It was little noticed that at nearly the very moment Congress was approving the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, it was also, as part of the “compromise” on the Bush tax cuts, extending the egregious ethanol tax credit and the protectionist ethanol import tax until 2016.
It was little noticed because the relationship is not readily apparent, though it’s very real. Because if Mrs. Obama really wants to reduce hunger in America, what she should have done is tell her husband the president to force Congress to keep the ethanol business off the tax deal and then refuse to extend the subsidy.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is the cornerstone of Mrs. Obama’s anti-obesity campaign and a gift of love from her husband and the Congress. It also includes provisions to expand free school lunch offerings to poor kids.
Ethanol, as you probably know, is a fuel made from corn that is blended into your gasoline. Why? Well, ethanol advocates have long claimed it helps the environment, but now even environmentalists have figured out that this is a load of crap. What it really does it help farmers sell more corn, and help presidential candidates in the Iowa caucuses. It’s not a way to save the environment, it’s a way to shove corn into your fuel tank.
And it’s a way to raise the price of corn, by increasing demand. Which enriches mostly big farms, and makes the food purchased by inner city children more expensive. That because much of their processed food is made with corn and other grains whose prices rise with the price of corn. The government pays corn farmers to make ethanol, and then it gives food stamps and “tax credits” to poor people to buy the more expensive food.
It’s the biggest scam going, and Obama is totally signed on.
But instead of making a courageous stand for the poor, we have the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. A significant chunk of the bill is paid for by stealing from the food stamp program, so it’s hard to see how it’s going to do much to make kids Hunger-Free.
And I doubt it’s going to make kids healthier. If they’re not getting indoctrinated in healthy eating at home, they’ll just find something unhealthy in the cafeteria or refuse to eat the unwelcome vegetables being ladled into their plates.
The bill is stocked with all kinds of new regulations that will take time and money to fulfill. If local schools want to take steps to improve the health of their lunches, they should do it. They know what they can afford and what they can get for the kids.
This is another large government program that will be expanded in the future – larded, let’s say – with more money and rules. It already includes frivolous measures meant to assuage Mrs. Obama, like forcing schools to grow gardens.
Mrs. Obama’s non-legislative anti-obesity campaign is a laudable effort, consistent with campaigns by other first ladies to try to change the culture for the better. It’s Just Say No to junk food.
Kids are bombarded by bad food, through advertising and lousy parenting, and the results are spilling over the front of their belts and filling out their pants’ seats. The culture needs to change, and Mrs. Obama is leading the way.
Unfortunately, she decided she needed her own government program too. Let China know we’ll be needing more money from them down the road to keep our kids from exploding.