First Lady Michelle Obama Extorts Healthy Food Commitments From Retail Giants

And when I say extort, I mean that it’s hard for these companies to say no. Because what choice do they have when the First Lady comes calling with a request?

Can they say, “No, we’ll sell food based on what our customers like to buy?” Politically, that wouldn’t be very smart. If they don’t get on board, then you can bet they’ll be in the White House’s cross hairs.

First Lady Michelle Obama announcing big commitments by Walmart, Walgreens, Supervalu (Save-a-Lot), and regional retailers to make more health, affordable food available in underserved communities — 2:15 p.m. in the East Room, per a White House official: “The commitments … will include opening or expanding over 1,500 stores to serve communities throughout the country that currently do not have access to fresh produce and other healthy foods. … Supervalu is committed to opening 250 new Save-A-Lot stores over the next five years in areas with limited or no access to healthy foods … Walgreens – Committed to expanding its food offering to include whole fruits and vegetables, and other healthy options in at least 1,000 stores … Walmart is committing to opening or expanding 275 to 300 stores which will serve more than 800,000 people in rural and urban areas with limited or no access to grocery options. Walmart also estimates that more than 40,000 associates will work in these stores.”

I wonder what concessions these companies may have gotten out of the Obama administration. Walmart, for instance, has faced heavy opposition from unions and other liberal groups when trying to move into certain areas in the country. Could the Obama administration have promised to massage that opposition for them in exchange for getting on board with this initiative?

Maybe not, but that’s the sort of question we’re forced to ask when the federal government begins sticking its long nose into the sort of products companies operating in a free market do and do not sell.

To the extent that the government should be involved in promoting healthy life styles, they should be trying to get Americans to choose healthier foods. Not intimidating or manipulating companies into selling the foods.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • badlands4

    I am a big supporter of her initiative to get gardens into public schools, etc. I think children are more apt to eat veggies if they take part in growing them. I think it is important that children actually know that veggies don’t come from the magic veggie fairy.

    That being said, when the First Lady quits eating high calorie, very unhealthy junk, I will be more apt to listen to her.

    I also think you will see this back fire. You can buy lower sugar Frosted Flakes. I bought a box for my son who is actually under his weight range and eats veggies and healthier food on a regular basis. He has a love affair with cr*p cereal. He is almost 17 so I am no longer the food police. I don’t purchase junk outside of cereal. If he wants junk food, he must buy it himself.

    my son ate the lower sugar Frosted Flakes. Said it didn’t taste as good and proceeded to dump sugar on the sugared cereal, thus ingesting more sugar than he would have with normal Frosted Flakes.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    She’s just another Socialist Democrat Chicago thug pol. Do as I say, not as I do.

    Same old same old from this crew

  • SigFan

    One of the real problems that exists in the inner-cities is that they are what many refer to as “food deserts”.  This is because the big retailers don’t want to open stores in those vicinities due to the high rate of crime, taxation and cost of land to build.  If giants like WalMart try to go into these areas, many people try to block them, citing the “they’ll kill the mom and pop store” defense for the resistance.  In the meantime mom and pop charge exorbitant prices because they cannot get the wholesale volume price breaks the giants do and stock less quantity and variety.  Just another unintended consequence of liberalism forcing low-income and minority groups into the inner city hell holes.

  • awfulorv

    This has less to do with healthy food access and more to do with forcing stores to invest their money in Ghetto, high crime, neighborhoods.  If only we could track an individual renovation dollar, so that the public could, indeed, see that dollar will show up on their grocery bill, proving, once and for all, that corporations do not pay corporate taxes, you pay it for them.

  • robert108

    “Underserved communities”-this was the excuse to create the home mortgage bubble, and we know how that worked out.  If she really wanted to do something for those communities, she would be promoting business there, not trying to control it.

  • VocalYokel

    She must have attended the Jesse Jackson / Al Sharpton School of Economics.

    • robert108

      More like the Karl Marx/Adolf Hitler school of economics.

      • $8194357

        Same thing I think Rob.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    also, the mob controls all the produce trucking in the city(chicago&NYC) which adds to the cost

  • Jamermorrow

    I will continue my diet of saturated fats and protein. The govenrment thinks it is unhealthy but they are wrong about everything including food. Human beings are carnivores and should eat as such. Eat like a lion and you will look like one. Eat like an elephant and you will look like one.

    • VocalYokel

      Does that mean if I eat like Moochelle, I’ll look like her?

      That should be deterrent enough for anyone…

      • Jamermorrow

        that is funny shit.

      • $8194357

        I wonder how much the taxpayers are losing to her ‘hair dresser?”

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    Because what choice do they have when the First Lady comes calling with a request?

    Just say no?  Yeah, that’s the ticket, Rob, because being the First Lady is such a powerful job that one would only have to go and guilt businesses into adopting her agenda. It’s so common and so powerful of a guilt that Hillary was able to reform our health care system with sheer political guilt or fear of embarrassment from the former First Lady. /sarc

    Walmart, for instance, has faced heavy opposition from unions and other liberal groups when trying to move into certain areas in the country.

    Key words (not that you know what a key word is): IN CERTAIN AREAS.  Obviously, rural areas where people have little to NO access to fresh groceries would not be opposed.

    It’s not that I expect you to be honest or intelligent enough to draw logical conclusions, but at least give a slight impression that you are paying attention. 

    Lay off the French Fries, they are making your brain lazy.

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