"It would be an honor."
In November 2010, hedge fund manager Julian Robertson appeared on CNBC. Ostensibly, he was there to talk about he markets and his illustrious investing career. But about halfway through the interview with Erin Burnett, he let it slip that while money managing is fun, at this point, he's dreaming bigger. “I would love to be the Obesity Czar,” Robertson told her.
Showing Burnett the back of the envelope calculations he'd done, Robertson estimated he could save the country $1 trillion if given the authority to "tax fat" and "tax sugar." Curtailing his side gigs as a den mother to the Tiger Cubs and stopping on grapes would be worth it. "I can't think of a more important job," he said.
At the time we threw out a number of special rights and duties Robertson would need to be an effective Obesity Czar. They included: The right to approach anyone about to put a Twinkie in his/her mouth and slap it out of their hand, grab their chin and say, “That’s one. You won’t be happy if I have to come back." A golden pointer that he could go out into the streets with, poking any “offenders” and offering a knowing glance. And series of ads starring JR telling people, “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips."
And yet, the call never came. Four and a half years passed and Robertson probably figured his dream was just that: a dream. And then today? A sign:
Americans should pay taxes on sugary sodas and snacks as a way to cut down on sweets, though they no longer need to worry about cholesterol, according to scientists helping to revamp dietary guidelines as U.S. obesity levels surge...The panel released its report as the Obama administration seeks ways to fight obesity, which now affects more than one-third of American adults and 17 percent of children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “What we’re calling for in the report in terms of innovation and bold new action in health care, in public health, at the community level, is what it’s going to take to try and make a dent on the epidemic of obesity,” committee chairwoman Barbara Millen of Millennium Prevention in Westwood, Massachusetts, said in a telephone interview.