With all the talk about healthcare and the oh-so-scary "public option", it's hard not to touch on the increasing obesity problem in America. A recent infographic outlines the American obesity problem. (Americans eat the same as the average Chinese citizen, plus 19 slices of bacon!) Is there some sinister plot out to get you? Surely not. It's mostly due to portion control on behalf of the consumer. (Remember how small a "small" used to be?) Also think about how seemingly offensive it is when you order a meal at a restaurant and you finish it all! Heaven forbid you finish your plate and not hurt afterward!) But, for the most part, food is cheap and we love to eat. Salt, fat and sugar: our big three food groups. You'd be hard pressed to name a favorite dish that isn't just mounds of these three. But, again, those 3 are the cheap ones. Most vegetables aren't very cheap compared to a bag of chips. Calorie for calorie, junk food is cheaper. Why? Corn.
After watching the documentary Food, Inc., I began to realize just how extensive corn has become in all of our foods. Corn subsidies have helped junk food (of which corn is the #1 contributor) become the cheapest source of calories in the American diet. You can buy a ready-made hamburger for less than you can a head of lettuce. You can buy a order of french fries cheaper than you can buy a potato. These artificially low prices are due to corn subsidies.
Subsidies ensure Americans have access to cheap food. The problem has now become that our subsidized food is now too cheap. It's time we come off of our subsidies.
If we look at the infographic above, we learn that Americans consume nearly 4000 calories a day.