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First Home-Lending Quotas, Now Fruit-Stocking Quotas?


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obamas-accuse-supermarkets-of-redlining-ghettos.htmInvestors Business Daily:

Nanny-Statism: The housing secretary has joined the first lady in scolding grocers for leaving fresh-produce "deserts" in the inner city. But studies show their facts are wrong.

Poor urban neighborhoods have nearly twice as many supermarkets per square mile than wealthier ones, says a study published in the March issue of "Social Science and Medicine." And according to a recent RAND study, urban neighborhoods are overrun with restaurants and grocers. They are, in the words of the author, "food swamps," not deserts.

What's more, a 2007 Arbitron/Scarsborough survey found that it's a "myth" that "black consumers don't buy groceries at mainstream stores" or only eat out at fast-food joints like McDonald's.

In fact, African-Americans at all income levels "shop at all grocery retailers" — including Whole Foods — and also dine regularly at "sit-down restaurants." But such data didn't stop HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan from complaining at a recent black conference that minorities have to take a bus "just to find a fresh piece of fruit in a grocery store."

This echoes Michelle Obama's claim that millions of urban blacks live in areas bereft of fruits and vegetables, and are forced to consume Big Macs and junk food that cause obesity. She vows to eliminate these "food deserts in America within seven years." Uh oh. Sounds like this administration actually believes supermarkets are redlining urban neighborhoods — just like they believe racist banks redline urban areas.

Filling in these so-called deserts with more grocers is a pretty bold goal. How do they intend to get supermarkets to open more stores in the ghetto? By forcing them to, just like Attorney General Eric Holder is forcing banks to open branches there — regardless of market demand or economic conditions. Now with the housing chief putting in his two cents, the issue appears to be high on the domestic policy agenda for the next term.Scissors-32x32.png

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