Saturday, January 26, 2008

studying the obvious

I want to get paid to prove the obvious, so that I can 1) find a job & 2) debunk Republican talking points. Apparently, despite economic models suggesting that giving money to the poorest among us would most quickly and efficiently boost the economy, there's a lot of resistance to upping food stamps and such. Not that this is particularly tied to the recent talk of recession: when's the last time *you* heard a Republican in favor of keeping social welfare programs well-funded (or even just adjusted to inflation)? I found a write-up at Feministe that's right on point in response to this heinous reasoning from Megan McArdle:

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.

Wait: so people eating on $3 a day aren't hurting for food? I budget for over *twice* that, and I don't even buy meat (which is probably the most expensive food category: and would be more expensive if the gov. didn't subsidize farms that specialize in dumping lagoons of pig shit into our waterways, and releasing tons of methane (read: cow gas) into the air). Considering that *one* apple is over fifty cents here in the bay area, I'm thinking that it would be impossible to get the allotment of 5 fruits/veggies a day, unless all you ate was bananas, apples, and carrots (which, I expect, would leave you hungry &/or feeling nauseous). And WIC doesn't cover fruits and veggies (except fruit juice and carrots: you figure it out). Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day to stay healthy! Feed yourself and your children with $3 per person per day! So with one hand the government giveth, and with its foot, it giveth you a swift kick in the ass.

And apparently (we're coming back now to the original assertion about obvious studies), folks receiving government aid aren't ignorant of what's good for themselves and their families: they just need programs to support those decisions. Some genius concocted a study that involved giving women on WIC one of the following: $10 for the farmers' market, or $10 for non-food items. Guess who fared better!?!? Watch the NYT pretend that these results are somehow a surprise:

After six months, women who shopped at the farmers’ markets were eating about three additional servings of fruits and vegetables a day, compared to the control group. Supermarket shoppers consumed 1.5 extra servings.

Well, knock me over with a feather!

It’s not clear why mothers visiting a farmers’ market wound up buying more vegetables than grocery store shoppers

Really? Has anyone at the NYT ever like, seen the produce at Safeway? The stuff shipped and waxed within an inch of its life? Or then gone to a farmers' market, where all is sunshine, heirloom tomatoes, and ten different varieties of peaches and nectarines (with samples)? Huh. Yeah, I guess it's "not clear."

but some women told the researchers that the produce sold at markets seemed to be fresher and of higher quality than supermarket offerings. Many shoppers also said they enjoyed the pleasant community experience and the chance to interact directly with growers, the authors noted.

Hey, let me save you the trouble next time: you give me money for research, and I'll (oracle-like) tell you what any rational human would do.

1 comment:

Claudia said...

Sometimes I hate people. I am reminded of a quote from one of the Winnie the Pooh books: "They haven't got Brains, any of them, only grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake, and They don't Think."

That Eeyore is a poet.