Poor people using food stamps don’t look poor enough; Republicans propose new rules to address concerns
Continuing his party’s laser-like focus on jobs, (Republican) Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman has decided it’s time to reform the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp program (called “FoodShare” in Wisconsin).
As he announced in his recently released public statement, “Time to Reform Food Stamps,” the primary reason behind reform is that the people receiving assistance just don’t look poor enough to be getting help.
“Observations of people who work in food stores indicate that many people who use food stamps do not act as if they are genuinely poor. Routinely top brand names are purchased instead of generics. Some people claiming to be ‘poor’ might even buy cigarettes – or worse – a beer.
One not-poor person even told me that her cousin’s next-door neighbor’s best friend’s husband can tell who is on food stamps and who is not by what’s in their shopping cart: the ‘poor’ people always buy steak and lobster.
I’ve interviewed people who check out people who pay with food stamps and all felt people on food stamps ate better – or at least more costly – than they did. Food stamp recipients must be getting unreported income, or living with someone with income who social services is unaware of, because it’s apparent that something is wrong. Obviously the average monthly benefit of 116.50 for one person – $26.88 a week! – is far in excess of the amount of assistance actually needed.
And then there’s the issue of appearance. These so-called ‘poor’ people redeem their food stamps with hair that’s been washed and combed and while wearing clothing like you or me instead of rags. While I’m not an anti-poor person fanatic, I’ve always felt that if you can spend money on shampoo and new underwear, you’re not poor.
Another big consideration is weight. Lots of people claiming to be ‘poor’ are fat. Just look at them! In America, unlike other countries, the poor are heavier than the population at large. Poor children are twice as likely to be obese as children who are not poor. Obviously if someone is overweight they get enough to eat – why would they need our financial help to buy more food?
The legislature is always under pressure to increase subsidies for dental care for the poor. It would be doing them a favor to reduce help in that area as well. If they have no teeth, they can’t chew. If they can’t chew, they’ll eat less and thus be able to lose some of those extra pounds – so we could cut back on food stamps and dental care, saving precious tax dollars paid by hardworking taxpayers who aren’t sitting around on their keisters all day feeding at the public trough.
Finally, any program conditioned on lack of income has a certain amount of moral hazard connected with it. Insofar as anything goes in these programs it discourages work. It also encourages cheating to get into the program. We all know that a lack of morals is the cause of a lack of money.
As structured, these programs encourage bad dietary choices, encourage sloth, and insult the hard working because we all know the poor don’t work hard. It’s time for a change.
The easiest way to help poor people to higher income levels is to encourage them to look for better-paying jobs by cutting off their assistance. They’ll be better off in the long run.
Please let me know what you think on this issue. Contact me here in Madison 1-888-534-0058, or in any of the following ways:
Madison Address: P.O. Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708-8952
Home Number: 262-338-8061