© 2012 Aaron Atkinson

The Economics of Weight

It clearly costs money to run a government. It would clearly cost less if the government ran more efficiently. But since it doesn’t, taxpayers fuel the government in a way that has long struck me as double dipping. Not only are we taxed when we make money, we’re taxed again when we spend the money we kept after being taxed the first time. It can feel like they’re picking both of our pockets – at once.

Interestingly, this is a lot like The Economics of Weight.

I was listening to the radio while driving home today and I heard an advertisement for a weight loss program that was offering special promotion, “Lose all the weight you want for only a dollar a pound!” 

We’re a funny country.

To burn off one pound of body weight, you have to burn 3,500 calories. To put on that pound of body weight, you likely gained 1,814 calories along the way in a pound of protein and a few of those pounds were probably put on in the whopping 4,084 calories in a pound of fat. And if you bought into that advertisement, losing that pound will cost you a dollar for every 3,500 calories you’re able to shed on the program. Said another way, you’re being taxed when you ‘spend’ those calories.

The calories that you gained also cost you money when you ate them. A Big Mac will earn you 704 calories and it costs about $3.50 (with tax.) If you paid for and ate enough Big Macs to equate to 3,500 calories, it would cost you $17.40. There it is again, you’re also being taxed when you ‘earned’ those calories.

It doesn’t seem right. You’re taxed when you earn, taxed when you spend, taxed when you gain and taxed when you lose.

It all makes me want to eat a salad grown from my garden.

And to thereby save some green.




  1. Adam
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 10:58 am | #

    Taxation is not the government taking something from us, it is us paying for stuff we want. So your analogy is apt, but also because no one is forcing you to have the Big Mac, but if you want to eat its tasty goodness, you have to pay.

  2. Aaron Atkinson
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm | #

    Agreed. You have to pay for the big mac, you have to pay the taxes, and then, in this example, you have to pay to lose the calories that you bought. It all makes me question all the things I’m gaining and losing by eating its tasty goodness.

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