Feeding the Poor and Not-So-Needy

Mona Charen talks about how the government is providing for basic needs–and then some:

The scale of federal nutrition programs is actually quite staggering. One in eight adult Americans now receives food stamps, along with 25 percent of children. More than half of all American infants are on the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) nutrition program. Sixty-two percent of American schoolchildren who eat school lunches are getting free or reduced-price meals.

How in the world did programs intended to keep the neediest Americans from malnutrition end up feeding — even overfeeding — such a huge percentage of the population?

The WIC program is instructive. It was enacted in 1972 to provide food, nutrition counseling, and referrals to health and other social services for needy pregnant and nursing women and their children up to age 5. Who can be opposed to that? In 1977, as Douglas Besharov of the University of Maryland documents in a study of the program, WIC covered about 4 percent of women and children and 6 percent of infants. By 2006, it had stretched to include 30 percent of pregnant women, 51 percent of infants, and 25 percent of young children.

Receiving benefits from one federal nutrition program does not affect eligibility for others. So nothing prevents someone who gets WIC from also getting food stamps and free or discounted school lunches and breakfasts.

[Emphasis mine.]

Perhaps we should cut the fat by cutting out some of the handout food for the tens of millions of Americans who are getting fed by Uncle Sam. It is surprising, but some people really do eat less if they have to pay for all the food for themselves.

Forget “Let’s Move!” How about “Let’s Buy Food with Our Own Money!”

One thought on “Feeding the Poor and Not-So-Needy

Comments are closed.