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Congress Debates the Farm Bill, AMA thinks assistance programs should provide more healthy food
Michael considered fate at 12:58   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Mmmmhm, this is a good one... Congress is debating the Farm Bill:
The Farm Bill, a massive piece of federal legislation making its way through Congress, governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products—the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.

The government also purchases surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs—including school lunches. The government is not required to purchase nutritious foods.
While that middle sentence , which is highlighted, sounds a bit vague ("much of which"? How about some numbers?) it is still a bit worrisome. Seriously, make sure to check the link and dig the food pyramid. They present it next to a pyramid of government food subsidies and, surprise surprise surprise, the two pyramids don't seem to jive with each other very well.

However, I'm not sure what is worse. On the one hand we have a government that prescribes one healthy diet but "provides" another (I use the term provide here, since subsidizing certain foods is, in most respects, increasing the supply of them - and not by a little. Over 70% of government subsidies are for meat and dairy? Ghastly). On the other hand we have a government that participates in a systemic corporatization of agriculture which is perhaps cheaper on a base economic scale but wholly questionable on a moral and ethical level (nevermind my recent link to the plight of the small farmer).

Luckily, the AMA has:
RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support efforts (1) to reduce health disparities by basing food assistance programs on the health needs of their constituents
Whoa - they think maybe food assistance programs should take into account the kind of assistance people need. I'm going to go ahead and say that again; whoa. They've really hit on something here, and I will illustrate with an example. The government's approach to this issue (and general lack of awareness) is sort of like giving an alcoholic homeless man beer coupons for assistance. The AMA's response, and "support of efforts" (by whom?) is sort of like the local homeless shelter "supporting efforts" to have the government, you know, not hand out beer coupons to alcoholics. Are they going to do anything about it? Who knows. The AMA is like the great wealth of liberal lefties in this country that, somehow, forget to vote at inopportune times. They "support" democrats.. as long as they don't have to do much about it.

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