Photo: Flickr via cuppini
MSNBC contributor Art Caplan lashed out today at people who back implementing a special “Fat Tax” for consumers.Instead, he argues we should tax the people who really threaten the health of others: cat owners.
Here’s his explanation:
“Once a cat is in a home it is nearly impossible to get the cat allergens out of the bedding, carpets and furniture.
The cost to all of us of treating cat-induced asthma, rhinitis, skin reactions and allergies is big … the overall medical cost for treating all allergies in the USA exceeds $7 billion. And that does not include time lost from work or days out of school due to allergies.”
There’s a reason he’s singling out the cat crowd. We found that approximately 10 million people are allergic to cat dander, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which has dubbed it the most common pet allergy. (Kaplan claims the rate of people allergic to cats is more than six times that figure, effecting nearly 60 million Americans.)
The AAFA doesn’t exempt dogs from the list of complaints, but they’re far behind other common sneeze-triggers: pollen, mould, dust and roaches.
Obese Americans have long been threatened with so-called “sin taxes,” including indirect hits like proposals for fast food and soda. Many employers have adopted health care plans that reward healthy workers with cash and prizes and ask overweight workers to pay higher premiums.
Cigarette smokers pay their share of sin taxes, too. Companies that slap smokers with healthcare higher premiums are set to rise by a record 40 per cent this year, according to a recent Thompson Reuters-NPR poll.