Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Think Cutting Spending on Food and Nutrition for Low Income Families Saves Money? Think Again

It Don’t

Let pretend that we are opposed to the federal government spending money on health and nutrition programs for low income families because we are hate bleeding heart liberals, because we think that poor people deserve their circumstances and because we think it is no big deal if children go to bed hungry or do not have a healthy diet.  In short, let’s pretend we are conservatives.

But as conservatives we also oppose government spending or we at least say we do, and for the time being let’s assume, all evidence to the contrary we actually mean what we say.  So we oppose spending on food, health and nutrition because it consumes government resources.  Well guess what, we would be wrong (again).

The Washington Post has a not so nice story out about how the low amount of food and nutrition aid that is provided for low income families in Texas results in serious health problems for those families.

For almost a decade, Blanca had supported her five children by stretching $430 in monthly food stamp benefits, adding lard to thicken her refried beans and buying instant soup by the case at a nearby dollar store. She shopped for “quantity over quality,” she said, aiming to fill a grocery cart for $100 or less.

But the cheap foods she could afford on the standard government allotment of about $1.50 per meal also tended to be among the least nutritious — heavy in preservatives, fats, salt and refined sugar. Now Clarissa, her 13-year-old daughter, had a darkening ring around her neck that suggested early-onset diabetes from too much sugar. Now Antonio, 9, was sharing dosages of his mother’s cholesterol medication. Now Blanca herself was too sick to work, receiving disability payments at age 40 and testing her blood-sugar level twice each day to guard against the stroke doctors warned was forthcoming as a result of her diet.

Yeah, there’s a lot more but everyone knows the script.  Lack of proper nutrition will mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses for these folks and others.  And guess who is paying.  That’s right your government which is us taxpayers.  So no, money is not saved by cutting this type of assistance.  Once again, conservatives are wrong, wrong, wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget the "too sick to work" part. That means Blanca will get disability, and likely won't pay any taxes.

    I will never understand the Conservative opposition to having a healthy, educated, and adequately-paid workforce.