Says Mayor Bloomberg:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sought federal permission on Wednesday to bar New York City’s 1.7 million recipients of food stamps from using them to buy soda or other sugared drinks.
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The request, made to the United States Department of Agriculture, which finances and sets the rules for the food-stamp program, is part of an aggressive anti-obesity push by the mayor that has also included advertisements, stricter rules on food sold in schools and an unsuccessful attempt to have the state impose a tax on the sugared drinks.
Soda isn't food; it's poison. And the government doesn't need to pay for anyone to drink poison. If people want to drink beer, smoke cigarettes, or chug high fructose corn syrup by the vat on their own dime, let 'em. But don't spend taxpayer money buying it. We already subsidize corn syrup for the soda business to the tune of billions of dollars a year. Big Soda is a gassy, bullshit political machine. They're opposing the proposal from Bloomberg using their hackneyed old line that says he's trying to control what goes into America's grocery bags. (Again, soda isn't groceries; it's an artificially cheap, artificially sweet diabetes-machine and fat-maker.) Nobody is proposing a prohibition on soda, only that folks pay for the poison out of their own pocket. The American Beverage Association's interest isn't liberty of the supermarket shopper or defending the poor. It's their own fat coffers. For proof, look to its equally disingenuous campaign in Washington state, where the American Beverage Association has contributed a record $14.3 million to repeal a temporary tax (a tax that helps the poorest people in the state) on soda, bottled water, and candy. That sugar crap isn't food either, but the soda lobby is running a campaign to claim that it's should-to-shoulder with the building blocks of good nutrition. Using food stamps on soda is only further subsidizing the soda industry's profits, which in turn go toward lobbying efforts that ensure the government has less money for the poorest folks, who needs things like food stamps to buy actual food.