Last week the WSJ reported on a customer’s purchase of a $41 ice cream birthday cake, on food stamps aka, SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. While there are safeguards in place to prevent the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes, no such provision prevents extravagant purchases on the tax payers’ wallet or even excessively fattening products, like Cajun fried pork rinds. It was also reported this week that SNAP will begin decreasing the rolls of recipients, in an attempt to curb fraud, a welcome step, but what of regulating purchases for legitimate SNAP recipients? Those in poverty are also those with the highest rates of diabetes, and this is no mere coincidence. By failing to exercise controls, the USDA allows the purchase of Ring Dings, $41 birthday cakes, and a cupboard full of questionable products that foster a lifetime of poor eating habits. As Elton John sang over 35 years ago ‘time’s are changin’ now the poor get fat’.
Educating the public on its poor choices with the intent they change those choices is a worthy goal, but removing their ability to make those poor choices is paramount over any concerns of political correctness or outcry they are being micro-managed. NY’s Mayor Bloomberg ignored the outcry of New Yorkers who objected to his efforts to legislate their dietary decisions by outlawing large soda purchases. He doesn’t care, nor should he. He recognizes that we are paying at both ends, to feed the needy and then to undo the damage of an unregulated diet of over 35% of the city’s population, an unaffordable cycle, all the more objectionable because it is government-induced. Bloomberg recognizes the enemy of his constituents, themselves, and is fighting with the right ammo, too bad other leaders/agencies don’t have the courage to follow suit.