I've tried my best to steer away from getting into politics on my blog, but I felt I needed to post about this one.
In a recent conversation from his radio show, Rush Limbaugh defended Walmart for "selling crud" to those on food stamps. Rush is not the champion of free market that he would lead you to believe. He'd rather protect corporate interests than the interests of the American tax payer. Rush claims that plenty of stores sell highly processed foods and that it's not the government's place to fix the problem - oh, but it is, Rush!
If the government is spending money to feed people, shouldn't that food be healthy food that won't lead to health complications? ...Health complications which will probably cost tax-payer money too? Regardless of how you feel about the health care debate in the US, the fact is if you need immediate medical assistance, you will receive it - period. Who ends up paying for that is up in the air, but it usually comes from the hospital's bottom line and the government (at one level or another).
Ok, health problems may end up costing us somehow, but we're paying for people's food that live on food stamps, so why not give them good food? I'm not talking about filet mignon, fine wine and imported Kobe beef - I just mean basic staples like bread, produce and meats. Why give a hungry family a tube of mass-produced, ammonia-treated, brine-pumped, pink slime with fillers that passes for ground beef? Why feed a growing child "fruit drink" when we can provide them with real juice, from actual fruit? Why give them a sandwich made of slabs of bleached flower with the majority of the nutrition removed, then added back in at the minimum reportable amount for marketing? The answer lies in cost and how much each food item costs the shopping parent with the food stamps - not necessarily what the healthiest option is.
In an article from the Huffington Post, one MD discusses the hidden cost of "cheap" foods.