May 6, 2013

"An odd coalition of advocates for the needy, local retailers and big corporations..."

"... is opposing a fast-moving bill limiting junk food for food stamp recipients."
The proposal's lead sponsor, former potato chip salesman and state Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah), wants to require [Wisconsin] FoodShare recipients to use their taxpayer-funded benefits to buy more nutritious food. Kaufert said his bill makes sense as a response to the stories he hears from retail clerks and others about FoodShare benefits being used for large junk food purchases.
Stories he hears...
"It's wildly popular," Kaufert said of the bill. "It's one of those street or sidewalk issues where everyone has a story (about FoodShare problems)."
How about if we make all laws through this street-and-sidewalk approach? Junk food. Junk law. Junk everything!

117 comments:

Bob_R said...

The old story goes that Macauley said that "the puritan hated bear baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators." I've often thought the puritans right in this: would you rather be surrounded by dead bears or a room full of people who had recently cheers a bear being tortured to death.

I'm in a puritan frame of mind on these nanny state laws. They are objectionable not because they do harm to the regulated, but because they give pleasure to the regulators. The regulators should be put in a bear pit and savaged by wild dogs. I would watch.

Bob_R said...

cheers = cheered.

Cheers, Bob

wyo sis said...

Lets see...they don't know what people have been buying for sure, they don't know if this law will result in more good food purchases or fewer, they don't have any idea how to implement it or if it's legal and yet it's full speed ahead.

Sounds about right.

Gabriel Hanna said...

When the government pays for whatever it is, the government gets to say what use you make of it and whether you deserve it. Not as a matter of right, but as a matter of fact. Why is this hard to understand?

edutcher said...

If it's taxpayer money, they ought to get something for it.

Turning les miserables into Honey Boo Boo's mother is a disgrace.

Dante said...

Make a food stamp box, with canned beans, spam, vegetables, and fruits, with enough food for a person/week.

In other words, keep the amount of people with their hands out to the smallest number of people (no potato chip manufacturers, for instance), and also keeps the government interest as small as possible.

garage mahal said...

Nanny Big government Republicans know best!

"The result is that the bulk of your FoodShare dollars can be spent on milk, but not organic milk; on eggs, but only on white eggs by the dozen, not on brown, free-range, or organic eggs; on 100 percent whole wheat bread, but not on gluten-free bread for those with Celiac disease; on slices of American cheese, but not sharp cheddar. FoodShare dollars can be spent on dry beans, but not if they come from a money-saving bulk bin at your local food coop. You can get juice boxes for your children, but only Juicy Juice brand juice boxes"

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Nanny Big government Republicans know best!

You honestly think your're scoring points for your side. You're not.

You're proving what is wrong with the welfare state--the government gets to tell you what to do.

When Democrats are in charge, you won't get to smoke, when Republicans are in charge you won't get to have premarital sex. Etc.

When you give the government power over people's lives, you give the government power over people's lives. Eventually that power will be used against you in a way that you think is wrong, by people you think shouldn't be making that decision.

But that's the world you want.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Dante: Make a food stamp box, with canned beans, spam, vegetables, and fruits, with enough food for a person/week.

Horseshit. Give poor people $x per week and if they overdose on hookers and blow, think of it as evolution in action. Or maybe they'll put it to good use. But treat them as ADULTS.

CEO-MMP said...

What are you quoting from, garage?

And do you really think taxpayers should pay for organic milk when most of them can't afford it for themselves?

Gabriel Hanna said...

Organic food isn't healthier--the science is settled on that--but it puts money in the pockets of the tribe garage identifies with, and riles the tribe he flings feces at, so he's for it.

Gahrie said...

But treat them as ADULTS

Adults can support themselves and their families....

Dante said...

But treat them as ADULTS.

Why? Adults take care of themselves. These people aren't. And it allows the government to get in the middle of more $, which is really bad.

CEO-MMP said...

I love how the link used to say that the science is settled on how organic food isn't better than regular food says..."Organic food: Is it more nutritious?

The answer isn't yet clear. "

Holy shit. Colossal bullshit alert.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Althouse sneers How about if we make all laws through this street-and-sidewalk approach? Junk food. Junk law. Junk everything!

How about you getting out of your lilly white rich neighborhood and see what the real world is like before you decide to sneer at your lessers.

Everyday I see the foodstamp brigades buying crap with my tax dollars. The worst was a new years eve when a man bought steaks and lobster tails with his Lone Star card. Of course I was buying ground beef.

garage mahal said...

Organic food isn't healthier--the science is settled on that--but it puts money in the pockets of the tribe garage identifies with, and riles the tribe he flings feces at, so he's for it.?

You're such a fucking dope. Your link doesn't even say the "science is settled". Instead, it says "The answer isn't yet clear". You're a scientist?

If you want to call local organic family farmers that I buy from my "tribe", I'll take that as a compliment. I'll take that any day over the mega factory farms, which aren't really farms at all.

LilyBart said...


Where is Michelle Obama on this legislation?

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CEO-MMP said...

LilyBart said...


My daddy used to talk about the "Golden Rule", by which he meant the guy with the gold makes the rule.

If I'm paying for your food - I want to have a say. If you want to be the chooser - like an adult - then be an adult and get a job and make your own gold."

Ouch. That's uncomfortable.

garage mahal said...

Everyday I see the foodstamp brigades buying crap with my tax dollars

In Wisconsin, you spend FoodShare benefits with a swipe card that you use at the register just like a credit/debit card. I would have no way of knowing if I was behind someone using it. Is that different where you live?

LilyBart said...

An odd coalition of advocates for the ....

How many of the food stamp recipients are actually 'needy' and how many are just content to live out of their neighbors' pockets?

Remember of Alexandra Pelosi documentary when she interviewed healthy young men standing in a welfare line. They weren't shy about telling her they weren't interested in a "job", they were just there to see what they could get for free.

And I get to drag myself to work everyday to pay for this.

Mark said...

Cannot buy real cheese, only processed cheese by these rules. In Wisconsin.

Now that is a dumb idea.

CEO-MMP said...

All the EBT cards I've ever seen have said "EBT" on them, which you can tell if you glance at it.

Not our fault you're not observant, garage.

LilyBart said...

CEO-MMP said...

Ouch. That's uncomfortable.


Well, for all the able-bodied on welfare, it should be uncomfortable - uncomfortable enough for them to want to improve their own situation.

AJ Lynch said...

We should publish on the internet the names and addresses of each recipient and the amount and type of benefits they get. We should do that before we try and fix or modify existing programs.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

The logistics of a program like this could be a nightmare. Who will tell the buyer with an EBT card they can't buy those chocolate chips? Healthy cookies can be made from scratch with oatmeal, peanut butter, etc. or will white sugar be deemed a junk food? Whose criteria will be followed? Who gets to decide what is healthy food?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:Your link doesn't even say the "science is settled". Instead, it says "The answer isn't yet clear". You're a scientist?

Yes, and I can read, unlike you:

"A recent study examined the past 50 years' worth of scientific articles about the nutrient content of organic and conventional foods. The researchers concluded that organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs are comparable in their nutrient content. Research in this area is ongoing."

In fifty years of looking, they can't find the evidence.

You like to flatter yourself that you're on the side of the Top Men, the Alphas who are going run everything for the good of everyone. But to THEM you're another Epsilon Minus, to be used, managed, or bought off. They have far more in common with each other, Team Red or Team Blue, than they have with the likes of us, they run things to suit themselves and their friends.

You have to live with it, but you don't have to lick their boots.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Money is fungible. Money provided by the government "for food" frees up money to spend on crack and meth--even when the recipients of food aid aren't selling their EBT benefits for cash.

CEO-MMP said...

In all that time they couldn't make up their mind.

If the scientists say the science isn't settled, than you can't very well post here and say that they say it's settled, no matter how much you want to use it to argue with garage.

You need to be honest or you're going to lose a winnable argument--and demonstrate to us all that you're every bit the moron garage says you are.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Annamarie Albergettie:Whose criteria will be followed? Who gets to decide what is healthy food?

The people handing out the checks. Duh. They'll give you whatever they want for whatever reason and you'll like it, or you won't get it.

Does anyone ask cattle if they like their feed?

Gabriel Hanna said...

If the scientists say the science isn't settled, than you can't very well post here and say that they say it's settled, no matter how much you want to use it to argue with garage.

You need to be honest or you're going to lose a winnable argument--and demonstrate to us all that you're every bit the moron garage says you are.


You're new here. I forgive you.

If unmistakable evidence for a hypothesis cannot be found in fifty years of looking, the best betting, scientifically, is that the hypothesis is not valid.

Apply your argument to Bigfoot, fairies, aliens, or the Loch Ness monster, and apply mine, and compare the results.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

Gabriel Hanna, the people handing out the checks won't be standing at the checkout counter at the grocery store snatching the forbidden items from the EBT card recipients shopping cart.

Are supermarket owners going to have to hire more staff to be the food police?

Annamarie Albergetti said...

To be more precise, the "check givers" can certainly make the list of forbidden items, but who will enforce it at the checkout counter?

LilyBart said...

Gabriel Hanna, the people handing out the checks won't be standing at the checkout counter at the grocery store snatching the forbidden items from the EBT card recipients shopping cart.

Its it just the mechanics of this you're worried about? The answer is : Computers! Computers are already tracking the tax / no tax items (which is complicated and varies from state to state). Computers in the grocery store even know how much each item weighs (that's how the self check outs keep you from cheating).

kimsch said...

As of now, there are certain items that can't be purchased with EBT dollars. When the cart is rung up, the register shows how much can be put on the EBT card, and how much needs to paid for with another method of payment. It's pretty easy to program the cash registers to allow less than they currently do.

CEO-MMP said...

Well thanks so much. I'm not new. I've lurked for several years, I just never felt like posting until recently.

So...anyway, did you have a point with your condescension or were you just using it to try and stifle debate?


Because honestly...everything you said after that? It's still bullshit.

When the scientists say they don't know AND that the research is still on-going, that means exactly that, which is that the science isn't settled.

It's not an arguable point."Best betting" isn't settled science.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Annamarie:Are supermarket owners going to have to hire more staff to be the food police?

While going to college I worked as a cashier. The disallowed items would just be programmed into the register.

garage mahal said...

But to THEM you're another Epsilon Minus, to be used, managed, or bought off

I go out of my way to buy local, and I go out of my way to eat local. Who is THEM, and who am I getting duped by? The local businesses I buy from?

I don't know if the grass fed beef or local produce I buy is more healthy, [I bet it is], but it tastes better and I get to support local farmers.

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabriel Hanna said...

@CMP:o...anyway, did you have a point with your condescension or were you just using it to try and stifle debate?

No. Just pointing out you came in late, and may not have the cast of characters worked straight yet.

When the scientists say they don't know AND that the research is still on-going, that means exactly that, which is that the science isn't settled.

That wasn't "the scientists" that I quoted. That was the Mayo Clinic website, which is not a peer-reviewed scientific publication. It is giving a summary of the state of research at this time, slanted by its desire to endorse organic food. I cited it as an admission against interest--the website has sufficient scientific integrity so as not to say that organic food is actually healthier.

Fifty years of funded studies looking for evidence that organic foods are healthier have found nothing conclusive, so we are not justified scientifically in thinking that organic foods are healthier.

Perhaps one day that may change, but the effect is clearly marginal if so many people working for so long can't find evidence of it.

Pogo said...

"Intellectuals propounded the idea that man should be freed from the shackles of social convention and self-control, and the government, without any demand from below, enacted laws that promoted unrestrained behavior and created a welfare system that protected people from some of its economic consequences. When the barriers to evil are brought down, it flourishes; and never again will I be tempted to believe in the fundamental goodness of man, or that evil is something exceptional or alien to human nature.
Theodore Dalrymple

Welfare breeds evil.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

No kidding Lily Bart, but that doesn't answer the question as to what happens when the recipient is told they cannot buy the items.

I suppose at first there will be disruptions (until the recipients are cowed into submission) and the local cops may have to be called, if a disruption occurs.

I wonder if it wouldn't be a better idea to have them shop at a limited number of supermarkets that will be willing to put up with the hassle, probably for a tax break.

AJ Lynch said...

CEO :

Hanna is far from being a moron. I I think he has a Phd in something.

And his point is valid: if they have tried for 50 years to prove something they want, in their hearts, to be true but they can't prove it- then it is reasonable to say it is unprovable to date. Just because nitwits like Garage want organic food to be embraced as more nutritious, is not a reason to let him claim that is true.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:Who is THEM, and who am I getting duped by?

The political class you think should be making decisions for all of us, provided they be Team Blue.

But Team Red and Team Blue are two cars racing on a dirt road. The drivers say nasty things about each other, and the cars throw mud on each other, but they go by the same road to the same place at about the same speed.

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see...."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said Ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in."

LilyBart said...

This initiative only makes sense in our modern country, yes?

We have governors and others who want to regulate how much soda you can buy with your *own* money - why wouldn't they want to have a say over what you can buy with an EBT card?

Not that I'm really for any of this in reality - I'm for small government and private charity. But I LOVE the idea that people who think they're getting *free stuff* begin to realize the true cost of this free stuff - you have to live by the other guys' rules. Free stuff is never really free in the end.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@annamarie:but that doesn't answer the question as to what happens when the recipient is told they cannot buy the items.

Same thing that happens now when you try to buy alcohol after the time you're not allowed to. The register won't ring it up.

EBT cards have cash benefits on them as well. The junk food won't be part of the total that goes on the EBT and the customer will have to pay some other way, or not take the items, or maybe punch the cashier in the face and take them, but that's no different from now if you buy cigarettes or beer along with your groceries and pay by EBT.

The Godfather said...

I think there was a question the other day about what happened to shame. So here's an idea. Let's provide food for the needy, at taxpayer expense, but only food that "we" determine is good and nutritious. If you show up at the check-out with a bag of potato chips, the clerk will set them aside and say "Your EBT card won't pay for those." Same thing for booze and chocolate chip cookies and cigarettes. If the clerk says it loud enough, maybe you'll feel a little bit of shame.

You'll say I'm heartless, because so many people can't get work, so shaming them won't encourage them to get off the dole. I'd feel more sympathy for that argument if I wasn't sure that most of them voted to re-elect Obama and keep in place the policies that are discouraging potential employers from providing jobs for them. Am I cruel? I call it tough love.

Andy Freeman said...

> I get to support local farmers.

What do you have against remote farmers? I thought that poor and brown was a good thing?

garage mahal said...


The political class you think should be making decisions for all of us, provided they be Team Blue.


There is not one Democrat in the Legislature that supports this bill. only Republicans.

Just because nitwits like Garage want organic food to be embraced as more nutritious, is not a reason to let him claim that is tru

Except I never made that claim, Einstein.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:There is not one Democrat in the Legislature that supports this bill. only Republicans.

Not THIS bill. But other limitations that Team Blue prefers. Ask these folks.

CSPI's accomplishments include leading the efforts to win passage of laws that require Nutrition Facts on packaged foods (and, later, to include trans fat on those labels), define the term "organic" for foods, and put warning notices on alcoholic beverages. CSPI also conducted eye-popping studies on the nutritional quality of restaurant meals and movie theater popcorn, helped to increase funding for the government's food safety inspections and nutrition and physical activity programs, and spurred new policies in some cities and states to remove soda and junk foods from schools. CSPI also helped New York City adopt the nation's first ordinances to ban trans fat from restaurants and list calorie information on menus and menu boards, and is working with other cities and states on similar measures.

GrandpaMark said...

I want pesticides used on my veggies, helps build anti-bodies.

wyo sis said...

@garage

You may remember our First Lady has changed the foods and amounts that children get in their school lunches whether their parents pay for them or the state pays for them. This is just more of the same and that it's promoted by Republicans doesn't make a bit of difference.

What WOULD change things is reducing or eliminating government payouts to people who can but don't or won't work.
Try to imagine the push back if That were tried.

All your concern for local and organic foods would be more convincing if you recognized that the market is the mechanism for promoting those small businesses not the government. If people make their own money and spend it on things they want the government has no say at all in the kinds of cheese people eat.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

Steak and lobster are quite healthy. If the criteria is healthy food, many expensive foods such as fish, steak and dairy are not all that cheap. Many working poor can't afford some healthy foods either.

Or will the emphasis be on cheap not junk food? Processed foods are cheap and very unhealthy.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Annamarie: Processed foods are cheap and very unhealthy.

Processed foods are NOT cheap. Fill a grocery cart with raw meat, fresh vegetables, flour and eggs and such, you will be amazed at how much you get for your money.

Dozen eggs is about $2.00. Twice as much as one of those tiny bags of Doritos (1.75 oz). A loaf of bread from the bakery costs as much as a 5 lb bag of flour which I can get 5 loaves out of.

garage mahal said...

@Wyo sis
The sponsor of this bill said Michelle Obama would approve of it. You would think that would have stopped this legislation in its tracks.

Gabriel Hanna said...

For the price of a 1.75 oz bag of potato chips you can get a pound or two of potatoes, which will feed you a lot longer.

When you buy processed food you are paying for someone's labor to process it, and their overhead to ship and advertise it.

The payoff is in convenience, and sometimes people like a little bag of potato chips better than they like a whole potato.

LilyBart said...

How about if we make all laws through this street-and-sidewalk approach?

I do understand Ann's point here, but I do find it interesting that there is a problem with obesity in the 'welfare' population much more than a hunger problem. Also, I seem to remember that the government and stores have refused to share information about what, exactly, is being purchased with these benefits. Are they concerned that support for the program would decline if people knew the answer?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage: You would think that would have stopped this legislation in its tracks.

Or you would think that would get the Democrats to support it. It's all so meta. Like when you called it "Big Nanny State Republicanism" you were trying to invoke tribalistic emotions against it, the legislators were invoking Michelle Obama to marshal tribalistic emotions for it.

Neither you nor they meant it. From you it was snide, from them it was dissembling. None of you were honest.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

Gabriel Hanna, processed foods ARE most certainly cheaper than fresh produce and meat. Look at the price on a box of mac and cheese, scalloped potatos, noodles with sauces in boxes and envelopes, etc. Hot dogs, baloney, especially generic brands, very inexpensive.

wyo sis said...

@garage

What you don't seem to get is that big government is neither Democrat or Republican. It government. You can't expect Republicans to reverse all the years that created Big Government. They're part of it too.

What will reverse it is not a party but a value. Republicans give lip service to the value by doing things like this, but they are no more anxious to give up power than Democrats are.

That's why I almost always cite conservative and liberal rather than Republican and Democrat.
The last election firmed it up beautifully in my mind.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

There is far more "junk food" than chips. You are focusing on snack food. That processed crap in cardboard boxes are no better than a bag of chips.

Basta! said...

I've stopped by our local farmers' market a few times, and I generally leave with nothing, since the prices are outrageous, e.g. over $4/lb for apples, $14/lb (yes, you read that right) for blackberries. Of course, everything just HAS to be *organic* too, which self-indulgence/delusion costs.

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

He who pays the piper calls the tune.


Annamarie Albergetti said...

I suspect the healthy foods that this bill is referring to will have to include steak and lobster, so the outrage of the shopper behind the EBT cardholder won't be abated much after all.

garage mahal said...

Like when you called it "Big Nanny State Republicanism" you were trying to invoke tribalistic emotions against it, the legislators were invoking Michelle Obama to marshal tribalistic emotions for it..

No, it was just the latest example of "small government conservative" b.s. we've grown accustomed to here. You just don't like them being called on it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@annamarie:

5 lbs of potatoes: about $2.00
1 box of scalloped potatoes: about $3.00

Poor people have a harder time finding the time and inclination to cook from scratch, and they pay more for their food because of it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage:You just don't like them being called on it.

More than happy to hear them called on it, and I call them on it frequently myself.

If a Democrat originated this bill, you'd be for it, though. Along with all the other regulation you are for.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

It would be pretty easy to draw up a list of luxury foods too. Lobster. The chocolate-covered strawberries that my local H-E-B promotes heavily at Valentine's Day/Mothers' Day are food stamp eligible at 4 berries for $5.49. The cashier asks me every time to purchase a box and I look down at my store-brand oatmeal and 80% lean ground beef and snort derisively.

Of course, I hate the idea of government bureaucrats being paid to sit in cubicles and define good foods/bad foods, but if the public is going to pay for stuff then it goes with the territory that ground rules will have to be established and enforced.

garage mahal said...

If a Democrat originated this bill, you'd be for it, though. Along with all the other regulation you are for.

You really don't have any idea what you're talking about. You think you're smart and insightful but you just aren't.

Gabriel Hanna said...

garage:You think you're smart and insightful but you just aren't.

And yo momma so fat she... probably got some kind of... weight problem.

wyo sis said...

"Poor people have a harder time finding the time and inclination to cook from scratch."

Poor people, of the kind you are talking about don't know how to cook from scratch. That knowledge comes from doing it because you have to or want to. When it's easy to get someone else to cook for you why do it yourself.

I'd bet if government put together a program requiring welfare recipients to take classes on nutrition and healthy cooking there would be an uproar of monumental proportions citing how we are talking down to them or are being racist.

wyo sis said...

Time is NOT something the poor on welfare lack.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

Gabriel Hanna, generic scalloped potaoes run about $1.49 a box. Mac and cheese even less. A 5 pound bag of potatoes $3.99.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@annamarie:Gabriel Hanna, generic scalloped potaoes run about $1.49 a box. Mac and cheese even less. A 5 pound bag of potatoes $3.99.

Depends on where you shop. But 5 pounds of potatoes is a hell of a lot more nutrients and calories than one box of anything, so you are not disproving my point.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

Do you realize that some families in the military receive food assistance too?

Annamarie Albergetti said...

Gabriel, I really had not set out to disprove your point. I'm saying that EBT card holders will still buy crap junk food even if snack foods are disallowed.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

I'll have to read the bill again, but I don't recall it saying anything about disallowing high priced luxury foods, if they are healthy.

John Lynch said...

Just give cash. People find ways to monetize food stamps. Less gov't entanglement, the better.

If we can't give cash, why not? If we can't trust poor people to spend properly then what does that say about poor people? Doesn't that have some policy implications?

This is one of the many big lies that we can't talk about- the responsibility people have for being poor. If it's not their fault, then why limit what they can buy? If it is, why give anything?

wyo sis said...

"This is one of the many big lies that we can't talk about- the responsibility people have for being poor. If it's not their fault, then why limit what they can buy? If it is, why give anything?"

Dog whistle!

Annamarie Albergetti said...

John Lynch, to be poor is tantamount to being lazy and shiftless to some people. I suspect there is a large segment of our society that puts a judgment on being poor and that it's always their fault, no such thing as no fault poverty.

wyo sis said...

Poor mean different things depending on your political inclinations. Not having much money is poor to some people. Not having much ambition or caring much about taking care of things is poor to others.

There is a linkage between them, but it's not necessarily direct. Correlation is not causation.

This has escaped the notice of anyone who has an agenda involving getting reelected. Or maybe it has most surely NOT escaped their notice.

LilyBart said...

John Lynch, to be poor is tantamount to being lazy and shiftless to some people.

There are some who are truly needy, and others who are poor because of they are lazy or have made stupid choices.

Our government doesn't make any distinction - they hand out our money to both groups equally.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I agree with Bob_R's comments at the head of the thread about this.

Yes, the government can attach strings; that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Just because I'm a priest, doesn't mean I'm a bleeding heart about government giveaway programs. But food stamps?

Providing help to ensure people who are poor or out of work can eat is, to my mind, the most basic sort of social safety net.

It's inevitable there will be abuse, I don't know how you avoid it; the price paid in trying to wring all abuse out of the system is to validate yet more snooping and intrusiveness by gov't. Too high a price to pay.

I have a different issue with food stamps: they, like school food programs, our food aid to foreign countries, and even our energy policies, are all driven primarily by the strings pulled by the farm commodity interests.

wyo sis said...

"Just give cash. People find ways to monetize food stamps. Less gov't entanglement, the better."

Great if the cash you give is your own and you chose to give it.

Gahrie said...

Are supermarket owners going to have to hire more staff to be the food police?

Cash registers are already programmed to discriminate between qualifying foods and non-qualifying foods.

Gahrie said...

It's inevitable there will be abuse, I don't know how you avoid it; the price paid in trying to wring all abuse out of the system is to validate yet more snooping and intrusiveness by gov't. Too high a price to pay.

How about returning to a system in which local communities and NGOs are providing food aid, and get the federal government out of it completely?

Gahrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LilyBart said...

Providing help to ensure people who are poor or out of work can eat is, to my mind, the most basic sort of social safety net.

Yes, but I believe private, local charities are best at this sort of work. They are close to the problems and can see how best to help, and are better equipped to spot and deal with fraud and cheats.

The current 'food stamp' program is fraught with fraud and abuse - this is unfair to the people paying for the program.

Gahrie said...

It would be pretty easy to draw up a list of luxury foods too. Lobster

Did you know that at one time lobster was considered poor people's food? It was often prison fare.

Chicken was once consdidered rich people's food.

Basically, chicken and lobster have changed places.

Annamarie Albergetti said...

Mac and cheese 50 cents a box at Capitol Market in Madison. Noodle and sauce packages, 90 cents a package. Cheap junk. I guarantee it will be allowed on the list.

n.n said...
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n.n said...
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n.n said...

Physical and emotional proximity engender accountability through limiting dissociation of risk.

The government is ill suited to provide a safety net without also sponsoring corruption of itself, beneficiaries, and society. It's possible to control progressive corruption, but it cannot be done with a focus on treating symptoms. It also cannot be done through a redistributive change (i.e. involuntary exploitation) model, which does not also have extraordinary controls to ensure accountability of both the provider (i.e. government) and receiver.

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pigpaws said...

The logistics of a program like this would not be a nightmare. WIC has restrictions and is enforced via code. If it's 'not approved', it will tell you so at the cash registers if you can't or won't pay attention to the shelf labels that identify if it's 'WIC approved'.
If you want expensive or crap items that many taxpayers on budgets can't afford, as lobster or wedding cakes or chips, get a job and pay for them yourself.


pigpaws said...

A question for the Father. If the government is 'feeding' the hungry, then what is the Church's job?

By singing the praises and supporting government redistributive 'social justice', the Church begins to make itself irrelevant. The last straw, for me, was when our social justice preaching priest told some students 'OUR' guy won!', meaning Obama. Our guy, the guy who supports abortion up to newborns.

Rusty said...

We've been down this road.
If you want them to eat give them food. If you want them to pay for it give them money, but don't complain when they use the money for something else.
And be thankful if all they're buying is junk food.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Why not get rid of food stamps and just give cash?

Food stamps are a lousy way to help the poor. My family can stockpile food when it's on sale, and move money from the food budget to cover emergencies, if we need to.

People on food stamps are stuck. If their cars break down, they can't opt to cut the grocery budget in order to get a new transmission.

Not every family of the same size has the same food needs. We should eliminate all these vouchers, cut bureaucracy, and just give cash.

Rusty said...

Fr Martin Fox said...
I agree with Bob_R's comments at the head of the thread about this.

Yes, the government can attach strings; that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Just because I'm a priest, doesn't mean I'm a bleeding heart about government giveaway programs. But food stamps?

Providing help to ensure people who are poor or out of work can eat is, to my mind, the most basic sort of social safety net.

And it is a service that religious organizations do so much better than the government.
So here is my idea.
Give the program to the church and have them administer it.

Rusty said...


If I'm paying for your food - I want to have a say.

No. Once you give something to someone it isn't yours anymore. Once you've given it away you no longer have the right to dictate its use.


The State.
"Here is some money. I want you to only use it for food."
The recipient.
"Fuck you. It's mine now"
And that, my friend, is human nature.

Jack Wayne said...

"How about if we make all laws through this street-and-sidewalk approach? Junk food. Junk law. Junk everything!"

Dear Ann, I see your sarcasm. But why? Do you really think our laws are made some other way? Look around and tell me you see any signs of intelligent life in our legislators. As for the people on welfare? Fuck them. Who cares what the Great and Powerful Oz tells them to do? They get money; they have to perform a function. Doesn't matter what the function is. Does it?

rhhardin said...

They'd buy less junk food if you let them buy lottery tickets.

AllenS said...

Since these items are paid for by a debt/credit card, it wouldn't be that difficult to set up a state run web site and list the names of the people who use such cards and what they purchase with them.

Some people, but not all, will make better choices because of the shame angle.

CEO-MMP said...

AJ Lynch said...

CEO :

Hanna is far from being a moron. I I think he has a Phd in something.

And his point is valid: if they have tried for 50 years to prove something they want, in their hearts, to be true but they can't prove it- then it is reasonable to say it is unprovable to date. Just because nitwits like Garage want organic food to be embraced as more nutritious, is not a reason to let him claim that is true."

On the innertubez, everyone has a PhD.
In case you didn't notice, I called garage on his suggestion that welfare pay the extra cost for organic food.
And I'm sorry, but if you link to an article using the sentence "here, the science is settled" (or however he put it) and the first thing the article says is "the science isn't settled"--than I'm going to call bullshit on the article. Even if Palladian or Bags had done it.

Roux said...

If you don't notice those using food stamp cards then you are blind. Non-food items are prohibited so it would be fairly easy to categorize foods. The problem is politicians or bureaucrats setting up the categories and the prohibitions.

I'm sure every food lobby group would want to be on the list. Millions of dollars are at stake.

A better idea is eliminating the SNAP program altogether.

Rusty said...

AllenS said...
Since these items are paid for by a debt/credit card, it wouldn't be that difficult to set up a state run web site and list the names of the people who use such cards and what they purchase with them.

Some people, but not all, will make better choices because of the shame angle.


The people that are using them for their not intended purpose are pretty much enured to shame.
Again. You give them money what the hell did you expect to happen?

Æthelflæd said...

I am concerned that the Law of Unintended Consequences wll kick in, as the govt. has a new mandate to pick winners and losers, and the farmers and food manufacturers jostle, lobby, and compete to get on the list. A new source of corruption.

Marshal said...

Deirdre Mundy said...
Not every family of the same size has the same food needs. We should eliminate all these vouchers, cut bureaucracy, and just give cash.


Cash only works if combined with the will to ignore sob stories after it's wasted. Needless to say we lack that will.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Rusty:

Thanks for the compliment (to churches in general)--and you're right, we almost certainly are better at it.

However, that's with private money.

We all know that if the government is handing charities big chunks of money, strings will be attached. We'll have to hand out condoms with every box of cereal or some such nonsense.

No thanks.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Diedre makes a valid point--but the thing is, this is a program for folks who don't plan, or else for those whose head is, proverbially, barely above water.

LarsPorsena said...

We keep debating the point about what food stamps should buy without ever asking 'why are record numbers of people receiving them'?

Rusty said...

I don't know Father.
You get some of those Sisters running things and people and events will fall in line pretty quick.
I don't know if I fear God, but I'm still afraid of Sister Patricia.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Rusty:

I guess you haven't heard. Religious sisters are mostly a thing of the past. In the past few decades, vocations to religious orders have collapsed, and most of the sisters are near or past retirement.

Thorley Winston said...

We keep debating the point about what food stamps should buy without ever asking 'why are record numbers of people receiving them'?

Population growth plus a concerted effort to make sure that as many people as possible who might be eligible for the program sign up for it.

Thorley Winston said...

I honestly don’t see how anyone can find this controversial. As others have pointed out, we already disallow the use of SNAP to pay for things like tobacco and alcohol so the infrastructure is already in place to add junk food to the list of disallowed items. My personal preference if we’re going to have a taxpayer funded food program would be to make it like WIC where the recipient gets a voucher to enable them to get certain food staples instead of semi-fungible benefits.

Rusty said...

Fr Martin Fox said...
Rusty:

I guess you haven't heard. Religious sisters are mostly a thing of the past. In the past few decades, vocations to religious orders have collapsed, and most of the sisters are near or past retirement.

Aw nuts.