Monday, May 19, 2008

Down with the nanny state

Megan doesn't like the food options.
WICked inefficient:

I've taken a lot of flak for saying that food stamps are a program whose time has gone. But I hope we can all agree that it's time for WIC to take the long walk behind the barn. The goal of the program is laudable, and even (gasp!) something I think we should be spending government money on: making sure that poor, er, proto-babies get adequate prenatal nutrition. But as it has been implemented, the thing is a massive handout to dairy farmers.
Why does Megan say this? Because soy milk isn't an option under most state's definitions of the program. That's it. Cuz apparently there's a huge demand for it from poor, mostly single pregnant women, and Megan didn't see it listed in a non-binding Federal summary of the program. States determine what is and isn't on their list, as Megan would know if she'd read the entire post by Ezra instead of, say, the title. N btw, Ezra, you (fellow) over-privileged rich white boy? Wtf is so funny about not including soy? Yes, all the anorexic white women who hate themselves and their bodies around you swear by it. This means the state should try to coerce young women into following suit?
Yes, ultimately I agree soy milk should be an option, if only for the benefit of the lactose intolerant, but Megan is arguing its lack of inclusion is evidence the whole program needs to be scrapped.
Put down the "Vegans are evil" picket sign; my problem isn't that we're giving them milk and milk products.
... then why did you say the exact opposite in the previous paragraph?
The problem is that the list of foods available is weird and not particularly nutritious. Fruit and vegetable juice, but not actual fruit and vegetables. Milk products, but no soy milk or cheese. Hey, I don't like either. But there's no reason to give people dairy products, but not fortified soy milk. And juice is much worse for you than the high fiber plant foods in their original state.
So it's actually a subsidy for big orange juice? Btw, Megan, ever heard of juice with added vitamins, like calcium enriched oj? Also, to say again, maybe poor mostly single pregnant women aren't a big market for soy milk, and part of the program's goals is to realistically impact these women's food choices? Oh, also? Soy milk isn't commonly stocked in the small, ghetto style supermarkets and bodegas the majority of women on WIC in urban areas, at least, frequent. How do I know? I live across the street from a major set of projects. There are new yuppie delis that have soy products, but funnily enough, they don't have the "WIC accepted here" signs in their windows. I'm sure the situation is different for poor rural women, that one store in the county that takes WIC surely makes certain to stock soy milk. Huge demand, dontcha know.
Obesity is a much bigger problem for poor people than undernutrition; there's no reason that we should be pushing fattening foods on poor women, except that the lobbies that produce these foods will not tolerate having any of them removed from the list. Meanwhile, there's no attempt to ensure that pregnant women and young children are getting a really balanced diet, even though new research is showing that the different components of prenatal diet may have a large effect on lifelong predisposition to obesity and disease.
So fuck it, don't help them afford food to eat. Scrap the program, give 'em free money, and make sure even more kids are raised on Cheetos and Coke. That'll lower the obesity rates eventually, when they start dying off.
A supposed libertarian is suggesting a gov't program for the needy be dismantled because it isn't intrusive enough. Brilliant.

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