Friday, February 04, 2011

The slippery slope - subsidies to buy fruits, veggies

It should come as no surprise that subsidies are 'naturally' going to follow the new dietary guidelines from the government. What could be more 'natural' than government subsidies?!?

You see, the federal government has again revised the listing of what is good for us and what isn't (per order from Congress) and because we're so stupid as to not obey them (because we're busy making our own choices and living with the consequences), they're going to try to bribe us into doing what they want.

From CNSNews:

"At an event on Monday to unveil the federal government’s new dietary guidelines for Americans, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that subsidies may be used to encourage people on government assistance to eat more fruits and vegetables. asked the secretaries to explain what was meant by Vilsack’s remarks about incentives to encourage the consumption of more fruits and vegetables.

Vilsack said that a pilot program is in place in Massachusetts to allow participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – or SNAP – to get a discount for buying fruits and vegetables.

“The grocer basically gets paid full value for the fruit or vegetable that’s being purchased but it’s only credited say 70 or 80 percent on the card,” Vilsack said at the event, held at George Washington University."

Oh - so only if you're already getting handouts do you get even more. The rest of us, who are paying taxes so you can eat for free - we get nothing, except a higher bill.

The guidelines, which are required by Congress and are updated, as needed, every five years, also set a 300 milligram limit of cholesterol and encourage people to eat more chicken and fish and to avoid beef, which is defined as a “solid fat.”

Wonder what the beef industry will say to that? I also wonder if beef farmers are getting subsidies - or if they'll need them now that people are going to be reducing the amount of beef they eat?

What a tangled web of rules, regulations and government intrusion!

Here's the problem with subsidizing fruits and vegetables under the SNAP program: it's the equivalent of just giving them more money. There are guidelines and formulas in place for people on food stamps that bases the amount of assistance on earnings, number of people in the family, etc. By making them 'pay' less (because *they* don't really pay), you're giving them more money to spend. Where is the additional money coming from when it's clear our government is already broke? Nothing is really 'free' - we all know this fact. So who is paying for this 'subsidy'?

And then there is the sheer unfairness of it all. Liberals are so focused on fairness, though today it takes the form of the term 'justice.' They are constantly trying to attain equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity. So in looking at this latest plan, why should dependents of the government get a product for less than what the rest of us have to pay? Why should they, alone, be subsidized simply because they've either fallen on hard times or are part of the growing class of people who are generationally dependent upon the government for sustenance?

If it's good for them, isn't it good for all of us? Or perhaps that's the plan - for the government to take over the purchasing and distribution of things that are 'good for us' so we no longer have to worry about making such decisions, especially because we don't do what the politicians and bureaucrats want us to do in the first place.

Then there is the condescending nature of the whole idea - that people who are on food stamps don't make good decisions and they only way to 'force' them to make good decisions is to pay them to do so.

Two thoughts come to mind. One is that fresh fruit and veggies are cheaper than junk food, so they shouldn't need to be subsidized; and the other is that I would be *offended* if the government tried to bribe me into making food selections that they have approved.

Why don't people on food stamps have these same thoughts? Maybe some do, but if you've got people who, for generations, have used food stamps for their groceries, they've been conditioned to not be as accountable as others because they're using *other people's money.* They don't make good decisions because the government always bails them out and fails to allow them to suffer the consequences - instead rewarding them with more money or help or assistance. So of course they don't make good decisions - they've never learned how.

Despite that being the case, you'd think they'd have a bit of independence and reject the bribery designed to force them to change their habits. But then again, perhaps not. As I said earlier - maybe they'll just use the money they save for buying more junk food.

The losers in all of this are you and me. We'll pay full price while also paying for SNAP recipients to not have to. And the politicians will use all of it as a reason we should keep electing them.

1 comment:

Mad Jack said...

Given any choice at all, the four food groups from the food stamp association are:
1. The cooler group. This is anything from the cooler, most often beer or wine. Vodka is a luxury item from this group.
2. The bag group. Chips, Cheetos, pretzels, any heavily salted chip-like material in a bag.
3. The can group. When you want something really solid, like Chef Boy R Dee Ravioli. Beans, Campbell's soup, spam. Since soda pop comes in cans, you'd think it would appear here. Actually, soda pop is in the cooler group.
4. Stuff group. This is where the kids pick out something which contains the things kids like most: sugar, caffeine and colors not found in nature.

Never mind about health and diet. The consequences of a poor diet are years removed from immediate. Think: each time you ate a certain food you became nauseated and threw up. How long do you think you'd keep eating that particular food?

Good choices are not going to happen, and they can't be forced. Gov't. has tried to force healthy selections and it doesn't work. Bribery might work, but I'm not putting any money on it.

The alternative is simply handing out cash, which the recipients would like a whole lot more than food stamps, but even our government isn't that crazy. Yet.

Food stamps are often sold on the street and the cash spent on freedom of choice items that theoretically can't be purchased with stamps. Mad Dog wine, Colt 40 or UV Vodka.

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