Markets and Mortgaging the Future

Markets and Mortgaging the Future

Headlines in late spring announced that at least half the states had started cutting government food allotments in the WIC program (Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, Children), which provides milk, cereal, cheese, and juice for poor women and children, or had cut them altogether. These programs, which serve nearly one-third of all babies born in the United States, are universally acknowledged to be cost effective in preventing health problems. The reason for the cut: the rising cost of food meant that states had already spent their allotments. Government officials blamed high costs on droughts affecting feed grain, freezing of citrus crops, and increased consumer demand for high-fiber cereals, while also acknowledging that federal policy encourages farmers to kill cows rather than have a surplus of dairy products.

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