Explaining that the program had too much money in it, President Obama this week defended cutting funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). He's facing a barrage of criticism for taking $2.5 billion from the $5 billion agency, which assists elderly, disabled and low-income citizens in staying warm in winter and cool in summer. Increasing numbers of people have been applying for assistance in paying energy bills due to rising joblessness and record cold temperatures. But Obama's rationale for cutting funding is that home energy costs are decreasing and that more money can always be added to assist "folks" in the future, on a need-to-stay-alive basis.
In keeping with the White House anti-obesity initiative, what he should have said is that too much heat makes us fat anyway. He might have explained that we really don't need all that heat. A recent study proves that living in a 60-degree house, rather than a stuffy 72-degree environment, actually generates extra body heat without shivering - a process called thermogenesis. Scientists estimate that actual shivering burns a whopping 400 calories an hour. But simply living in cool conditions on a consistent basis enables the body to burn what is called "brown fat" to raise body temperature naturally. Harvard researcher C. Ronald Kahn theorizes that people can actually lose weight over time by lowering their thermostats - he estimates most people will burn 3,500 calories and lose one pound a month living in a cool home. Presumably, when summer comes around and poor people can't get assistance for air conditioning, they'll be told that excessive perspiration also causes those pounds to disappear.
Naturally, all the money being saved by keeping poor people uncomfortable, unsafe and prone to disease is going toward the trillion dollar war effort, and of course, subsidizing Afghan President Karzai and his opium-dealing brother. It helps train illiterate security forces and keeps them flush in the hashish they smoke before starting their patrols, only to abandon them halfway through their shifts. Making less fortunate people suffer also enables the richest one percent of Americans to hoard even more wealth than the poorest 95 percent have, combined. It's Robin Hood in reverse: the government takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association(NEADA) , the number of households served by LIHEAP increased from 5.8 million in 2008 to 8.3 million in 2010. NEADA Director Martin Wolfe estimates about 3.1 million households, many of them middle class families suffering a job loss, will be cut from the program under Obama's budget proposal. But think of all the calories burned in the process. People will freeze to death before they even get the chance to develop diabetes.