Thursday, November 1, 2007

Subsidizing fat

If you're feeling fat these days, blame Congress. That's just what the nation's doctors are doing, saying that federal lawmakers are responsible for the fact that a salad costs so much more than a Big Mac.

Hoping to produce thinner waistlines, many doctors --including the American Medical Association --- want Congress to stop subsidizing the production of foods that are high in fat and cholesterol and spend more to promote fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains that are not.

Farm Belt lawmakers are on the defensive.

"I agree that obesity and health are serious issues in America today," said Sen. Pat Roberts, R.-Kan., a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. "However, blaming the cause on the crops that we grow in Kansas and/or the U.S. farm program is overlooking the personal responsibility we all have in our daily lives and diets."

Thank you Senator Roberts. It sure is my fault that I can't always afford those fresh fruits and vegetables, and it's my fault all I can afford most of the time is the over-processed, additive-laden foods made from the crops you in Congress do deign to subsidize. Yep, blame the fatties of America for being under-paid, lazy, stupid, gluttonous pigs, because all the powers that exist know You all in congress sure as hell don't have anything to do with it, nope, nope, nope.

Fruit and vegetable growers, who have long felt ignored on Capitol Hill, are trying to cash in on the debate this year. They want to convince Congress to broaden subsidies beyond traditional farm crops such as corn, wheat, rice and cotton.

"Our markets are highly volatile, yet we have never relied on traditional farm programs to sustain our industry," said Doug Krahmer, co-owner of Blue Horizon Farms in St. Paul, Ore. Testifying at a recent congressional field hearing, he said that future farm policy will not only support American agriculture but that "it will support and encourage the encourage the health and well-being of all Americans."

Krahmer noted that on any given day 45 percent of children eat no fruit at all, while 20 percent eat less than one serving of vegetables. All U.S. children would benefit if Congress offered subsidies to lower the prices that consumers pay for fruits and vegetables, he said.

Ah, but it's so much easier to shout OBESITY EPIDEMIC and blame people for being fat, then the shouters can go along and do nothing other than pass bills and initiatives that punish fat people. After all, if fresh fruits and veggies were actually affordable for the majority of people, and those people actually bought them and ate them, and still didn't get magically thin, then obviously that won't work for curing TEH FATZ. Because, you know, it's not about eating a varied diet of all kinds of food in order to be as healthy as each individual can, it's all about the aesthetics and lookism of TEH FAT IZ UGLIEZ!!1! ZOMG!!!11!!

Between 1995 and 2004, nearly three-quarters of Farm Bill agricultural subsidies for food, or more than $51 billion, went to producers of sugar, oil, meat, dairy, alcohol and feed crops used to feed cows and other farm animals. The group said that in 2005 alone, Tyson Foods, the nation's largest meat producer, received $46.6 million in USDA commodity contracts.
Less than half of 1 percent subsidized fruit and vegetable production.

In September, Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, noted that since 1985, the actual price of fruits and vegetables has increased 40 percent, while the price of sugar and fats has declined by 14 percent. He said that "underserved communities cannot be denied access to the same healthy and affordable food that is available to more affluent Americans."

Exactly!!!!! You shouldn't have to be rich in order to eat a wide and varied range of foods, including fresh fruits and veggies.
"We decided that specialty crops needed to be a priority," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, who resigned Sept. 19, said in a speech to the United Fresh Produce Association last month. He told the group that the recently passed House farm bill includes $365 million in aid to expand block grants to states for specialty crops, which are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops. To pay for it, Johanns suggested eliminating subsidies for farmers who earn more than $200,000 per year.

Overall, the House's farm bill, approved in late July, would offer an estimated $1.7 billion for specialty crop programs. House Democrats say their farm bill would spend another $400 million for a fresh fruit and vegetable program for the school lunch program. It would expand a program that gives vouchers to low-income elderly people who are eligible for food stamps to buy fresh produce at roadside stands. And it would create a demonstration project to evaluate ways to address obesity among low-income groups.

Most of what was said in the quote above seems reasonable, but why the hell do they keep on thinking that they have to address obesity? It's not like obesity is going to listen to them, it doesn't have a mind, or a moral value, it just is. And we all know how much good addressing obesity does for eradicating it (ain't gonna happen, people). Fat is a fact of life, some people are naturally fat, just as some people are naturally thin, and you can't safely and permanently change either one.

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