You have to give credit where credit is due and deserved and this week the credit is all due to Michelle Obama and her efforts regarding the healthy food initiative. it is an issue that is near and dear to Michelle Obama and fits in nicely with the emphasis she has placed on children’s health and exercise already and despite my general dislike of Wal-Mart, recognizing that if you start with the leading grocer in the country others will likely follow, is another smart move. Similarly, the fact that Sarah Palin has come out so strongly against this initiative gives a very clear indication of just how out of touch with the typical lower to middle American family she truly is. Yeah, I know there was a time at which I thought Palin had might have been acceptable, but I will point out I was in favor of a the very unlikely Lieberman being on that ticket. I am sure some background information is order to help bring everyone up to speed and then give my opinion on the matter before asking for yours.
The most basic background comes from the understanding that the typical more healthy option for food is generally priced higher. You can expand that out a number of ways from there, but that is the fundamental issue. A lot of time is also the sheer ease of preparation that comes in to play combined with the cheaper or similar cost. After all, what is easier to fix when weighing a boxed meal and a side of potato chips or steaming some veggies and noodles and boiling/baking some potatoes. Now add to that the typical cost difference on those vegetables versus that bag of potato chips. I know it does not hold every time, but you get the point. In fact, I know I have myself been guilty of looking at things and thinking this options is three times the cost of this one – I know which one is healthier, but if I do this for the entire list my grocery bill will three times as much…
Enter Michelle Obama and Wal-Mart, who after some discussions have agreed to promote healthier food choices. Additionally Wal-Mart is going to work toward dropping the cost of more healthy food options and push to get producers to help make that a viable option for them to pursue. This step alone is worth a lot, the lower cost alternative becomes the healthier choice instead of the current way things are where healthier is usually at a premium, why would the less healthier food options even remain viable choices. Another things Wal-Mart plans to do is work with producers to achieve goals toward less sodium, fat content, and sugars in prepared and packaged foods in general overall. Wal-Mart has the muscle to succeed at this endeavor like no one else in the business likely would be able to do.
Now, I completely agree, that this point this is all a bunch of talk and it be something to revisit in a year or two and see just how much Wal-Mart actually does with this initiative. After all, as I see it, I can not see exactly what Wal-Mart stands to gain in this one except maybe a strong sense of good will from those folks like myself that are concerned about what we are eating and feeding our kids. However, the down side for them if they do not follow through is not likely to be a huge black eye from the general public, so long as they keep the prices low in general.
That all being said though – what is Palin thinking about this? I can not say for sure, as I have only heard from somewhere that Palin along with some others from her circle at the extreme right were against it and felt it was more government control. The place I heard tis suggested it very strongly and went on to suggest that Palin has said government control that will lead to less choice overall and an extreme cost to the taxpayer for the program. Can someone confirm this?
What I do know is that as the Michelle Obama has worked toward healthier foods being available in the typical school lunches across the country that similar comments were made by Palin, Limbaugh, and of course Glen Beck. The same kinds of plans for school lunches mind you, where healthier foods were the norm instead of the often slightly cheaper less healthy alternatives and where sugars, oils, and salts in the school lunches were reduced. This one, I would agree is perhaps a bit of a government ran tax program – but it already is such! Yes, most school lunch programs are subsidized at some level by tax collection. I can also say though, that I would much rather see my tax dollars go to healthier foods in schools compared to a lot of other programs out there and even when compared to a lot of the junk food typically seen in school lunches. Heck, I would even support additional expenditures there if the food had to also be locally grown and produced!
But coming back to this Wal-Mart healthy foods initiative – if Palin did indeed say that it would be a big tax burden and a regulatory body that would be ineffective – can someone explain where that is coming from? I am not seeing any such thing in this initiative at all.
Ugh… I am almost sounding liberal, but GGG’s, when conservatives are following people like Palin and she hijacked the libertarian label without, truly in my mind, understanding what it was all about, what else is there?
Your opinions on this as well as confirmation or refutation of the facts I am questioning myself is, as always, more than welcome.
** – Picture from SanFranciscoSentinel.com.