Eat Garbage On Your Own Dime
In 2012, taxpayers shelled out approximately $80 billion to fund the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as "food stamps". The spending on food stamps has tripled in the last ten years and doubled since 2008.
In Wisconsin, around 850,000 people receive some degree of assistance through the FoodShare program.
For today at least, I'm not going to argue that eligibility for the FoodShare program is absurdly generous.
For example, in Wisconsin, eligibility is determined almost exclusively by immediate cash on hand and income. Applicants do not have to include the value of their houses - or their cars - or their retirement accounts - or their life insurance policies.
So, if you have $500,000 in equity in your home, you can get food stamps without taking out a home equity loan. If you have retirement accounts worth $1 million, you can get food stamps without borrowing against your balance. If you have a life insurance policy with a cash value of $100,000, don't worry. Driving a Mercedes-Benz, no problem.
No, I'll save that rant for another day.
What I don't for the life of me though understand is why the government allows you to buy nutritional garbage with taxpayer dollars? Seriously, I thought Michelle Obama cared about what we ate?
Participants in the WIC program receive access to a variety of healthy foods. Unlike WIC however, SNAP recipients can use food stamps to buy junk food, energy drinks, sugared soda, candy, cookies, sweets and pretty much any luxury food item they choose!
To combat this insanity, at least one Wisconsin lawmaker is pushing for limits on what people can buy with their food stamps. Since SNAP is a federal program though, any change would have to come from the federal government.
And Michelle Obama notwithstanding, there doesn't appear to be much political interest in forcing people to make better nutritional choices with taxpayer dollars.
I get that some if the poverty establishment don't like to stigmatize food stamp recipients by telling them what they can and cannot eat. If public money is involved though, it seems more than appropriate. I mean, why should moderate income people who can't afford lobster, t-bones, cookies, cakes and cases of Mountain Dew themselves be paying for the luxury items and junk food of others.
I also understand that some merchants make a fortune selling high mark-up junk food to SNAP recipients. Forcing people to buy things like soup and cereal and vegetables would potentially hurt the bottom line at some of these stores. Too bad.
I really have no problem with making sure the least fortunate among us have access to food. I do have a problem with taxpayers financing junk food binges for those on public assistance.
In other words, I'm okay with billions of dollars for vegetables, fruits, basic meats and bread. If you want to eat garbage though, do it on your own dime!