Saturday, December 22, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

A new study shows that "healthy" foods have risen in cost by about 20 percent over the past two years, while core food inflation has only been 5 percent. And this isn't a study comparing the food "genre" of healthy, and so merely tracking the rise of organics -- it's comparing like items, at like outlets, over a two-year period. So eating health now not only requires knowledge of what healthy is, and not only demands access to retailers with healthful selections, but increasingly, you need a pretty substantial income to afford a nutritious, varied diet. As one of the study's authors says, "It takes three things [to eat healthy]. Education, money and time. If you have all three, you're home free. If you have two out of three, you can manage. But if you have only one out of the three, or zero of the three, you are pretty much screwed. And a lot of low-income people have zero out of three."

Luckily, our tax dollars go towards subsidizing massive amounts of red meat and high fructose corn syrup, so we're ensuring the crap food stays cheap and doing nothing to broaden the availability of healthful options. And the really fun part is that we not only get to support this state of affairs through our subsidies, but through our health spending, as we pay for all manner of chronic diseases (like diabetes, heart disease, etc) that are direct outcomes of our eating habits. We could, of course, rework the subsidy system such that we encouraged both the production and consumption of sustainably grown, healthful foods. It wouldn't, as a matter of policy, even be very hard. But Big Ag wouldn't like it, and nor would the Iowans, and so we have a Senate, a Congress, and a presidential nomination process largely that prizes politicians who're pretty sure their main constituent is Monsanto.


Good food is expensive and if you have a limited income or live by yourself, it costs less to eat at McDonalds or a microwave a frozen dinner than it is to cook from scratch. It's always interesting reading the comments. This time it's perfectly clear that those who have money and can afford to eat well don't understand what it's like at the bottom of the economic ladder. The choice between rent and food is a real one, one that the poor and elderly have been faced with for years. A loaf of bread and a gallon of milk are more than five dollars and are sold at a grocery store on the other side of town. If you stick to the value menu at a fast food joint you can get two or three meals for the same price and you won't have to travel far to get it. In the city there are more fast food places than there are grocery stores. Which means you don't even get the chance to buy apples.

-- DEB

The damage done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page.

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris-or even the Yukon-becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands-or so he says-that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have on his watch become more deeply dependent on both.


1 comment:

Cynthia1770 said...

I picked up your article from a HFCS google alert. I am on a personal campaign to tell everyone I know about the treachery of HFCS.
It has invaded our food supply.
Courtesy of the Corn Refiners Assoc.,
go to
p29-30 list all the foods and products that contain HFCS. A few
surprises even for me: bagels,
soups, cough syrups. Why is it that in France a Coke is made with
real sugar and still served in a
6 oz glass bottle, and in the US,
Coke is only sweetened with HFCS
and we guzzle liters. Golly gee, could if be the HFCS?