August 1, 2013

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Chuck Schumer Engineers USDA Greek Yogurt Subsidy: The New York senator helps land a sweetheart deal for a politically-connect yogurt company.

Starting this month, the United States Department of Agriculture has announced that it will test out a new product in school lunches—high-protein, a.k.a. Greek-style yogurt—in four different states. Yet, what seems like an innocuous, even reasonable addition to the menu of foods offered to American public school students upon inspection turns out to be the latest example of corrupt nanny-statism masquerading as “for the kids” do-goodism.

The USDA argues that Greek-style yogurt is better for kids because it has more protein. And given Michelle Obama’s new National School Lunch program offerings required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a higher protein, lower-fat, and lower-sugar yogurt seems like it would be a good thing, full stop.

Here’s the trouble.

Greek-style yogurt is more expensive than other comparably nutritious yogurts. The USDA has to pilot this program in only four states—New York, Arizona, Idaho, and Tennessee—because the bureaucrats don’t know if they can get such a highly perishable item to schools that are situated further from the yogurt distribution centers. And most important, there is one particular state and one particular business that stand to benefit from a big increase in Greek yogurt sales. Those would be New York State, where most of this yogurt is produced and Chobani, which sells the most Greek-style yogurt in the U.S., is located. All of which explains why the biggest manufacturer of Greek-style yogurt spent tens of thousands on lobbyists and worked so closely with New York’s Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer to try to get this pilot program off the ground. . . . Greek yogurt may be high in protein, but so are a lot of other, less expensive and less politically-connected food products. Adding Chobani to the school lunch program is just a fat-lot of government cronyism.

It’s crony-capitalism all the way down. Should we start a Chobani boycott?

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