Paying for the Smokers

April 15, 2012
In today’s society the government will provide welfare to those who are too obese to work a normal job. I believe this is wrong, and ridiculous. There is a difference between being sick, and receiving welfare because of a condition you have no control over, and receiving welfare because you have become so overweight that you cannot do normal activities. You wouldn’t pay for a smoker’s health insurance would you? Then why would you pay for it for someone who is obese? Getting ill from smoking is the same thing as getting ill from not watching what you eat and refraining from physical activity. It makes no sense to me that indirectly through taxes, you and me, the citizens of America, are paying for people to continue to be so overweight they cannot function in society.

I know both sides of this issue, because I myself have been obese. All of my life I was a large girl. When I was in the 8th grade I was over 200 pounds. At my largest I was 218 pounds, and only 5 foot 3, so you can imagine the gravity of my size. I will admit that because of my size doing simple activities like riding a bike, walking up stairs, getting on an airplane, and riding rollercoasters was difficult. My weight presented a challenge to me every day, but I never expected anyone to pay for it. My obesity was of my own doing; I never worked out, ate huge portions of very unhealthy food, and spent the majority of my time snacking in front of the television. When I turned 16 I decided I was tired of letting my weight dominate my life, and so I did something about it. I put myself on a hardcore diet, started going to the gym 5 times a week, and took every chance that I had to be active. After a year and a half I had lost over 100 pounds. Losing weight and getting healthy was the best thing I have ever done for myself.

I did have an advantage because I decided to fix my problem when I was very young, so it was easier for me to do than it would be for older obese people, but I truly believe there is always a way. There is always a way to start living healthy, to stop eating high calorie foods, to get up and take a walk, even if it is hard or painful. From my experience, I know that all it takes is motivation, and once you start things will only get better. I think it is absurd that welfare is given to those who won’t take the initiative to start living better. Every citizen in the United States is indirectly paying for these obese people to continue living their unhealthy life styles. My uncle Ed is currently jobless, purely living off the welfare of the state that he receives because of his obesity. It is not my obligation to pay for people that will not help themselves, and it is not yours either. I do believe that it is our obligation to pay for those who cannot help themselves, such as those with unavoidable disabilities, but obesity does not fall into this category.

Paying for obese people’s means of living is like paying for a smoker’s means of living. Many smokers have smoked so much and for so long that they have become literally disabled and cannot fend for themselves. The government does not pay for them to be unhealthy. My father smokes at least a pack a day, and at the age of 53 he is unhealthier than some people much older than him. I feel no sympathy for his health issues, because he has done it to himself. That is my attitude towards those who are obese. I can sympathize with them on many levels; I know what it is like to get trapped in that kind of life style, and to use food as a comfort. But just because I understand, does not mean that it is my job, or anyone else’s to pay for their problems. Smoking is an addiction, and so is food. Addictions are hard to break, but it is possible. People quit smoking all the time; learn to live without it, go cold turkey. Severely overweight people could learn better eating habits and start participating in physical activity. I do not understand how the country rationalizes the fact that obese people should receive welfare. Unless the country decides to start paying for smokers to live, then it really is ridiculous.

Being obese is not fun, it is not like people that are very over weight love to just sit around and eat all day and live off of the government’s money. Being overweight is hard; it makes normal every day activities extremely challenging. It is hard on self-esteem, and it puts huge stress on the body, but this challenge should not be solved by the government funding those in this situation; it should be solved by personal initiative. It may take years to lose weight for an obese person, but it can be done. If the government continues to pay for obese people’s means of living by providing them with welfare, soon anyone in a tough situation will be demanding money. The citizens of the United States should not have to pay for people who have put themselves in a bad situation. Welfare is meant to help those who are truly in need; those who cannot change the problem that they are faced with and have no other way of continuing to live. Obese people are not in this kind of situation because they have put themselves where they are now through a poor diet and lack of exercise.

I understand that harshly cutting off all the grossly overweight people relying on welfare is not a logical solution to this problem. The people that depend on it now would not know how to fend for themselves. Instead I propose a system that imposes new conditions for those currently on welfare for this issue to continue receiving welfare. This system would require them to go to a doctor once a week and log weight and set up a diet plan. If they do not continue to lose weight and become healthy then they would lose their welfare money. Setting up this system would cost money, so all those on welfare for obesity would have to get their funding cut by some, but this is a necessary measure. This system could not only slowly end the need of welfare for the overweight, but also give these people a new start and a new lifestyle. Help and support from doctors would give these people guidance and get them on the right track, while also putting a stop to the need of welfare for the obese.

Would you pay for a smoker’s rent if they smoked so much they became ill and could no longer work? I know I wouldn’t. Why should other have to pay for someone else’s mistake? This is how I feel about obese people receiving welfare. I should not have to pay for grossly overweight people to live every day, and neither should you. Providing them with welfare sends them the message that their condition is an illness which makes it okay and I do not believe it is.





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