Quick Hit

I told you food deserts was bullshit. But that didn’t stop the feds and states from spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to force poor people to eat better.

As Ta-Nehisi said, junk food is one of the few vices the poor can afford without wrecking their lives. And the working poor — those trying to drag themselves up against the raging torrent of liberal policies keeping them poor — fast food is sometimes all they have time for. The idea of getting poor people to go down to grocery store and buy lots of organic kale was always an arrogant classist idea; rich busybodies talking down to working folk. But don’t expect their utter failure to deter them.

It never does.

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  1. JimK

    In 04-05 I was briefly toying with getting a dietetics degree. Did a solid three semesters of classes before I realized it wasn’t driven by science at all, but by politics and food companies. Anyway. The food desert things was taken as absolute gospel. I decided to use the greater New Haven area as a sample area and did a paper on the reality of food deserts.

    I proved that the same area that the feds and the (then-named) American Dietetics Association called a food desert was anything but. I had actual data and maps and proof.
    I got a B, because my proof contradicted the ADA, even though, you know, mine was verifiable and correct. I was pissed.

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  2. Thrill

    Sometimes, the eating habits of poor people help explain why they’re poor. One of my neighbors is a working single mother who eats fast food five nights a week, Applebees or Chili’s the rest of the week, and never cooks.

    Needless to say, she’s fat and broke.

    Mrs Thrill and I have repeatedly offered to teach her how to cook but to no avail. She’s a nice person, just appallingly ignorant with no concept of nutrition and too lazy to learn anything. She honestly thinks that healthy food is too expensive and it takes too long to prepare, despite the fact I showed her how to make a simple 3 bean salad in 10 minutes that would provide her with healthy lunches for 5 days for less than $10 worth of ingredients.

    Lots of people do have poverty thrust on them, but too many are just really bad at making even the easiest decisions. Their dietary choices are only an extension of bad habits.

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  3. AlexInCT

    At the risk of starting a firestorm with the comment I am about to make, I am going to start off by saying that I am speaking from personal experience here and nothing else, but IMO the overriding factor here that determines behavior, isn’t lack of money or education, but bad decision making, as Thrill points out. In fact, the lack of money and lack of education all are also symptoms of the bigger problem: the bad decision making.

    In every case I have personally seen, the individual was driven by the want of immediate gratification and sadly, laziness. No amount of education can overcome the issue. Neither did showing them the rewards – not just the healthy eating, health improvements, or other such items, but the money they would actually save and have available for the other things they wanted to do – of doing the right thing. When the time to make the choice came, they knowingly stuck to the bad choice.

    The difference between me and leftists is that I don’t feel compelled to force people to make the right choices. Also, that I abhor any system that tries to mitigate the consequences of making choices (especially the bad ones). Rewarding bad behavior, or shielding people from the consequences of these bad choices, is why we have so much more of it. Sure, it is all sold as compassionate and humanitarian concern for our fellow man, but to me it is the most damaging and crippling thing you can do, not just to society at large, but individuals themselves.


    Hardship and pain are the best motivators when it comes to influencing people to make the right choices. We are not doing these sort of people any favor by making it less painful for them to do the wrong things, and we are only creating a police state when we use the power of government as a means to “incentivize” behavior like this.

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