Why some legislative-types want to do the shopping for the poor

RTR2RN4PAt least, we can only assume as much, as the discussion about precisely what impoverished people on assistance choose to buy through the SNAP program (formerly food stamps).

The first examination started in 2003 and Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty and junk food, according to this ThinkProgress article, and continues on to today.

Pawlenty’s efforts were unsuccessful. Earlier this year, there was concern (pretend concern, I should say) that food stamp recipients were buying food on cruise ships.

Fraud, while troubling, appears to be relatively rare. But yes! Let’s debate those cruise ship food stamps!

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  1. “[S]ometimes people forget that really [the problem is] the base [SNAP] benefit amount. If we could get that improved, a lot of this would take care of itself.” (Ellen Vollinger/FRAC]

    Just between 2009 and 2011, median food spending by SNAP households decreased by 4.4% due to inflation. (FRAC) Despite that:

    Among programs limited to people with low or modest incomes, SNAP (formerly food stamps) has the greatest poverty-reducing impact, lifting 10.3 million people out of poverty in 2012. SNAP also lifts more Americans out of deep poverty [cash income <50% of FPL] (5.2 million) than any other means-tested program.
    [In 2012 SNAP lifted] lifting 4.9 million children out of poverty. SNAP also lifted more children out of deep poverty — raising 2.1 million children above half the poverty line — than any other program.

    Imagine the combined effect on a troubled economy, as a whole, if some purchase-power parity were extended to SNAP benefits. Cutting benefits and further restrictions on purchasing defeats the whole mission of the program.

    1. “But oppression and inequality are violence in another form.”
      Yup. On target.

      This is also a theme of Bryan Stevenson of the EJI: “The opposite of poverty is not wealth…the opposite of poverty is justice.”

      I do think “market forces” could be…should be…harnessed to ” fund equal education, good-paying jobs, and a good food, health and well-being program for all Americans.” Hayekian “free-market” neoliberalism is what obstructs justice. The two are simply incompatible. Keynesian economics pulled this country of the last socioeconomic shit-hole that threatened American domestic…tranquility. If American capitalists want to save their system, they better change their act.

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