SNAP – a conundrum

Progress is not as easy to define as we may think. Some would take the view that expanding a program such as SNAP (food stamps) is positive because it helps more people. Others, including me, would say progress is creating an economic environment where fewer people are in need of such programs. Clearly we have not accomplished the later. 

Our government seems not focused on the economic problem, but the nutritional “problem.” HHS is proposing new rules that require stores accepting SNAP to offer a broader array of meats and vegetables. Of course this hurts small stores and chains such as 7Eleven where such foods rarely exist and SNAP buys soda and chips. The idea is to encourage better eating habits. 

If taxpayers are footing the bill, should they have a say in how that money is used?  Would it make sense to limit more of what can be purchased as opposed to creating a greater burden on small businesses? 

More than 45 milĀ­lion peoĀ­ple reĀ­ceived SNAP funds last year, at an avĀ­erĀ­age of $126.83 a month, up from three milĀ­lion peoĀ­ple in 1969 reĀ­ceivĀ­ing $42.82, when adjusted for inĀ­flation. About 265,000 stores reĀ­deem those food stamps. From 2010 to 2015, the perĀ­centĀ­age redeemed at conĀ­venience stores, liquor stores, dollar stores, pharĀ­macies and gas stations nearly doubled to reach 11.6%, or $8 billion, of SNAP funds, acĀ­cordĀ­ing to USDA data. ā€œIt trouĀ­bles me when a place is defacto just a liquor storeā€¦and then I see EBT acĀ­cepted here,ā€ Mr. ConĀ­cannon said, reĀ­ferĀ­ring to SNAP debit cards. Wall Street Journal 6-29-16.

SNAP benefits can be used to purchase all food products, not including: beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco; any nonfood items; vitamins and medicines; foods that will be eaten in the store; or hot foods.

So, SNAP can purchase Starbucks K-cups, caviar, chips, soda, Devil Dogs and all manner of junk food, but it can’t be used to buy a hot roasted chicken, hot foods from a salad bar or a salad bar that will be eaten in the store (many supermarkets have hot and cold bars and places to eat in the store). 

Wouldn’t it be great to see the 45 million receiving SNAP dramatically decrease because it’s not needed? Wouldn’t it be great if the food taxpayers purchased was nutritious and really “food?”


5 replies »

  1. Why doesn’t SNAP permit only buying staples in the first place like beans, eggs, milk, rice, pasta, peanut butter and bread? You will not starve but will be very motivated to get off SNAP. Why should welfare people eat better than a college student trying to pay his own way?

    Most inter cities have areas known as food deserts, that is no supermarkets selling unprepared food. Some places only have the mom and pop junk food stores or the 7/11. I just can’t wait to see what kind of costly program the democrats will come up with when people have no place to use their SNAP.

    If nutrition is the problem then open up soup kitchens. We already pay for free school lunches why not a free meal too after school or work. Is it because they can’t buy what they want or trade the SNAP cards on the black market?


  2. Wouldn’t it be great to see the 45 million receiving SNAP dramatically decrease because it’s not needed? Wouldn’t it be great if the food taxpayers purchased was nutritious and really “food?”

    #1: Sure, but as you indicated, that has not been the focus of Democrats – which seems to be a goal of getting more people on the “crack pipe” of government programs.

    #2: We already have a black market, a secondary market here of somewhere north of $3 Billion, to perhaps as much as $20 or $30 Billion annually. Add $5 Billion that is paid to ineligible people, and you get a sizeable leakage. Limiting what you can buy will likely only increase the black market.

    Finally, note that Rep. Gwen Moore (D – WI) introduced the Top 1% Accountability Act. She wants to drug-test ā€˜top 1%ā€™ earners before approving tax deductions. She says she is fed up with Republicans ā€œcriminalizingā€ poverty – in response to ā€œseveral nationwide efforts by Republicans to drug test social welfare recipients.ā€ She wants the top 1% of earners to piss in a cup before they can itemize their deductions. She believes the tax exemptions/deducxtions for a 1% earner is a tax preference – where, apparently, she doesn’t believe it is a tax preference for the other 54% of Americans who pay income taxes.

    I say, a piss drug test should be required of everyone who interacts with the federal government. We could have a station over at the IRS to collect, or maybe a desk at every post office. We would then have an appeal process – a place to escalate the pissing. We could test every two or three weeks to truly ensure no one has taken illegal drugs. Nothing I would like more than to have a pissing contest over this.


    Clearly SNAP is an inefficient program with inappropriate incentives, and the problems with SNAP, and the comparable (but much larger) fraud in EITC (where money is the only benefit), and other federal government programs targeted at low/no income Americans should be quite apparent to anyone who has common sense and can read.


    • I think we should drug test Congress, the President and all government workers in D.C. Because of all the crap they come up with to waste money on; they must all be on drugs. The problem with all the government programs and agencies, is there is ZERO accountability on how they do any of it.


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