Friday, February 26, 2016

I'm Not Joking

No, I wasn’t joking back in February 2013 when I wrote, “Will airlines charge based on the total weight of the luggage and passenger?

The subject was whether or not overweight people will begin to feel the same kind of pressure from government and businesses as smokers now do.  Secondhand smoke has been declared a danger, especially to children and otherwise can be very irritating to nonsmokers.  Smoking also adds to medical costs, so it is considered in the public interest that the act of smoking be both isolated and discouraged by restrictions and higher prices.  But obesity has social costs of its own.

Have you ever seen or heard a heath publication or advice to prevent or cure a disease that did not include eating less and exercising more or maintaining a healthy weight?  Not taking care of these basics leads to many diseases and increased healthcare costs.  With economic understanding it is easy to establish that healthcare costs accumulated by one segment of society affect the costs of everyone as the total cost is spread over the entire population to make healthcare affordable to all.

So just yesterday on CBS This Morning this news came:  “Airplane maker Airbus has filed a patent for a new kind of adjustable seat that could…change the seating to make room for larger passengers.”  This would most likely come with a fee, and as they say later in the story, “could usher in a day when the airlines could truly price by your size.”

So there it is, three years after the initial warning here.  Along those lines, the general warning remains the same:  when we don’t improve our behavior, economic and governmental forces tend to take over the job for us through penalties, restrictions and by other methods.  Behavior does have consequences.

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