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American Opinion - On food stamp sodas:

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opinion Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

On food stamp sodas:

No, no, no. Telling adults that they can't use food stamps to purchase a soda?

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It's a terrible idea.

To be sure, New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, deserves credit for attacking the obesity crisis straight-on. More mayors, governors and CEOs should be zeroing in on this problem, too, because it threatens to take a huge toll in pain, suffering and health care costs.

In New York City, close to 40 percent of public school children now are fat. Among Hispanic children, it's 46 percent. An estimated 57 percent of New York City adults are overweight, too. The status quo is plainly unacceptable.

But Bloomberg's recent proposal to ban food stamp users from buying sodas is an overreach. It would peer over the shoulder and meddle -- punitively -- in the grocery carts of struggling Americans. ...

Forbidding adults to buy sodas with food stamps implies that they're incapable of selecting a soda every once in a while. Such a ban would be fundamentally unfair and prejudicial.

That's what the U.S. Department of Agriculture concluded in 2004, when it refused to allow an even more punitive food stamp experiment to unfold in Minnesota -- one that would have banned their use on junk food. ...

The way to get at the obesity epidemic is not to try to block poorer adults from drinking beverages richer adults still enjoy. The best way is to expand fresh food choices and provide more incentives for food stamp recipients to eat well and wisely. ...

As for the soda smackdown, though, that deserves to fizzle out -- cold.

-- The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

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