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Old 04-03-02, 03:43 PM   #1
Joe Gardner
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IRS: Weight-loss costs tax deductible.

(AP) - Overweight Americans now have a new pocketbook reason to shed some pounds. Recognizing obesity as a disease, the IRS says it will begin allowing taxpayers to claim weight loss expenses as a medical deduction. "It really opens the gate for everybody to be at a healthier weight. America really needs to wake up," said Linda Webb Carilli, a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers International Inc. More...

Good artical, I hope people take advantage of it!
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Old 04-03-02, 03:58 PM   #2
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I think this is putting us into a dangerous direction.

I remember when the smoking bans were just taking off. Smoker's rights advocates argued "what next? Will the government start taxing or banning fatty, salty foods?"

It seemed ridiculous at the time, but now it seems a real possibility.
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Old 04-03-02, 09:46 PM   #3
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I don't have a problem with that.
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Old 04-03-02, 11:25 PM   #4
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The IRS rule seems very specific, and for good reason. It is not a fat tax, nor do I see it opening the door.

It seems that you would be required a medical diagnosis of obesity. Then, certain items for reduction of obesity would be able to be deducted. This would be similar to smoking cessation (sp?).
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Old 04-03-02, 11:47 PM   #5
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Maybe Pballingal ("Fat Girl Looking for some help" thread) can write off a new Colnago!
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Old 04-04-02, 01:12 AM   #6
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I find the idea repugnant.

I have trouble understanding why there would need to be costs associated with 'losing weight' (not 'fat', mind you, but 'weight'). I wonder how our earliest ancestors survived without 'Weight Watchers'.

Also, since when did every undesirable characteristic which can occur in a human become a disease?
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Old 04-04-02, 08:00 AM   #7
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Hey folks,

America has the dubious honor of being a grossly
overweight (no pun intended) country. As a whole
we americans are overweight, out of shape, in short,
walking heart attacks. I think the tax deduction
is a good thing, anything that will nudge us Yanks
towards better health/habits can't be all bad.
FYI it doesn't cover things like Jenny Craig, or
weight watchers, or gym fees but does
cover medical treatment.

Marty
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Old 04-04-02, 02:30 PM   #8
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At our local community college there is a Phys Ed Dept. program that offers financial incentive for participants to exercise at their choice of several locations, whether at the college, the local municipal gym or a private fitness center. Registrants are actually reimbursed a dollar or two every time they clock-in a certain time working out. Frequent fitness devotees can recover a substantial portion or even all of their club membership fee. I can't recall whether it's state-funded, but I think I read in the news the program was pioneered by Stanford University to encourage exercise and is now gaining popularity in many communities throughout California.
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Old 04-04-02, 02:56 PM   #9
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I dunno...I think the government is out of control and this is another outlet for them to gain more control and/or power over citizens.
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Old 04-04-02, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by fubar5
I dunno...I think the government is out of control and this is another outlet for them to gain more control and/or power over citizens.
I hope you don't let your dad see that message Foob.

Anyway, the health of it's citizens is very much in the interest of a good government. One of the purposes of taxation is to apply forces to the price of things that would otherwise only have 'martket forces'* on them. In the absense of good sense in the citizenry, it is designed to reduce demand for things that are bad for us, and encourage demand for things that are good for us. Financial enticements seem to be the only thing that works on us these days. Appeals to reason don't work if there isn't any. Hence, high taxes on cigarettes and alcolhol. Subsidising exercise, or applying higher taxes to unhealthy food is merely the logical extension of this, and my hope is that eventually we'll see the same logic applied to driving cars.

This might seem light 'too much control', and maybe it is, but the sad fact is that far too many people aren't prepared to exercise this control themselves. For some reason, the stupid and greedy have gotten hold of the idea that 'freedom' means 'I can do whatever I want'.

Since it's in no-one's interest to have a population filled with fat, slovenly, unproductive people in need of frequent and expensive health care, it is definitley the responsibility of good government to step in, ideally as transparently and unobtrusively as possible. Taxation suits this purpose well as the only thing we notice is a fluctuation in price. It's certainly less obtrusive than some guy in a black suit with an earpiece guarding your fridge.



*greed and stupidity.
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Old 04-04-02, 04:58 PM   #11
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The thing is that people should not have to BE ON A WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM. This is a fallacy. If you just don't drive everywhere that is farther than 10 meters from your front door or take the stairs to go upstairs rather than an elevator. its just calorie balancing.

The fact that things like slimfast can survive is absolutely ridicoulos. When I was biking for 35 minutes to work last fall, no matter what I did I lost weight.

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Old 04-04-02, 07:42 PM   #12
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I dropped by to say exactly what Allister said, but since he already did, I wont.

I will add...

Quote:
I have trouble understanding why there would need to be costs associated with 'losing weight' (not 'fat', mind you, but 'weight'). I wonder how our earliest ancestors survived without 'Weight Watchers'.

Also, since when did every undesirable characteristic which can occur in a human become a disease?
Losing weight is simply another way to say losing fat since its generaly accepted no one wants to lose muscle mass, water, etc. Our earliest ansesters survived without WW because either: 1.) our ancesters HAD to work to survive and sometimes (probably) went days without food, or 2.) the fat ones were too slow and were eaten. Fact is, now that we have modern things like labor saving devices and processed foods, we ( as a population ) are fat.

As undesireable as obesity is, there are certain instances where it is an actual medical condition in itself. I dont beleive they're refering to your garden-variety beer gut.
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Old 04-05-02, 06:43 AM   #13
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I'm with you Fubar5 we don't need more government. Freedom to do smart things implies freedom to do dumb things. If education isn't enough to get folks doing healthy things then their shorter life expectancy cures the problem.
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Old 04-05-02, 07:09 AM   #14
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It is not entirely unlikely that the Australian government will introduce a 'health levy' on fast food and confectionary (as a result of the budget blowout in bashing foreigners), since they have appointed a health expert to the treasury to examine the idea.

This would actually be in line with the taxation on alcohol and cigarettes, which are the highest in the world. Also, before VAT/GST, these foods were taxed at the 'luxury' rate of 20%.
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Old 04-05-02, 07:37 AM   #15
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Hmmm... if taxes can be used as an incentive to make overweight people lose weight, why not do it the old-fashioned way;

Tax overweight people by the pound. The more overweight you are, the more tax you pay.

That would be more effective than the present plan.
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Old 04-05-02, 07:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by mike
Hmmm... if taxes can be used as an incentive to make overweight people lose weight, why not do it the old-fashioned way;

Tax overweight people by the pound. The more overweight you are, the more tax you pay.

That would be more effective than the present plan.
Ha ha!!! Yeah buddy!

As far as taxes go.I don't know of all of them, but I don't mind paying state tax, and I don't mind paying tax on gas. That money goes towards maintaining the state and roads...no problems here. But social security? I don't want to pay that, and besides SS is on it's way down. And property tax? I strongly dislike property tax. Taxing people for a place to live? A place to start a business?? Doesn't sound free to me. And Sales tax on food? That REALLY bugs me. Why should we pay tax for food? The government doesn't give us that food, companies and farmers do. Does tax on food go to the government agencies that govern food in stores? Maybe so, but it doesn't strike me as being right. Now, I really have no argument to defend me and what I have just said, so if you want to argue.....I can't help you.
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Old 04-05-02, 11:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by fubar5


Ha ha!!! Yeah buddy!

As far as taxes go.I don't know of all of them, but I don't mind paying state tax, and I don't mind paying tax on gas. That money goes towards maintaining the state and roads...no problems here. But social security? I don't want to pay that, and besides SS is on it's way down. And property tax? I strongly dislike property tax. Taxing people for a place to live? A place to start a business?? Doesn't sound free to me. And Sales tax on food? That REALLY bugs me. Why should we pay tax for food? The government doesn't give us that food, companies and farmers do. Does tax on food go to the government agencies that govern food in stores? Maybe so, but it doesn't strike me as being right. Now, I really have no argument to defend me and what I have just said, so if you want to argue.....I can't help you.
I never understood that line of reasonning. Isn't SS the basis of social solidarity. Aren't you benefiting of some form of global infrastructure, such as schools, roads, and other lovely or less lovely things (like an Army). Doesn't that cost money? So what about taxes. I prefer them on gas than on food personally but taxes do not shock me (perhaps because I haven't filed them yet .

Or do you prefer just to get rid of all meager public infrastructure there is and have the private sector take care of it all so that only the whealthy can benefit from me?
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Old 04-05-02, 12:32 PM   #18
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I don't think SS goes to schools and such, I know that some tax goes to PUBLIC schools, which I totally disagree with because I don't use the public school system as of yet.
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Old 04-05-02, 12:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by fubar5
But social security? I don't want to pay that, and besides SS is on it's way down.
I seem to recall reading somewhere that you can opt out of SS if you do it for "moral" reasons or something of that nature. Where did I read it? Don't recall. Is it true? Couldn't tell you. Might be worth researching though.

It seems like it was a one-time deal, though; no backing out once you made your choice.
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Old 04-05-02, 12:49 PM   #20
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I seem to recall reading somewhere that you can opt out of SS if you do it for "moral" reasons or something of that nature. Where did I read it? Don't recall. Is it true? Couldn't tell you. Might be worth researching though.

It seems like it was a one-time deal, though; no backing out once you made your choice.
coolio..I really don't want to have a big political pow wow though..So I'm out of here.
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Old 04-05-02, 02:34 PM   #21
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I seem to recall reading somewhere that you can opt out of SS if you do it for "moral" reasons or something of that nature. Where did I read it? Don't recall. Is it true? Couldn't tell you. Might be worth researching though.

It seems like it was a one-time deal, though; no backing out once you made your choice.
What would be the moral argument for refusing to contribute to SS I wonder. Perhaps along the lines of

"Dear President,

I have no problem with paying taxes that go to useful and noble causes such as building an atomic arsenal, and financing warfare to protect the interest of this noble country (God bless America - even if she is led by a man with the IQ of a monkey). However I dohave strong moral objections in helping the poor and the needy and with providing them with Social Security income. Like the economist Malthus, I find that the poors should be left to starve in which case they are found to be more easily amendable to work for meager wages without protest.

Isn't wrong to let a homeless man enjoy bread for no labour when he could be made to perform useful hazardous work for the chemical industry?

Should we feed his children when they could - like millions of children in Asia - be working for sweat chops with the pride of knowing that they are contributing to the American economy?




"

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Old 04-05-02, 04:09 PM   #22
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Social Security is a retirement plan basically. And when it was concieved they planned on 10 workers to every 1 person who needed SS. But now there isn't a 10:1 ratio anymore because there are less workers coming up, but more people in retirement. Personally, I'd rather have my own retirement plan rather than something the government decides for me.
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Old 04-05-02, 04:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by fubar5
Social Security is a retirement plan basically. And when it was concieved they planned on 10 workers to every 1 person who needed SS. But now there isn't a 10:1 ratio anymore because there are less workers coming up, but more people in retirement. Personally, I'd rather have my own retirement plan rather than something the government decides for me.
Perhaps this is because YOU can afford a private retirement plan.
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Old 04-05-02, 04:17 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by PapeteeBooh


Perhaps this is because YOU can afford a private retirement plan.
Or perhaps because most of us can't afford the public retirement plan a.k.a. Social Security.

I've never known any working man/woman who ever got out of social security what they put into it. The USA Social Security system is a scam.
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Old 04-05-02, 04:48 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by PapeteeBooh


What would be the moral argument for refusing to contribute to SS I wonder. Perhaps along the lines of

"Dear President,

However I dohave strong moral objections in helping the poor and the needy and with providing them with Social Security income. Like the economist Malthus, I find that the poors should be left to starve in which case they are found to be more easily amendable to work for meager wages without protest.

Isn't wrong to let a homeless man enjoy bread for no labour when he could be made to perform useful hazardous work for the chemical industry?

Should we feed his children when they could - like millions of children in Asia - be working for sweat chops with the pride of knowing that they are contributing to the American economy?


"
I wasn't looking for a fight, just offering some useless (and possibly incorrect for that matter) info. But...

Most people would rather sit on their hind-end and let the rest of us support them than to go get a job.

I do have a problem supporting someone who is too sorry to do anything for themselves. I know there are some who have fallen on hard times- fine. There are multitudes more looking for a free ride. To those I say, "GET A JOB!"
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