American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
July 29th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

We Listen – Your Comments 7/29/09

Editor's Note: The “fat tax” and healthcare were top of mind for Wednesday’s American Morning audience. Overwhelmingly, viewers supported a tax on “junk.” Some suggest it was a positive move for fairness reasons: “Let's start being fair by taxing everything that is unhealthy so that smokers do not have to bare the entire burden for people who choose to be unhealthy in other ways.” Some wondered if those receiving food stamps would suffer disproportionably regarding medical issues, as soda is tax free.

  • Lauri: If we decide to tax "Junk Food" I am all for it, but why can't we remove the availability to get these types of items with Food Stamp cards. There should be tight restrictions on only be able to buy good food with our tax dollars since our tax dollars go towards health care of those using the cards just for "Junk". Now, in the state of Texas, you can buy anything on those cards except alcohol and tobacco. We MUST take action if we want a healthier nation to remove the "Junk Food" from the list. This is a low-income family which already has too many problems to add obesity for children and adults. I don't even buy that stuff except from time to time. A healthier child has a better chance at being a better student and getting out of needing food stamp cards. How do we get that discussion started.
  • Carol: Re the proposal on adding tax on sugar drinks: What a terrific idea. However, it will not "hurt" the poorest, as Federal Food Stamp Program does not tax its recipients. They may purchase the product TAX FREE. Will that mean more health problems in the future with those on food stamps?
  • Mike: I'm all for a tax on foods that have NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE. I'm a smoker and they taxed the hell out of cigarettes because they have deemed them bad for me. Well fair is fair... there are a LOT of items on the grocery store shelves that has none if any nutritional value. Let's start being fair by taxing everything that is unhealthy.. so that smokers do not have to bare the entire burden for people who choose to be unhealthy in other ways... i.e. eating unhealthy foods that they lead to diabetes or obesity or both... which cost more than cigarette related illnesses. Thank you.
  • Dave: This is a simple question. WHY CAN'T THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE THE SAME MEDICAL COVERAGE AS GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES? Why are they considered better than the rest of us? How about a discussion on this subject?

How do you feel about a “fat” tax? Does such a tax disproportionably target poor families? Is it fair, as “Mike” the viewer states, that non-nutritional foods should be taxed just as cigarettes are taxed for smokers? How will such a tax affect your family?

Many remained concerned, as they grappled with the details of the proposed health care bill. Some suggested positive alternatives to health care, such as an incentive program; others wondered why Congress felt the need to create a “uniquely American” program, when great universal care programs exist around the globe. Another contingent believed universal care should be the same as the government receives. A final group opposed the program outright.

  • Daniel: Instead of proposing negative/disincentives with respect to health and healthcare (i.e. taxing benefits, taxing unhealthy foods, etc.) how about providing POSITIVE healthy incentives. Here's the idea: every citizen receives a government -issued ID card with magnetic strip. Every time you exercise on a designated machine, you swipe your card and your exercise is recorded (adjusted for age) in credits – kind of like an airline mileage program. Every time you purchase fresh fruits and vegetables you swipe your card at checkout and receive credits. If you are overweight, you can weigh in at specially equipped scales and if you lose weight you get credits. The program works just like an airline mileage program. Your credits are stored in a central databank and you get e-statements periodically. You can cash in your credits for merchandise, perks (free entry to national parks, historic sites, etc.). You also get emblematic souvenirs – tee shirts, hats, etc. announcing to the world your level of attainment and commitment to healthy living! Where's the money to pay for all this? In reduced medical costs to the public because of the enhanced health of our citizens.
  • Cindy: With typical American arrogance, Congress is trying to come up with our own "uniquely American" approach to healthcare reform. Why don't we look at what is already working in the countries that have better results from their health care systems than we have? THIS is what our news sources need to report . . . the dire need for reform, and what is already working in other countries. PLEASE help inform the public so we can actually move to the top of the list (where most Americans think we already are)!!
  • Susan: Here is what most Americans don't want. We all have seen it happen on our jobs with good health care insurance, is when people abuse the health care system and keep running to the doctor for absolutely nothing, especially for every little pain with their children. This action has hurt a lot businesses. So, something has to be done so this won't happen. Some people because it is free practically abuse the health care system. Doctors also abuse it by lying and saying they ran test when they really didn't.
  • Dave: This is a simple question. WHY CAN'T THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE THE SAME MEDICAL COVERAGE AS GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES? Why are they considered better than the rest of us? How about a discussion on this subject?
  • Lynda: We had better hope this Government Health Care Bill does not pass. All Americans will be hit hard, not just the Wealthy. If you have good coverage now, you won't have if this bill passes.

With more details about the proposed health care plan being shared with Americans, where do you now stand on the bill? Would having the exact same coverage as government employees make this bill acceptable to all in Congress? How do you feel about the idea that Americans will receive a “lesser” version of heath care than our elected officials? Should the entire bill be scrapped and Congress start again?

Filed under: American Morning
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Fran

    To any journalist who has the answer: Why is the housing market in California for the investors and not the regular folk?
    When the average person trys to purchase a house that person is out done by an investor who paids cash for the house. When will these auctions stop so that the regular folk can get their loans and be treated with respect when choosing a house.

    Just when you think that you have a house, you receive a phone call from the R. E. salesman asking for more money, what a joke.

    October 5, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  2. Deborgiø

    The best thing is to tax people who are actually obese.
    Having "designated" machines for excersizing is dumb. What if i like swimming at the beach or other thing.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  3. John Myslik

    During your report on the John Murtha Airport a list was shown of all the airports receiving stimulus money.

    Where can one find that list?


    July 30, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  4. nancy

    A "tax" on junk food?? WTH? How are they going to classify foods as JUNK? Guess, ther'll have to be another "committee" to determine that @ the cost to the tax payers. this is another way for BIG BROTHER to try and control the people.

    Learning starts at home. IMO ~~ parents are responsible for "overweight" children. It's not the governments job to regulate that.

    July 30, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  5. Patricia Robinson

    Prejudice in the workplace
    There is another kind of prejudice occurring in the workplace today.
    Its began since Obama started his run for the Whitehouse.
    Its started a struggle between the haves, and the have not’s.
    Between the ones who need and the ones who don’t want to give.
    Between the Republicans and the Democrats.
    Which has developed into a war of words.
    What blacks think, what whites think.
    This means conversation that once was open and above board,
    now has to be behind closed doors.
    As we all know there are more white Republicans than blacks.
    So when Obama won, the conversations got one sided.
    Even though the % of employees our weigh the employer.
    The workplace has become a place of whispers and even silence in workplaces.
    In some workplaces the threat of being fired, out weigh the fact that we should be able to have conversation about what goes on in life today.
    In some workplaces it has become a battle field of wits, the employers speak out and say what ever they want and the employees have to endure.
    The prejudice conversation about blacks and how bad they are.
    And because they are the employer or white. We the democrats black or white, have to sit and say nothing.
    Democrats feel they can be fired. it’s a terrible thing not to be able to defend our selves.
    Not to be able to express our humiliation.
    The other day a friend called from DC, and said its getting worse at her office.
    The prejudice and over statements from employers that seem to want to hurt peoples feelings so bad is getting unbearable. To the employee. Its Prejudice in the workplace, What can be done to stop this abuse?.. By: Patricia Robinson- 7/28/09-2pm

    July 30, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  6. Dennis Wellington

    I am against the TAX...Just like the Heathcare proposal, a government group will decide what is best for you.

    On Insurance like Government Employees.......99% of USA Government Employees, PAY A LOT for their insurance, For the level of coverage that My wife and I have costs over $200 every 2 weeks, and we still have co-pays!

    Now if we all had the coverage of Congress or White House Staff the common man could not afford the coverage. Every one jumps for a member of Congress as if they where Royalty,

    That is wrong, just as the entire Socialist agenda is Wrong!

    One new Question......Is it me or has our President started to seem to have a personal Agenda, and has exposed himself as a closet racist?

    July 30, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  7. Chrissy

    Ok lets just go all the way in judging and discriminating against smokers and fat people, and not allow them to be treated under the proposed new government run Health Care Plan. Lets force them to pay a fat tax or smokers tax even though they will not reap the benefits of being included under this plan. THIS is just how Lauri, Carol, and Mike obviously think will solve the money problems and pay for this Health Care Plan. Yikes! You guys are scary, and would of done well under Hitler's regime. I have a much smarter idea! Lets just nix this present government run Health Care Bill. "Should the entire bill be scrapped and Congress start again"? Scrapped? No. Congress start again? Yes, and just simply re-modify the ( already existing "Public" ) Health Care Plan. Daniel, Susan, Cindy, Dave, and Lynda I will sit down and have a beer with you guys anytime:)

    July 29, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  8. Kellen Smith

    Wolf Blitzer just talked of President Obama's "strategy" to pass healthcare... I ask all Americans who enjoy our democracy, why does the President have a strategy to convince you of something you do not believe in?

    Since when is it the job of the President of the United States to persuade We, the People into his beliefs, rather than using the position to champion our freedom, our beliefs, our opinions, and our values?

    As free human beings, we reserve our not to to be persuaded into supporting something that goes against our nation's cause. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures us that right. After 216 years since the Bill of Rights gave us that right, enables our enactment of those freedoms. Our freedom of speech, and our freedom to peaceably assemble, are now officially available for all.

    Kellen Smith

    July 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |