THE BLOG

The Other Kind of Pork

04/07/2011 08:46 pm ET | Updated Jun 07, 2011

As we know, pork like defunding Planned Parenthood, repealing aspects of health care and EPA control of air pollution is continuing to stand between passing a budget. But pork might just be the answer to convincing extremists to change their minds.

Though a distrust of science has been the pervasive trend in certain circles, perhaps Washington can take a lesson from a news story that hasn't gotten enough attention this week from scientist Johan Lanstrom who has been studying arguably one of the most intransigent social groups on the planet: vegans. Lanstrom has discovered the one thing that seems to be able to affect a change of mind for even the most staunch of these ideologues. Discussions don't work, money can't sway them, but continued exposure to the scent of bacon is so powerful it breaks down even the most dogmatic animal hugger. Bacon is the gateway meat to a return to beef. Who knew? But what can we do with this information? Listen, I eat as much tofu as any environmentally friendly human, but I've never met a group more impractical and locked into a set of principles than vegans, except Tea Partiers, so if it works on Peta it might just work on Partiers.

I suggest immediately infusing the air in DC with the smell of cooking pig, passing out BLT's during the continued negotiations and if need be, downing out shots of my new favorite drink, Bakon Vodka. More pork, not less, might just keep our government running.

If this sounds at all far fetched, think again. Retailers have long known that smell is a powerful and persuasive factor in sales. That every mall in America smells like Cinnabon isn't a coincidence as cinnamon is a scent connected to feeling welcome. Clothing stores regularly pump vanilla scent, as it has been shown to raise sales in women's garments. Realtors don't make cookies at open houses because they enjoy baking. Bacon cookies might just

Speaking of pork. We know obesity costs America an estimated 147 billion dollars a year in health care costs. I'm not the first person to suggest a fat tax to pad the federal coffers, but another story leads me to think its time has come.

A recent tragic boating accident in San Diego has highlighted a previously un-anticipated problem related to obesity. A contributing factor to the capsizing of a sailboat on a charity outing, resulting in two deaths, was that the per person capacity was based on weights that were calibrated in the 1960's. This is a huge problem. At the time, the average weight was calculated at 150 pounds, while we're now living large, weighing in at 185. In fact, we've reached the tipping point, if you will, on March 22nd, the Federal Transit Authority announced that all major forms of transportation cars, planes, and buses, need to be re-assessed immediately in order to operate safely. Yes, it's little things like national safety standards that Tea Partiers don't seem to value much when they disparage government.

How much is that effort going to cost us? Perhaps there's some irony here that we're focused on carrying around so much debt, when carrying around so much weight is costing us so much. A fat tax brings in money, will save us money, and might just be the public shaming that gets us to finally tighten our belts. After being ejected from a South West Airlines flight for being too hefty, director Kevin Smith lost 65 pounds.

Certainly some wrangling over thyroid exemptions, debate over actual weight versus body fat index, perhaps an income tax credit for some, as lower income people often have less access to lower caloric fare, but even the environment will win from a financial incentive to lose as fatties use an estimated 18% more natural resources including added fuel for transportation.

Sound too farfetched? I guess it's more reasonable to cut essential services, public education and health care programs that disproportionally affect lower income and older Americans. All politics comes back to pork. Just in different forms.