This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
If we want to encourage people to eat healthy diets and take care of themselves, we have to change the Federal Government's farm policy to stop subsidizing junk food and soft drinks and to change our Food Assistance programs so that low-income people can afford healthier diets. We need to change the crop allotments of the farm subsidy programs, which were set many decades ago, to reduce or eliminate subsidies for animal feed crops and to shift those funds to crops that are more healthy for human consumption. Food Assistance funds should not pay for junk food and drinks but should be targeted on healthy foods and drinks.
This is a good example of how encouragement, or subsidization, of positive behavior, which has been the New Democratic approach to problem solving going back to the early 1990s or further, beats the paternalistic big government approach that says, "Dammit, these things aren't good for you so Big Brother isn't going to let you have them."
The encouragement or subsidization approach realizes the fundamental fact that telling someone that they shouldn't or can't do something that they've been doing, and enjoying, for as long as they can remember will not stop them from doing it. But you can show them that there is a better way and give them financial incentives to improve their behavior.