- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You have to wonder how the health of the U.S. population would have fared in the last century if the federal government had kept its hands off the food supply.

Sugar is just another crop subsidy, with pernicious effects on public health. But then so were tobacco subsidies. The king of all subsidies has to be related to corn-based ethanol. Not only can the federal government adulterate the food supply, with ethanol it can adulterate the energy supply as well.

The health of the population is very much dependent on what it eats. In fact, you might say that from an economic standpoint as related to public health, crop subsidies have pretty much canceled out anything the Environmental Protection Agency ever hoped to accomplish in the way of a healthier environment. If you doubt this, just take a look at the federally subsidized diet of those below the poverty line. There you find diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity all the way down to the infants. If the poor don’t get their food directly from the government, they buy a substandard product that has been engineered by those crop subsidies and reinforced by nonscientific food policy.

Crop subsidies have promoted the substitution of carbohydrates for fat in the U.S. diet for the past 50 years. This was reinforced by the medical establishment that was either on the take or had abandoned science altogether. All of this amounts to the worst public health blunder of the 20th century, and free medical care is not going to provide a pill to fix it.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston