In an attempt to curb childhood obesity, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and his health commissioner want to ban the use of food stamps to purchase soda.
"City statistics released last month showed that nearly 40 percent of public-school children in kindergarten through eighth grade were overweight or obese, and that obesity rates were substantially higher in poor neighborhoods. City studies show that consumption of sugared beverages is consistently higher in those neighborhoods."
Personally I think it's a great idea. Food stamps are meant to help poor families get the nutrition they need to stay healthy. Soft drinks have no nutritional value in them, so it stands to reason that they should not be eligible for purchase with food stamps. Yeah, everyone needs a treat or whatever once in a while, but the government food stamps are for necessities, not treats.
It IS true that the USA's agriculture has an artificially skewed price structure (cheap meat, cheap starch, expensive veggies... thanks subsidies!), but estimates put soda pop purchases around 100 million dollars of the 2 billion dollars worth of food stamps. Allocating that 100 million dollars to fresh and healthy food would definitely have a positive impact.