Major insurers in some states are proposing hefty rate boosts for plans sold under the federal health law, setting the stage for an intense debate this summer over the law’s impact.
In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6% in premiums for 2016. The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3% increase. In Maryland, market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates 30.4% across its products.
And on and on. Because this thing wasn’t just flawed, but set up to fail and do exactly this to those of us that actually produce and pay for these things. Since Obamacare was passed, my rates have gone up over 30%. And I was not one of the people directly impacted by the individual mandate because I had an employer sponsored plan for which the marxists behind this debacle kept pushing out the date the rules would kick in for fear of the political damage it would cost. Well, the 2014 elections are done, and the chickens are coming home to roost.
And speaking of employers: my employer has done a lot of talking about how they will not stop offering healthcare because they care about employees. This much bloviating is a red flag to me. Too much effort when they could just not even bother. Someone in the industry will sooner than later drop company provided insurance, that’s because the penalty is cheaper than paying for the insurance, and every single company in the industry will follow suit because their competitiveness is impacted – by design, mind you – to dump everyone on the government rolls.
This thing was designed to destroy the worlds most effective and efficient healthcare system – based on the medical capability and access, and not on the bullshit stats progressives like to push such as who gets care at other people’s expense – so the left could pass a single payer system that would give them even more control over the life of the serfs under them. Of course, people that have already used other branches of the government to punish dissenters, political enemies, and anyone they feel disrespected them – from the IRS to the DOJ, or the EPA – would never decide to use healthcare as a weapon against their enemies when they control it.
The left will always resort to tyranny, because that’s the natural and logical conclusion of what they believe in always leads to. The over 100 million murdered and billions made to live in misery, in the name of social justice of all things, during the last century of progressive power has not served to dissuade low information, brain washed, mushy headed idiots from voting for the people preying on their jealousy and envy.
Don’t you know that we need to break a shit ton of eggs for this giant shit omelet they want to feed us, you evil individualist! Power to the nanny state! Get ready to pay a lot more, for less, and have to wait a long ass time to get whatever mediocre service you can get. And don’t you dare complain that you though they would bleed someone else to give the slackers more free shit in return for their votes. Sad to have to admit it, but the only reason I feel justice is happening is the army of idiots that pushed for this monstrosity and are now going to take it up the ass (not that there is anything wrong with that if you are into that).
I love Thomas Sowell. This man gets economics and the way the real world works. So as soon as I heard he had a new article discussing the stupidity of another Obama “You didn’t build that” and “Pay your fair share you evil capitalists” moment, I had to go check it out. As usual, Thomas Sowell cleans the floor with the stupid shit liberals say> Here’s an excerpt:
In a recent panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama gave another demonstration of his mastery of rhetoric — and disregard of reality.
One of the ways of fighting poverty, he proposed, was to “ask from society’s lottery winners” that they make a “modest investment” in government programs to help the poor.
Since free speech is guaranteed to everyone by the First Amendment to the Constitution, there is nothing to prevent anybody from asking anything from anybody else. But the federal government does not just “ask” for money. It takes the money it wants in taxes, usually before the people who have earned it see their paychecks.
Despite pious rhetoric on the left about “asking” the more fortunate for more money, the government does not “ask” anything. It seizes what it wants by force. If you don’t pay up, it can take not only your paycheck, it can seize your bank account, put a lien on your home and/or put you in federal prison.
So please don’t insult our intelligence by talking piously about “asking.”
And please don’t call the government’s pouring trillions of tax dollars down a bottomless pit “investment.” Remember the soaring words from Barack Obama, in his early days in the White House, about “investing in the industries of the future”? After Solyndra and other companies in which he “invested” the taxpayers’ money went bankrupt, we haven’t heard those soaring words so much.
Then there are those who produced the wealth that politicians want to grab. In Obama’s rhetoric, these producers are called “society’s lottery winners.”
Was Bill Gates a lottery winner? Or did he produce and sell a computer operating system that allows billions of people around the world to use computers, without knowing anything about the inner workings of this complex technology?
Was Henry Ford a lottery winner? Or did he revolutionize the production of automobiles, bringing the price down to the point where cars were no longer luxuries of the rich but vehicles that millions of ordinary people could afford, greatly expanding the scope of their lives?
Most people who want to redistribute wealth don’t want to talk about how that wealth was produced in the first place. They just want “the rich” to pay their undefined “fair share” of taxes. This “fair share” must remain undefined because all it really means is “more.”
Once you have defined it — whether at 30 percent, 60 percent or 90 percent — you wouldn’t be able to come back for more.
Obama goes further than other income redistributionists. “You didn’t build that!” he declared to those who did. Why? Because those who created additions to the world’s wealth used government-built roads or other government-provided services to market their products.
And who paid for those roads and other government-provided services if not the taxpayers? Since all other taxpayers, as well as non-taxpayers, also use government facilities, why are those who created private wealth not to use them also, since they are taxpayers as well?
The fact that most of the rhetorical ploys used by Barack Obama and other redistributionists will not stand up under scrutiny means very little politically. After all, how many people who come out of our schools and colleges today are capable of critical scrutiny?
And that’s the point though, isn’t it? You target envious low information voters with a head full of leftist mush for support to give pretense to robbing the productive, all while stealing tons of that money, under the pretense of helping those less well off. Now if we had anything like a honest media, they would point out how much money these class warriors bag while peddling this liberal nonsense, no matter what the medium chosen to gain acceptance of thing sane people would never go with, while selling the snake oil.
Yesterday I had a post about how a communication by the NAVY Sec Mabus clearly showed that the military was about to lower standards for access into some of the most demanding and dangerous combat specialties due to the demands from the PC political class. Today we have a revelation form retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis about how horrible the current US foreign policy landscape looks.
Because the United States lacks a global strategy, “volatility is going to get to the point that chaos threatens,” a former Central Command (CENTCOM) commander told a Heritage Foundation audience Wednesday.
Speaking in Washington, D.C., retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis said, “the perception is we’re pulling back” on America’s commitment to its allies and partners, leaving them adrift in a changing world. “We have strategic atrophy.”
Again the missing item here is what? I am not even gonna bother with a long lead up and just point out that the elephant in the room is that the idiots that were going to stop the rise of the oceans, heal the rift that warmonger devil Boosh caused with his cowboyism between us and every civilized nation on the planet, and show the world that the dog that rolls over and exposes it’s neck and belly to the aggressors would garner their sympathy and get them to stand down.
Yes, this for me is an opportunity to again point out that I told you so. In my wildest nightmares I couldn’t think anyone would do more harm than Carter did, but Team Obama has usurped that title with panache and certainty. People forgot how dismal democrats are at anything that has to do with the real world, and it reflects, not just in the current economic and political climate at home, but in our foreign policy and the disasters of the last 6 years, as well. I wonder if that Nobel Peace Committee has thought about asking Obama to return the prize they gave him to spite Boosh? I am certain that all the other idiots around the globe that rooted for an Obama win – with the exception of the ones in countries such as China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela amongst a long list of rogue nations that were salivating at the chops for another weak ass in chief – and the subsequent “maturity” in the new US foreign policy are kicking themselves these days.
Our enemies get treated like a hooker afraid of pissing off her pimp, while our friends get treated like the hooker by her pimp. It’s a shame and a travesty. The world is now a more dangerous place because the supposed adults have been in charge and have done a “reset”. The consequences of having these in charge will be felt for a long time, and we have not yet seen the worst of it.
As I predicted when the global housing market collapse in 2008 dragged us all into a depression that despite the left and their lackeys in the LSM’s 6+ year campaign to convince us was ended still is going on, we are right back where we started. That collapse, which the left desperately wants to blame on “evil profiteering by Korporashuns”, all while giving the political class that set up this disastrous framework that allowed this crisis to come about a pass, was yet another in a long string of evidence that you ignore the laws of nature, economics, and reality at your own peril. Irresponsible people, be they the homeowners, the money lenders, or the politicians scheming, will keep making irresponsible and bad decisions, and no amount of “law making” will curb that.
When Dodd and Frank, the architects of the framework that precipitated this economic collapse, demanded they be allowed to “fix it”, I pointed out that the left not only learned the wrong lesson from this terrible debacle that burned up trillions of dollars of wealth, cost the US tax payer a few trillion so the government could fulfil it’s side of the Faustian bargain it made with the “Too big to fail” to get them to go along with their idiotic plans, and ravaged the middleclass and the world’s economy, but that it would double down on the stupid that caused it. I pointed out that there would not only not be any real attempts to address and prevent a repeat of the problem, but that sooner than later these idiot leftists would be back to pushing the same idiotic ideas and follow on politics that caused the problem in the first place. And we are there yet again!
For the majority of American homeowners, their house is their single largest asset. Despite the crash in home values in the last decade, that still holds true.
That crash, however, created a much larger share of renters, and these Americans are not enjoying the new wealth that now-rising home prices afford. Ninety percent of metropolitan housing markets have seen a decline in their homeownership rates, while home values are rising and incomes are flat, and that is widening the wealth gap, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors, which looked at homeownership, home values and income growth from 2000 to 2013
“Homeownership plays a pivotal role in the U.S. economy and has historically been one of the primary sources of wealth accumulation for middle-class families,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors.
“Unfortunately, due to an underperforming labor market, insufficient housing supply and overly stringent underwriting standards since the recession, homeownership has plunged to a rate not seen in over two decades,” Yun added. “As a result, the country has become more unequal as the number of homeowners has fallen while the number of renters has significantly risen.”
The argument being made, again in a vacuum, is that homeownership helps people build wealth, while renting doesn’t. So the logical conclusion by the people that continue to misinterpret the Constitution’s premise that we should all have “Equality of opportunity” to mean “Equality of outcome”, is to rig the game to make more of that happen. See, this time they will get it right and make rules that not only will encourage lenders to make loans to people that because that have proven to be bad risks, but magically will make those bad risk people and lenders suddenly become good stewards of this undeserved rewards. Somehow they will find a way that doesn’t defy the laws of economics and human nature, and get lenders not to charge higher interests on riskier loans. At the same time they will make people that are prone to bad decisions when they chase instant gratification suddenly stop doing just that and become responsible citizens well aware of the privilege they have had bestowed on them,
Here is the problem that these SJW seem to either be unable to grasp or simply want to ignore: the majority of people, with that number going up every day, looking at a world where some 50 years of progressive social engineering has created a system where perverse incentives actually encourage bad decisions and behavior, simply will never be disciplined enough to own a home. In fact, the argument has successfully been made – by the very crisis we saw in 2008 – that making homeownership easier will actually result in people having less of a reason to buy what they can actually afford and to then when they buy a home, pay it off as well. Wishful thinking will not change that reality.
Homeownership is actually a privilege and reward, earned by those that show the needed discipline to save the money needed for the down payment and setting up the track record of steadfastly adhering to sound economic principles. Sound decision making and savings, especially when done in an economic environment where government has so muddled and undermined these practices with insane and perverse incentives that reward bad behavior and actually levies penalties in the form of taxation on doing the right things, is not something you can ignore in this equation. When you ignore that reality and simply jump to the conclusion that what you need to push is more home ownership to give people an opportunity to build wealth, you basically set us all up for another costly and devastating round of failures.
Lenders, especially those that paid attention to the last cycle, should resist coercion pushing them to make loans that will eventually kill them without building in some mechanism to guarantee their survival. This means that government will again need to allow them to create higher interest vehicles to mitigate the risk and then back that up with promises of tax payer funded bailouts when the inevitable collapse happens. The bulk of the people likely to step up when we start pushing this stuff again will be those that already proved they shouldn’t be put in a position where their irresponsibility and lack of discipline will leave them holding the bag for a financial debt that shouldn’t have ever been placed on them. Games will be played to hide the inevitable cycle of bad loans made (like the bundled Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae subprime CDS) by these lenders to high risk people. And sooner than later we will see a repeat of the collapse as the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
But they mean well, so the fault is everybody else’s but theirs…
If I get this correctly, we finally have a republican controlled Senate for the first time in over 5 years passing a budget.
As was to be expected, the left, furious because this budget doesn’t continue the trend established under their control of massive deficit spending on the programs the left depends on to buy votes, resulted in democrats voting against the budget in both the House and Senate. Obama has also balked at any budget that doesn’t put the US in deeper debt to buy democrats more votes.
I still think this budget has not made deep enough cuts in the nanny state programs democrats buy votes from. And I think it is high time we see action from Congress to halt the current plan democrats have of allowing illegal aliens to bolster the army of dead voters and repeat voters democrats count on to win steal elections. This country now has over $18 trillion in debt, because of the left’s deficit spending agenda, a fake 5.5% unemployment that really is more like 15-20% if you count people that dropped off the roll count, a devastating blow to land on the productive sector as more Obamacare rules go into effect, abuses of power by government at all levels, and an army of illegals at a time where jobs are scarce and the ever shrinking pie needs to be split to buy more of their votes, all to pretend their policies have not devastated our economy.
Only a complete moron can’t see that the “Fundamentally changing America” promise by Obama has served to allow the rich to get richer, the poor to get even more money from the productive, the middle class to be decimated, and the things that made America successful to be done away with. The left’s dream of making America an impotent two-bit socialist nanny state, as punishment for the crime of exposing the crimes of communism and halting its cancerous growth, is closer than ever thanks to this Manchurian candidate and the party of the insane.
Oh, and the republicans are not without fault in this decline, but they can’t hold a candle to the destructive nature of the left. And anything to halt the left’s mad dash off the cliff should be viewed a s a victory for the American people that still care.
Real life has been kicking my rear end and I have been busier than a one legged man at an ass kicking contest. That has limited my participation here as of recent. There has been a lot going on these days and I figure that I should drag up an oldie but goody that explains all the “bad luck” the last 6 years of “Progressive Libertopia” have been causing us. One of my favorite reality checks is the interview Yuri Bezmenov, as Soviet Defector, gave back in 1984 to G. Edward Griffin. Listen carefully to what he talks about and note the parallel with the shit we have been going through for the last 6 or so years.
Now contrast that with all the crap in the news today. The left, in these last 6 years, most of it with them controlling the levers of power exclusively, has gone beyond my wildest fantasies and predictions of idiotic crap and destructiveness, and it shows. When the idiotic shit they believe in and practice fails miserably, it’s everyone else’s fault. They are pissed people are focusing and pointing out that the facts don’t back up their narrative, and it shows. That’s why we had the kangaroo court proceedings and scandal after scandal – all ignored by a complicit and compliant media – exposed as such, be explained away as nothing important, or even more baffling, as falsehoods perpetrated by people with the facts.
They don’t even realize the parody of their own making. You can’t make up this level of stupid. And no, it isn’t incompetence – even though there is so much of that going around by default when credentialed leftist elite morons are involved – but all by design as that interview with Yuri, over 30 years ago, clearly illustrates. The old Soviets must kick themselves daily when they see that hanging on just another 2 or 3 decades would have given them complete victory due to all the useful idiots looking for free shit that permeate our crumbling society today.
Harry Reid announced his retirement from the Senate last week. You may think this is a step in the right direction. The problem is that the guy likely to replace him is one of my least favorite Senators: Chuck E. Schumer, one of the biggest nannies this side of Michael Bloomberg:
Here’s a list of quickly ginned-up headlines of what our next illustrious Senate leader has been up to over his time in Washington. Add your own in the comments.
All kidding aside, as a country we have a lot to be thankful for, a lot to be proud of, and a lot to be ashamed of.
And we have even more to be embarrassed by. Which brings us back to Chuck Schumer, our next Senate Minority Leader and a demonstrated foe of just about every possible innovation or reality that for whatever furshlugginer reason drives a bug up his ass. Including that time he called a flight attendant “a bitch” because she was enforcing a cell phone ban that I’m sure he’s totally in favor of for everyone else.
If we have become an increasingly trivial country incapable of dealing with serious issues at all, much less in a rational and deliberate way, then we’ve really found our guy.
I would add something else. Chuck Schumer fights for average Americans … unless they happen to be religious nuts. During the Senate hearings on the Waco disaster, his behavior was appalling, constantly saying that the government did nothing wrong and delving into the behavior of the Davidians instead of the disastrous tactics authorized by Janet Reno. If you watch video of him during the hearings and know anything about what happened at Waco, it’s infuriating.
I’ve never liked Harry Reid. But I wouldn’t vote for Chuck Schumer for prom queen.
Whenever the governments give you money, it comes with government control. To wit:
FROM urban ghettos to declining inner-ring suburbs to destitute rural areas, Americans with little money live in “food deserts” where it is hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables
Stop right there. We’re one sentence in and we’ve already got a problem. Food deserts are a myth. They’ve long been known to be a myth. The writers try to revive this myth with two bizarre measures. One is the number of grocery stores per zip code, which basically means nothing. The population per zip code varies wildly in the United States. My zip code has 40,000 people in it. My uncle’s, living a major city, has 9000. The population of New York City’s zip codes vary by tens of thousands, which is to say nothing of how business zoning varies. This smells like a metric picked for the conclusion. You can contrast it against the study in the link above, which actually looked at 8000 poor children to see how many grocery stores they had in their neighborhoods.
The second number is the amount of shelf space devoted to junk food vs. fresh food. But junk food has more shelf space because 1) they’re including convenience stores, which are supposed to be for a quick grab of something, not grocery shopping; 2) junk food keeps in a way that fresh food doesn’t; and 3) there are four million varieties of soda and chips; most stores carry maybe one or two brands of apples. Moreover, location is important: fresh food shelf space tends to be the first thing you encounter in a store.
Justified by these distortions, they then go on to argue that the food stamp program should be used as a cudgel to force poor people to eat good food:
Food stamps can’t be used to buy cigarettes or alcohol — why not simply add junk food to that ban? In 2011, the Agriculture Department turned down a proposal to restrict the use of food stamps in New York City to buy sugary drinks. Officials said the proposal was too complicated for retailers. But in the background was fierce resistance to the proposal from the beverage industry and its friends in the grocery industry.
The department should give financial incentives to food stamp users to buy healthy food, and should also reconsider its hesitation about restricting the use of food stamps to buy junk food.
They also recommend coercing the stores:
To participate in SNAP, stores must meet certain federal standards. Under the current standards, a store can qualify by stocking a small number of offerings of bread, canned vegetables, meat, milk and cheese, even if they are hidden away in a dusty corner.
The Agriculture Department should simply require that stores that accept food stamps use more of their shelf space — say, a minimum of 20 feet — for healthy foods. And it should set a limit on the use of shelf space for displaying junk food, perhaps with a simple rule of no more space for junk than for fruits and vegetables. This plan would put nutritious food within sight and reach.
They point to some studies that claim this would increase consumption of health foods. Given the junk stats they use on food deserts and their failure to link the aforementioned studies, I will assume that they have misinterpreted these studies. I also say that because the one study they do link to, they misquote. They claim that people consumed more healthy food after WIC implemented a similar requirement for participation. But that study only looks at store inventory, not consumption. It comes to the unsurprising conclusion that when you force stores to stock more healthy food, they stock more healthy food. If you are a behaviorist Nanny Stater who thinks people are empty vessels whose dining habits are controlled by the amount of shelf space devoted to fresh food, the difference between those concept might evade you.
Keep in mind also: there’s a history here. LA tried to ban new fast food stores from low income areas. Obesity actually increased after this. So people in poor areas were denied jobs working in fast food joints to no discernible benefit. Now these clowns want to hit convenience stores and bodegas — often stores run by working poor and operating on the margin — to stock food that no one is going to eat.
And we wonder why poverty remains entrenched.
I always keep in mind what Ta-Nehisi Coates had to say about this (the Atlantic is timing out on me; I’ll update with a link when I can find it). If you’re poor and especially if you are working poor, junk food is one of the few vices you can afford. It’s one of the few that won’t wreck your life in the process (at least not right away). For a couple of well-off liberals to swan in and try to take that away with an ill-advised and ill-informed effort at “public health” is … well … you know the Left talks about privilege? That’s what this is.
And it’s a picnic compared to what’s coming when our government will be giving you “free” healthcare.
The Federal Government, namely the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture, recently released their new dietary guidelines that we, as Americans, are supposed to follow. These guidelines are put together by something called the “Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee,” and they put out new guidelines every five years.
I’d like to break down why ignoring the US Government in regards to these latest health guidelines may be a prudent thing to do.
For forty years, the “Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee” has told us that eating cholesterol is bad, very bad. Eggs – particularly egg yokes were the devil, and if you ate one you would die within 10 minutes of a heart attack. I may exaggerate a little bit here. But apparently Eggs are no longer the devil.
The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern” stands in contrast to the committee’s findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed the issue of excess cholesterol in the American diet a public health concern.
Great, we get to eat eggs again without worry that our arteries will spontaneously seize up as a result. But look at what such advice appears to have done to the average US citizen’s egg consumption:
Shouldn’t somebody answer for that? Forty years of misinformed and incorrect guidelines put out for the “public good”, and all it did was damage one particular industry, and do nothing in regards to heart and artery health for Americans as a whole. I think egg producers may have cause to sue the government here. How about at least an “I’m sorry” from the US Government?
According to the government, salt is terrible for you. It causes hypertension, and increased blood pressure, and ups your risk for heart disease and stroke according to the CDC and other government agencies. They say we should eat less than 2.3 grams per day to avoid these risks. Unfortunately for them, study after study over the last several years are contradicting them, some saying up to as much as 6 grams per day has zero impact on health, and even benefits us. There was even a study actually commissioned by the CDC that contradicted their caution against salt. Despite these studies, they still included this erroneous caution against salt in their 2015 guidelines, and on the CDC’s website.
I love fat. I love red meat. Both are cautioned against by current and past government guidelines. You see, Fat in and of itself increases risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, etc. Except that it doesn’t. A 2010 study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at 22 different studies, and showed that significant evidence doesn’t exist in regards to dietary saturated fat intake and increased risk of heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease. A 2014 analysis of 72 different studies on cardiovascular disease and fat intake found nothing that backs up the current guidelines put out by the Government. Yet still they tell us that consuming fat is the enemy.
2) Lobbyists in Washington. When in doubt, follow the money. But that can be tied to pretty much anything Washington funds, or regulates.
Does this mean you can go out and eat whatever you want? Of course not. There are plenty of studies out there pointing to moderation in our diets being the key. Lots of Sugar by and large appears to be bad, no matter who you are. Eat too much of anything, and chances are you are going to get fat. Just take the government’s guidelines with a large grain of salt.
On a personal note – I did Cross Fit for about a year, and loved it. The pain, the sweat, the blood, it was awesome. The best part about it was the community and friends I gained from the gym I went to. Unfortunately I never managed to get my eating fully under control, and that is 80% of getting healthy (at least according to me). I try to steer clear of processed foods. The owner of my gym told me once that if it looks like it did when it came off the tree/bush or out of the ground, or it had a mother, then you can eat it. Seems pretty straightforward to me, and I most definitely feel better, and notice my body responding well when I eat this way consistently.
So – What do you do to get healthy, or maintain health? What dietary guideline do you follow? What type of exercises do you like to do? Any particular exercise regiment you stick to? Share in the comments.
One of the fantasies being pushed around in progressive circles is the idea of “national food policy”. I’ve been mulling this article for a few months and have finally decided on a response. Here is their case:
The food system and the diet it’s created have caused incalculable damage to the health of our people and our land, water and air. If a foreign power were to do such harm, we’d regard it as a threat to national security, if not an act of war, and the government would formulate a comprehensive plan and marshal resources to combat it. (The administration even named an Ebola czar to respond to a disease that threatens few Americans.) So when hundreds of thousands of annual deaths are preventable — as the deaths from the chronic diseases linked to the modern American way of eating surely are — preventing those needless deaths is a national priority.
The national food policy could be developed and implemented by a new White House council, which would coordinate among, say, the Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA to align agricultural policies with public health objectives, and the EPA and the USDA to make sure food production doesn’t undermine environmental goals. A national food policy would lay the foundation for a food system in which healthful choices are accessible to all and in which it becomes possible to nourish ourselves without exploiting other people or nature
They then go on to list a smorgasbord of Nanny State desires: restrictions on advertising, farm policies guided by environmental concerns (because starvation is a good cure for obesity), a “fair wage” for people in the food industry (because food made at minimum wage makes you fatter), humane animal treatment, sequestering farmland for global warming purposes and making sure “all Americans have access to health food”. The last one is particularly odd because all Americans do have access to healthy food. The so-called “food deserts” are a myth. The problem is that too many people choose to eat junk.
Reading it again, I’m struck by the ignorance and panic-mongering. To give one example: farming has become much more environmentally friendly over the last couple of decades thanks to improved methods, technological advances and genetic engineering. We are feeding more people on less land than we used to.
As a practical matter, this plan is utter nonsense and transparently authoritarian. In the past I have used the term “food system” as shorthand for the industrial paradigm of food production, but for Bittman et al. to talk about the “food system” in such a way exposes it for the ridiculous concept it really is. There is no “food system,” not in the sense of a truly unified body of fully interdependent constituent parts: the “food system” is actually composed of millions of individuals acting privately and voluntarily, in different cities, counties, and states, as part of different companies and corporations and individual businesses, in elective concert with each other and with the rest of the world. To speak if it as a single “system” is deeply misguided, at least insofar as it is not a single entity but an endlessly complex patchwork of fully autonomous beings.
Here’s the thing. We don’t have to speculate whether government food policy would be a good thing or a bad thing. We know. We already have a raft of government food policies and they have been a disaster. Our government has spent decades pushing food policies that helped create the very problems these authors lament. And it was based on special interests, nannyism and junk science.
Our government spent years telling us how bad salt was for us. The health nuts wanted dietary salt restricted by law. They have now been forced to admit that the salt guideline they pushed on us for decades was unhealthily low and that salt intake is only important to high-risk individuals.
After years of telling us that cholesterol was evil, they’ve had to admit it’s not that harmful. After years of pushing us away from animal fats toward trans fats, they had to reverse course when it turned out trans fats were worse than animal fats. Ron Bailey today summed up just how wrong the nannies were.
Most of the government’s recommendations were derived from “consensus statements” based largely on the results of observational epidemiological studies. The new revisions tend to be based on prospective epidemiological studies and random controlled trials. Observational studies may be good at developing hypotheses, but they are mostly not a good basis for making behavioral recommendations and imposing regulations.
(I would add that the low-fat fad had its origin in the seriously flawed and possibly fraudulent Seven Countries study.)
The thing is that all these supposed menaces were presented with absolute certainty. Salt was evil. Animal fats were killing us. Cholesterol was destroying America. Organizations like the Center for Pseudoscience in the Private Interest would label foods as lethal and scream for restrictions and bans. People who dared to question them were branded as tools of “industry”.
We’re still not done. Our government spends billions of dollars subsidizing food production and targets subsidies toward the foods that are the least healthy. It is spending enormous amount of money and destroying our freedom to get us to burn ethanol. That is, it wants us to burn food in an engine-destroying, atmosphere-polluting, greenhouse-gas belching special interest orgy.
Under Obama, school lunches have been made almost inedible and high schoolers are going hungry. Day care centers will soon be forced to limit juice and ban fried foods. The condescending privilege is so thick you can taste it. The Obama people think every school and daycare in the country can run down to Whole Foods and pick up some low-fat, low-sugar organic produce that never casts a shadow. And then they wonder why daycare is so expensive.
Yet somehow, these decades of failure, decades of misguided policy, decades of junk science, decades of lunacy are seen not as a reason to hesitate but as justification to exert more control over America’s diet. Because with the progressives it never really is about facts; it’s about control.
The latest demon du jour is sugar. Progressives are calling for restrictions on sugar based on the rantings of crackpots like Robert Lustig, who claims sugar is a “dangerous drug” and “poison”. With more junk science in tow and such insane abuse of the English language, the nannies are now advocating for a sugar tax, specifically on the most vile of concoctions — sugary drinks — to … well, it’s not clear what.
The stupidity of that is simply mind-boggling because our government already spends billions of dollars driving down the cost of sugary drinks through farm subsidies. So they want to tax us once to make sure we have enough high fructose corn syrup to keep us fat and happy. And then they want to tax us again to keep us from drinking our subsidized drinks.
(Lustig, in a moment of sanity, at least acknowledges that we eat lots of sugary stuff because the government subsidizes it and advocates for eliminating those subsidies.)
That’s to say nothing of progressive opposition to genetic engineering, free trade and other innovations that have made our food safer, healthier, cheaper, more plentiful and more environmentally friendly than ever before.
I’m with Penn. Fuck these busybodies. Let’s put aside the arguments about freedom and personal responsibility — even though those are the most important ones. Let’s concentrate on this: they have been wrong, over and over again. If the had the power twenty years ago that they want now we’d have less food, less money, more obesity, worse health and a dirtier environment.