or polluted water is common, combined with how tap water is host to various bacteria/germs, especially in said countries and you have in your hand a most lucrative (and exploitative?) business.

        That’s a separate story whether the people who actually need (deserve?) clean drinking water have access to it or not.

      • HaLin says:

        Agree. It is a viable business indeed.

        Replacing one form of impurity with another for a fat charge is a victory for business acumen. Plus, the pitch has been so successful that holding a bottle of Evian has comes attached with social symbolism (being cool).

        I’m happy to let folks quench their parched throats (and egos) with all the Himalayan rain water that they can find, and enjoy some laughs (sometimes openly) at their expense. (I must forewarn, though, that laughing openly could lead to social ostracism). 😉

  4. Sharmishtha says:

    well, if tax is levied on obesity then the rich men and women will bring down the governments 🙂
    they will go bankrupt paying taxes on their kids.

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  6. Dee says:

    I am envious of your tap-water-drinking luxuries. At home, we have this 8-step desilting, decoloring, deodorizing,dehydrogenating, deoxygenating, reoxygenating, rehyrdogenating and re-ozonizing process. At work, I never drink water. Am too afraid.

    • HaLin says:

      For me, osmosis and reverse osmosis leads to mental paralysis.

      I sometimes ponder how easy life would be if we looked up to the heavens with an open mouth, welcoming the rain water. Given the amount of polluted stuff we breathe daily, our throats and digestive systems may well be resistant to virulent acids mixed with rain water. (Evian & Co may be peeved, though, with this course of action).

  7. Memo says:

    Native Jacks™ Release Video to Tax the Fat©

    February 18, 2013 – Native Jacks™ release a video to Tax the Fat. The video is based on the group’s song by the same name that offers a solution to the healthcare crisis and excessive government debt. The projections for healthcare benefits on entitlements and the excessive debt from the US Treasury are unsustainable. These problems are the some of the more difficult problems of our times. Native Jacks™ provides a creative solution in their new song, Tax the Fat©. The video helps educate Americans regarding the current state of these public issues and how America can remain strong in spite of these challenges. The song recommends the use of a sin tax to help cover the cost of America’s unhealthy eating habits. The song has been successfully incorporated into a YouTube video.

    Tax the Fat© Video by Native Jacks™ at http://www.nativejacks.com/videos.html

    About Native Jacks™ – Native Jacks is an alternative/slow rock band that wanders through many music genres and styles. The band writes, records and produces its own music telling stories of social injustice, human struggles, reflection and redemption. Many of the band’s social commentaries include creative solutions to today’s most pressing problems.

    Native Jacks band members include Jim and Memo with occasional help from other artists. Jim plays acoustic and electric guitar. Memo plays keyboard and bass guitar. Both share duties with vocals. Native Jacks raised its banner in December 2012 with its first recorded collection, “Markin’ Territory”.

    In addition to the song Tax the Fat, the Markin’ Territory collection includes a rock vibe in Water on Water, calypso beats in Ana Maria, new age rhythms in Sonoran Skies, country swagger in Body Bag, a heavy metal feel in Number Nine, the final song entitled Tax the Fat (Supersized) – now with 50% more words and music, and much more. The Markin’ Territory music collection creates an overall “American” feel that embodies this country’s ever-changing exceptional collection. All songs are owned with copyright protection by Immigrant Creations LLC or Memo, LLC. Native Jacks is a registered trademark of Native Jacks LLC. All right are reserved.

    For more information about the band, visit Native Jacks’ website at http://www.nativejacks.com.

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