One of the many reasons that contributed to my becoming a vegetarian was signs that proudly displayed that customers could get a triple cheeseburger (yes, triple) for $1.19, but they’d have to pay nearly $2.00 to add on a Super-Size order of fries. It seems that they should also offer triple bypasses to those that happily take them up on this “amazing offer.” I have done some research into why there’s such a huge price disparity, but it has been difficult to find facts.
An interesting article, Health vs. Pork: Congress Debates the Farm Bill, helps give an explanation:
The Farm Bill, a massive piece of federal legislation making its way through Congress, governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products—the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.
It’s bad enough that our government seems apathetic to our health. I can’t remember ever seeing a single public service message related to the benefits of cutting down on meat consumption. However, the politics are the most difficult portion of this to … well, stomach. There’s overwhelming evidence that funding changes could improve the health of our nation (not to mention reducing costs related to healthcare). Still, it’s the almighty dollar that seems to be the priority – at least for the political powers that be.