Golden Hookah Award: Michelle Obama’s $400-Million Plan to Fight ‘Food Deserts’

By Craig Bannister | November 4, 2010 | 1:07 PM EDT

First lady Michelle Obama. (AP Photo)

( – The latest “Golden Hookah” award for outrageous government spending, presented by, goes to First Lady Michelle Obama for calling on Congress to create a $400-million-a-year program to encourage the establishment of supermarkets in places she calls “food deserts.”

“To do that,” the first lady has said, “we’re creating a Healthy Food Financing Initiative that’s going to invest $400 million a year -- and leverage hundreds of millions more from the private sector -- to bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help places like convenience stores carry healthier options.”

Pushing this $400-million food-desert-eradication plan has been a staple of Michelle Obama’s stump speeches. So, while the agricultural bill that’s been working its way through Congress includes an earmark of “only” $40 million for the program, this week’s Golden Hookah goes to the First Lady for asking taxpayers to pony up $400 million a year to pay for her anti-food desert pipe-dream.

The Golden Hookah is the symbolic token that confers on government agencies that win our “What Were They Smoking Award” for outrageous government spending. presents the award weekly to a component of government that has distinguished itself in taking the hard-earned money of taxpayers and sending it up in smoke.

Inspired by stories that exposed federal grants used to subsidize research on hookah smoking in Syria and Jordan, the “Golden Hookah” symbolizes how a prodigal government squanders the taxpayers’ money on outrageous, unconstitutional and unconscionable programs. Each weekly video presentation of the “Golden Hookah” includes a “Taxpayer Tally,” indicating how many average American households need to work hard and pay taxes all year just to fund the winning program