Thread: GOP bill blocks food stamp users from buying junk food

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  1. #1 GOP bill blocks food stamp users from buying junk food 
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    Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would require people using federal food stamps to buy only healthy food.

    The Healthy Food Choices Act, H.R. 3073, reflects a long-standing criticism that the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allows people to buy billions of dollars worth of junk food.
    A 2012 study found that food stamps enable about $2 billion worth of junk food purchases each year, and that more than half of all SNAP benefits are used to buy sugary drinks.
    Efforts to curb these purchases have been opposed by anti-hunger groups. But Roe said some states are already exploring ways to curb junk food purchases through the SNAP program, and argued that the federal government needs to take steps as well.

    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-actio...#ixzz2edpfcTFd
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    I agree with this because we don't need junk food. Anti-hunger groups? Really? I think this can help cut down the amount used on food stamps or at least encourage healthier choices with the use of our tax dollars.

    I think it will also motivate those who are truly just "lazy" into gaining employment or better employment. It's not so much that people feel they can't live without junk (although you would think it). People have a pride issue with being told what to do too much.

    Being a cashier in the past, I've seen SNAP really be abused at times. I once rang up about nine dollars worth of individual snack cakes. Somebody argued the family might have been traveling. Okay, but there was Wal-Mart and Food Lion up the street. They didn't need to get anything from a convenience store. The problem isn't just buying junk food. It's sometimes purchasing the most expensive options. I think we should also have a rule that says no convenience store purchases outside of bread, lunch meat, and milk. No candy or soda.
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  2. #2  
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    Food Stamps has changed dramatically over time and for some reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with meeting the survival needs of the poorest Americans.

    Food Stamps went to the EBT card both to curb the waste and discount sale of food stamps to unscrupulous merchants and traders, but also to "end the stigma" because people supposedly shouldn't be put in a position for others to look upon them as shameful for being needy. But food stamps ceased to be merely for the needy a long time ago. My older sister's first real job was as a food stamp eligibility worker. Way back when, she could come home proud of her work and with moving stories about her clients. Back then, food stamps were used to get seasonal workers through the winter. We didn't see it as a subsidy to the farmers and seafood industry, which of course it was, we saw it as a way to ensure that people who would only find work half the year, and who did necessary work (now done by illegals) could make it through the winter. These people didn't live in public housing units or trailers with air conditioning, cable, and flat screen televisions. They lived in those houses you see in rural Maryland set back on the farm or too close to the road that you aren't sure are occupied for fit for habitation. They lived in shacks which sometimes had the electricity go out costing them what little food they had. They bought food at those country stores that sell soup at a mark up over retail and what my mother calls "selling baloney by the slice".


    And now we have Walmart Syndrome and Santa Monica suburban bums going to premium grocers and buying sushi.

    Food Stamps is no longer a subsidy for the poor, it's a subsidy for the working class, the nonworking class, and chain stores like Walmart who collect a huge share in SNAP benefits as well as employing many people who are on SNAP.

    Every dollar of welfare ends up in a millionaire's pocket.... but that doesn't mean that SNAP shouldn't try to direct how those benefits are spent.

    I am disgusted that Publix and other supermarkets are brazenly aiming for the SNAP "dollar" when they place hot-deli items in the "cold case" so that they are food stamp eligible. I am disgusted that food stamps can be used for candy, Lunchables, soda, and anything else that has nothing to do with good nutrition.

    I am angered when I am shopping for thrift, and I see Welfare Queen tossing $16/lb crab legs in her basket. When grapes or apples go over $2 a pound I don't buy them.... but she does. And the pure garbage she buys can't possibly fall under the label of "nutrition". But the real killer is when you get to check out, the total is $260 and she swipes the ebt card the cashier it will be $47.50 for the other items (household, clothes, etc....) and she pulls the wad of cash out of the Chanel bag with the fingernails and the $100 hair.

    No, of course it isn't everyone on food stamps, but it happens so frequently that every one of you has stood in line behind this woman with the $100 worth of groceries you carefully shopped for price, value, and health.
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  3. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
    Food Stamps has changed dramatically over time and for some reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with meeting the survival needs of the poorest Americans.

    [snip]

    I agree.
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    I would think if they just cut out simple items like carbonated soda that would a great start. But the funds are still going to get spent, unless they cut the benefits there will be no savings to the tax payers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanie View Post
    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-actio...#ixzz2edpfcTFd
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

    I agree with this because we don't need junk food. Anti-hunger groups? Really? I think this can help cut down the amount used on food stamps or at least encourage healthier choices with the use of our tax dollars.

    I think it will also motivate those who are truly just "lazy" into gaining employment or better employment. It's not so much that people feel they can't live without junk (although you would think it). People have a pride issue with being told what to do too much.

    Being a cashier in the past, I've seen SNAP really be abused at times. I once rang up about nine dollars worth of individual snack cakes. Somebody argued the family might have been traveling. Okay, but there was Wal-Mart and Food Lion up the street. They didn't need to get anything from a convenience store. The problem isn't just buying junk food. It's sometimes purchasing the most expensive options. I think we should also have a rule that says no convenience store purchases outside of bread, lunch meat, and milk. No candy or soda.
    I'm glad you posted this.
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    I've seen people who were very frugal with food stamps/EBT cards and people who aren't.
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    Can we audit the end users and keep them from buying $400 purses and $200 wallets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
    Every dollar of welfare ends up in a millionaire's pocket.... but that doesn't mean that SNAP shouldn't try to direct how those benefits are spent.
    You had me until this line, which is only half right. Yes, the money does end up going to subsidized businesses, but remember that in the pocket of the millionaire, it goes back into putting food on the shelves. It's how it gets there that's the problem. SNAP takes money from productive people who pay taxes and funnels it through the federal bureaucracy until a small percentage of it goes back into direct benefits. That money pays for a massive federal workforce that seeks to increase dependency and perpetuate itself accordingly. The end result is higher prices for basic foods (subsidies to consumers actually drive up costs by increasing demand), a larger federal bureaucracy and less control over our own wallets. That's the problem.
    --Odysseus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    Can we audit the end users and keep them from buying $400 purses and $200 wallets?



    You had me until this line, which is only half right. Yes, the money does end up going to subsidized businesses, but remember that in the pocket of the millionaire, it goes back into putting food on the shelves. It's how it gets there that's the problem. SNAP takes money from productive people who pay taxes and funnels it through the federal bureaucracy until a small percentage of it goes back into direct benefits. That money pays for a massive federal workforce that seeks to increase dependency and perpetuate itself accordingly. The end result is higher prices for basic foods (subsidies to consumers actually drive up costs by increasing demand), a larger federal bureaucracy and less control over our own wallets. That's the problem.
    Every tweek to the system has multiple concerns. We can't ban all beverage purchases, because then SNAP couldn't be used for Ensure. We also have to consider that any tweek is going to put General Mills and Coke into workaround mode. So it may come down to listing specific brands, thousands of them, which can't be covered by SNAP.

    You can't say "No frozen dinners" because some old people live off frozen dinners and their microwave ovens. It's all they can manage. My mother would live off Stouffers and Lean Cuisine if I was not in the picture.

    If you ban all foods over a given price per pound then surely you render some essential off limits.

    It really has to be done food by food. Even then look at what you run into. If you ban fish over $8 per pound, then you are pushing dependency on imported Chinese fish. If you ban rice over $1.50 a pound, then you are pushing American and Indian rice out of the market.

    I think a good first step would be to ban all carbonated beverages containing sugar or aspartame.
    Ban anything containing hfcs.
    Ban candy.
    Ban chips and doodles but not pretzels.
    Ban anything made by Hostess, Little Debbie, or Hormel.
    Ban real mayonnaise and fake cheese.
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  9. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
    Every tweek to the system has multiple concerns. We can't ban all beverage purchases, because then SNAP couldn't be used for Ensure. We also have to consider that any tweek is going to put General Mills and Coke into workaround mode. So it may come down to listing specific brands, thousands of them, which can't be covered by SNAP.

    You can't say "No frozen dinners" because some old people live off frozen dinners and their microwave ovens. It's all they can manage. My mother would live off Stouffers and Lean Cuisine if I was not in the picture.

    If you ban all foods over a given price per pound then surely you render some essential off limits.

    It really has to be done food by food. Even then look at what you run into. If you ban fish over $8 per pound, then you are pushing dependency on imported Chinese fish. If you ban rice over $1.50 a pound, then you are pushing American and Indian rice out of the market.

    I think a good first step would be to ban all carbonated beverages containing sugar or aspartame.
    Ban anything containing hfcs.
    Ban candy.
    Ban chips and doodles but not pretzels.
    Ban anything made by Hostess, Little Debbie, or Hormel.
    Ban real mayonnaise and fake cheese.
    You have to be careful about "ban anything from x company" because they don't always make just one thing. Some companies make unhealthy stuff and healthy stuff. I think it would be better to be specific. You can't purchase drinks that doesn't have any nutritional value, ditto with food.

    What is fake cheese? Are you talking about processed cheese? That's still real cheese and it cheaper than real cheese.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
    Every tweek to the system has multiple concerns. We can't ban all beverage purchases, because then SNAP couldn't be used for Ensure. We also have to consider that any tweek is going to put General Mills and Coke into workaround mode. So it may come down to listing specific brands, thousands of them, which can't be covered by SNAP.

    You can't say "No frozen dinners" because some old people live off frozen dinners and their microwave ovens. It's all they can manage. My mother would live off Stouffers and Lean Cuisine if I was not in the picture.

    If you ban all foods over a given price per pound then surely you render some essential off limits.

    It really has to be done food by food. Even then look at what you run into. If you ban fish over $8 per pound, then you are pushing dependency on imported Chinese fish. If you ban rice over $1.50 a pound, then you are pushing American and Indian rice out of the market.

    I think a good first step would be to ban all carbonated beverages containing sugar or aspartame.
    Ban anything containing hfcs.
    Ban candy.
    Ban chips and doodles but not pretzels.
    Ban anything made by Hostess, Little Debbie, or Hormel.
    Ban real mayonnaise and fake cheese.
    You're missing the point. The problem is not that certain foods ought to be banned or not from SNAP card purchases, it's that the whole system is corrupt and ungovernable. Let's start with your assumptions about banning certain foods: It won't work, not because the foods are good or bad, but because the decision is based on politics. Imagine the fun your congressman will have trying to deal with the various business lobbies when your ban hits the committees. The bans won't go through, but the members will have forced campaign contributions from a whole bunch of new interests, who will now continue to lobby in order to protect the "rights" that the government has granted them to continue to sell their products. Second, the list expresses your disdain for certain foods and the people that you perceive as your social inferiors, but doesn't reflect sound policy, just your prejudices. You'll get the kind of backlash that Bloomberg got when he tried to ban sodas above a certain size from being sold in the city, and while there is a difference between a ban on sales and a ban on using a particular means of purchase, it ultimately doesn't matter, because the subsidy that you are paying indigents for groceries will end up either allowing them to buy foods that they don't want, but which they can sell in return for stuff that they do want (which is how a lot of drugs are also purchased by SNAP card holders), or simply free up other money from other sources that will go towards the offending products. Either way, your attempts to regulate their behavior will fail, because they don't want to be regulated.

    The whole system is based on a flawed assumption, which is that the problem with America's poor is malnutrition, when in fact, obesity is a far more pervasive condition. In fact, the problem is that the poor tend to make decisions which keep them poor, including poor dietary decisions. Throwing money at the problem doesn't solve it, it just opens the door for more "reforms" whose claimed purpose is to clean up the problems created by earlier attempts at reform, but whose real purpose is to distract the taxpayers while the program takes further root.

    If you really want to solve the problem of hunger in America, then get the federal government out of the business of subsidizing it.
    --Odysseus
    Sic Hacer Pace, Para Bellum.

    Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the people!
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