The Associated Press reported today that under a new government plan to battle obesity in New York City, food stamp recipients would be banned from purchasing “sugar-sweetened beverages:”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. David Paterson announced Thursday that they are seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the nation’s food stamp program, to add sugary drinks to the list of prohibited goods for city residents receiving assistance.
If approved, it would be the first time an item would be banned from the federal program based solely on nutritional value.
Using food stamps “to purchase foods of little or no nutritional value not only contradicts the intent of the program, it also effectively subsidizes a serious public health epidemic,” New York officials wrote in their proposal.
Apparently this method of attempting to micro-manage the lives of welfare recipients is not new. However, previous attempts to impose such restrictions have failed — in 2008 in Maine, and in 2004 in Minnesota. New York officials feel like their proposal has a better chance of passing because it only focuses on sugar drinks instead of junk food more generally. Furthermore, they’ve slyly made it a “temporary” program to evaluate its effectiveness, using the “totalitarian tip-toe” to set a precedent.
The USDA is said to be considering the proposal, which probably means brokering a deal with Coca Cola and Pepsi Co on behalf of NYC. Perhaps if the soft drink companies can equally boost the sales of Aspartame-sweetened drinks to the welfare crowd, then soft drink companies can maintain their high profits, and the corporate state would still be able to poison the desperate, but thinner-looking poor. It seems like a win-win-win across the board.
Once this deal gets worked out, what would be really terrific is giving all public employees, and social security and disability recipients a cashless “smart card” that acts like an ATM card for point of purchase. The government can then direct-deposit funds and have the power to reject any purchases via UPCs. This way the dumbed-down citizenry who can’t figure out the appropriate level of poison needed to exterminate them before they become a bigger drain on the government can let the state mandated UPCs do it for them.