A reader explains:
Both parties are at fault in this push and pull on food stamps: the GOP is at fault for using a cudgel when real policy is needed and Democrats are guilty of continuing the shameful status quo. I am not talking about giving handouts to blacks in the South, as your readers discussed, but the blind enabling of a true public health crisis: Mountain Dew Mouth. NPR recently did a piece on the issue. Money quote:
“We are using taxpayer dollars to buy soda for the SNAP program, and we are using taxpayer dollars to rip teeth out of people’s heads who can’t afford dental care and are on Medicaid,” says Dana Singer, a research analyst at the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department in Parkersburg, W.Va., who wants to see stricter regulations on sales of all sugary beverages in the region. “It makes no sense to be paying for these things twice.”
As someone who was raised in the Appalachian Mountains, this is a glaring issue neglected by both sides for a long time. The right is tone-deaf to the issues affecting its base – Southern and rural working-class whites – while the left seems to think any infringement on someone’s ability to use government benefits is unacceptable.
My mother, a dental hygienist, has volunteered in these dental clinics to the point of fatigue. These people have no lobby, no caucus, no real representatives to step forth and demand real change to they way the federal government doles out “nutritional” benefits loaded with sugar, citric acid, and high fructose corn syrup. Shame on both parties for failing to use an opportunity for real policy to influence the well-being of millions of Americans. In light of the First Lady’s crusade against obesity, such a squandered opportunity to end this tax-payer enablement is particularly poignant.
(Photo of a “15 Year Old With Severe Cavities” from ParentingHelpMe.com)