Author Topic: How to Save a Trillion Dollars  (Read 5637 times)

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Offline Ryan

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How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« on: April 13, 2011, 06:36:50 AM »
A coach I greatly respect posted this link on Twitter, just saying it was a must read. Given that, I had to read it.

I agree, a must read and something to seriously think about. We've discussed this here previously. Why does government throw billions of dollars into subsidizing unhealthy food and making it cheaper and more available than healthy food? If the money was taken away from the unhealthy foods and instead used to subsidize healthy foods, we could save many times more than that amount of money in health costs, which are costs that are overburdening everyone from the government to businesses to individuals.

Offline Ed

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 07:22:17 AM »
It is mostly because we Americans are screaming for, demand and "deserve" the junk food that makes us oh so happy.
 
Thank goodness for people like Jamie Oliver - taking on the establishment of crap "food".
 
The less I eat fast food and even restaraunts, the less tollerable my body is of those foods.  This is a good thing.
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Offline Ryan

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 09:53:14 AM »
Actually, it's largely because agricultural (corn and soybean growers associations, for example) and associated business (Monsanto, for example) lobbies are quite powerful. We need politicians who will stand up to these lobbies and say this is not what's best for the country. Unfortunately, our political system doesn't make that a winning move.

Offline Ed

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2011, 11:01:30 AM »
There is plenty of blame on the consumer - without the consumer dollars there would be no lobbies.
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Offline Ryan

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2011, 12:55:55 PM »
I'm not discounting the role of the consumer but, when people can barely get by, they don't always have a choice. The Big Mac costs less than a salad so they get what they can afford.

It's been well established that marketing and pricing drive consumer behavior so to put all the blame on the consumer is to ignore the bigger picture (though I think we should blame consumers for falling for marketing). Corporations and politics play a big role in the problem and most definitely could be a major part of the solution - if they wanted to be.

Offline Ed

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2011, 03:14:07 PM »
That is true - allthough - when we were really hurting financially instead of fast food we got food from the local food pantry and learned to eat things we didn't neccessarily care for.  Also, a home made salad using some of your home grown vegetables is far cheaper than any fast food meal - even a dollar menu.  Get what is in season and on sale and people would be amazed at the healthier options that cost less than that Big Mac or Whopper.
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Offline Ryan

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 06:20:36 AM »
Ed, agreed fully and I'm not discounting the personal responsibility that plays a big role in this. I just think we also have to realize that political decisions and marketing and lobbying by large corporations play a role in this.

It's not always easy to get in season food. Some people don't have cars and don't have supermarkets within walking distance or on bus routes. There are places in Milwaukee where some people simply don't have options. There's a junk food chain on every corner but healthy options in some places are much harder to find, if not impossible for those without independent travel options. Obviously, these are a minority of people and this is a problem involving the majority of people but I'm just trying to point out that it's not as simple for everyone as it is for you and me. Maybe, with better incentives, the healthy options could be available on every corner and the junk food options could be the "luxuries" that are not available to everyone. In the ideal world, that's how it would be, the good stuff convenient and the junk hard to get.

Offline Ed

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 08:05:31 AM »
Healthy food easy to obtain - junk food more difficult?  That would be an ideal situation and as you pointed out save a heck of a lot of money.  Maybe we could start a healthier eating piece on this website - one that coincides with runners' dietary needs.
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Offline Andrew A.

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2011, 09:28:33 AM »
This is all well and good yet that proverbial trillion dollars is going to come out of someone's pockets - or, rather, stop going into someone's pockets - and they are going to have something to say about that.  Industry lobbyists (agribusiness, insurance, etc.) are employed to make sure that elected representatives are duly influenced (campaign contributions, etc.) to keep the subsidies and tax breaks/credits coming.  Yes, I am more than a little cynical.  This is a topic I have studied for a while now.  On the same token, I do believe that we citizens can unite to fight for what is right -- just be aware of what it is that we are up against here.
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
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Offline Ed

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2011, 11:51:00 AM »
We are up against an industry that influences people with the flashy ads on TV and audibly pleasing ads on the radio and people easily fall for these ads becuase they have come to believe that they deserve to eat how they want, when they want, and what they want.  Shows like the one that Jamie Oliver is doing are the best start for better eating - health awareness. 
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Offline Ryan

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2011, 12:23:16 PM »
Andrew, I fully agree with you. We are up against serious obstacles. They will not be easily overcome and possibly won't be overcome but, where we can make a difference, it is a difference very much worth making.

Ed, we're up against more than just advertising. As Andrew and I have pointed out, you can't discount the political/lobbying machine. High fructose corn syrup is the most popular sweetener on the market for a simple reason, it's dirt cheap. It's dirt cheap for a simple reason, the huge subsidies that go into it. It gets those subsidies for a simple reason, campaign contributions and millions in lobbying dollars flowing from agribusiness to Washington. Similar things could be said about the fact that almost every community in the US has a convenient supply of junk food/fast food but many have no convenient supply of healthy food.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2011, 01:08:39 PM »
Awareness and advertising are one thing, and they do have an affect, just understand that policy and economics are the biggest driving forces.  A couple of films I would recommend seeing on this: Food, Inc. and King Corn.
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
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Offline X101stinf

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2011, 07:23:35 PM »
You want to affect the consumers, all you have to do is have their healthcare premiums be based on a physical that tests how well they take care of themselves, discounting of course things and conditions that are out of peoples control. You take good care of yourself in all ways you can control, you pay less. You're overwieght you smoke or eat foods(too much) that affects you're health i.e. cholesterol you pay more... a lot more, and you would see behaviors change. Now we are subsidizing their behavior with our premiums.

Offline Ryan

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Re: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2011, 08:09:48 PM »
X101stinf, an example of this is what my employer does. $10 a week comes right off your premium if you both sign up for a wellness plan sponsored by the company/insurance plan and verify you are tobacco free. In addition, if you log 150 workouts of 30 minutes or more over the course of the year and get a free annual check-up while meeting certain guidelines (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.), you get $400 back at the end of the year.

This is a model that quite a few politicians, Republican and Democrat, state and national, have shown a lot of interest in. It's also one that several other employers and insurance providers have been using as a model for similar plans of their own.

It's a hard sell to "charge more" for being in bad health but it's a very good sell and very effective to offer incentives for good health habits. It's also quite cost effective. Our company had outside consultants review the cost structure of our incentive program and found that the $920/year per employee that this costs the company actually saves the company nearly 3 times that per employee through early diagnosis and treatment of everything from high blood pressure to cancer and through employees getting healthier via non-medical methods, primarily eating healthy and exercising.

Offline Andrew A.

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Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.