Branching off of the comments on Mo's last post, how much are taxpayers willing to pay to prevent kids from getting fat? According to a Cornell study, a LOT. New York taxpayers surveyed are willing to put their money where their mouth is, to the tune of $700 million or $50 per taxpayer, in order to reduce the incidences of childhood obesity by half.
The reasoning from the survey is that taxpayers are driven by the avoidance of potential cost of obesity-related health problems in the future. However, according to a report by economist Susan Lee
on NPR's Marketplace, this is twice the amount of money actually spent by taxpayers on obesity-related health problems. From the commentary,
One explanation is that people wildly overestimate the cost of eliminating childhood obesity. Or they grossly overestimate the amount of savings in lower health care costs. Or maybe, as the study argues, they are driven by the spirit of altruism.
I would think it would be enough to understand that the status quo of fried chicken sandwiches and milkshakes in our school lunches is not acceptable and that we want our kids to be healthy by making sure they have low fat nutritious lunches, healthy snacks and lots of physical activities, but apparently not. Maybe the answer to why really comes down to Lee's closing statement, where she sneers "Why else would people be willing to pay extra to make sure that no kid looks like a tub of lard."
Tub of lard? Really? We're going there? Just...wow.