• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Florida Bill Would Ban Food Stamps For ‘Unhealthy’ Food

A bill currently making its way through the Florida legislature would bar the use of food stamps for allegedly unhealthy foods:

Florida’s poor can use food stamps to buy staples like milk, vegetables, fruits and meat. But they can also use them to buy sweets like cakes, cookies and Jell-O and snack foods like chips, something a state senator wants stopped.

Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, also wants to limit other welfare funds, known as Temporary Assistance For Needy Families, from being used at ATMs in casinos and strip clubs and anywhere out of state. The bill comes after reports that the debit cards welfare recipients now receive were used in those places, as well as locations in Las Vegas and the Virgin Islands in a small percentage of cases, but the state does not track what items were purchased.

The bill recently passed a committee. A companion bill in the state House companion is being considered by a subcommittee.

The bill would also require the state to launch a culturally sensitive campaign to educate people about the benefits of a nutritious diet. Supporters say it would help recipients follow healthy eating habits and prevent taxpayer funds from being used to purchase luxury foods like bakery cakes when they can whip up a cheaper box mix.

“Most individuals using public assistance dollars are using the funds to get by and to provide for their families. However, we should do what we can to prevent dollars intended to help Florida’s poorest families from being spent in the wrong places,” Storms said in a statement.

But critics say the government shouldn’t dictate what people eat.

“What I choose to ingest even though I may be on food stamps, that’s at my discretion. I don’t need government telling me what I can and cannot purchase,” said Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, a Pompano Beach Democrat who voted in committee against the bill (SB 1658). She said the bill is demeaning and invasive and she worries the education campaign would imply to “minorities and low-income folks that they’re not intelligent enough to make selections on the foods they want.”

Were it not for the fact that this bill is actually making progress in the legislature, it would be easy to laugh it off as the work of a lone nut legislator, but even then the paternalism here would be hard to miss. As with other, more broad, efforts by government to either ban or heavily tax certain supposedly unhealthy food items, we’re dealing with a group of people who think they know better than the people they serve what is good for them. Not to mention the fact that the proposed law also apparently assumes that people who are food stamps are too stupid to know how to bake things on their own. Perhaps it’s just the fact that they’re too busy to pretend to be Martha Stewart, did anyone give that one any thought?

In any event, this isn’t the first time that a state has tried to utilize the food stamp program to regulate what people eat:

The state Department of Children and Families, which oversees the food stamp program, would have to get federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the bill if it passes, which may be tricky since no other states have been successful. The federal government spent nearly $5 billion last year to help about 3 million Floridians, as an increasing number are relying on the program in a sour economy. The average monthly benefit in the state is about $140 per person, according to the USDA.

In 2004, Gov. Tim Pawlenty tried to make Minnesota’s welfare program the first in the country to ban recipients from buying candy with food stamps, but feds didn’t go for it. Last year, New York City applied for a waiver to restrict the sale of soda and sugary drinks, but that was also denied. Iowa, California and Texas have proposed similar bills in the past two years, but nothing has been passed into law, according to at the National Conference of State Legislators.

The waivers often require cumbersome negotiations with federal officials and, if granted, cannot originally be applied statewide. The USDA requires a control group, meaning it must be started as a pilot program in a few counties, and be evaluated by an outside party, said Sheri Steisel, director of human services policy for NCSL.

So even if this thing does pass the legislature and get signed in to law, there’s no guarantee it will ever get implemented. Here’s an idea though, instead of trying to regulate what people on food stamps eat, maybe the Florida legislature should be concentrating on creating the conditions that make it unnecessary for them to be on food stamps to begin with.

More broadly, though, this is yet another example of the Nanny State attitude that has motivated such actions as the bans on fois gras in Chicago and New York and the continuing calls by some “public health advocates” for excise taxes on sodas and other beverages. More recently, an article in a recent issue of Nature argues that sugar is just as toxic as alcohol and tobacco:

Sugar meets the same criteria for regulation as alcohol, the authors wrote, because it’s unavoidable, there’s potential for abuse, it’s toxic, and it negatively impacts society. They write that sugar is added to so many processed foods that it’s everywhere, and people eat up to 500 calories per day in added sugar alone. Sugar acts on the same areas of the brain as alcohol and tobacco to encourage subsequent intake, they wrote, and it’s toxic because research shows that sugar increases disease risk from factors other than added calories, such as when it disrupts metabolism.

“Many people think that obesity is the root cause of these diseases,” they wrote. But 40 percent of normal-weight people are developing diseases like diabetes, hypertension, lipid problems, heart and liver disease. “Obesity is not the cause; rather, it is a marker.”

That’s why it’s time that the government steps in and regulates sugar in ways similar to tobacco and alcohol, the authors wrote. That includes taxes, age restrictions and other policies to control the distribution of sugar.

“We are now seeing the toxic downside,” co-author and sugar researcher Lustig, a professor of clinical pediatrics at the UCSF Center for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment, told WebMD. “There has to be some sort of societal intervention. We cannot do it on our own because sugar is addictive. Personal intervention is necessary, but not sufficient.”

Dr. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, told HealthPop that she agrees that it’s time for policy changes, since many Americans take in roughly 25 percent of their daily calorie intake through sugar.

“I don’t think people have any idea how many calories they take in when they take in soft drinks – particularly because they are consumed in such large quantities,” Nestle said. She thinks regulation could eventually be possible, since many local governments are already enacting policies to curb sugar in schools or tax sodas.

“If you have enough of those, the federal government can step in.”

Of course it can because Congress and the bureaucrats at the FDA know what’s good for us better than we do. Or at least that’s the attitude that pervades this type of argument. If this kind of study were pointed toward the idea of greater public health education it wouldn’t necessarily be such a bad thing. Teaching the importance of a health diet at a young age is a good thing, after all. But that’s not what they’re talking about, as one of the study co-authors makes clear in a CNN Op-Ed where she calls for “supply side controls” on sugar like taxes on products with sugar, and even setting age limits on the purchase of products with sugar in them. Imagine having to show ID the next time you want to buy a 20-oz bottle of Coke at a 7-11 in the middle of a long road trip. That’s the kind of world these people want, because they think we’re too dumb to make our own decisions.

The idea that sugar, a substance that has been part of human diets for thousands of years is a toxic substance is simply absurd. The idea that sugar itself, or saturated fat or any other single substance is responsible for the obesity problem in this country is absurd. For the most part, obesity has become an issue in modern society because our bodies have not caught up to the sedentary lifestyle and rich diets that life in a 21st Century society makes possible. Considering that it wasn’t too long ago in history that people were worrying about having too little to eat (and that some people in the world still do worry about this), the fact that there are people seriously talking about increasing the power of the state because people eat too much is really kind of silly. The only thing that will change the conditions that these study authors, and the sponsor of the Florida bill, complain of are changes in behavior that come about voluntarily. The heavy hand of the state isn’t going to accomplish anything other than making life more difficult and less enjoyable.

Cookies Image via Shutterstock

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    You’ve got the wrong end of the stick on this one.

    Food aid is not general, economic, assistance. If it was, we’d call it welfare and cut a check.

    No, it is for health maintenance, and so of course it is reasonable to focus it on that goal.

    (Your response seems a bit of a knee jerk, based on your feelings about “food Nazis,” but you misfired, forgetting who is cutting the check and why.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  2. @john personna:

    So then we can just assume that poor people are too stupid to know how to eat right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  3. Ben Wolf says:

    I’m of two minds about this sort of thing. Overconsumption of suger does have deleterious health effects, and what makes education such an uphill fight is that humans are, in fat, programmed to like sweet tastes (as well as the tastes of fat and salt).

    On the other hand I just can’t accept someone telling me or anyone else what to eat, even though I’d love to hit that 300 lb. woman stuffing her face at the buffet over the head. As distasteful as it may be people have a right to be unhealthy slobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  4. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    So then we can just assume that poor people are too stupid to know how to eat right?

    What’s stupid is putting those words in my mouth.

    In fact, I know the opposite is true. The poor usually cook at home and from scratch. If the food aid is for basics, they’ll continue to do that, no problem.

    Survey result: low-income families want to eat healthfully too

    The problem with your rant is that it doesn’t center on these healthy families. They’ll be fine with the program changes.

    You specifically want benefits for the bad eaters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    Actually I agree with Doug on this one. This would be a bridge too far. What makes it doubly ironic is it’s some Republican initiative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  6. john personna says:

    Basically Doug, if the food supplement is for food, you are promoting waste in government spending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. @john personna:

    No I want the government and “public health advocates” to stop trying to control what people eat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  8. Hey Norm says:

    I generally agree with your point…but…I mean…if food stamps can be prohibited from purchasing liquor…why not junk food?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  9. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Well, I suspect that you might prefer the general cash payment as well.

    But my point is that it is “cash” or “food.” If it’s food, there is no contradiction in policing the targeting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  10. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I understand that you want to move this to another discussion. That’s what’s wrong with your editorial.

    It is misapplied.

    This is not about “policing what people eat” it is about “targeting a government program.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. john personna says:

    You guys may not know, but 2-liter bottles of soda now may be purchased with “food” stamps.

    There is absolutely no rational reason for that to be a government benefit. Sugar, in moderation, may be fine, but soda as part of a dollar-impacted food budget cannot be justified.

    If you call it “entertainment” then you better let them use “food” stamps at Blockbuster as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    But my point is that it is “cash” or “food.” If it’s food, there is no contradiction in policing the targeting.

    You’re taking a very Benthamite view. Go and read Hard Times and learn why even the disadvantaged shouldn’t be denied a little color in their lives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. John,

    And yet as the linked article indicates, previous efforts by states to do this have ended in failure because they cannot be justified under existing federal law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  14. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Again, it sounds like you want cash payments.

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I have no idea what federal law requires, but I have no doubt that Coca-Cola hired a lobbyist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    Again, it sounds like you want cash payments.

    You’re changing the terms of the debate. You think it’s ok for busybodies to decide what the poor should eat and nary a soda shall cross their lips. This is a bleakly utilitarian view that should be remedied by reading Hard Times.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. EMRVentures says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I don’t think it’s ironic at all, and I disagree with Doug’s focus on the nanny/nutrition/poor people are dumb angle. As with their pointless and costly effort to implement drug testing for welfare recipients earlier this year, this is motivated simply by the fact that doing something degrading and restrictive to welfare recipients is popular among Florida Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  17. Arrrgh!

    The issue is that cheap unhealthy food is exactly that, cheap and unhealthy, largely because it’s crap and it’s subsidized. make it easier for people to access and afford healthy food and they’ll eat that instead!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  18. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    You’re changing the terms of the debate. You think it’s ok for busybodies to decide what the poor should eat and nary a soda shall cross their lips. This is a bleakly utilitarian view that should be remedied by reading Hard Times.

    This is a great issue, because it shows where I am on the map (aid for the poor, when necessary) and what is to the left of me (that “intangibles” should get a free ride on a food budget).

    It’s amusing that Doug got himself on that side of it. You see, he’s so wary of “the nanny state” that he doesn’t care when the government overspends on food.

    Hell yes, food supplements should be for food.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Here’s an idea though, instead of trying to regulate what people on food stamps eat, maybe the Florida legislature should be concentrating on creating the conditions that make it unnecessary for them to be on food stamps to begin with.

    Are you nuts? Without the ability to boss around and humiliate the poor, how will the wealthy let everyone know who is running the show?
    And as for helping the poor get more money? Go join a drum circle, hippie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  20. john personna says:

    BTW, Joe. You should be able to see that I never said there should not be other assistance, or that there should not be cash assistance.

    I just don’t want other things riding with food. Food aid is specifically targeted at people who are “food insecure.”

    If you have some other group, identify them and aid them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. WR says:

    @Mike Thornton: Actually, the point of this bill has nothing to do with nutrition. It’s about punishing and humiliating the poor, just like making them take drug tests before they collect unemployment checks. It makes the Gradgrinds of the world feel morally superior — sorry, even more morally superior — and allows them to make the lower classes suffer for their failure to be as successful as themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  22. WR says:

    Doug — Although we come at this from different directions, I find myself greatly in agreement with you. I believe you’ve made one error of fact, though. The efforts to ban foie gras — and I’m not arguing in favor, just setting the record straight — have nothing to do with its nutritional qualities. It’s all about animal cruelty issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  23. David M says:

    I have no problem saying you can’t use food stamps to purchase alcohol, but I think trying stop the purchases of pop or chips isn’t the right thing to do. Besides, is it really a problem worth worrying about? I have a hard time believing people on food stamps are blowing it all on candy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. john personna says:

    @David M:

    I think people who need the food stamps are spending them wisely. The problem (waste) probably comes at the margin, in the group who could use them or drop them.

    See, the thing I find really odd about the liberal position is that it isn’t that much about the really poor. They need food, and they’ll buy food.

    You’ve got to have extra in your overall budget to buy frills. Some are making a contrary argument that the poorest are the ones who need the frills.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    This is a great issue, because it shows where I am on the map (aid for the poor, when necessary)

    Just so long as they don’t enjoy it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  26. john personna says:

    (Actually both right (Doug) and left are defending the wrong people. If food stamps are for food, food stamps for food are all you need.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Lots of great food here, Joe:

    Poor Girl Eats Well

    I bet everything she buys in her $25 shopping cart challenges is in the “real food” category.

    Again, it’s perverse what you are defending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. c.red says:

    My concerns would be more with the price tags – how much is this going to cost to implement? Will this increase the price of the program or cut into the funds that actually go to the needy? How much ‘fraud’, for lack of a better term, are we talking about here? (And, related, will increased bureaucracy be used in a few years to help justify cutting this assistance?) My guesses – a lot, both and very little (and yes.)

    Overall, I can’t imagine that enforcement could possibly be all that effective, so it seems kind of a silly, but Florida has been doing a lot of silly things lately.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. @john personna:

    And of course, you and the “experts” know what’s good for these people better than they do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  30. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    So now you are calling nutrition science “experts”?

    Anti-science much?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. David M says:

    @john personna: Depending on what all people make from scratch and how closely they watch for sales, they can probably make their food stamps stretch a lot further than others. If they can do this, why shouldn’t they be able to spend it as they see fit? I just don’t see this as an issue worth spending time on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. john personna says:

    @c.red:

    You’ve got the best counter-argument. If a real food list could not be built at low cost, then the plan (sadly) fails cost-benefit analysis.

    That certainly doesn’t make soda “healthy” (Doug), it just makes it an acceptable overhead to a food program.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    Again, it’s perverse what you are defending.

    I’m defending anything. Just pointing out that your approach to imposing nutritional standards on the poor would meet with the full approval of Jeremy Bentham. In it’s way it’s quite as deplorable as the standard Republican narrative that the poor are the authors of their own misfortune. You wish to give them the means of life but don’t want them to get much enjoyment out it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I’m not defending anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I’d prefer that food stamps be conditioned on drug and alcohol testing, and proof of efforts to obtain gainful employment, rather than trying to micromanage what people on food stamps are able to eat. The former approaches simply are functions of managing taxpayer spending, trying to get legitimate returns on public money investments of funds and insuring that the true dregs of the earth are not allowed further to siphon off scarce public funds for their own amusement. The latter approach, however, I must agree is far too paternalistic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  36. john personna says:

    @David M:

    David, that’s why I started way up top saying “or give cash.”

    If you believe in fully empowering poor people, you would not have any criteria in place at all.

    That would be the “free market” solution ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Jay says:

    I’m with the State of Florida on this one. If you’re going to depend on taxpayers to buy your food for you, then the government–which is taking money from said taxpayers to feed you–has a right to say what you can buy with taxpayer money. Here’s a thought: If people want to buy Doritos, Hostess cakes, and whatever the hell other sweets and junk food they like, no one’s stopping them from using their own money earned from these scarce things called jobs to buy them. Just don’t do it on the taxpayers’ bill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  38. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I’m defending anything. Just pointing out that your approach to imposing nutritional standards on the poor would meet with the full approval of Jeremy Bentham. In it’s way it’s quite as deplorable as the standard Republican narrative that the poor are the authors of their own misfortune. You wish to give them the means of life but don’t want them to get much enjoyment out it.

    Bullshit.

    Affordable Superbowl Party Treats & Tips

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. john personna says:

    Seriously, a lot of you here make the same mistake, equating bad food with good living.

    Good food is actually associated with good living.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  40. @WR: I know that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    Bullshit.

    Yes…well that sounds like a reasoned response to my critique of your latent Benthamism. Btw I found this rather hilarious with it’s images of the single mom fresh from her day at warehouse, hastening home to produce picturesque nouvelle cuisine dishes from healthy ingredients, for her hungry brood.

    Poor Girl Eats Well

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. sam says:

    @Jay:

    I’m with the State of Florida on this one. If you’re going to depend on taxpayers to buy your food for you, then the government–which is taking money from said taxpayers to feed you–has a right to say what you can buy with taxpayer money

    Well, it’s federal, and not state, money that directly pays for the food. The feds and states share state and local admin costs. Which makes me wonder if Florida can pass such legislation, that is, legislation proscribing certain foods. Could this count as a state attempt to preempt federal legislation? That’s generally understood to be a no-no.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Do you hear yourself? We are talking about essentially non-food here, Joe. You are defending the need for non-food for happiness.

    You’re ready to strike out at poor “poor girl” because she tries to hard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. john personna says:

    Man Joe! You’ve done the traditional conservative flip. Good food becomes bad, because it is the alternative to limitless choices.

    This is why in a “nanny state” thread rightists will hate on frozen vegetables or whatever. Why? Because you could have chips!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  45. Brummagem Joe says:

    @sam:

    @Jay:

    I’m with the State of Florida on this one. If you’re going to depend on taxpayers to buy your food for you, then the government–which is taking money from said taxpayers to feed you–has a right to say what you can buy with taxpayer money

    This of course would mean that in lots of other matters where people are taking money form the state then the state has the right to imposei its choices

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  46. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    You’re ready to strike out at poor “poor girl” because she tries to hard.

    Boy you’re getting frantic here….It was just an interesting insight into your lack of realism and general censoriousness in this matter.

    Man Joe! You’ve done the traditional conservative flip. Good food becomes bad, because it is the alternative to limitless choices.

    Now you’re heading off into strawman territory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  47. WR says:

    @Brummagem Joe: No, only people Jay doesn’t like. For instance, you don’t see him demanding drug tests for the executives of banks that got billion dollar bailouts. Because bankers are good. (And white.) Whereas all those nasty welfare cheats are black and brown and figuring out how to steal Jay’s wallet and seduce his sister.

    It’s just the way the conservative mind works.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  48. Herb says:

    “More broadly, though, this is yet another example of the Nanny State attitude that has motivated such actions as the bans on fois gras in Chicago and New York and the continuing calls by some “public health advocates” for excise taxes on sodas and other beverages.”

    Not necessarily…..

    The Foie Gras ban is inspired by animal cruelty concerns. The excise tax stuff is inspired by worries about obesity. This food stamp stuff is inspired by anti-welfare sentiment.

    Does anyone really think that Sen. Ronda Storms is concerned about the waistlines or health of the poor? Or is she concerned about making sure welfare queens can’t buy candybars with “taxpayer money?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  49. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Boy you’re getting frantic here….It was just an interesting insight into your lack of realism and general censoriousness in this matter.

    You wrote:

    Btw I found this rather hilarious with it’s images of the single mom fresh from her day at warehouse, hastening home to produce picturesque nouvelle cuisine dishes from healthy ingredients, for her hungry brood.

    Poor Girl Eats Well

    Tell me how you can make that work. It’s hilarious but you aren’t laughing at someone trying to eat well on a small budget.

    Now you’re heading off into strawman territory.

    You also wrote:

    You wish to give them the means of life but don’t want them to get much enjoyment out it.

    Tell me again how you can’t get enjoyment out of good, healthy, food.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  50. john personna says:

    @Herb:

    Or is she concerned about making sure welfare queens can’t buy candybars with “taxpayer money?”

    It’s kind of postmodern to only worry about intent, and not about health.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. John425 says:

    “…the proposed law also apparently assumes that people who are food stamps are too stupid to know how to bake things on their own. Perhaps it’s just the fact that they’re too busy to pretend to be Martha Stewart, did anyone give that one any thought?”

    Umm, No- someone on food stamps is assumed to be unemployed and should have enough “free” time to learn how to bake a frikken cake for their kids.

    As to the law—why is this a bad law but mandating health insurance AND contraceptives that may be against one’s principles a good thing?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  52. Herb says:

    @john personna: If these items are so unhealthy, they should be banned for everyone not just food stamp recipients. Right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  53. grumpy realist says:

    I find it ironic (but sadly telling) that the person pushing this bill is a Republican, while the person quoted as being against it is a Democrat.

    Smaller gov’t my ass.

    I’m against the bill, by the way. If we’re really worried about good nutrition and don’t-waste-your-money-on-potato-chips, then why don’t we get rid of all the agricultural price supports for corn etc. and provide price support to produce veggies instead? And we could go even further, not have any price supports for agriculture whatsoever and help people plant Victory gardens. I really wish I had any place around here for a garden, grr….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  54. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    Tell me again how you can’t get enjoyment out of good, healthy, food.

    This is not a discussion about good, healthy food. We’re all in favor of motherhood and puppy dogs. Its an examination of the wisdom, practicality and humanity of imposing your diet preferences on those compelled by poverty to have recourse to food stamps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  55. anjin-san says:

    It’s a difficult question. I’m a vegetarian, pretty convinced that meat is bad for you and that the corporations that provide beef, pork, & chicken run on systematic cruelty. Should I be able to impose my beliefs on others?

    The problems with sugar & junk food are very real. My sense though, is that this is about humiliating poor people and giving folks who are borderline white trash someone to look down on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  56. Mike says:

    Our current health care system is a private/public hybrid. The people who eat poorly, exercise infrequently, smoke, and partake in any other risky behavior do not pay the appropriate amount in health insurance premiums to account for their lifetime health care treatment.

    In a country where ~1/3 of all health care costs are from preventable diseases and current childhood obesity rates may result in the youngest generation being the first to not outlive their parents, it might actually beneficial for the government to play a larger role in regulating behavior… to protect the “healthy” types from being burdened with the cost associated with treating the “unhealthy” types.

    Until we move to a totally private system (which will absolutely never happen given our current gridlock and politicians’ need to appeal to interest groups), we’re going to need government involvement in regulating some of our health-related decisions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. Console says:

    Food stamps in lieu of a simple cash transfer are stupid in general and really only exist because of the annoying insecurity of middle class suburbanites. In all reality, food is cheap as hell. But rather then force someone to survive off 20 bucks a week, we just give them a lot of money but force them to spend it only on food. We don’t want them buying Swisher Sweets with the money but we don’t want them to subsist on gruel either.

    The consequence is that you can eat rather good on food stamps. But someone is always going to complain about young bucks buying t-bone steaks or in this case, kids getting some cookies.
    Nothing about this is remotely rational, but vouchers and stamps and such are the price to pay to calm the fears of the middle class that poor people are somehow getting over on them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  58. Console says:

    @John425:

    It’s a bad law because if the objective is health, then it should apply to everyone. Applying it only to people on food stamps really just amounts to being a dick to poor people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  59. Turner says:

    This is a good justification with eliminating the program entirely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  60. Alasdair says:

    I am fascinated as I observe a lot of the folk going down the “It’s humiliating the poor people” pathway projecting their own prejudiced beliefs on others …

    At the same time, I observe others essentially saying “In this economy, does it make sense to enable folk to use Food Stamps for things other than basic food ?” – not flaring judgmental about Food Stamp recipients, yet rather saying “How about we disincentivise abuse ?” …

    I am particularly entertained by

    “What I choose to ingest even though I may be on food stamps, that’s at my discretion. I don’t need government telling me what I can and cannot purchase,” said Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, a Pompano Beach Democrat who voted in committee against the bill (SB 1658).

    – especially by ” I don’t need government telling me what I can and cannot purchase”

    Ms Clarke-Reed is a rara avis, indeed – a non-nanny-state Democrat …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  61. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Gawd, this thread was stupid. I expected as much and shouldn’t have wasted my time.

    @John Personna: A thought from my dad: “the only thing you can get from beating your head against a wall is a flat bloody spot at about the hairline.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Turner:

    There’s always Swift’s modest proposal as a solution to the problem. Lot’s of protein.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. Rob in CT says:

    Hmm. This definitely is a “nanny-state” law. But then food stamps are nanny-state stuff.

    Like some others in this thread, I’m torn. In the end, though, I think I have to (gasp!) agree with the spirit of the proposal – so long as it’s implemented reasonably well.

    Then again, I’d rather junk the whole program and replace it with a cash transfer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. @Just nutha ig’rant cracker:

    One more time with the head …

    @Herb:

    If these items are so unhealthy, they should be banned for everyone not just food stamp recipients. Right?

    Remember that food stamps are targeted benefit for the food insecure. Food insecurity is about nutrition. If you want more than nutrition you are piggy-backing additional benefits on a “food” program.

    I’m sure that’s where left comments are coming from. They want more, rather than food.

    They couch this in constructions such as “oh, if it’s just food in food stamps, that’s oppression!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  65. In case I wasn’t clear there, remember that food stamps now span a wide swath. They start in the very poor and unemployed but serve a lot of working families. Working families have both income and obligations … if you don’t want them limited in what they do with their “food” supplement … say it with me:

    give them cash.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. @Rob in CT:

    Then again, I’d rather junk the whole program and replace it with a cash transfer.

    Cash transfer is most efficient, on all levels. I think the only argument for food targeting is that it self-selects for people who will specifically buy food. Does this person need food or want money? Well, if they take the food, that’s what they needed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. BTW, here’s a serious article:

    Repairing the Safety Net

    Everyone who defended soda and potato chips rather than targeting those gaps … shame on you.

    I quote:

    “Only one in four low-income households that qualify for housing assistance receives it, due to limited funding.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  68. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    Everyone who defended soda and potato chips rather than targeting those gaps … shame on you.

    Back in strawman territory again jp? You keep wanting to make this a debate about the relative merits of junk food and the good stuff and this statement is a fairly typical example of your holier than thou (what was that word you used?… oh yes)….bullshit. No one is suggesting that junk food is nutritionally superior but just defending the right of people to make their own choices (which sometimes maybe faulty). Just as women have a right to choose govt funded abortions or contraceptives so they should have the right to choose nachos and processed cheese over spinach.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. @Brummagem Joe:

    When you act the strawman, I can call you on it.

    lolz, if you want the high ground, stake it out. Don’t go low and then expect praise.

    “You wish to give them the means of life but don’t want them to get much enjoyment out it.”

    That was the low road.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. (I mean just to be clear, you ascribed negative intent, even as said no, I was pointing to a happy life.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    That was the low road.

    Sure jp don’t actually address the issue, just get holier than thou about my bit of mild satire thereby reinforcing the singular appropriateness of the Gradgrindian metaphor contained therein.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. @Brummagem Joe:

    Serious? Did you address the issue there? Or did you just try a “holier than thou?”

    Look, the high ground is this: Let’s get good, healthy, food to everyone who needs it.

    That’s the position you’ve been assaulting. You’ve used variations on the theme, but pretty much your core position has been that no, good, healthy, food is not enough for happiness.

    Of course you feel vulnerable with that argument, and want to put that weakness on me.

    I don’t need to wear it ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. Rob in CT says:

    Let’s get good, healthy, food to everyone who needs it.

    To be fair, doing this involves doing far, far more than tweaking the food stamp program.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. @Rob in CT:

    Sure. A “good, healthy, food to everyone who needs it” program might need vans and drivers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  75. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    Of course you feel vulnerable with that argument, and want to put that weakness on me.

    More strawmen? I haven’t been assaulting anything. The ratio of your comment to mine is probably 5/1 and you’ve been somewhat personally offensive. I’ve clearly stated what I believe the issue to be here and it isn’t the relative merits of junk versus good food however much you flounder around suggesting it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  76. @Brummagem Joe:

    When I pointed to good healthy cheap food, what did you do?

    Yes…well that sounds like a reasoned response to my critique of your latent Benthamism. Btw I found this rather hilarious with it’s images of the single mom fresh from her day at warehouse, hastening home to produce picturesque nouvelle cuisine dishes from healthy ingredients, for her hungry brood.

    Poor Girl Eats Well

    Dude. Seriously? You went there, and then I called bullshit on you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  77. (Joe, you’ve basically backed away from your arguments and just said “but you were mean to me!” Well, if you hadn’t gone there, I probably would not have been.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  78. Reviewing the thread, I’d say this is where you went off the rails:

    “Just so long as they don’t enjoy it!”

    That was just fun, right? It wasn’t a claim of negative intent on my part?

    I was certainly respectful up until that point, just pointing out that if you wanted unrestricted spending, you wanted a cash program.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  79. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    (Joe, you’ve basically backed away from your arguments and just said “but you were mean to me!” Well, if you hadn’t gone there, I probably would not have been.)

    I’ve done no such thing (and I’m getting a little tired of having to respond to rather immature stuff you make up) …..Viz

    1. You’re changing the terms of the debate. You think it’s ok for busybodies to decide what the poor should eat and nary a soda shall cross their lips. This is a bleakly utilitarian view that should be remedied by reading Hard Times.

    2. I’m not defending anything. Just pointing out that your approach to imposing nutritional standards on the poor would meet with the full approval of Jeremy Bentham. In it’s way it’s quite as deplorable as the standard Republican narrative that the poor are the authors of their own misfortune. You wish to give them the means of life but don’t want them to get much enjoyment out it.

    3. You keep wanting to make this a debate about the relative merits of junk food and the good stuff and this statement is a fairly typical example of your holier than thou (what was that word you used?… oh yes)….bullshit. No one is suggesting that junk food is nutritionally superior but just defending the right of people to make their own choices (which sometimes maybe faulty). Just as women have a right to choose govt funded abortions or contraceptives so they should have the right to choose nachos and processed cheese over spinach.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  80. Steve Z says:

    Doug,

    You are mixing issues here. I agree with you that the government should not be getting involved in deciding for us as a group what we can and cannot eat.

    However, when the government provides a handout, I see no problem with placing conditions on it. Do you see a problem with conditioning the receipt of unemployment benefits upon the party receiving them actively engaging in the search for new emlpoyment?

    Specific to the food argument, I see no problem with limiting food stamps to the purchase of healthy foods. Presumably, if we, as taxpayers, are funding the most basic necessity of food, it is highly likely that we are also subsidizing, if not completley paying for the healthcare of these same individuals. Therefore, there is no longer a liberterain argument that people should be able to do whatever they want. If those on food stamps eat in a more unhealthy way than they would if we placed conditions on what food they could purchase, then it is perfectly legitimate to limit their consumption.

    It is a straw man argument to say, “Are the poor to stupid to decide what to eat for themselves?” Nobody is saying that. And I would bet that the same people who are advocating for this law, are NOT the same people advocating for the more universal laws banning foods across the board. You are morely likely to see the libertarian/fiscal conservatives saying, “let me do what I want because it does not affect you, but if you take from the governement, we can place conditions on your receipt of welfare.”

    This is no different than the government saying, you only get highway funds if you cap your speed limit, or we will only let you have government funds at your unveriversity if you allow the ROTC there.

    In short, there is nothing wrong with a government philosophy that says do what you want, but if you want something for the taxpayers, then we can place conditions on it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  81. being used to purchase luxury foods like bakery cakes

    Damn you gilded-society elitists with your fancy-shmancy pre-baked cakes! Damn you!! *shakes fist*

    The Republicans should just stop pussyfooting around an pass the law they really want to pass–banning food stamp recipients from being happy. We can create a Federal Department of Attitude Adjustment that will randomly visit people receiving benefits to evaluate their mental state; any recipients found not being sufficiently morose will be repeatedly kicked in the shins until their day is completely ruined.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  82. Console says:

    @Steve Z:

    You can’t use and ideological framework for one set of rules then discard it for another.

    A) it’s a slippery slope. So why don’t we limit the diets of people eligible for medicare or other people on fixed income like social security? Or anyone that gets a tax credit? How about restrictions on how federal employees or the military should spend their money?

    B) Assuming you take the libertarian position for moral reasons, then why is it magically OK to be libertarian in the situation of food stamps?

    C) assuming you take the libertarian position for practical reasons, just what is it that makes government regulation more practical in this instance? It’s administratively cheaper, and it helps people more if they have less restrictions on what to do with money, no matter where that money came from.

    This is why the argument of “we can” is never a substitute for the argument of “we should.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  83. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    will randomly visit people receiving benefits to evaluate their mental state; any recipients found not being sufficiently morose will be repeatedly kicked in the shins until their day is completely ruined.

    Any relation to Dickens?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  84. Steve Z says:

    Console:

    A) Slippery Slope arguments are stupid. We shouldn’t have a speed limit because it’s just a slippery slope before they push it down to zero. We shouldn’t have an age limit for voting. It’s just a slippery slope …. We shouldn’t do x,y, z, because it could lead to something more. Everything is a slippery slope. We still have to make judgment calls.

    As for social security and medicare and tax credits, philosophically, I would not have them and would instead encourage self-saving and self-insuring and providing welfare to those who need it [Bill Gates does not need medicare and social security]. But since they are in place, I have no problem addressing them. With respect to Social Security and Medicare, (at least in theory) these are forced savings programs where the government has taken your money, because you are deemed to dumb to save it, so that we can spend it/give it back to you when you are old. This why they are separate line items on your paycheck/tax forms. So, they are 100% different from the food stamps situation in that they [should] represent YOUR money. With food stamps, it is the taxpayers giving a gift to the people receiving them, it is not the return of money that the recipient has previously been asked to contribute with the promise of a return. So the comparison of food stamps to social secutiry and medicare does not work.

    As for tax credits, again, I don’t think we should be giving people other taxpayer’s money like that, but once we go down that road, I see no reason for not placing a condition on the benefits if we give them. We do it already. Certain charitable giving is deductible, and some is not, based on an assessment by the government. This is not a credit, but it is the government placing a condition on the receipt of a tax benefit. While I don’t like the idea of a charitable deduction per se, I see no problem with placing conditions on it while we have it. This is all over the tax code. If you do X, we will give you a break here (give you back more of your money). This happens all over government–ALL the time. Talk about a slippery slope. Government is CONSTANTLY placing conditions on the award of federal contracts. For example, you cannot bid for a federal contract unless you have (1) E-Verify in place in many circumstances to verify that your workers are legal, and (2) without an affirmative action program in place. Have you SEEN the Federal Acquisition Regulations?? They are not short!

    B) If you don’t understand the concept that there is a MORAL difference between government interference in your life where you have not asked for anything from the government, and the , then I suggest you re-read my post. This was the whole point!! I am not “magically” liberterain and then not. The underlying situations are different. On the one hand you have people you are not asking for a government handout. They should be able to do what they want if they are not infringing on others. On the other hand, you have people who are asking the taxpayers for a gift, they are necessarily infringin on others because of a forced transfer of their money from them to the recipients of food stamps. There is a clear moral difference between the two. The whole point of my post was to explain that the government should not be telling me what to do or eat, etc. However, when I give someone a gift, it is perfectly moral to place conditions on it.

    C) I don’t think you have enough data to prove that, in the long run, it is cheaper if we let people on food stamps buy whatever they want. Your assumption only takes into account the up front administrative costs, and not the long term healthcare costs (which I explained in my post are mostly going to be borne by the same taxpayers contributing the food stamps). We have a right to place reasonble conditions on behavior that will affect future taxpayer expense. The government has a right to place conditions on the receipt of government (taxpayer) funds. This is not controversial. Those confusing this issue with ther overall issue of paternalism are making a mistake.

    I agree with your last statement, but this is an instance where we should. If you don’t want people telling you to do with their money, then don’t take their money. But if you do, don’t complain when they place reasonable restrictions on it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  85. Leann says:

    I think the whole idea has been given very little thought and is hypocritical.For more on this topic:

    http://leann2800.hubpages.com/hub/No-sweet-for-Food-Stamp-Recipients?done

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  86. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Steve Z:

    You’re cherry picking, but then it’s next to impossible to avoid cherry picking when it comes to restrictions placed on the recipients of government aid. Why for example should the government be able to insist on asset ratios at banks receiving aid but not remuneration. Each case has to be judged on it’s merits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  87. Jay says:

    I’m not sure I believe that people are using food stamps to buy jello, which is the least filling food of all time. Anyway, I sympathize with the idea that we don’t want tax dollars being used to help people, who are supposedly too poor to eat, get fatter or more diabetic.

    BUT…I just don’t trust the legislators with this stuff. The FDA has already found ways to allow large food companies to buy their way out of properly labeling food. I’m sure FL legislators will find ways to make food stamps restrictions a way to funnel more $$ to the orange growers or something.

    On a separate note, I think we have to be careful in citing scientific articles about food policy. There are corners of the scientific community that have, I think, overreached their data in making claims about sugar. If we understood enough about the Pleasure Center to make claims about the relative addictiveness of food vs alcohol, then I imagine we’d have a a drug to block it. Everything that feels good acts on the pleasure center of the brain. Doesn’t mean we should ban them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  88. Steve Z says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Agreed. I think that is the points. Philosophically, it is not immoral to condition receipt of aid on certain behaviors. Each case much be judged on its own merits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  89. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Steve Z:

    Philosophically, it is not immoral to condition receipt of aid on certain behaviors.

    But it’s the exception that proves the rule?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  90. I’m not rained in today, and hiked up the hill for breakfast. I had a healthy and fantastic breakfast burrito: eggs, potatoes, beans, a little chorizo, topped with enchilada sauce and cheese. There was not a non-food food in the mix.

    Somehow I don’t feel diminished. But what does Joe say?

    You keep wanting to make this a debate about the relative merits of junk food and the good stuff and this statement is a fairly typical example of your holier than thou (what was that word you used?… oh yes)….bullshit.

    I mean literally laugh out loud. Be healthy, and happy, and you are just engaging in “holier than thou bullshit.”

    hahahahhaha

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  91. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    Grow up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  92. Drew says:

    Do strip joints take food stamps. Cuz then I’m applying man.

    How about Porsche dealers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  93. jd says:

    There are no bad eaters. Just authoritarian conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  94. Console says:

    @Steve Z:

    With regard to the slippery slope… if the only argument you put forth is “because we can,” then the slippery slope is definitely a valid fear.

    With regard to social security and medicare. The way the program works in reality is that the young pay for the old. There is no such thing as some social security account just waiting for you when you get old. The fact is, my grandmother is spending my money and when I get eligible for social security, I’ll be spending my grandkids money. ou can frame it in terms of an earned benefit, but nothing changes the fact that social security checks come from the currently employed. And I’m not even talking about the people that collect social security because of disability. My brother’s never worked a day in his life and he gets social security.

    Welfare isn’t some different beast. If I end up on welfare at some point in my life you can pretend all you want that I haven’t paid any taxes instead of the fact that I’d be simply using a net that I helped build. But it wouldn’t be true. And there’s no real difference between retirement insurance and placing a bottom floor on income in any other situation.

    So yeah, slippery slope. I don’t think you realize just how shoddy the framework you’re trying to work from is.

    B) That’s still a copout. “Well if the government is going to do it anyways, then we might as well allow them to be as intrusive as we want.” Sorry, but I can’t take a libertarian that thinks that way seriously. Most libertarians want cops around, but they aren’t exactly going to give up the fourth amendment just because they need laws enforced. I’m somewhat sympathetic to libertarians because they find themselves in this whole damned if you do damned if you don’t conundrum a lot. But at the same time, no one forced any of them to try to build policy off an impractical ideology.

    C) No, I don’t have that data. But for a law like this to actually work it would have to do more than what it proposes to do (as Mataconis points out). Not only that, but you’re still only a slippery slope. It’s not like anyone other than rich people can actually afford expensive medical bills. If the problem is healthcare, then the solution is overall regulation of sweets, not some random regulation based on implications and innuendo aimed at a small segment of the population.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  95. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Console:

    With regard to social security and medicare. …..There is no such thing as some social security account just waiting for you when you get old.

    Medicare and SS are totally different situations. And the comment about SS is not accurate. The US public debt totals around 15 trillion. Roughly ten trillion of this is held by bondholders here and abroad and the balance constitutes intergovernmental debt, a large part of this is bonds (IOU’s if you like but that’s what bonds essentially are) held in the SS trust fund. The famous lock box which continues to get topped up with new collections. In some years more is taken out than paid in and in other years the reverse thus adding to the fund and on present calculations it’s solvent til about 2037 and even then could still meet committments at the 80% level. It’s a classic insurance mechanism. Medicare however is funded out of current collections subsidised by government subventions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  96. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Console:

    Btw the real flaw in Steve Z’s argument here is that he says that cases like this can’t be settled on the basis of a general principle but appeals to a general principle in arriving at his view….Viz

    However, when the government provides a handout, I see no problem with placing conditions on it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  97. Console says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Unless the people putting money in that lockbox are the same ones that are going to pay back the treasury, I think my basic point still stands. Social Security isn’t a retirement or a savings account. It’s a transfer of money from working people to non-working people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  98. FWIW, I think it’s a problem with American food culture that we end up with this idea that “good food is elitist” in so many discussions. People on the right and the left can (with a bad starting point) end up arguing that nonsense.

    I recommend Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook

    Jamie Oliver is kind of a kook, but not necessarily in a bad way. His current running TV show, Jamie’s American Road Trip definitely hangs “with the people” and cooks basic but tasty and healthy food.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  99. Just to remind you of what Joe tried to put on me:

    You wish to give them the means of life but don’t want them to get much enjoyment out it.

    When I called bullshit on that, I was being mean, abusive.

    hahhaha

    Watch the “Road Trip,” Joe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  100. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Console: @Console:

    I think my basic point still stands. Social Security isn’t a retirement or a savings account.

    Of course it is. This is basically how all defined benefit pension and many insurance schemes work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  101. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    When I called bullshit on that, I was being mean, abusive.

    hahhaha

    Watch the “Road Trip,” Joe.

    Sigh

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  102. @Brummagem Joe:

    Sigh all you want, buddy. The alternative would be walk back the:

    You wish to give them the means of life but don’t want them to get much enjoyment out it.

    line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  103. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    Not taken your meds this morning Mr Gradgrind?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  104. @Brummagem Joe:

    Dude. You got on the wrong side of this. When I was for nothing but good food, you attacked my motivation. You said I hated on poor people. You said I “don’t want them to get much enjoyment out it.”

    This has sadly now become a test for you. When you say it’s my meds?

    High ground there Joe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  105. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    This has sadly now become a test for you. When you say it’s my meds?

    Obviously not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  106. @Brummagem Joe:

    What a stubborn loser. You won’t admit that I, Poor Girl, Mark Bittman, and Jamie Oliver are about the health and happiness in real food, and that we think it’s good for everyone, rich and poor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  107. Remember, the survey in my first post, way up top, says that “low-income families want to eat healthfully too”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  108. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    You keep wanting to make this a debate about the relative merits of junk food and the good stuff and this statement is a fairly typical example of your holier than thou (what was that word you used?… oh yes)….bullshit. No one is suggesting that junk food is nutritionally superior but just defending the right of people to make their own choices (which sometimes maybe faulty). Just as women have a right to choose govt funded abortions or contraceptives so they should have the right to choose nachos and processed cheese over spinach.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  109. @Brummagem Joe:

    No Joe. You rely in the importance of junk food to make me the big meanie.

    But I just feel sorry for you now, and will leave you alone. You have my pity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  110. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    No Joe. You rely in the importance of junk food to make me the big meanie.

    But I just feel sorry for you now, and will leave you alone. You have my pity.

    Q.E.D.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  111. Ha Nguyen says:

    Usually when I read john persona, he makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, on this issue he is not. Did you read the posting where part of the bill would require the receipent of the aid to purchase CHEAPER alternatives. Not the good stuff, the cheap (possibly, poisoned ala from China) stuff. This is not about forcing healthy alternatives, this is about punishing and lording it over the poor. For instance, my sister-in-law bought very cheap meat from a Chinese grocery store and she and her family got sick afterwards. She had to throw it out.

    So, John, you’re letting your emotions cloud your reading abilities and rational thought processes on this issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  112. Leigh says:

    @Jay: Following that logic to it’s retarded conclusion…
    the state of Fla would then have the right to tell me what medical treatments to accept or deny
    if I receive medicaid or medicare… Let’s keep going…or if I attend public school, they will have the right to control my whole life as they invested in my education… Get the picture?
    The government intrusion will have no stop and it will keep on going until it effects you. Then, small thinker… you will see the error of your ways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  113. Leigh says:

    @Steve Z: why do you assume government has that right? People get grants from the government and never pay back…in fact…how many government backed student loans are in default…let’s go put some restrictions on those people (while they are lobbying for their debt to be able to be bankrupted on)…how about the government backed house loans…let’s go snatch food right out of those people’s mouth…you think that just because the recipient of this particular government money is poor and it is about FOOD…then you assume that right. You just hate poor people and fat people. You want to control their lives…
    It is that simple…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  114. @Ha Nguyen:

    I would agree with you if it were forcing “cheapest bread” or whatever, but I didn’t find that in the top article. It talked about culturally sensitive good food.

    I’m not kidding when I say I eat Pho Ga about once a week. That’s good healthy food. (I’d still be eating the Pho Dac Biet if my cholesterol numbers were lower ;-)

    Originally, up top, Doug asked us to view banning bad food the same as refusing to fund it. Shorter Doug is “If you refuse to buy me chips, that is the same as saying there should be no chips.”

    Joe hears “Mr Gradgrind” saying “here, have roast chicken, garlic potatoes, and your choice of vegetables,” and he responds “no, if you won’t give us soda and chips you hate us all.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  115. BTW, since this is a Florida bill, I will also praise the Cuban Sandwich.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  116. I should have done a more authentic link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  117. Paul says:

    The only reason to disagree with this is because it’s the right wings attempt to gradually kill the social safety net. Your other arguments about not wanting “the poor to get any pleasure out of life” is pathetic, and vacant. You don’t have to try so hard. It would be nice if conservatives would stop at limiting the amount of junk food individuals can buy instead of scrapping it all together, but they won’t stop there, it’s a much broader conspiracy,and the people are just dumb enough to think it will all end after they make this “one little demand” it won’t. Destroying the right wing by any and all means neccessary icluding sabbotage of their funding is the only way you will ever get them to stop. Send viruses to their emails, destroy their livelihoods with malice. If you think I’m wrong, just wait about 10 yrs and watch as the nation becomes colder, and more ruthless as a result of a right wing conservative insurgency. Destroy the right wing using their own propaganda techniques, and by ANY MEANS NECCESSARY before they destroy the country. And no, I’m not joking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0