April 19, 2012

"Do poor urban neighborhoods lack places to buy fresh produce and is that contributing to obesity?"

Myth of the "food desert" debunked.
Within a couple of miles of almost any urban neighborhood, “you can get basically any type of food,” said Roland Sturm of the RAND Corporation, lead author of one of the studies. “Maybe we should call it a food swamp rather than a desert,” he said....

In one neighborhood in Camden, N.J., where 80 percent of children are eligible for a free school lunch, children bought empanadas, sodas and candy at a grocer, while adults said they had no trouble finding produce. Wedged in among fast food restaurants, convenience stores, sit-down restaurants, take-out Chinese and pizza parlors were three places with abundant produce: Pathmark and Save-A-Lot supermarkets and a produce stand.
People are just making bad choices. Time once again for the liberal meme: Choice won't make you happy. Cue Barry "Paradox of Choice" Schwartz to tell us once again that "When the choice set is larger, people tend to make worse choices."

91 comments:

Tim said...

Facts do not matter.

The effort to redistribute wealth through health care will continue, apace, regardless of facts.

That is, until Americans wake up and stop voting Democrat.

But like I said...

Kirby Olson said...

If you don't have a good description of a problem, you can't possibly arrive at a good prescription. The Obamas are insistent on bad descriptions that they never check. And then they write prescriptions that cost all of us and fix nothing. I'm really sick of them.

Scott M said...

The argument my righteous black rage African-American Studies prof gave us was that why would you spend all that money on produce when it's easy to just send your kids to McDonald's and order off the dollar menu over and over again.

Once the choice/access meme is shattered, they will turn to price. You will never get them to admit to person responsibility in choices made. "Personal Responsibility" is a racist code phrase designed to keep you down.

Christopher in MA said...

Choice can make you happy. Or it can paralyze you. Yes, people do make bad choices. But, barring genetic curse,what you are (or look, or weigh) is your own choice.

Now, I grant you there is a corollary to this. If you grow up in a home that has fresh vegetables all the time, you're likely to seek them out as an adult, just as you'd look for KFC and Pepsi as an adult if that was your childhood staple.

So where to draw the line between "you ought to eat this" and "you must eat this?"

Fen said...

NYTs: where 80 percent of children are eligible for a free school lunch, children

Free huh? I guess we can cut cafeteria budgets to the bone. Apparently, they found a way to get food for free.

Brennan said...

You know, I bet dogs roam these food deserts and not even they would eat the fresh produce available to them.

Let's Move people. We got some lying to do.

Christopher in MA said...

Scott - you posted before I did. Was that really the argument your prof made? "Forget healthy, just let the little rugrats forage at Mickey D's, because that white man's food is too expensive"?

Good God.

Bob Ellison said...

Christopher in MA said... So where to draw the line between "you ought to eat this" and "you must eat this?"

That's probably what Barack Obama was wondering when he ATE DOG.

Scott M said...

Was that really the argument your prof made? "Forget healthy, just let the little rugrats forage at Mickey D's, because that white man's food is too expensive"?

Yes. It was part of an argument about the difference in average life spans. It was blamed on the food available, not the choices made.

This was the same guy that was bitching about the whole Michigan law school case a few years ago, saying there was nothing in the upper P but white people and caribou. This despite three counties in the upper P that had roughly the same demographics as the national average.

OldGrouchyCranky said...

Yeah, breads, bananas, and grapes! Foods that add on the pounds easily, no sweat! It's the carbs, Baby, it's the carbs! All of this from our wonderful (Not!) health experts (Not!).

Hagar said...

I do not know what the situation is today, but in past years the pediatricians around here agreed that the healthiest kids in town were those in the poorest Mexican neighborhoods, who ate a lot of beans, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. with their traditional Mexican food.

Roman said...

Many of the grocery stores in the 'hood' have closed over the years because they lose money. Between shop lifting, graffiti damage and break-ins, they have to close. The ones who manage to stay open have no glass windows, look like a prison and have off-duty law enforcement as guards. Whose fault is that?

AprilApple said...

North America has the best food distribution system in the world. The prog-left must down play that success so they can whine, lie and vilify (what they do best) and ultimately nationalize our access to food. (How scary is that?)

EDH said...

I think there is something to the Paradox of Choice theory when it comes to more subtle and complex shades of differentiation, say in financial and insurance products, for instance.

But I don't think it applies to the dichotomous choice between fruits/vegetables and fast food.

It's not confusion over the subtlety or complexity of choices that's driving suboptimal decisions.

It's culture, convenience and inability to delay gratification.

X said...

People are just making bad choices.

I too have noticed that everybody is stupid but me.

Scott M said...

It's culture, convenience and inability to delay gratification.

HOWARD JOHNSON IS RIGHT!!!

Mitchell said...

It is obvious to anyone paying attention that obesity among young urban women is a fashion statement.

Lyssa said...

I'm so glad that someone's finally calling BS on this.

Everyone who speaks on public policy as it relates to food should be required to work as a mega-mart cashier for a few months. Watch what people on food stamps buy - it's not pretty.*

*Nor is it cheap - just about all prepared convience food, not beans or tuna fish or the sorts of things that people who are on a budget buy. (Oh, and I counted once - I'd get bored - 80% of my customers on food stamps bought at least one of 1) cigs, 2) beer, or 3) tabloid magazines. Because, you know, they don't have money for food.)

Brennan said...

I lived in a bad, poor neighborhood in Chicago. The people had choices for plenty of healthy food. There were two major grocery chains within a five minute walk. There were two ethnic, mom & pop, stores that sold fresh produce in a same five minute walk.

I used to shop at Aldi for most food. Sugar, milk, eggs, and regular staples were most affordable there. I would watch people pay with food stamps and their carts were full of cookies, snacks, and processed food. It really is about choices. Some people just choose really bad food. Most of the purchases looked like convenience driven purchases. Open box, put in oven, cook 30 minutes.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

My field of professional expertise is the bio-availability of soil nutrients to crops and their subsequent bio-availability to those (two legs, or four) eating those crops.

There is (to me) an obvious reason for the phenomenon of starving fatties. Once basic caloric needs are satisfied, whether you're a cow or a city-dweller, the body hungers for minerals. To the extent minerals are lacking in the foods consumed, eaters will consume more and more until the basic mineral requirements are something close to satisfied.

Given what's popular to eat in certain social groups this is an impossible task. Cows do much better because they'll seek out the mineral-dense feeds if available.

The real problem in humans is cultural, social, and psychological. People prattle on about how "organic food is too expensive" -- yet that isn't the problem.

I have (too) many times see big walrus mothers buying "orange" freeze pops for their blubbery kids. Corn syrup, artificial flavor, artificial color, sold at 70 cents for 4 ounces.

In the same store, at the same time, 6-ounce organic oranges, which easily have four ounces of innards, for 50 cents each.

The organic, whole food, mineral rich product is 29% cheaper than the freeze pop, yet I have never once seen a fattie or her kids go for the real food.

The core problem comes when these folks expect me, through mandatorily higher medical insurance premiums, to cover the consequential costs of their pathological stupidity. And most of them are Democrat voters.

Scott M said...

(Oh, and I counted once - I'd get bored - 80% of my customers on food stamps bought at least one of 1) cigs, 2) beer, or 3) tabloid magazines. Because, you know, they don't have money for food.)

There's simply no excuse for allowing these purchases on the public dole anymore. My cousin's husband is a manager at a Super Wal-mart. His response to this is that in the past it was too onerous on the retailer because there was very little in the way of automation to assist with excluding certain types of items. With the sophisticated point-of-sale systems we have now, entire categories of goods can be flagged as off limits to public assistance purchasing.

The argument I've heard made on the other side has to do with some nebulous concept of personal dignity. Someone else's dignity ends at my bank account.

edutcher said...

Barack has always had his homies' back.

The line about the price of arugula at Whole Foods had nothing to do with white people in the burbs.

William said...

Delayed gratification is a scam. If it's in front of you, take it before they take it away from you. Those things you don't get within the next five minutes, you're never going to get.....When you're poor, you have the bone certainty that things won't work out for the best, so grab whatever symptomatic relief a greasy meal can offer.

AprilApple said...

Fresh vegetables are cheap compared to pre-packaged food.

glenn said...

The only problem stores in the "hood" have is (at least in California) their workmans comp and shrinkage are higher so they have to charge more for the stuff they sell. "Shoot the clerk" and "Shoplift the Ho-Ho's" are the games of choice for a certain element of the population.

Original Mike said...

"When the choice set is larger, people tend to make worse choices."

"That's why you need me to make your choices for you."

Where on the political spectrum do we find today's authoritarians?

Erik Robert Nelson said...

I wonder if this is less about choice than it is about knowledge. Schools don't teach basic skills like cooking. They might talk nutrition, but do they show kids how to make good tasting food out of healthier ingredients? No. So kids grow up choosing what they like, and pass those habits on to their kids.

Combine this with the foodie trends among cultural elites and ... well, this is the sort of thing you get. Elites looking down on poor people who actually like to eat at McDonald's, but their PC beliefs preventing them from realizing what the actual problem is. Because speaking of the actual problem might be perceived as racist.

Unless the actual problem is addressed, the outcomes are going to become worse. There's too much concern by liberals and leftists on attacking a politically correct target rather than actually offering solutions to real problems.

PatCA said...

"Food desert" was always such an outrageous lie I am surprised even the MSM could ignore it for so long. It's an excuse for politicians in L.A. and D.C. to extend their control: permits for fast food places required in South L.A., union/government stores funded by taxpayers -- it's redistribution and patronage, pure and simple.

And yes, Brennan, dogs do roam the food desert of South L.A. In a culture where everything is free and nobody has responsibility, packs of feral dogs, once house pets, now abound.

Rusty said...

Scott M said...
(Oh, and I counted once - I'd get bored - 80% of my customers on food stamps bought at least one of 1) cigs, 2) beer, or 3) tabloid magazines. Because, you know, they don't have money for food.)

There's simply no excuse for allowing these purchases on the public dole anymore.





Once you give something to someone, it isn't your responsibility to tell them what they can or cannot do with it. It's fruuitless to even try. Believe me when I tell you junk food is the most responsible thing they buy with that money. Bars, prostitutes and drug dealers will be happy to take food stamps. At a discount of course.

Tank said...

Roman said...
Many of the grocery stores in the 'hood' have closed over the years because they lose money. Between shop lifting, graffiti damage and break-ins, they have to close. The ones who manage to stay open have no glass windows, look like a prison and have off-duty law enforcement as guards. Whose fault is that?


As a middle aged, white male, it is my fault, of course.

I apologize to all who were offended at my starving poor people of valuable nutrients.

Scott M said...

Once you give something to someone, it isn't your responsibility to tell them what they can or cannot do with it. It's fruuitless to even try.

Maybe if you're talking about a birthday or wedding gift. We're talking about a monthly program that people must meet certain requirements simply to keep receiving. Quite a lot of room for improvement in the fraud/waste/abuse part of food stamps for an administration/Congress with the will to do so.

Kit said...

Fresh vegetables are cheap compared to pre-packaged food.

But the time to schlep “a couple of miles” on a bus or on foot, perhaps with kids in tow (and enough fresh veggies to calorically satisfy said kids), along with the preparation time, is not. This study is full of holes. Nothing’s been debunked. More study needed.

Fen said...

I would watch people pay with food stamps and their carts were full of cookies, snacks, and processed food. It really is about choices

Not surprising. Poverty is mostly a result of bad habits.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

the pediatricians around here agreed that the healthiest kids in town were those in the poorest Mexican neighborhoods, who ate a lot of beans, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. with their traditional Mexican food.

Because

1. The Hispanic families are still more intact. The government hasn't completely destroyed the family structure as it has the blacks through welfare and public policy....yet. Soon. But not yet.

2. The Mexican 'housewife' is more likely to be able to stay at home. It is traditional. Plus they reason they have less money is because both parents are not working. This does not make you "poor".

3. They come from a very frugal lifestyle and they know HOW TO COOK!!! and are WILLING to do so.

The mere fact of knowing how to cook food and the ability and willingness to put effort into it will not only save you money it will create a healthy lifestyle.

Lyssa said...

Scott M: There's simply no excuse for allowing these purchases on the public dole anymore. ... With the sophisticated point-of-sale systems we have now, entire categories of goods can be flagged as off limits to public assistance purchasing.

Oh, just for the record, these folks weren't buying these things with food stamps - they were separate purchases. I'm just thinking that, if they're that hard up for money, they should probably be skipping life's little luxuries like that. I could easily put together an inexpensive meal for 4 for the cost of a 6 pack of cheap beer.

At the time, though, food stamps were "bills", and the user got change back to the nearest dollar (now they're on plastic). I did see one woman buy a piece of candy with them once, just so that she could use the change for her cigs. (And why do food stamps buy candy and soda, anyway?) I've also seen people buy large quantities of good meat, which can be re-sold for cheap, free cash.

Fen said...

a culture where everything is free and nobody has responsibility, packs of feral dogs, once house pets, now abound.

For a second there I thought you were talking about the Democrat Plantations.

Lyssa said...

Kit Fresh vegetables are cheap compared to pre-packaged food.

But the time to schlep “a couple of miles” on a bus or on foot, perhaps with kids in tow (and enough fresh veggies to calorically satisfy said kids), along with the preparation time, is not.


Frozen veggies are cheaper than either fresh or pre-packaged, can be adorned in all sorts of delicious ways, and take next to no time to prepare. Plus, they're healthier than fresh.

SGT Ted said...

If you don't misrepresent the problem, you can't ban Happy Meals.

PatCA said...

Fen, Los Angeles is a Democrat plantation.

As to choice, what is driving these poor choices? I have mentioned the documentary Hoop Dreams, made in 1980, where not one person in the ghetto was obese. Why? Because they had to budget and cook and stretch their dollars! Today food is essentially free, at school with free meals 3X per day and with the EBT card. So it has no value at all. So live it up.

glenn said...

And you haven't lived until you have stood in line behind some self-entitled fat loudmouthed welfare queen (Color unimportant) while they decide which items in their cartful can be paid for with Brown Money (Food Stamps) and what requires Green Money. And argues with the clerk.

Christy said...

My personal experience doesn't jibe with the study. I lived for years in a choice enclave surrounded by one of the worst neighborhoods in Baltimore. Thinking myself highly evolved I tried shopping locally at the chain store on the border of my area. The fresh produce and meats were not good. Seriously. The cuts of meat were not the best and I'd swear they were older than labeled. Produce, also, was not as fresh as from the same chain a few miles away. Just my experience.

Chip Ahoy said...

This is one of my favorite subjects and I have enjoyed all your comments immencely imencely emmence emence very much.

glenn said...

Here from the California EBT website are some recent changes to the benefit program. Note that using your EBT card at the restricted locations was legal before these changes went into effect.
"The locations where you can use your EBT card to withdraw cash may have changed. Please check the list of locations on this website to see where you can withdraw cash benefits in your area. You can no longer get your cash benefits at ATMs and point of sale devices in liquor stores that don't accept your CalFresh benefits. You also can't get your cash benefits at casinos, poker rooms, card rooms, adult entertainment businesses, bail bonds, night clubs/saloons/taverns, bingo halls, race tracks, gun/ammunition stores, cruise ships, psychic readers, smoking shops, cannabis shops, tattoo/piercing shops, and spa/massage salons".

Feel better now? Good, always happy to brighten somebodies day.

AllieOop said...

I've had a woman come up to me in a Supermarket parking lot and offer to buy me groceries with her card and then she wanted cash for half the price of the groceries.

So she gets cash and I get groceries for half price. I didn't do it but it didn't take her long to find a taker.

I don't think there is a way for EBT cardholders to get cash legally here in Wisconsin.

There has got to be a better way. There are those who use the cards honestly. I don't think that under a Republican administration things change drastically. Shut down the program altogether? I don't see it happening.

ricpic said...

Roman said...

Many of the grocery stores in the "hood" have closed over the years because they lose money. Between shop lifting, graffiti damage and break-ins, they have to close. The ones who manage to stay open have no glass windows, look like a prison and have off-duty law enforcement as guards. Whose fault is that?

Whose fault is that? There are two answers. The correct answer is that it is the fault of inner-city under-class blacks. The politically correct answer, Althouse's answer, is that it is the fault of -- people.

Bryan C said...

"But the time to schlep “a couple of miles” on a bus or on foot, perhaps with kids in tow (and enough fresh veggies to calorically satisfy said kids), along with the preparation time, is not."

We can't expect people to earn an income, we can't expect them to eat fast food in moderation, and we can't expect them to take time from their busy schedules to go buy fresh food for their kids. The pusuit of happiness just seems a bore.

Jane said...

The main definition of a "food desert" is that the grocery store has to be within 1 or 1.5 miles of a home. This would mean that most suburban areas would count as "food deserts" and definitely nearly all rural areas. The real issue is one of transportation -- I remember a feature showing a woman with a handful of plastic grocery bags on the city bus, and thinking, why not use a utility-style cart, like they do in Europe. It's unrealistic to expect that everyone will have a grocery store within easy walking distance! That still doesn't explain the lousy eating habits, anyway, since they've got to eat something. Is the idea that it's easier to go to McD's every day than carry the groceries home once a week?

Scott M said...

The pusuit of happiness just seems a bore.

No, no, no. You've got it backwards. All of those things impair their pursuit of happiness, so we cannot expect them to go through such awful trails and tribulations.

Rusty said...

Scott M said...
Once you give something to someone, it isn't your responsibility to tell them what they can or cannot do with it. It's fruuitless to even try.

Maybe if you're talking about a birthday or wedding gift. We're talking about a monthly program that people must meet certain requirements simply to keep receiving. Quite a lot of room for improvement in the fraud/waste/abuse part of food stamps for an administration/Congress with the will to do so.

What if they took their allotment and sold it at a profit? Would that be acceptable?
You are ultimately trying to control human behavior. The process to best accomplish this is force.
Sorry Scott, but short of forcing them at gunpoint anything else is doomed to failure.

wyo sis said...

Produce spoils quickly and has to be discarded. When people don't buy it the next order is smaller until there is little choice and low quality. This is a function of the market. People's choices affect the market. Government interference may force the store to stock more produce or mandate what food stamps can buy, but it can't make people eat it. Thus the market is distorted, people develop work-arounds (also known as fraud) and people still get fat. What has been accomplished here? Many tax dollars spent, more central control and less personal responsibility, all of which were the point in the first place.

Ken said...

Is it really surprising that this is a myth? After all, it's a liberal meme, which are predominantly myths.

Rusty said...

I don't think there is a way for EBT cardholders to get cash legally here in Wisconsin.

Legally? No,
But never underestimate the resourcefulness of the average addict.
The minute those cards were issued the recipients started scheming on how to scam the system.

ndspinelli said...

On the northside of Madison after other chain grocery stores had been shoplifted out of biz, a local guy opened a supermarket. After being open several months some assholes stole the copper tubing from the refridgeration system. The guys meat, dairy, etc. was lost.

Scott M said...

Sorry Scott, but short of forcing them at gunpoint anything else is doomed to failure.

People said things cut from the same cloth about welfare reform. That worked out so well even Hillary had to admit it, however frigidly.

There is always, ALWAYS going to be some grift. Further, the resources we would be able/willing to commit to enforcement would, in all likelihood, be limited. So you do what California did. You go through your rules and change the most ridiculous, and you unflaggingly prosecute the most egregious, provable cases and set them up as examples.

I'm not going to say it can be cleaned up to the point of moral purity. That simply won't happen. But the amount of fraud that's going on, just right here in my own city, is astonishing. More so because everyone knows what's going on.

Rliyen said...

And you haven't lived until you have stood in line behind some self-entitled fat loudmouthed welfare queen (Color unimportant) while they decide which items in their cartful can be paid for with Brown Money (Food Stamps) and what requires Green Money. And argues with the clerk.

I got stuck behind one who could not do basic math and firmly believing she was being ripped off for two loaves of bread (her brain could not process that 2x.99 is 1.98). Her compatriot had to cajole her out of the store.

John Lynch said...

Theodore Dalrymple eviscerated this meme some years ago.

Brennan said...

What about food delivery?

In my same bad neighborhood in Chicago we used Peapod for a few months. The cost was about the same as going to the store to buy the same products. Delivery was about $10. I'd probably spend about that much in time and energy to go and get everything.

I really think this problem boils down to knowledge and desire. If you don't want to work hard there are scumbag politicians waiting for your to sign up for their never ending political campaign.

glenn said...

Couple of years ago some media wag in Missouri asked the state to provide stats on where the states EBT cards were used. The state declined so the wag being a real reporter filed an FOIA request. Imagine his surprise when purchases (and lots of them)were being made in Anaheim CA, Orlando FLA and Hawaii. And there are 11 million illegal immigrants in the US doing actual work.

PatCA said...

Xlnt article by Dalrymple, John Lynch. It's demand for fresh food that's lacking, not supply.

roesch/voltaire said...

More often than not the problems are transportation, education about cultural food habits that may have a negative effect on health, and desire to change and improve-- the problem of obesity seems to cut across all neighborhoods.

AllieOop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllieOop said...

Brennen, is your bad neighborhood in the inner city? I use Peapod and love it, but I don't think they deliver to inner city Milwaukee.

Hmmm, tornado sirens going. Yikes.

Lyssa said...

Allie: There has got to be a better way. There are those who use the cards honestly. I don't think that under a Republican administration things change drastically. Shut down the program altogether?

It's definitely a complicated issue. I doubt any significant number of people would truely want to shut down the program. I mainly mention my problems with it because I don't want to be told that I should automatically feel sorry for people on food stamps or that it's not their fault if they're obese.

I do think that, at minimum, it should be changed to exclude non-nutritional things (sodas, candy, desserts, chips). And I do wonder if the occassional review by a social worker, to make sure that people getting benefits are using them wisely, would be helpful (with the ability to cut them off if they're not). If these folks are going to demand help, I do think that we should get a say in making sure that they're using that help to actually help.

Rusty said...

Scott. Correct me if I'm wrong ,but didn't welfare reform consist of getting people off welfare?IE; Not giving out cash to do nothing. Food stamps are direct payments that can be used as readily as cash.
Remove the money-like vehicle and you remove the temptation. However the replacement will be scammed as well. Human nature is what it is.

John Lynch said...

Get rid of food stamps and give out cash.

If that's a problem then we need to ask why poor people can't be trusted with money.

Tim said...

"There has got to be a better way. There are those who use the cards honestly. I don't think that under a Republican administration things change drastically. Shut down the program altogether?

As a conservative, I hate to say it, but I'd vote for limited access, limited choice food banks.

You accept "food stamps"?

Fine.

You shop at the food stamp store.

With limited selection.

One located close to you on a major bus line.

Present the voucher; get the appropriate number of calories in exchange.

End of transaction.

Can's sell your brocoli and carrots for Meth or a 1.75 ltr of Popov?

Tough shit.

Not our problem.

Don't like it?

Fix your life, earn your own money, and buy whatever the hell you want.

Even dog. Like your president.

TMink said...

We get fat because some of us eat enough carbohydrates to get our body to start storing the energy as body fat for winter. Some of you don't get fat from carbs.

The poor in America are fat because they get too many of their calories from carbs and not enough from protein and fats. Which leads us to all those carb pushing fast food restaurants around poor neighborhoods.

Trey

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Re Food Stamps:
There has got to be a better way

Commodities.

An alotment of: Milk, eggs, cheese, butter, flour, sugar, beans, salt, peanut butter, canned or frozen vegetables and fruits etc monthly.

And a minimal..MINIMAL amount in a debit card for to suppliment the basic commodity allotment.

No more buying anything you want at the grocery store. No more junk food on MY dime.

Learn to cook.

If you don't like it. Tuff....get a fucking job and buy your own food the way the rest of us have to do.

TMink said...

Rusty wrote: "Human nature is what it is."

Brilliant comment. Human nature does not change for a great idea or elegant plan. Any plan that does not take basic human nature into account is doomed to failure. Any planner that does not understand human nature has no business planning!

Trey

John Lynch said...

Why do we have to come up with all these limited-choice, compulsory, coercive schemes to "help" poor people?

Give people cash. If they misuse it, that's their problem. On the other hand, if they eat beans and rice and use the rest to get out of poverty, great. If people can't be trusted with cash maybe we shouldn't be giving anything out at all.

It's not worth the government intrusion to force people to spend on food, and conservatives should be skeptical of government making choices for individuals.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Give people cash. If they misuse it, that's their problem. On the other hand, if they eat beans and rice and use the rest to get out of poverty, great.

I can hear the liberal whining now. "It's for the cheeeldreeeen. The starving babies and children!!! Sob, sob sob."

Why should we be giving people money to do NOTHING? I'm ok with giving people food to eat. I'm also ok with giving a short term amount of subsitance cash for the recently unemployed.

Short term.....not the permanent gimme lifestyle that it has become.

Unless they are completely disabled...and I mean completely......I'm not at all OK with giving people money for nothing and subsidising their rent and giving free medical care and free...Free...>FREE!!

Give me a rational reason we should be giving able bodied men and women cash money that has been taken from the pockets of those who are working.

If people can't be trusted with cash maybe we shouldn't be giving anything out at all

OK. I'll go for that plan!

John Lynch said...

DBQ-

I see you got the point.

Food stamps are sugar-coating for transfer payments.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Food stamps are sugar-coating for transfer payments.

Correctomundo.

If we are worried about people going hungry....give food.

However...

There is a food bank that I support in my area. There are bags of basic goods made up and people can come in a pick a resonable amount of items from the shelves. "REASONABLE, (bitch)....that doesn't mean you get to take ALL of the tuna or canned hams. Save some for other people (you fucking greedy pig)"

Even though it is free....you wouldn't believe the ungrateful bitching that you hear.

"What. Why don't you have Doritios/cookies/insert junk food whine?"

They refuse to take potatoes, fresh vegetables, basic staples and bitch and moan that the food isn't what they want.

Sometimes I want to just yell at them "STFU bitch it is free and someone who really couldn't afford it, went to the trouble to give this to you." And then throw a can of tomatoes at their fat ungrateful heads!!

One of the ladies makes up hotmeals and delivers them to people who are in need. Such as the guy who lost his wife and has no time to cook for his kids. Some people are very grateful....others just complain about the meal. "Wah...I don't LIKE tuna casserole."

This is why I do the books and other things for the pantry.

Douglas2 said...

My experience of living in a poor inner-city rustbelt neighborhood is two decades old, but I will agree with others above who say that their experiences are not reflected by this study.
The stores within walking distance did not have any perishable food other than Milk and processed cheese. The stores a little beyond that or accessible by bus rides of under 20 minutes had vegetables and meats, but only of the sort I might use in a stew -- very unappealing to look at even with the best side up on the styro tray under the plastic wrap. There was a good large chain supermarket within 5 miles as the crow flies, but without trespassing across a busy 5-track freight railway or taking an hour-long circuitous bus ride or driving, it was inaccessible.
Did the "hey it's the first weekend of the month, lets take the bus to the huge cheap supermarket on Saturday and then share the taxi-fare home" thing a few times with neighbors.

EFB said...

I live in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. I dunno. This thread sounds like a bunch of mostly white people in the middle of the country looking for an excuse to keep their blinders on as to what others go through. I guess you can cherry pick studies to make you feel better about bad stuff.

I haven't done any official studies, but I can tell you from first hand experience that Bed Stuy is sorely lacking in fresh foods of all kinds. There is a bodega on every corner selling junk filled with corn syrup while the nearest grocery store (and there aren't many around) sells "fresh" (read: aged) produce. Nothing organic or locally grown whatsoever. And you wouldn't want to touch the meat with a ten foot pole.

When I leave work in midtwon Manhattan, I can go to a Whole Foods or any number of upscale stores and have much healthier choices than locally in Bed Stuy.

It would be nice if we had real choices in the neighborhood.

The recent influx of newcomers to the neighborhood has meant that services in general are starting to improve and that includes better food choices. It's kind of obvious isn't it. The better food follows the money.

How can you not see a problem? Maybe some of you folks think that's a-ok.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I live in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. I dunno. This thread sounds like a bunch of mostly white people in the middle of the country looking for an excuse to keep their blinders on as to what others go through. I guess you can cherry pick studies to make you feel better about bad stuff.

Oh. Boo Hoo..... Let's compare sob stories.

I live in a rural area that is truly a 'food desert' if you use the proximity to a grocery store as the criterion.

The little local quickie market is about 15 miles away and everything costs 1/3 again (or more) as much as other places. The meat sucks, best only for stews and mostly frozen. The veggies are seasonal at best and tired wilted and not much selection. I just paid $2.50 a pound for broccoli crowns, $10.50 a pound for some crap american cheese and 3.75 for a head of romaine lettuce.

I don't expect to have a great selection or cheap prices. That is the cost of living where I live and I accept it. You should accept it about your area too or change it yourself. It isn't my problem to make sure you have neato grocery stores within walking distance of your house. And furthermore, I don't care if you do.

The big grocery stores like Safeway, Wal Mart, Costco etc. are over 75 miles away one direction over a mountanous curvy road. No such creature exists as a Whole Foods within a 300 mile radius. With gasoline at 4.72 for REGULAR a trip to the grocery store is something that we plan very carefully and only go to the BIG stores every other month for BIG shopping.

Do we have organic food. You betcha....if we grow it ourselves and share crops with each other. And we do. Everyone has a garden. Can I get better meat locally. Damned straight. We go in with some friends and buy a half or quarter beef once a year. Half a pig and sometimes a lamb. Our freezer is our friend otherwise we wouldn't have anything good to eat.

I don't expect you to feel sorry for me and I don't feel bad for you either. I chose my life and you can choose yours.

Live with it

halojones-fan said...

WAR IS PEACE

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

wyo sis said...

Let's all do what California did. They've clearly got a handle on welfare fraud.

wv rbscust esendive
beats arugula!

Kelly from Georgia said...

DBQ,

You make my day. You have never written one ord tht I disagree with. I live in rural America, too. Twenty five miles to the nearest Publix. I have a BiLo about ten miles away. There is a price to pay for living in the country and I pay it happily. :)

Kelly

shirley elizabeth said...

We live in an average neighborhood (lower middle class) and drive to worse neighborhoods for our produce. A great money saver.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

The little local quickie market is about 15 miles away and everything costs 1/3 again (or more) as much as other places. The meat sucks, best only for stews and mostly frozen. The veggies are seasonal at best and tired wilted and not much selection. I just paid $2.50 a pound for broccoli crowns, $10.50 a pound for some crap american cheese and 3.75 for a head of romaine lettuce.

Ow. At those prices, I'd grow my own broccoli and romaine, if I had the space (which I don't). And totally skip the "crap american cheese," especially if it was the crap that is generally called "American cheese."

I grow a lot of stuff myself now, everything I have space for, because local prices for herbs and veggies are nuts here. About the only thing that was cheaper in CA, frankly.

West Town said...

So, Wal-Mart, now the nation's largest grocer, refuses to move into, say, Chicago? Why would that be?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So, Wal-Mart, now the nation's largest grocer, refuses to move into, say, Chicago? Why would that be?

Assuming that is true....probably because they can do basic math?

The cost of trying to protect their capital investment from the vandalism, theft and the degradation that would be an inevitable part of being in a hell hole like Chicago....just doesn't pencil out.

WalMart is not a charity...in case you didn't notice.

They are a business with a bottom line and shareholders to satisfy.

Or as the Stones have said. You can't always get what you want. You can try sometimes....but...oh well....

yashu said...

There is (to me) an obvious reason for the phenomenon of starving fatties. Once basic caloric needs are satisfied, whether you're a cow or a city-dweller, the body hungers for minerals. To the extent minerals are lacking in the foods consumed, eaters will consume more and more until the basic mineral requirements are something close to satisfied.

Given what's popular to eat in certain social groups this is an impossible task. Cows do much better because they'll seek out the mineral-dense feeds if available.


Bart Hall,

Interesting. In my late night cable channel flipping, I sometimes come across a show on "strange addictions." One pattern I've noticed, and wondered about, is those suffering from strange non-food eating addictions-- craving and compulsively ingesting soap, rocks, dry wall, chalk, mothballs, laundry detergent, etc.-- are almost always black women, who started the habit in childhood.

I wondered if it might have to do with some genetic physiological propensity. Your remark rang a bell, and after a little googling I have my explanation for this eating disorder: Pica. And it makes sense that this condition would be found disproportionately among black women-- if, as this discussion suggests, many of them are raised eating food that is extremely deficient in nutrients, and don't make better choices thereafter. So the explanation is not genetic, but socio-cultural.

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SGT Ted said...

Commodities.

An alotment of: Milk, eggs, cheese, butter, flour, sugar, beans, salt, peanut butter, canned or frozen vegetables and fruits etc monthly.

And a minimal..MINIMAL amount in a debit card for to suppliment the basic commodity allotment.

No more buying anything you want at the grocery store. No more junk food on MY dime.

Learn to cook.

If you don't like it. Tuff....get a fucking job and buy your own food the way the rest of us have to do.


Truth.

I was a food stamp recipient for 3 months, in my poor damn near homeless time, right before the Reagan boom. I think my alotment was around $300.00 a month.

I was ashamed to get them, and ashamed to use them.

However, I also knew what $300.00 could get you. I bought fresh veggies, fresh discount bulk meats. THe most expensive cut of meat I would buy was Top Sirloin; I could make kabobs and it was tender enough for chinese cooking. One Top Sirloin I could make 3-4 meals from. Mostly though I bought whole chicken and butchered it up myself to save even more money. Pork ribs were cheap too, occasionally chops.

I never even thought about buying non-food items with the benefit.

This was also the first time I ever saw "generic" packaged goods, like mac and cheese, etc. I bought Generic EVERYTHING if I needed a processed food and it came in generic.

I also bought 2 chinese cookbooks and made stir fry 3-4 times a week.

I ddin't buy frozen anything, or canned; too expensive and restrictive in use, compared with fresh.

I was unemployed, sleeping on a friends couch, didn't buy garbage, minding the generosity of my fellow citizens and I ate very healthy. Because I chose to.

Then I got a job. hooray! Now, I've paid it all back with interest.

Whenever I see one of the addicts outside some liquor store trying to pimp their EBT card I want to take it from them and cut it up. Because that means they aren't really hungry enough to need it.

They should restrict it more; no TV dinners, pizza rolls or crap like that.

If you're not buying fresh and cooking, you are a lazy fuck. No two ways about it.

SGT Ted said...

"What. Why don't you have Doritios/cookies/insert junk food whine?"

They refuse to take potatoes, fresh vegetables, basic staples and bitch and moan that the food isn't what they want.


Then they're not really very hungry, are they?

I bet those ones who complain are fat.

AmIright?

Rusty said...

TMink said...
Rusty wrote: "Human nature is what it is."

Brilliant comment. Human nature does not change for a great idea or elegant plan. Any plan that does not take basic human nature into account is doomed to failure. Any planner that does not understand human nature has no business planning!

Trey


Now you're getting it.
Do you know why nothing is foolproof? It's because nature will alway supply more resourceful fools. But when the state is the fool people will go out of their way to game it.
It's why the best of intentions promulgated by the left usually fail.

AJ Lynch said...

OMG- whole industries devoted to solving these food deserts have been etablished in the social work sector. What will become of these experts and specialists if this food desert meme is debunked?

West Town said...

"Assuming that is true....probably because they can do basic math?

The cost of trying to protect their capital investment from the vandalism, theft and the degradation that would be an inevitable part of being in a hell hole like Chicago....just doesn't pencil out."

DBQ, I was being a bit facetious. Wal-Mart was eager to move into Chicago, but "activists" for "working" people did what they usually do...

Unknown said...

I cannot believe the comments from the majority of you. I work, have never been in welfare and I can tell you that personally living in a certain section of Washington, DC that there are only two grocery stores which are approximately one hour apart by bus. However, going to the more affluent sections of Washington, DC there are four grocery stores within short distances of each other.

Those who have to use EBT cards are all NOT lazy, fat, scheming and unable able to cook! This is some prejudiced juddment that you all have in your mind about people that you don't live around and don't know. Kust because you've seen a select few come into a grocery store and do some questionable things does not make you an expert on people's lifestyles.

The two grocery stores in the less affluent side of Washington DC lack produce and meat that is consistently fresh. Most people are not looking to steal! Again, a generalization of the actions of what few people do is now supposed to represent everyone???!!! Everyone should be able to have access to food that is affordable and healthy. Just because cabbage is available doesn't mean it's always the best or safest to eat. I've compared the food and the grocery stores in affluent Washington (Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods) have a much better selection of fresh produce, meat, etc.

It's disgusting how an influx of those with money can all of a sudden make businesses what to offer better products. It's not a game.