Bipartisan foolishness to dictate your fitness


‘Cause this is a top priority for the federal government – never mind violations of the First and Fourth Amendments, balancing the budget, tax reform, federal transparency and corruption, apparently:

A new House bill would task the Department of Health and Human Services with creating exercise guidelines for all Americans. Under the bipartisan bill, introduced by Representatives Ron Kind (D., Wis.) and Aaron Schock (R., Ill.), HHS would publish a “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” report every ten years that would recommend certain levels of exercise for different groups of Americans, with a special emphasis on children, based on “current scientific and medical knowledge.”

But it’s not the only one! Since Congress apparently has too little on its plate:

Their bill is one of several introduced last week aimed at boosting the health and fitness of Americans. Kind and Schock also proposed the FIT Kids Act, H.R. 2178, which would create a new grant program for physical education and nutrition programs at schools.

The grant program would let states fund improvements to these programs in schools, as well as professional development for health and physical education teachers.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) proposed a companion bill in the Senate.

The FIT Kids Act has similar goals to a bill proposed by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who offered the Promoting Health as Youth Skills in Classroom and Life (PHYSICAL) Act, H.R. 2160. Her bill would designate physical and health education programs as “core subjects” under federal law, which means they could use federal funds under Title I and Title II to improve these programs.

Let’s break this down:

  1. Parents, you can’t do your job, so the federal government is going to recommend what you should do more than it already does.
  2. If that bill can’t pass, there’s a bill giving federal dollars to your kids so they don’t get fat!
  3. And, if those bills aren’t good enough for Congress, why, we’ll just consider PE as important as math, English, history, and science!

If personal fitness is this difficult, how could our parents and grandparents avoid obesity without Congress’ involvement? Good thing these Representatives are on the job!

Rather than play biggest loser with our tax dollars, perhaps they would consider legislation to decrease the size and cost of the federal government; it costs nothing to leave American diet decisions alone. . Imagine what might happen if these Members introduced legislation addressing the following:

1. A liberal consumer group found this disturbing bit of data:

The report finds that between 1995 and 2011, $18.2 billion in tax dollars subsidized corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils. That equals $7.58 per taxpayer per year. It also said taxpayers spent only $637 million since 1995 subsidizing apples.

 2. Last week, the Senate shot down an amendment to the farm bill that would have eliminated sugar subsidies. The sugar “cartel,” as one person put it, receives a large subsidy from taxpayers – getting rid of this would save consumers $3.5 billion and give families more dollars to spend elsewhere – perhaps on gym memberships, or family vacations to the beach or ski mountains, or on healthier food.

Defenders of the program note in many years taxpayers do not see a net cost, as much of the program is in loans. However, according to E21 Senior Policy Analyst David Barnes, “Federal agricultural policy is costly for taxpayers and consumers, especially our program protecting domestic sugar production. The current policy of USDA loans to producers puts taxpayers at substantial risk when sugar prices drop.”

3. According to the liberal organization US PIRG, the U.S. spends “more than $1.28 billion annually to subsidize the crops that are used as additives in manufacturing cookies, candies, soda pop and other highly popular junk food that arguably are among the primary contributors to childhood obesity.” At the same link, The Fiscal Times notes the tripling of childhood obesity in the last few decades is “an alarming public health development that is contributing about $150 billion a year to the overall cost of U.S. health care.”

In other words, your tax dollars are being used to make the country fatter, and cost the our overly expensive health care system even more.

4. Many Americans spend too much time watching TV. Perhaps a Bush-era tax credit for Hollywood should end.

 5. And, finally, The New York Times highlighted how the video game industry used special interest deductions, write-offs, and tax credits to participate in the $123 billion corporate welfare industry in 2010.

 Simply put, it is well outside of the realm of the Constitution for the federal government to spend taxpayer dollars on health guidelines for citizens. Members of Congress should focus on shrinking government, before waistlines.