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Monday, September 23, 2013

The Problem Is Obesity Not Hunger (Thoughts On The Food Stamps Debate)

Throughout history, politicians have fabricated crises to justify their own solution to the crisis they themselves dreamed up. History is strewn with non-existent crises – the population bomb, global cooling, resource depletion,  freon destroying the ozone layer, and so on  – that threaten destruction unless the government acts. The U.S. “hunger crisis” is the latest in a long line of such relics.

The current hysteria over the House bill to cut food stamps by $40 billion over a decade  (see Krugman, Free to Be Hungry) will be framed against America’s “hunger crisis” fabricated by the powerful “hunger lobby.”  Democrats will use the “hunger crisis” as a cudgel to beat those who favor cuts in food stamps into bloody submission. How can any decent person favor cutting aid to hungry families, who, according to the crisis mongers, constitute one out of six of our neighbors? Few politicians have the fortitude to withstand the onslaught and the “crisisists” will likely win. A non-crisis will be “solved,” as real facts and real crises are ignored.

Facts are the enemy of the “crisisists.”  Therefore, we hear few of them, and the facts we hear are distorted beyond recognition. In this case, the facts speak for themselves: The United States, and increasingly the affluent world, has a crisis not of hunger but of obesity. The hunger crisis is a clever fabrication to serve political and commercial interests. If the hunger lobby’s facts are true, our hunger rates equal those of the poorest African and Asian countries.

A quick review of the real facts:
Fact 1: More than one of three Americans is obese.  
On the other hand:
Fact 2: One in a thousand adults and one in ten thousand children do not eat for a whole day on an average day.
Fact 3: Almost a third of a million Americans die annually of obesity. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable deaths.
On the other hand:
Fact 4: Deaths from hunger (due primarily to eating disorders) are too rare to be recorded in mortality statistics.
(Readers can check my sources: Journal of American Medical Association, USDA Economic Research Service, S-9, West Virginia Health Statistics Center.)

go to forbes.com

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