Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Making People Fat with Your Money

Food stamps linked to obesity.

OK, so can we stop cooking up phony domestic hunger crises? People are not starving in this country because no one will feed them, but because they're too stupid to score free stuff.

Now is the part in the blog where I get to be a hypocrite, but not really. I'm just fighting rhetorical fire with fire:
Yvonne Grimes, head cashier at Save-A-Lot on Jessica Street, says most of the store's customers on Food Stamps are not buying junk food or foods with high fat content.

Most customers on Food Stamps have small children, she said, so they are buying good food for their family.
While we're on the anecdotal-evidence bandwagon, let me relate my experiences as a grocery store cashier. Those who paid with food stamps generally bought preprepared, fatty foods and lots of snacks. Not only are these things worse for your health, but they cost more per calorie, so the average dollar spent on food stamps buys less raw energy than eating pasta (or whatever) plus the money's being spent on foods low in nutritional value. Happy to know that your tax dollars are paying for people to pollute their bodies with junk and pay more doing it? Because they're buying name-brand preprepared stuff with other people's money.

Oh, but at least those with small children are feeding their kids right. I take this to be the argument of Ms. Grimes:

Most people on food stamps have small children.
Small children, with their different dietary needs, require a better quality of food to receive proper nutrition and to facilitate growth.
Implied premise: People on food stamps recognize this need of their children and shop accordingly.
Therefore, most people on food stamps are buying good, wholesome, nutritious food.

That implied premise sure is a problem. My experience with people on food stamps is that they did not buy what their kids would need, which is something I observed long before I read this article. It seemed perverse to me that people who depend for their food on money taken from other people should be wasteful of that privilege, and even neglectful of their own children by failing to raise them as good parents should. Much of the awful snack food purchased on food stamps was done by families with three or four kids running the store amok, so naturally I concluded these snack and other unsavory items were feeding the kids.

Buying snack food and junking up your body is fine with me. I do it. But when you live off the extorted product of taxation, you'd sure as hell better be spending the money well.

Or, ideally, we can stop confiscating people's money to pay for losers.


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