Eighteen cents of every dollar we spend in this country gets spent on healthcare. No other country spends more per capita on healthcare than we do, and that's partly thanks to the fact that Americans are among the fattest people on the planet.
Over one-third of the country is obese, and we're getting fatter. At the rate we're going the majority will be obese by 2030. Obesity dramatically increases a person's risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and a whole host of other health problems. To put it bluntly, one of the reasons why we spend so much on healthcare is because we've got a lot of fat people who require an excessive amount of healthcare.
For the life of me, I can't understand why the State of Washington would want to put a new $25 tax on bicycles or on anything else that promotes physical fitness at a time when healthcare costs are bleeding the country dry.
Obviously, people who don't get sick don' t need healthcare. Riding a bicycle 20 miles per week cuts your risk of heart disease by 50 percent, and heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the country. I believe discouraging bicycle riding by putting a new $25 tax on bicycles is just about the dumbest thing the state could do under the circumstances. If anything, we should be following the lead of British Columbia, which recently exempted bicycles and gym memberships from its provincial sales tax.
Andy Wilcoxson Bellingham