Government is the problem, not the solution

If you give someone something for free, chances are they is going to take it. Item:

…infants participating in WIC consume about 54 percent of all formula sold in the United States. In most states, WIC participants use food vouchers or food checks to purchase their infant formula, free of charge, at participating retail grocery stores.

More than half of all the formula consumed in the US is the free stuff. So, breastfeeding is better, but because moms will get formula for free, they are more likely to choose the less healthy alternative. More:

A prior study published in 2005 found that women eligible for WIC but not enrolled in WIC were more likely to breastfeed compared to those actually enrolled in WIC. Li and colleagues reported that 63 percent of WIC children were breastfed compared to 86 percent of children eligible for WIC but not enrolled. The authors theorized that, “Because WIC provides free formula for eligible children it is possible that women who are determined to breastfeed feel less need to participate in WIC.”

It gets worse and worse the more you look into it:

Recipients receive vouchers that are exchanged for specific food items, particularly infant formula, at authorized retailers. The retailers redeem the food vouchers for cash at state WIC agencies. The recipients of WIC benefits need not be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Remarkably, the WIC program accounts for about half of all infant formula sold in the nation.31 The program was supposed to be only for low-income families, yet it now provides free formula for many middle-income families that certainly don’t need government subsidies.

Breastmilk is the perfect food for babies; always the correct temperature, it comes in attractive packaging, and it benefits the mom by burning up extra calories. It is NOT hard to do, although it may take a bit of practice. The learning curve can take a few days, but luckily a baby doesn’t really need much to eat those first days. Invariably, with the easy alternative of free formula, many moms give up way to early. I heard over the holiday weekend of another mom who gave breastfeeding a whole DAY before giving up.

Formula is expensive (and smells gross). If moms were faced with the real economic burden of the inferior choice, we’d prolly have more (and healthier) breastfed babies.

Instead, we have a huge subsidy, going to illegal aliens as well. $7 BILLION dollars in 2009. Of course, you have entrenched interests:

A key WIC lobby group is the National WIC Association, which represents the 2,000 state and local government agencies that administer WIC.35 The association drafts studies on the supposed importance of WIC, advocates its positions to federal policymakers, and holds conferences in Washington. The group’s 2006 legislative agenda was entitled “WIC at RISK! A Healthy, Strong America in Jeopardy!”36 The document recommended program funding increases and predicted dire consequences if policymakers didn’t go along.

A government agency with a government lobby. Because … ? I know, I’m being dense.

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