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Featured, Money & Power

SRB Among Mayors Looking to Limit Poor People’s Access to Soda

5 Written by: | Wednesday, Jun 19, 2013 10:24am

soda-cans

Eighteen mayors across the country, include our own Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (and as you could probably guess, New York’s Michael Bloomberg) have signed a letter to congressional leaders, requesting that sugary drinks be added to the list of purchases that cannot be made with food stamps.

Now, I get it. We have an obesity epidemic. And public policy changes  may be in order. But opportunistically using food stamps to try to dictate someone’s grocery list is a little offensive, and probably totally futile. My family received food stamps briefly, and it didn’t come close to covering our grocery bill. Which is to say, if there were something that food stamps couldn’t buy, we wouldn’t have gone without it.

I don’t think that poor people are buying soda because they are too stupid to make healthy choices. The fact is that healthy choices are more expensive, and price is just as a much a factor whether you are on assistance or not.

So a more worthy — albeit more difficult — objective would be to make healthy foods affordable.

Leave a Reply

  • Cleo

    I don’t have a problem with this. There is absolutely no nutritional value to soda, so if the purpose of food stamps is to ensure no one starves or is mal-nourished, then why shouldn’t they be limited to the basic food groups. I see too many kids walking to school in the morning drinking a soda, or those little artificially colored sugar waters and eat bags of chips.

  • phonymcringring

    “opportunistically using food stamps to try to dictate someone’s grocery list is a little offensive”
    Using public funds to make yourself an obese diabetic who will need more public money to treat the diseases resulting from your poor diet… that is offensive. Calling it the “Independence Card” is even more offensive.

    “I don’t think that poor people are buying soda because they are too stupid to make healthy choices.”
    Not that they’re too stupid, but simply not educated.

    “The fact is that healthy choices are more expensive”
    That’s just not true. Tap water is cheaper than soda. The $0.99 they spend on a bag of crab chips at 7-11 can buy a pound of chicken breast. The $4.99 they spend on a tv dinner can be used to compliment the chicken breast with rice, beans and vegetables.

    “So a more worthy — albeit more difficult — objective would be to make healthy foods affordable.”
    You mean by giving poor people food stamps?

  • DJN

    If the government is giving you money to buy food then it absolutely has the right, and the obligation, to make sure you buy the best (healthiest) food you can with that money. And if that means limiting what foodstuffs can and can’t be purchased with that money, then I’m 100% for that.

  • PDH

    100% agree with comments below. In my opinion, if you are reliant upon taxpayers to supplement or sustain you financially (because you seemingly are unable to provide for yourself or your family), then you should also be subject to regulations on what you can be purchased with the money given to you. The “independence card” should only be used for basic food groups to provide basic nourishment. Not all healthy food is expensive, compare the prices of convenience, snack food to cheaper and much healthier options, like frozen vegetables, beans, tuna. Soda is not a necessity. Drink water.
    But let’s be honest, this isn’t just about soda. The reason I disagree with this article is because I consistently witness flagrant abuse of the program, and it disgusts me. Take a walk through Lexington market in the beginning or mid-month, and observe the purchases being made with food stamps. Its pretty disheartening to stand in line with someone ordering $15 shrimp salad sandwich and paying with an independence card.



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