We Americans tend to be kind of fat. A lot of this has to do with the the way we eat. Money also has a lot to do with this -- cheap food tends to be full of fat and devoid of nutrition, making us want more and more before we feel satisfied.
The actions of the government have a lot to do with the cost of food. Every year, a farm bill is written by congress, determining which foods are subsidized, making them cheap, and which foods are taxed, making them more expensive. Current farm bills have favored corn. Our representatives seem to prefer the idea of producing vast amounts of biofuel to reduce the current dependency on oil, and corn oil is one of the easier ways to do that.
It's time now for the 2009 bill. I think we should ask for subsidies on the following:
* Brussel Sprouts
These foods are all low-calorie, nutrition dense fruits and vegetables. Post-subsidy, they will be plentiful and cheap. In addition, the sheer variety will make it hard for pests to establish, the way it has with corn mono-cultures.
If there are any foods that are inherently unhealthy, we can tax them. I can't think of any offhand. Sure, an excess of corn has lead to high fructose corn syrup, but corn by itself isn't inherently unhealthy.
We should definitely tax tobacco, however. It doesn't make sense that we're paying people to grow it, and then turn around and encourage people not to use it.