Starve Them If They Can’t Earn a Buck

Pistol Packing DCupSo with all the chatter about the clitoral stimulation package. Um. Hang on ……I’m looking at the wrong notes, I mean the economic stimulus package……with all the chatter about that mess, I found this segment of the discussion to be a real knee-slapper.

 Apparently, Megan McArdle, a paid writer for The Atlantic, wrote a piece that illustrates that she doesn’t understand a fucking thing about the cost of groceries and she doesn’t understand a fucking thing about being fat.

 As I was scrolling through my RSS feeds, I found this post by ZuZu which highlights the Ramen Noodlesnincompoopery of McArdle.  When I read it, I couldn’t believe that someone with half a brain (perhaps I’m giving McArdle too much credit?) could write such uninformed hogwash.  Here’s a sample:

1) The poor don’t need more food. Obesity is a problem for the poor in America; except for people who are too screwed up to get food stamps (because they don’t have an address), food insufficiency is not.

2) Food stamps only imperfectly translate into increased cash income, meaning that the poor will spend . . . more money on food…

5) The economy doesn’t need a food sector more distorted by daft government programs than it already is. If you want to give money to the poor, give it to them. Even if they spend it all on drugs, it will hardly be much worse than spending it all on increasing their already astronomical obesity rates.

Here’s a great response, written by Jill at Feministe, to McArdle’s boneheaded Atlantic piece.

I’m with Becks; if you really think that poor people are fat simply because they make bad food choices, I’d suggest you take this challenge. See how well you can eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget — that’s about $3 a day, by the way.

Cutting off money for food isn’t going to help low-income people eat better, and government-sponsored starvation is not the antidote to obesity. I know this is going to sound totally crazy, but if you give people access to fresh, healthy food they can actually afford, they’ll buy fresh, healthy food. If you give them $3 a day, they’ll buy ramen and frozen fish sticks. Read the rest…..

RaguJill makes the point that when you have very limited resources, you have very limited options. That’s true for almost anything. Anyone who’s actually gone to a grocery store lately understands that everything costs more now. Most of us would be better off to eat fewer processed foods, but when you’ve got a couple of kids to feed and you have very little money with which to buy food, you’re going to buy what know your kids are going to eat, what’s going to stretch the furthest and what’s going to be the most filling.

 The government programs are definitely imperfect. There are improvements that can be made. I suppose the WIC program might have been developed as much to subsidize farmers as it was to provide women, infants and children with food. But to make assertions that starving the poor is going to do them a world of wonder on the weightloss front or to provide them with cold cash with which to purchase drugs? Well, not unless you’re planning on making drugs legal and safety regulated.

We’re a nation that’s coming unglued and therefore people are more apt to look at their fellow Kraft Mac & Cheesecitizens as the enemy. As the resources are more tightly squeezed and there’s more concentration of wealth at the very tippy top of the economic ladder, we’re turning ugly on ourselves. Whites will blame blacks, blacks will blame latinos, skinnies will blame fatties, jocks will blame brains, rednecks will blame everybody and the rich will blame the poor for not being happy with the dregs.

Don’t let them eat cake on Mondays and Fridays, says someone like McArdle. Let them shoot heroin on Tuesdays and Thursdays! Let them work at McDonalds on Wednesday and Saturday! And send them to church on Sunday.

Whatever you do…..send them to church on Sunday.


~ by dcup on January 27, 2008.

24 Responses to “Starve Them If They Can’t Earn a Buck”

  1. Has anyone noticed how far to the right the ATLANTIC MONTHLY has drifted over the last couple of years? It’s about where the NEW REPUBLIC is now and is closing in on WEEKLY STANDARD territory.

    The obesity question is a perfect metaphor for the American economy. Stagflation or Recess-aflation is identical to obesity. The fat person CAN starve to death! Is that only obvious to me?

  2. Kelso – I’ve let our Atlantic subscription expire.

    You make a good point. There are plenty of obsese people who are malnourished. It’s very much like our economy.

  3. And as I’ve read, the urban poor rarely have access to full service supermarkets. Generally they have to go to the corner deli/bodega where they might find milk, butter and eggs, but they are unlikely to find fresh produce. New York City is going to try to get green markets into the other boroughs, particularly in poorer areas, to give people access to fresh, often organic produce. About fucking time. And Megan McArdle is a certified asshole. TBogg used to rag on her all the time, and she fucking deserved it.

  4. Kelso: Someone gave me a gift subscription to The Atlantic (at least I assume so, because I didn’t buy it). The first issue had an article on “Ethical Investing,” by Henry Blodgett, one of the assholes most responsible for pumping internet stocks (until the bubble burst). I put that rag in my recyclables pile without opening the cover.

  5. Good post DCup. As I mentioned on Jill’s post at Feministe, McArdle doesn’t have a clue what she is talking about. It makes me wonder how these clowns manage to get a ‘national’ voice.


  6. Fuck cake, Eat Wingnut Pundits.

  7. Um, fairlane, all that grease and filth? I’ll stick with heaping bowl of sodium, I mean, ramen noodles. Much healthier!

  8. PissedInNYC:

    That’s really rich about Blodgett’s article on “Ethical Investing.” God, I wish I knew the date so I could read it and use it for blog fodder. Two things together that are perfect: that totally unethical putz and the whole concept of “ethical investing”.

    “Ethical Investing” is neither fish nor fowl. Either invest or don’t invest but to put your potential investments through any number of absurd filters that have absulutely nothing to do with ethics in the end is absurd. It’s retarded.

    For the interested student: I can make a case that ALTRIA is a far-better corporate citizen than WHOLE FOODS is, even though Altria’s principal line of products is the variations of Marlboro cigarettes and WHOLE PAYCHECK sells organic vegetables.

  9. Those wingnut pundits look like they’d make for some tough eatin’. I’ll pass.

    McArdle gets paid for that shit. How fucked up are we?

  10. Dcup have you read the article in The Nation on Clitoral Stimulation, ah.. Economic Stimulation??
    The male wingnut pundits look plump and well-marbled. Most of the female ones are all skin and bones, not even good for stew.

  11. The Dems are no better than the Repugs.

    After their 4 week winter holiday, the Dem leadership returned to Washington DC and what did Speaker Botox embark upon?

    Revamping the Congressional dining room. Not the subprime meltdown, not rising unemployment, and not ending the funding for the Iraq war.

    The Bitch from Pacific Heights oversaw an ambitious plan to toss out baloney sandwiches, hot dogs and fries and replace the lawmaker grub with brie, fresh fruit and gourmet coffees from Wolfgang Puck.

    Pelosi lives like royalty while home in San Francisco (when you’re worth $35 million, you don’t eat no fucking Taco Bell), so why should she be expected to muck in like everyone else when she’s on the job?

    We need a revolution, folks. Pitchforks and chains if necessary. The divide between the haves and the have nots is growing by the day and our so-called elected representatives have drawn a line in the sand. They’re on one side and we’re on the other.

  12. Witty as ever, D-Cup. Brava.

  13. Alright, count me in as the typical food stamp recipient (though it is no longer food stamps, but student loans and Pell grants as I try to climb out of poverty- to become an affluent teacher?) Anyway, what I do now with my student loan check is the same thing I used to do at the first of the month with my foodstamps. I would buy a jar of olive oil to last us a while- cause that healthy shit’s expensive, organic greens rather than the pesticided ones, sprouted whole grain bread rather than the $.99 loaves. And, because I would have extra cash (theoretically,) I would buy nice vitamins for my kids, seeds (you can buy those with foodstamps btw) and compost and mulch and do what I could to grow more fresh veggies. By the end of the month (now semester,) we’re back to the not free-range eggs, that cereal in a bag- yes, Mommy is going to look and make sure there’s at least 1 g of fiber in that shit, honey and not too much sugar.

    Did wingnuts ever consider that the best free entertainment for kids all year revolves around the gifting of 10 pounds of sugar into plastic pumpkins?

    One year when I got my earned income credit, I was able to buy a few tents and take my kids camping. Of course, that was after I bought all my drugs.

  14. This is why, by year’s end, I plan on being very rich.

    I forgot to mention.

    I blame the Rednecks.

  15. I think Karl Rove would make a good pot sticker. Yum.

  16. Nice post. On target as usual.

  17. PiNYC – You’re right. Just try buying fresh produce, especially when it’s out of season and especially expensive. I would imagine, because I don’t know for sure, that the bodega isn’t going to stock a lot of expensive produce.

    BAC – Agreed on how asshats get these jobs where they get paid to write stupid, uninformed nonsense (that might be redundant).

    Kelso – I’m so distrustful at this point of any corporation it wouldn’t matter how they billed themselves. But I’m sure you could explain to me how ALTRIA is better than Whole Foods.

    Boss – Now, now. Aren’t you a vegetarian?

    Randal – Exactly right. Though I can imagine that paired with some fava beans and a nice chianti……

    Scarlet Blue – We are so fucked up. Hey, thanks for the link the other day! I’m finally adding you to the ‘Tits blogroll. Sorry it took me so long to realize I hadn’t done it!

    Kulkuri – I haven’t read it. When money got tight I stopped getting The Nation. Online perhaps?

    As for those wingnuts. Agreed. And you just know that those skinny chicks would be stringy and tough, too.

    Christopher – I’m very disappointed in Nancy. She’s turned out to be quite ineffective in her role. A redo of the Congressional cafe? It was like a food court when I was there last April. I’ll be there again this April and report back.

    CDash – Thank you.

    Freida – You’re not typical of anything, Sugar. That’s what I like about you. I completely understand what you mean about the cycle of money. With MathMan not getting a paycheck for six weeks between mid-December and Jan. 31st, we’re down to the nubs.

    Fairlane – That sounds like a campaign slogan “I blame the Rednecks.” Running to get rich, are you?

    Scarlet Blue – Karl Rove pot stickers? With ginger, I hope!

  18. Kelso: I think the issue came out late last year. You can probably go to their online site and find it. And I would not be surprised about Whole Foods. Color me unimpressed. Overpriced and lots of food shipped quite a distance. Plus I’ve heard that the CEO is a crazed libertarian. Whatever. Don’t go there.
    And Christopher: You are so right. Miss Nancy thinks $600 rebate check will help the little guy because she has no idea how people actually live.
    DCup: Bodegas might carry some bananas, apples and oranges, but I’m guessing you won’t find much else by way of produce. Lots of cereal and packages foods, though.

  19. Christopher: As a “have” who, because of the insane junction of anti-terror propaganda, corporatism, and the Christian Right, CHOSE to expatriate. Life is never as simple as we’d like it to be. I believed that despite the insanity of the Bush years, if I paid my taxes, served my jury duty, and committed no crimes, I could enjoy a hassle-free life and the fruits of my labor. I discovered certain professions are less prized than others and no matter how much money or power ne has, or how GOOD a citizen any American is, ANY AMERICAN CAN BECOME DISPOSIBLE AT ANY TIME. FOR ANY REASON. TO SERVE CERTAIN INTERESTS AT ANY POINT IN TIME. It was NEVER like that before.

    I’m not part of the fight anymore. I decided to take Richard Pryor’s advice and “RUUUUNNNNNN”

    I would object, however, to your calling Speaker Botox a “bitch.” I prefer “fucking typical rich Bay-Area pseudo-liberal pretentious asshole” myself. I don’t believe in censorship, however. So, I defend your right to call Pelosi a “bitch.” One question: have you ever called Barack Obama a “vacuous Moral Majority yella-boy party traitor”? Have you called Senator Larry Craig “a cocksucking closet case Nancy Boy”? If so, “es tu vaina” (it’s your shtick) and no problem. Otherwise, consider the ease with which you employ an IDENTITY INSULT to one cohort but not others.

  20. or, Christopher, of Lieberman: “an ikey-kikey-I-got-yer-bikey traitor to his party and to the memories of six million of his brothers and sisters”?

  21. The wingtards often point to obesity among lower-income Americans as “proof” that things aren’t REALLY that bad for them.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this. I have started to point out how it is poor people become obese ten thousand times, but I always wind up doing something else.

  22. Did you know that there is a lobbying group for manufacturers of High Fructose Corn Syrup? HFCS was developed in the late 1970’s. It’s trajectory as a food additive has been in sync with the rise in juvenile diabetes and obesity. Those jars of Ragu pictured in the post contain it. Crackers and almost all mass produced (cheap) breads contain it. Because it is both a sweetener and a preservative and because a little bit goes a long long way, it finds its way into everything. Without it and its low price, we’d find ourselves paying alot more for the processed foods that we buy. Groceries as a portion of our expenditures was actually dropping by quite a bit compared to mid previous century. Scientists suspect that HFCS doesn’t work quite like regular (natural) sugars on our systems. They suspect a complex insulin reaction to such a strange chemical component being introduced into our bodies. Calories in/calories out just doesn’t account for our weight problems anymore.

    All of which is to say that yes, the poor are much more likely to eat less and be fat than the rich.

    Suck it, Megan McArdle.

  23. Better and better. You nailed it again D Cup.


  24. Jess Wundrun: Great point about HFCS. It’s not only had the effect of adding to obesity in the population, it’s also crushed the domestic sugar industry, and has impeded the development of cheap ethanol.

    Down here in Panama folks drink Coca-Cola (made with sugar) like water and there aren’t too many “large” people I see. Certainly not Disneyland large.

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