Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate 2012
According to a study from the University of Washington, the rift between healthy grub and junk food is wider than it’s ever been. Researchers were able to buy 2,000 calories of junk food for $3.52 — that’s an entire day’s caloric intake — where nutritious foods cost them a whopping $36 for the same 2,000 calories.
I cringe when I hear privileged people lament the poor for buying unhealthy food with government assistance. Here, as is so often the case, education and real data are needed to offset anecdotal myths of the “unhealthy, lazy poor.” If it weren’t already obvious enough to the rest of us, unhealthy food is cheaper, duh.
In Britain, students don’t begin paying off their loans until they find stable employment, and the cost is in proportion to their earnings. Australia similarly ties the cost of paying off the loan to the income of the graduate. In Denmark, education is considered a right by the people and an investment by the government, and is therefore free. Some students are even offered a stipend by the government to defray costs. Norway has a similar system of higher education, and in Sweden, students pay only a small fee.
In America? The university is considered a commodity, one that can easily be purchased by the wealthy, but not the poor. These approaches represent a fundamentally different cultural attitude: elsewhere, education is a public good, an investment or a right; in the U.S., it’s a privilege reserved for wealthy elites.