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The Physicians Committee

Too Much Caution, Not Enough Action
February 12, 2013

Tonight’s State of the Union address boldly called for strengthening the economy and protecting the nation from cybersecurity threats. But all in all, the theme for the evening was caution, not action.

After the Newtown shootings, the President encouraged Americans to work together to prevent future tragedies, but, as tonight’s comments showed, the President has backed away from serious action. That may be understandable; he correctly senses that Congress is still too timid to confront the gun lobby. Under the President’s gun control proposal, Adam Lanza would have entered Sandy Hook Elementary school without his rifle, but with a loaded handgun in each fist.

And if the government’s inaction on gun violence is any measure, there is precious little chance of moving forward in preventing the equally serious, but more mundane threats of our time: obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. One-third of children are now overweight and at risk of health problems. One in three Americans has diabetes or prediabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease rates are expected to triple over the next four decades. To fight these threats, we need action, not timidity. Bold moves are needed to cut federal subsidies to dairy, livestock, and feed grain producers, to reform school lunches and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in order to stop subsidizing the meat, cheese, and junk food that is making children—and their parents--sick.

It’s time to let go of cautious attempts at reform and give it our all to protect future generations.


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