Friday, August 25, 2006

California Healthy Fruits & Liquor Store Act

The good news for the people of California is that this legislative session is in the last days and there is only so much damage they can do. The bad news is that they will pass a great many bad and silly bills between now and then.

I just learned about one that made me laugh out loud. S.B. 1329, the Access to Healthy Food Act, will create a new grant program to help inner-city stores carry fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. The idea behind the bill is that many inner-city grocery stores have closed completely and the small, convenience shops (i.e., liquor stores) do not carry many healthy staples, opting instead for alcohol, candy and fatty snacks.

This is one of those chicken-and-egg situations: do inner-city grocery shoppers not eat healthy food because it is not available to them, or is healthy food not available to them because they do not purchase it? Knowing the incredible efficiency of markets (in both the larger sense and the grocery store sense), if there is a demand for fruits and veggies, there will be a supply. For us to spend tax dollars putting such foods into liquor stores where people go for booze and chips will simply be a waste. Indeed, I suspect much of the fruit will sit untouched, fermenting until it becomes a product that liquor store consumers actually demand.


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