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Obesity Is Caused by Low Minimum Wage


Before you embark on this fun weekend of overeating (I know I am), you might be happy to know that whatever weight you put on won’t be your fault. It is the fault of our low real minimum wage. This recent study by David Meltzer at the University of Chicago and Zhuo Chen of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that low inflation-adjusted minimum wages are partly to blame for increased obesity.

Here is why: People are fatter. That’s because they eat too much. And that’s because the food is getting cheaper everyday, especially “fast food.” But that’s because wages in real term have “declined by as much as half over 1968-2007 and because minimum wage labor is a major contributor to the cost of food away from home,” the authors explain.

Getting it? So in order for America to slim down, we need to increase the minimum wage to make the cost of labor and the price of fast food higher. While we are at it we need to increase the tax on soda and sugary drinks. And we need to impose a surtax on turkey and all of these yummy Thanksgiving goodies that you will be overconsuming this weekend.

Thankfully, the jury is not convinced of the relationship between obesity and low wages. Also, the science and the economics have come out against many of the assertions that taxing sugary drinks would reduce obesity.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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