White House Adviser Rahm's Older Brother: 'Heavier People' Bad for Economy

While the White House is making its last pushes for health care reform to be passed in Congress – a campaign against the so-called obesity epidemic has been ramped up in political circles. The media have played along, of course. First Lady Michelle Obama recently made an unusual appearance on the Fox News Channel about this issue.

But in all the obesity hand wringing some bizarre remarks from an important person were overlooked. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a White House adviser and the older brother to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, told the New York Times “Freakonomics Radio” recently that this condition has a broader impact on our lives, specifically the economy. (h/t Stuart James)

“I mean, we’re all focused on health care, diabetes and heart disease,” Emanuel said on Feb. 25. “But, there’s all sorts of things like the simple that, you know – heavier people – transportation is more, so there’s more spent on gasoline, more on jet fuel.”

Emanuel, a bioethicist at the American National Institutes of Health, explained that it’s not just energy costs, but also infrastructure.

“People have had to change, ah you know, the size of doorways, the size of chairs on airplanes and at sports stadiums,” Emanuel said. “So there’s a lot of hidden costs as well to the increasing girth of Americans.”

The obesity epidemic’s impact on the economy has been an argument used by left-leaning groups and pundits that advocate stricter regulations from the government for the past several years, now more recently employed by First Lady Michelle Obama. However, as Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie recently pointed out, the best way to solve these alleged impediments on wealth and prosperity for the country is for the government to get out of the way so that people will have to pay for their choices.

Like this article? Then sign up for our newsletter, The Balance Sheet