Obama Administration: Living A Mile From A Grocery Store Is Too Far

One of the most laughably ridiculous things to come out of the Obama administration has been the notion of “food deserts.” According to the USDA, too many Americans live in areas where they don’t have access to healthy foods. In fact, I was surprised to learn that I lived in a “food desert” despite being less than 1 mile from two major grocery stores with fully-stocked produce departments, and less than five miles from two separate farmer’s markets.

I thought that this had to be some sort of a mistake. It would take me less than 5 minutes to walk to the grocery store. How could I be in a food desert?

During questioning about these food deserts by Rep. Jack Kingston, Obama’s Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius suggested that even living a mile from a grocery store was too far. Because it’s hard to carry grocery bags that far and stuff.

(CNSNews.com) – The administration’s definition of a “food desert” – an urban area where a significant share of the population lives more than one mile from a grocery store – came under the microscope during a Health and Human Services appropriations hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Questioning HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Republican lawmaker said it was likely most of those present at the hearing lived a mile from their nearest grocery store.

“Do you think that definition should be revisited, because one of the things is, if you are in an urban area a mile away from a grocery store you’re in a food desert – which I would think in so many cases is ridiculous,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). “Have you thought of – have you looked at their definition?”

“Ah, we have sir,” Sebelius responded.

“And you think it’s a good one?” Kingston asked.

“Well, I think it’s very difficult for a family buying groceries – if they have to walk a mile with bags of groceries, it may be too far to get healthier food,” Sebelius said.

“You really think that?” Kingston asked.

“I do,” she replied.

This is shockingly absurd. But then, should we be surprised that the federal government sets such a low threshold for federal intervention?

By lowering the bar in this way, the federal government can justify allocating themselves more power. Bigger budgets. Larger departments and staff. The EPA ruled that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant because if the very air that we exhale is subject to federal oversight they have justification to regulate everything we do.

The same goes for “food deserts.” The federal government will be happy to expand its power and budgets until no American lives more than a mile away from federally-approved sources of food. What’s sad is that some people think they’re entitled to live no more than a mile from the nearest grocery store.

What strange days we’re living in.

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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