For a party that has always said that they didn’t want the
government sticking its nose into people’s lives, Republicans in this state
have no problem sticking their noses in people’s refrigerators
But only if those people are on the government teat.
Rep. Dean Kaufert of Neenah has proposed a bill that would
create a “tiered buying” system for food. In his bill, which passed out of
committee earlier this week, only one-third of the money could be spent on what
he deems to be “junk food.” The rest of the money should be spent on good,
wholesome food like milk and bread.
Kaufert told members of the State Affairs Committee he often
heard complaints that food stamp users were buying large volumes of chips and
soda. He said he simply wants people to use their benefits to eat healthier.
“I don’t want to ban Nachos or Doritos from anyone’s
grandson because my grandson eats it,” Kaufert said. “But the fact is,
reasonable limitation is not asking for too much.”
In other words, “I didn’t bother to check with anyone at the
WIC office, any state agency that monitors this, any health officials who
assess the health quality of these allegedly unhealthy foods or anything else.
However, I have ‘often heard complaints,’ which means at least one and it
probably was someone was also anecdotally pissing and moaning about this person
owning a cell phone while being on WIC as well.”
Kaufert’s argument is the same argument we’ve been having
for years. We had the whole “welfare queen” argument for years, in which people
were appalled at how these damned poor people were using their government
assistance to buy extravagant foods like steak and lobster. Now, we’re having
the same outrage at them buying cheap shit.
The reason? You’re poor and I’m not. I’m paying for your
fucking Doritos so I get some sort of say.
Notice that Kaufert made some lame attempt to throw himself
into the whole processed foods argument by doing the, “Hey, I have a grandkid.
He likes Doritos. We’re on the same page.” However, Kaufert didn’t say, “What I
really need is a government agency making sure that he’s not subsisting on
The “reasonable limitations” are only there because a) we’re fucking
paying for your Doritos and b) there’s an underlying assumption that if you’re
poor enough to be on food stamps you’re too stupid to buy anything but Doritos.
Kaufert, being gainfully employed by the state and able to wear a suit and tie to
work, obviously doesn’t need oversight when it comes to the health of his
children and grandchildren. (Hey, wait! My tax dollars are paying for you DEAN! I should get some say in what you eat!)
As for you poor bastards, you’re lucky he’s not
assigning a special-needs aide to walk you to the store as well so you don’t
hurt yourself on the way.
Before he gets all happy about this whole “I’m just like
Michelle Obama because I want you to eat better,”Kaufert also might want to
take a look at the food industry he’s touting. Pulitzer-prize winner Michael
Moss took a peek at what really makes it on to our dinner table in his book
“Salt, Sugar, Fat” and if Kaufert had read it, he’d know every “natural” food
is not created equal:
“Take milk, for instance. Through the 1960s, sales of milk
plunged as it bore the brunt of public concerns about fat, both in terms of its
calories and its links to heart disease. At the same time, the dairy industry
figured out a way to soften this blow to their business by putting the phrases
“low-fat” and “2 percent” on milk… The popularity of this defatted milk grew so
fast that it now outsells all other types of milk, including skim, which has no
fat at all. But there is a marketing scheme at work in this: The “2 percent”
labeling may lead you to believe that 98 percent of the fat is removed, but in truth,
the fat content of whole milk is only a tad higher at 3 percent.”
In looking at bread, Moss wrote that it contains not-so-good levels of salt, sugar and fat in
order to improve “mouthfeel” and taste. In various experiments, Moss was
allowed to taste bread that lacked one or more of these key elements. At best,
he reported that the bread tasted like tin and felt like it rotted away in his
mouth. Meat? Don’t even get me started on the issues pertaining to “pink slime”
and Moss’ look at the way in which meat will kill you.
So much for those great “food staples of healthy eating.”
Look, I understand that we should all eat better. I’m just
as bad at this as anyone else. The difference is that the state trusts me to
make my own stupid decisions as to how much Diet Coke I mainline or when I can
or can’t buy a piece of veal. If the only reason I’m able to make these choices
is because I’m lucky enough to not have to take government assistance, that
says a lot as to how we view our fellow citizens.