Found this gem on CNN.com today. Apparently David Paterson thinks the state of New York needs an "obesity tax". (To be fair, that was what the headline said, not necessarily what Paterson called it, but his editorial is chock-full of anti-"obesity" rhetoric.) Actually the proposal is not to tax people for being fat, but rather to tax non-diet "sugared drinks". Because, you know, there is a direct correlation between consumption of non-diet soda and being fat. Well, except when there isn't.
Two things really get me about this editorial. The first is Paterson's assertion that "No one can deny the urgency of reducing the rate of obesity". That is certainly one way of forcing people to agree with you -- just say "No one can deny that...", and then how could anyone have the nerve to disagree? The second thing that irks me is the idea that diet soda is healthy for people. First of all, there is still the possibility that aspartame causes cancer -- there have been some conflicting reports, but it's not as if the connection is just some fringe idea. And then there is this bit of delicious irony: drinking diet soda may actually *increase* weight gain. Does anyone else find that totally hilarious or do I just have a sick sense of humor?