02 Dec 2010 Special Interests Want to Siphon Soda From Subsidized Diets
Washington, D.C. – Efforts by a special interest activist to restrict Americans receiving financial aid from using food subsidies for sodas are being criticized by Deneen Borelli of the Project 21 black leadership network as an attack on liberty and personal preference.
“The willingness for progressives to leverage power over those on public assistance illustrates the potential loss of liberty that comes with living on the government plantation,” said Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli, who is participating in a panel discussion on the topic later this week in Washington, D.C.
Borelli added: “This is the nanny state gone wild. Attacking food stamp recipients for their dietary choices exposes the progressive desire to control even the most trivial decisions made by Americans. While it’s starting with soda, where will it end? Will cookies, candy, frozen pizza and ice cream be next on the progressive hit list?”
Center for Science in the Public Interest executive director Michael Jacobson told CNBC he advocates preventing people who receive aid from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) from being able to use that aid to buy sodas, claiming public assistance money is promoting obesity.
While Jacobsen claims six percent of SNAP money is spent on soda, the American Beverage Association cites government data that says soda accounts for only seven percent of the average Americans’ caloric intake. While this would indicate the SNAP recipients live a slightly more healthy lifestyle by Jacobson’s perspective, Project 21’s Borelli fears opening the door to such nanny state regulations on peoples’ behavior could have open the door to restrictions on the liberties of all Americans.
“Clearly, we can’t solve the obesity problem by restricting the use of a product that is only responsible for a minor percent of daily caloric intake,” noted Borelli. “But, then again, this proposed regulation is not really about obesity. The ultimate goal is to demonize a product the progressive elites deem unworthy. And demonization is only the first step. Generating state revenue via a ‘sin tax’ will certainly be next.”
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is currently attempting to get federal approval to launch a two-year study that would restrict city residents from using food aid to buy sweetened beverages.
Borelli is participating in a panel discussion this week on proposed soda taxes and regulations as part of the Policy Studies Organization’s Dupont Summit — “Report Card at Midstream: The Obama Administration Faces Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Issues.” The summit will be held on Friday, December 3 at the Carnegie Institute for Science (1530 P Street NW, Washington, DC). Her panel, “Regulating Soda Consumption Through the Food Stamp Federal Program,” is scheduled for 1:30 PM.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).