February 21, 2017

YES. WHY SUBSIDIZE AMERICA’S OBESITY AND DIABETES EPIDEMICS? Food stamps and sweets: Should they be kept apart?

The debate aligns two sides that may not appear to have much in common: critics on the right of government overspending and public health advocates. Debate about how food-stamp benefits are spent was sparked by a November report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which found that households receiving SNAP benefits used 20 cents of every dollar to buy soda, candy, desserts and other unhealthy foods.

“Almost half of added sugars consumed by the U.S. population come from sweetened beverages,” said Angela Rachidi, research fellow in poverty studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, during testimony at the House committee hearing. “This is why it is so alarming that such a notable percentage of food/beverage purchases in American households are for sweetened beverages.”

She added, “Supporting such purchases, especially at levels suggested in the data, directly contradicts the stated goals of the program,” which say the money should be used for “improved levels of nutrition among low-income households.”

I’ve been reading Gary Taubes’ The Case Against Sugar, and, well, he makes a pretty strong case. And if nanny-staters want to ban Big Gulps for people who are spending their own money, I don’t see how you can oppose limits on what people buy with taxpayers’ money.

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