Farmers and Politicians Make Kids Fat

So Quit Blaming Advertising

By Published on .

As we reported this week, nanny-staters and the government are once again hopping all over food marketers about making our children fat. One target in particular: food advertising. No, it's not that advertising is chock-full of calories. Or that it even somehow brainwashes children or causes parents to abdicate all responsibility. Nah. As one politician basically admitted, advertising's EASY to target. Much easier to censor commercials than it is to get chubby kids off the couch.

But those politicians should remember that favorite adage of prissy Sunday school teachers: "When you point your finger at someone else there are three others pointing back at you."

In this case, those three fingers are pointing right at politicians, farmers and the farm bill. As Michael Pollan explains in the New York Times, only an unholy union of savvy lobbying and careless politicians could create a world in which a technologically advanced item like the Twinkie is so much cheaper than a carrot.

Pollan also points out that the farm bill is about to sneak by once again.

Here's a taste of high-fiber goodness: If the quintennial antidrama of the "farm bill debate" holds true to form this year, a handful of farm-state legislators will thrash out the mind-numbing details behind closed doors, with virtually nobody else, either in Congress or in the media, paying much attention. Why? Because most of us assume that, true to its name, the farm bill is about "farming," an increasingly quaint activity that involves no one we know and in which few of us think we have a stake. This leaves our own representatives free to ignore the farm bill, to treat it as a parochial piece of legislation affecting a handful of their Midwestern colleagues. Since we aren't paying attention, they pay no political price for trading, or even selling, their farm-bill votes. The fact that the bill is deeply encrusted with incomprehensible jargon and prehensile programs dating back to the 1930s makes it almost impossible for the average legislator to understand the bill should he or she try to, much less the average citizen. It's doubtful this is an accident.
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