“It’s just bad public policy to allow unfettered access to all kinds of food.”

by Walter Olson on March 28, 2012

Meet the meddlers: officials from California to Gotham to London who believe that so long as we remain free to smoke, drink and consume potato chips in the privacy of our home, “government isn’t doing its job.” [Gene Healy, Examiner]

P.S. As readers rightly point out, the post should have noted that the speaker quoted in the headline was referring to the subsidized food stamp program, not the same thing as restricting consumer access to foods generally (though some “food policy” buffs certainly do favor the latter.)

{ 14 comments }

1 rxc 03.28.12 at 11:49 am

It is interesting that all sorts of govt policy wonk types think that it is important for the govt to control what you eat, but not any of your sexual practices. I know that sex is important, from the point of view of procreation of the race, and even to help have a good time, but everyone has to eat.

Why do “progressives” consider sexual practices to be immune from consideration as a “public health issue”?

2 Stella Baskomb 03.28.12 at 3:04 pm

Feds: keep your hands off my dinner plate

3 Mannie 03.28.12 at 3:30 pm

That’s because for Liberals, sex is the opiate of the Masses.

4 Ed 03.28.12 at 4:05 pm

I think this is great idea! They should start with the Food and Cooking Channels who are purveyors of salt, sugar, and fat. Then move on to all those “celebrity” restaurants they feature on TV. Unfortunately, these self appointed guardians of the public only seem to think they need to protect us ignorant peasants. Equal protection under the law should require they police EVERYONE. How about Paula Deen, Bobby Flay and the rest; shouldn’t they be required to disclose the same info as everyone else. I’m really concerned that Donald Trump is eating right.

5 John Burgess 03.28.12 at 6:26 pm

To take Ed’s idea further, how about ensuring that the pols who would police our food do not get tables — ever — at Momfuku, Masa, Serendipity, Per Se, and the like. City Council members and the Mayor can only eat at the local tofu bars.

6 gitarcarver 03.28.12 at 7:34 pm

Sorry, but it is bad “public policy to allow unfettered access to all kinds of food” when the public is paying for it and the person is using food stamps to buy the junk food. That is what the discussion is about. It is not about sugar, or calories or anything other than whether the public should pay for and finance the purchase of junk food by those on food stamps.

Here is Storms’ quote within context:

“It’s just bad public policy to allow unfettered access to all kinds of food,” she told me over the phone. “Why should we cut all of these programs and continue to pay for people to use food stamps to buy potato chips, Oreos and Mountain Dew? The goal is to feed good food to hungry people.”

Source: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/regulating-our-sugar-habit/

In related news, a bill in the Florida Legislature this year would have prevented the use of government welfare EBT cards to be used in strip clubs or casinos. Think about that for a moment.

The measure failed.

7 Nezuji 03.28.12 at 8:32 pm

Can someone explain to me how two people have already taken what seems to me to be a very conservative idea (limit what people sucking on the tax-payers’ teat are allowed to spend that money on), and turn it into “another example of liberalism gone wild”?

8 Jim Collins 03.28.12 at 10:47 pm

I’ll reserve judgement until I see a list of what qualifies as a “junk food”. I’ll bet it is more than Oreos and Mountain Dew.

9 gitarcarver 03.29.12 at 1:41 am

Jim,

Here is a link to the bill:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/1658/BillText/c1/HTML

The applicable section states:

(a)?Add to the list of items that may not be purchased with
70 federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds
71 nonstaple, unhealthy foods. Such prohibited items include, but
72 are not limited to, foods containing trans fats; sweetened
73 beverages, including sodas; sweets, such as jello, candy, ice
74 cream, pudding, popsicles, muffins, sweet rolls, cakes,
75 cupcakes, pies, cobblers, pastries, and doughnuts; and salty
76 snack foods, such as corn-based salty snacks, pretzels, party
77 mix, popcorn, and potato chips.

10 rxc 03.29.12 at 4:56 am

“The basis of their diet is white bread and margarine, corned beef, sugared tea and potato—an appalling diet. Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread?…Yes it would, but the point is, no human being would ever do such a thing.…A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man does not…When you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food. You want to eat something a little bit tasty.”

George Orwell

11 marco73 03.29.12 at 9:05 am

Interesting that Ronda Storms, Florida State Senator from the Tampa area, is quoted in the artical concerning what Food Stamp recipients should be able to purchase. Amazingly, there is always a boogie man somewhere threatening our children (porn, strip clubs, gays, corn-based sugar) just about election time. You don’t need to buy a calendar, just wait for Ronda to jump in front of a camera.

12 Ron Miler 03.29.12 at 12:04 pm

I think a lot of you are outraged by this because it reminds you of something that annoys you. Arguably, this is a bad way to make public policy. Why don’t we start putting tariffs on Taiwan because they remind us of Chinese unfair trade practices?

We are talking food stamps here, right? Should it be for food that actually helps the body or at least is not known to hurt? You are taking our money to buy food. I don’t have a problem with telling them how they ought to spend it. In this context, how much different is a Ho-Ho from a cigarette?

13 antiredistributionist 03.29.12 at 12:54 pm

Absolutely right, gitarcarver.

14 Bill Alexander 03.29.12 at 1:02 pm

A Ho-Ho is much harder to keep lit.

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