Two New York Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday in order to tell poor people what they can eat and what they cannot. According to Republicans, dictating what food stamp recipients eat is the most important thing in the world even though SNAP benefits barely phase our economy in comparison to the military budget, defense, etc.
Sens. Patty Ritchie (R) and Michael Nozzolio (R) introduced a bill to restrict what food stamp recipients could purchase with their benefits.
Think Progress reports:
Low-income New Yorkers could soon find Big Brother rifling through their grocery carts, if state Sens. Patty Ritchie (R) and Michael Nozzolio (R) have their way.
The two lawmakers have introduced a bill to ban food stamps cards from being used to buy a laundry list of foods, arguing both that poor people are too fat and that they’re currently allowed to enjoy foods that are too tasty.
“At a time when our state and nation are struggling with an obesity epidemic, it is critically important that taxpayer funded programs help low income consumers make wise and healthy food choices,” reads the memo accompanying the bill. “The purpose of SNAP is to promote good nutrition, but current rules allow the purchase of junk food and luxury items like high-end steaks and lobster.”
Oh sure, from the party that hates Mrs. Obama because she promotes eating healthy food and exercising.
Food stamp recipients could no longer purchase sandwiches at bodegas and delis. Under the bill, bottled water, seltzer, ice, honey-roasted nuts, and vegetable seeds or seedlings intended to be planted at home would all be cut off.
What is deemed to be “luxuries” would no longer be covered. No more “high-end steaks and lobster” for you poors! Cheap meat and tap water should be fine. (see: Flint, Michigan, for reasons this is a bad idea).
Oh, but this could go further.
— but there’s no reason to believe the hunt for “luxuries” would stop there. The list of groceries that are exempt from state sales taxes, and that could potentially be targeted by this second stage of the Ritchie and Nozzolio bill, includes staples like baking products, bouillon, cereal, instant breakfast mix, dried fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, all seafood, poultry, and meat products, and all sauces and gravies, the state rules indicate.
Decorated cakes and energy drinks are also specified. “Many of these items aren’t just unhealthy, they’re also expensive,” Ritchie said. “This legislation would not only help low-income families and individuals stretch their food budgets further and promote health and nutrition, it would also protect taxpayers from abuse of a program that’s intended to help those who have fallen on hard times.”
Yay for small government, fiscal Conservatives! To execute such a plan, it would cost taxpayers millions while saving nothing in return. .
According to Raw Story, there are no studies which indicate that food stamp recipients eat unhealthy food, and contrary to what Kansas lawmakers declared, no evidence suggests they’re using food stamps to purchase cruise vacations either.
What would save money is to have our elected officials do their jobs in return for the healthy paychecks afforded to them. We think Ritchie and Nozzolio need to take part in the food stamp challenge — for 6 months. Instead, they will continue to demonize the poor as lobster-eating takers.
Image: New York State Senate.