SINCE its introduction in 1964, America’s food stamp program has helped millions of struggling Americans put food on their tables in difficult times. During the recent economic downturn, the number of people in New York City receiving this assistance has grown more than 35 percent.This sounds like a fine program. How terrible that people need it, but it's good that it's there.
Recipients, however, aren’t allowed to buy everything a grocery store might sell. The federal government bars the use of food stamps to buy cigarettes, beer, wine, liquor or prepared foods like deli sandwiches and restaurant entrees. Still, the program, which is supposed to promote nutrition as well as reduce hunger, has a serious flaw: food stamps can be used to buy soda and other sweetened drinks.HOLY FUCKING SHIT, MY MIND HAS BEEN BLOWN!
Every year, tens of millions of federal dollars are spent on sweetened beverages in New York City through the food stamp program — far more than is spent on obesity prevention. This amounts to an enormous subsidy to the sweetened beverage industry.Why is the ramen industry entitled to their subsidy?
To correct this, New York City and State are asking the United States Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program, to authorize a demonstration project in New York City. The city would bar the use of food stamps to buy beverages that contain more sugar than substance — that is, beverages with low nutritional value that contain more than 10 calories per eight-ounce serving. The policy would not apply to milk, milk substitutes (like soy milk, rice milk or powdered milk) or fruit juices without added sugar — and its effects would be rigorously evaluated.I'm not a fan of the sugar-water industry [pause for glug-glugging] and there are health and cost rationales that I guess a bureaucrat should look at because it's their job - and that's what these guys are doing - but the poor should be able to get a treat now and then. On the bright side if the line is drawn according to to the caloric limit then the aspartame industry retains its subsidy. No doubt the folks in charge of the diet brands of the bottling industry will receive hefty bonuses if a national plan follows the NYC proposal.