A new initiative proposed by the Obama Administration to improve the health of all Americans is a minimum exercise program. Under the proposal, each citizen will be required to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. In addition, the program requires people to engage in an additional 30 min of non-sedentary activities daily.
Critics find the proposal ludicrous, and call it an inkhorn project that will do nothing more than make people feel guilty and do nothing to change the country's overall health. These critics have found these minimums outrageous, and have suggested that, if it takes effect, that it will create a market for an exercise "Cap and Trade," or "ExCap" program.
Under the hypothetical ExCap program, people who exercise more than the 30 minutes a day and who exceed the minimum non-sedentary activity requirements can exchange their surplus minutes to those who don't meet the minimums, thus ensuring that the nation is meeting the minimums.
The program currently has an exchange rate of $5 per minute. Minutes must be documented via video uploaded to the Internet on a daily basis, and extra minutes are "banked," and analyzed on a weekly basis, and Saturday becomes the most active "trade day," as the "under exercised" exchange cash to those with extra minutes to cover their exercise shortfall.
"It's a win-win situation. People have an incentive to exercise, and an easy way to cover their lack of activity. For those on limited incomes, who can't trade cash for activity, we expect they will just put in the time, and, with any luck, become more healthy," notes Carlos Montoya, an administrator with the ExCap program. "The bottom line here is improving the overall health of the nation, and we're doing that. "
Critics have pointed out that the program unfairly benefits the wealthy, who have the funds available to pay for shortfalls in minutes, while advocates mention that the more entreprenurial of the lower classes could earn extra money being active and exercising, while improving their health.
"Given the link between income and diet, that is, people with higher incomes tend to have better nutrition and a better quality of food, a plan where those with lower incomes actually earn money and exercise more, the program is a success at motivating those with the greatest need to improve their health and economic situation," continued Montoya.
Some worry about the fate of those who simple buy their minutes every month, saying that they are simply missing the point and riding on the coattails of those who have always exercised regularly, and that paying people who already exercise beyond the minimums is not actually raising the overall health of the nation.
Others argue that the lazy are the most unfairly targeted group of people, and that our society should not punish the "under-motivated."
inkhorn / INK - horn / adj ostentatiously learned: pedantic, pretentious language
Since 1543, the adjective form of this term has been floating around. As a noun, it's more obvious that it's a vessel for ink.