Another day, another Fox News correspondent put his *um* foot in his mouth. Fox News Business Analyst Charles Payne came to Mitt Romney’s defense by saying that he doesn’t worry about the poor either because Americans don’t die and poor people are getting gout. From Raw Story:
“Mitt was right,” he said. “The very poor in this country do have a lot of programs, a lot of benefits. People aren’t dying in America. You know, in fact, the very poor suffer from gout. In the 1920 and 30s, that was called the rich man’s disease.”
Here’s the video:
Payne is correct in saying that gout was once considered a rich man’s disease, but the fact that it occurs in the poor is not a sign of financial progress. A major cause of gout in this country is obesity. Another is a diet high in meat. The diet of the 21st century poor often consists of the closest dollar menu…a lot of fat, starch, sugar, salt and yes, meat. Meat was expensive and rare in diets of the early 20th century poor. Obesity among the poor was even more rare. Now, meat and corn are subsidized by the government, making them cheaper and more accessible than healthy foods.
As for his assertion that Americans aren’t dying, well besides the obvious absurdity of the statement, he’s completely wrong if he’s implying that poverty doesn’t kill Americans. A shocking Columbia University study determined that in 2000, 875,000 or 36% of total deaths were directly attributed to social factors, including poverty, lack of education, racial segregation, lack of social support, and income inequality. Another study attributes an annual 45,000 deaths to lack of health insurance, hardly a problem of the wealthy.