White potatoes finally legal for WIC purchase

In the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion, more familiar to most as the Broadway play and Hollywood movie “My Fair Lady,” the protagonist, Henry Higgins takes in an underclass Cockney girl and attempts to change her into a proper British lady. The CRomnibus bill provided interesting insight into how government entitlement programs attempt to play the role of Henry Higgins. They are less concerned with providing support the poor, working and otherwise, than in controlling the lives of the recipients and striving to make them better people. Often with tragic results.

For the first time, low-income women would be able to pay for white potatoes with government-subsidized vouchers issued by the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, known as WIC.

The potato provision is part of a massive spending bill Congress is considering before the end of the year.

White potatoes have been excluded from WIC since fruits and vegetables were first allowed under the program in 2009. It’s not that white potatoes themselves aren’t nutritious, but they’re often used to make french fries, which are usually fried or baked in unhealthy fats and oils.

The Institute of Medicine had recommended that they be excluded, saying WIC recipients already eat enough white potatoes.

This kind of regulation of a food program is offensive to liberty and stupid at the same time. It is offensive to liberty because it says that poor people are stupid and unable to make food choices for themselves. In this case, a healthy food is prohibited because of what the stupid freakin poor might do with it. Never mind that the same woman using WIC is probably using SNAP and can buy both white potatoes and lard to fry them in. This is the same type of mentality that decided it was great social policy to provide public housing for a poor unmarried mother but to make the same housing off limits to a poor family. Programs like WIC and SNAP exist to provide nutrition to the poor not to change their lives.

Also this kind of regulation is simply stupid. (We’ll leave aside the obvious issue of how silly it is that the US Congress has to get involved in this kind of an issue.) When one takes a look a the foods eligible under WIC (full disclosure here, the first solid food I and my brother had was mashed potatoes with gravy, foods that cannot be purchased under …read more    

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