Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How would you solve this problem?

The dilemma:

How fair is it that the cheap food is the worst for you? In an effort to try to curb my food budget down to what I was spending per meal in Tallahassee I have been sacrificing my nutrition.

My internship provides me with a daily food stipend, about 25 dollars a day. If I were in Tallahassee I’d be pocketing more than half that money. Unfortunately, I have been living in New York City. Even in Brooklyn the cost of living is gastronomical. I’ve had a hard time keeping my budget at 25 dollars a day much less trying to pocket that money and even then work isn’t paying for me to eat on the weekend.

How do people survive here unless they make 100+ dollars a day? How do they save? How do they feed their children?

Today I have spent exactly $3.75. All I have bought today was a muffin, a Snapple and an egg drop soup. I’ve probably consumed over 1,200 calories and its not even dinner time yet. Not to mention the fact that I feel like crap because all of that food is absolutely horrible for me.

The twist to the dilemma:

How can we propose to fix this problem? There is no doubt with the rising cost of insurance, the rising rates of health problems and declining amount of federal funding for health care that what are putting into our bodies is killing us.

So is this an issue of federal aid or local aid? Or is this a social issue, a job for social programs, like non-for-profits or humanitarian aid programs.

Though I’m a libertarian I’m unsure of where I should stand on this issue. The republican in me is pulling for dealing with this as a social problem.

The republican solution to me would be to start an organization that would provide subsidized and/or free nutritional meals for those in need. This would mean finding people to work in development and find donors and grants to feed people. Perhaps starting with just lunch or breakfast or dinner, and starting with one neighborhood, like the Bronx in NY or Liberty City in FL. Then expanding as our funding grows and communal connections branch out. However, this plan has many holes in it and is not an immediate solution. Its also completely dependant on whether money will be donated.

The democrat in me would say this is something the government should be helping to eradicate. Maybe this could be achieved with a bill requiring money from companies that make unhealthy snack foods, such as chips, Chinese food or glazed honey buns to funnel a certain amount of profits into the vegetable market or some other recipient that would be able to provide a low budget healthy food service with the right incentives. Then to be sure the chosen recipient of these funds would use the money for the purpose it was intended for, another bill would have to be passed. This plan also has many contingents and would not be immediate.

How would you solve this problem? Like a republican, a democrat or neither? Comment your solutions!

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