Socialist junk food

So i took a break from my household activities for a short walk to pick up a few things from the neighborhood grocery. The young man (early 20’s) in front of me did one of the things most likely to make me snap in public someday. He pulled out his bridge card to pay for his purchases. Here in Michigan we don’t call them food stamps anymore, today it’s called “the bridge card”.

I’m not afraid of socialized medicine or spending on social programs. For all i know, there might be a socialist trapped inside me trying to get out. Maybe i’m a socialist-libertarian, but i don’t even know if such a thing exists.

Why the scene above pisses me off after the jump…

The young man’s purchases consisted of a 12-pack of Mountain Dew, a box of Hot Pockets and a frozen pizza. Junk food should not be eligible for food stamp purchases. There’s an argument in discussing this situation as it pertains to the inner cities; many of those residents do not have access to much more than convenience store junk food. The situation i saw happened at a rather nice little grocery store.

It has everything that one would need to stock the larder, if slightly higher prices and a more limited selection than other stores. It has an in-house bakery; a produce section; and the best fresh kielbasa this side of my late, great-grandmother. (weird as that is) He could have bought a can of soup, all the things to make a pizza or even one of the cook-yourself pizzas that the store prepares. Lot’s of choices, but it was social spending on the bottom of the barrel crap food.

It probably wouldn’t upset me so much if i wasn’t treated to the sight on a regular basis. At the grocery near my work i’m regularly waiting in line behind obese people using food stamps to buy pop, powdered donuts, chips and all the other things that made them obese in the first place. Then i’ll see them loading all those socialist groceries into a vehicle plastered with Republican bumper stickers.

Freedom isn’t free, but apparently junk food is.

Hey, i’m a libertarian. I don’t care what you eat. I do care that the person who’s on federal food assistance–who almost certainly does not have private health insurance–uses that assistance to purchase junk food. It should be used to purchase actual food, sustenance. All that other stuff should come out of pocket.

Here we are, subsidizing a major contributor to the health care issue that we’re fighting over because we can’t agree on whether it should be subsidized. We could cut long-term health care costs by simply not subsidizing junk food purchases.

I wonder if the Teabaggers would protest for their right to eat powdered donuts on everyone’s dime?

~ by Lex on November 8, 2009.

4 Responses to “Socialist junk food”

  1. Interesting, yes – in our state there are no food restrictions associated with Basic Food (or PC term for food stamps) – but there are some interesting options for spending your BF. You can purchase seeds for a garden and fruit trees. You can also use the BF electronic card for purchases at a farmer’s market.

    If you are a woman with a child under six you qualify for WIC. WIC has VERY specific things you can purchase.

    In addition if you qualify for BF you automatically qualify for the free school lunch program. There is at least fresh fruit and veggies to go with that government surplus cheese sandwich.

    Of course with the BF comes the requirement you be in an approved education program or working at least 20 hours. Guess where folks are hiding out? Yep, in school. I can’t get a student to graduate these days… I started with 14 likely graduates for this winter quarter – so far I have three that might finish.

    Sorry – I think my reply ended up on a different tangent… no one wants to be told what they can eat. That’s why we fat. Now give me that donut.

  2. As i looked into the bridge card…and as it turns out all of this is federally funded with states covering administrative costs…i was surprised by the provision that the card can be used to purchase seeds or starter plants. That’s great. And i know that my friend who’s a seller at the farmer’s market works with the program. That’s also great.

    From what i know of WIC it is a very good program, and one designed so that the user is basically required to do with the funds what the funds are intended to accomplish.

    I certainly don’t want to tell anyone what they can or cannot eat; i’m not a big fan of the new revenue stream called “fat taxes” on junk food. Nor do i have a problem with helping people who are financially constrained (how’s that for a government euphemism?) feed themselves. But i have to wonder why we’re willing to contemplate special taxes on soda, etc. and not look at restructuring the food assistance program. Clearly it can be structured with workable requirements; WIC is the example.

    Or, i have no problem subsidizing my fellow Americans grocery needs. I do have a problem with subsidizing the junk food manufacturers.

    Hmm, it seems that Smith’s invisible hand of rational self-interest might lead people to the conclusion that sticking it out in school is the most rational decision they can make. That’s another side note on all this: i’ve noticed a lot of student age people participating…certainly more than it seemed was common when i was of that age.

    Bad sign that, that our youth is not only burrowing into mountains of debt for the sake of a college education but they also need to live on state assistance during those years.

  3. Mountains of debt and reliance on social services – you bet. Part of why I can’t get some of these students into the workplace is because of their social services. The job market is so flat that what they would earn as a wage isn’t enough to live on (with the debt) but just enough to knock them out of subsidized housing. Students on SSI won’t budge either. It took lawyers to get that benefit – when employers let workers go at will these days – why would you give up that hard won benefit?

    I would agree with you that the food services programs in this country require review.

  4. Our food service programs probably do need review, though we’ve got much bigger fish to fry…

    Like a whole lot of people just scraping by to such a degree that being gainfully employed means being unable to live. Sure, there’s the argument that people should maintain control of their debt load, but every signal in the US says to spend, even if through debt. Our economy is, in fact, dependent on such behavior.

    We’ve got big trouble, and the government’s more worried about making sure that the bankers are taken care of.

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