Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good News, Taxpayers: For the Low-Low Price of $400 Million Annually, Michelle Obama Promises to Eradicate 'Food Deserts'

That's right.

Food deserts.

You know - those barren, inner-city wastelands where people subsist on grubs, puddle water, and BLT Cobb salads from Wendy's because the nearest Acme is 8 blocks away.

Oh, the humanity!
First Lady Michelle Obama has called on Congress to create a $400 million-a-year program to encourage the establishment of supermarkets in places she calls “food deserts.”

The situation in these “food deserts,” as Mrs. Obama describes it, is quite dire indeed. American children are growing fat because their parents cannot get to a supermarket—to buy fruits and vegetables—without undergoing the hardship of boarding a bus or riding a taxi. As a consequence, food-desert-dwelling children are forced to eat fast food and junk procured at chain restaurants and convenience stores.

In a March 10 speech, the first lady painted a sad picture of their plight. “Right now, 23.5 million Americans, including 6.5 million kids, live in what we call ‘food deserts’—these are areas without a supermarket,” she explained. “And as a result these families wind up buying their groceries at the local gas station or convenience store, places that offer few, if any, healthy options.”

She offered a solution. “Let’s move to ensure that all families have access to healthy, affordable foods in their community,” she said. “(W)e’ve set an ambitious goal here: to eliminate food deserts in America within seven years.

“To do that,” she said, “we’re creating a Healthy Food Financing Initiative that’s going to invest $400 million a year—and leverage hundreds of millions more from the private sector—to bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help places like convenience stores carry healthier options.”
One has to assume the food police will be patrolling the candy aisle to ensure patrons "choose" the healthier options.

But here's the kicker - it turns out that "food deserts" are mostly a mirage, a figment of Michelle Obama's overactive Marxist imagination.
In the 2008 farm bill, Congress mandated that the department conduct a $500,000 study of “food deserts.” The study—“Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences”—was published in June 2009.

The report demonstrates that Mrs. Obama’s depiction of American “food deserts” is fatuous at best. Lower-income Americans live closer to supermarkets than higher-income Americans.


“93 percent of those who live in low-income areas with limited access traveled to the grocery store in a vehicle they or another household member drove.”

Only 0.1 percent—one-tenth of one percent—of Americans living in low-income areas more than 1 mile from a supermarket took public transit to the store, the report said.
So don't worry. If Michelle Obama has her way, in just seven short years this non-existent social calamity will be eradicated - along with at least $2.8 billion of our tax dollars.

Via CNS News. Cross-posted here.

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