Food Stamps are for FOOD!
I’ve wanted to scream this out for months now. I work at a dollar store that sells all the basic food stuff that you need in a household. I live in a poor area so probably a third of the customers in the store are on food stamps. I wouldn’t have a problem with that except for the fact that I watch what these people buy. I’ve been there long enough now that I can accurately say, more than three fourths of what these folks buy with food stamps is junk food. Sodas, chips, cookies and candy are the majority of what comes through my line being purchased with food stamps. It is absolutely ludicrous. Oh yes, and did I mention that this is the second most obese state in the country?
Alabama came in third for the most adult diabetes and high blood pressure rates and fifth for physical inactivity. The reports state that poverty and obesity go hand in hand. Well, duh! If you aren’t working and you live on food stamps and all you do is go to the store and buy junk food and go home and sit in front of the television and eat it, you are going to become obese.
There is a simple fix for this in my opinion. Food stamp purchases should be limited to good foods only. No candy or sodas should be allowed to be purchased with them. The POS systems in stores are set up to separate foods from non foods so that the total can be paid for appropriately. It would be easy to change the settings to not allow the purchase of junk food items and it should be done. I don’t mind knowing that my tax dollars are going to help feed people that really need to be fed, but it bothers me a lot to know that it is going to fund someones junk food habits, especially when those habits are leading to obesity which is then going to cause more of a strain on the health care system.
Come on people! And I’m screaming at legislators, this is a simple fix. Is anyone looking at what is purchased with these food stamp cards? The records are all there in the majority of stores. POS systems all over the country keep very detailed records of purchases every day. Look at your own grocery store receipts the next time you shop and you will see that it tells you exactly what you purchased and how you paid for it.
Here are some numbers for you to mull over:
More than 44.5 million Americans received SNAP benefits in March of 2012. That’s an 11% increase from a year ago and nearly 61% higher than the same time four years ago.
Nearly 21 million households are reliant on food stamps.
It cost taxpayers more than $68 billion last year, that’s double the amount in 2007.
Nutrition assistance now accounts for about 67% of the USDA’s budget compared with 26% in 1980.
As I did a bit of research on this, I found that there has been attempts to get the government to limit what can be purchased or not but they continue to say it would be too complicated to decide what can be purchased or cannot. I don’t see where it is really that complicated. Make a decision and that’s that. They used to do it (or maybe still do) with the WIC program. There were certain products that were allowed such as beans, milk, cheese, healthy cereals and so forth. The food stamp program should be the same way.
They say that the government should not be able to dictate what people eat or don’t eat. Well, if the government is paying for it, they should darn well be able to dictate it. And might I remind people that WE are the government. So if I take $20 out of my pocket and give it to you to buy food with, then I expect you to buy food, not a six pack of sodas and a bunch of candy.
Just a little footnote to add: Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken have been trying to get the government to allow Food Stamp purchases in their restaurants. REALLY???? I”m not one to normally get on the soap box about such issues and Lord knows, I don’t think a post on Word Press will really do any good, but this is so out of hand. Food Stamps really should be just for FOOD!