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View Diary: Want More Stimulus? Expand the Food Stamp Program (111 comments)

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  •  When I saw the title of this diary, I first (4+ / 0-)

    thought this was exactly the type of expansion proposed:

    they'll spend it on cigarettes and beer and drugs
    after all, most of those things are made right here in the USA and would also have a good multiplier effect economically speaking.
    •  doesn't help the kids much, though, does it? (5+ / 0-)

      If you really don't believe  there are parents who would spend cash on cigs and booze before food for their kids, well.. I've got a bridge in Brooklyn you may be interested in.. cheap!

      •  This diary wasn't about helping kids, it (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, Calamity Jean, LSophia, kyril

        was about economic stimulus.

        And guess what, I was in Canada - a country that is full of the dumbest dumbasses on the planet (how else do you explain Terry Jacks, Celine Dion, constant hockey riots, etc etc) - and they give $$s directly to their recipient of government aid.

        Seriously, if it works there, I refuse to believe that people here are worse and less responsible.  It just isn't possible.

        •  People in the US have a lot more crap to buy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gorette, jakebob

          and marketed to them. I would wager that nowhere else in the world are the temptations to buy unnecessary stuff so in-your-face.

          •  Have you been to Japan or Hong Kong? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril
            •  No but I'm very famliar with the genre of (3+ / 0-)

              advertising, and I have to say that louder doesn't necessarily translate into "more" and the culture to whom you're speaking to matters as well. You can't buy all that much stuff when you live in a shoebox in HK.

              •  Just curious - just how much beer, cigarettes (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril

                and drugs did you have in mind such that they won't fit into the shoe-boxed size apartment?

                •  I thought we weren't assuming they would buy (2+ / 0-)

                  that sort of thing with cash vs. SNAP? Not sure where you're going with this. I don't assume that the cash would be misused for beer as much as I assume they could be talked into "needing" a satellite dish or predatory crap life insurance policy or the latest exercise ball.

                  •  If you follow this subthread all the way up (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyril

                    or maybe jump slightly to the left, I'm pretty sure it's about beer, cigarettes, and/or drugs.

                    e.g, things that will provide economic stimulus to the US economy.

                    But you're totally correct, if these funds might be used for satellite dishes or excercise balls - both of which are totally unlikely to be made domestically - it's best to put the kiboosh on the scheme from the getgo.

                    •  Yeah I'm lost. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Gorette

                      I thought originally you were criticizing the thinking that Americans were too stupid to buy the right things with cash payments. Seems though that you'd rather have them buy cigs/beer because it's at least likely the cash is mostly staying stateside.

                      While I would never deny someone who is working their butt off just to be poor a cold one or a relaxing cigarette, I would guess they should not be priorities over good food.

                •  You do realize food stamps are for non-tax (0+ / 0-)

                  items only, right? I didn't read all the back and forth but this is bugging me.

                  "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

                  by Gorette on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 09:12:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Interesting you've never recommended any (0+ / 0-)

                  comment. Wow. And you've been here a little longer than I have. We both joined in 2005. HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

                  "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

                  by Gorette on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 09:19:37 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I have been to Japan (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              trueblueliberal, LSophia

              The advertising seemed quite similar in Tokyo, not so much in billboards in the smaller cities.

              Then there is the Japanese cultural fascination with food. Really good food. (Mostly, I did take a bite of one popular treat and called it a Japanese Twinkee.) Lots of vegetables, fish, better fats.

              Also the reality that even the middle class lives in shoe box size apartments. Families congregate in restaurants for gatherings (or public parks in good weather) because none have the room to meet in a home. That goes for entertaining friends and coworkers too.

              It isn't just the beer and cigs, that Americans are tempted to buy. Furniture, clothes (yeah, rooms full - at least in many home care patients houses) TV/stereo systems, jewelry, sports/fitness equipment, not to mention hair/nail care.

              "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

              by Ginny in CO on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:52:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  After following this thread, I have to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          trueblueliberal, blueoasis

          agree you totally lost me with Terry Jacks, Celine, etc.

          It isn't so much that people here are worse or whatever. People in Canada don't have to deal with health care expenses, which I don't think are covered by getting the $ directly. Some parents here would be facing the choice of splitting the money for food, medicine, doctor visits.

          America is a different culture altogether. Good, bad or indifferent, there are some things that need different approaches. Trying to get the RW to accept the idea that welfare recipients should get cash for food is a battle not worth fighting.

          The decrease, whatever the %, is quite a disconnect. Fully incomprehensible in the comparison of tax cuts to the wealthy, given the assessments of how poorly the current benefits cover food expenses as it is. Just how much higher a tax rate on the wealth would cover maintaining the food stamp program, or even a sufficient increase?

          We are now hearing that due to the drought, corn yields will be very low, food prices will go up even more. Food stamps are not going to help the farmers much when they can't grow crops.

          The huge problem for children going hungry is the impact on growth and development.

          -The stress interferes with proper brain development in the early years, which cannot be recovered, ever.
          -The pain interferes with learning, setting them back. If it continues for a long enough time, many will never be able to recover in the overall reality of our system: the rich prosper through tax and business subsidies, the poor suffer through lack of reasonable opportunity to work hard enough to succeed. The safety net programs are too little, spread too thin.
          -The inadequate nutrient levels of a food stamp diet only add to the child's growth and development problems. Setting them up for a life time of medical problems.

          These kids are already more prone to environmental diseases in childhood. When they hit middle age, the chronic diseases start developing much earlier than middle or upper classes.

          They become the 1% fodder for dead end, minimum wage jobs, soldiers for wars the 1% profit from, and residents of for profit prisons. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are pretty much limited to a squalid life for this group.
           

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:34:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ummm yeah right (12+ / 0-)

        but the same people that bitch and moan about parents with poor priorities as heads of households also bitch that access to birth control and safe legal abortions should not be allowed. So they don't get it both ways do they? Make sure people have kids and then cry about the lousy parenting skills is stupid.

        But by all means, let's hear Americans complain about the cost of food stamps and force cuts on poor people in these hard times. They would rather shit all over poor people then insist the well off return to modest tax rates.

        -7.5 -7.28, A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond.-Don Van Vliet

        by Blueslide on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 07:19:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hear hear. (5+ / 0-)

          Cut government programs and then complain that the programs don't work.

          •  Make it really hard to get contraceptives (7+ / 0-)

            then complain poor people have too many kids.

            •  or eat cheap bad food (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              trueblueliberal, LSophia, blueoasis, kyril

              that tends to make them obese. There is also the fact that really poor people do not have access to good affordable stores or nutritional education. Kids especially are bombarded with ads via the TV of sugar laden crap passed off as food.

              When I was young desperately poor and had tiny kids I received food from the government not stamps but welfare food. It was horrible nasty toxic food, the worst being generic cans that said MEAT on the label. Even the dog refused to eat whatever it was. I was a vegetarian health food nut and when they switched to food stamps I was thrilled.

               It was great it allowed me to feed us healthy and I had enough money left from my meager pay checks to buy toilet paper, roll your own tobacco and an occasional bottle of wine. Also enough gas to get to the welfare office to get my grilling and certification abuse. Why punish low income people for their vices?  

              They are after all like everybody else human's and diverse. If you are living on this level your likely to need a drink now and then. Why dictate to them what they can and can't do. God knows they are certainly limited by their plight in this vicious society that loves to punish and thinks that poverty is a crime or a matter of 'bad choices'. Like these people have any choices and the few they do have are withheld cause they should suffer sober and tobacco free.          

              •  I don't believe we should subsidize any vices. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dr Swig Mcjigger, kyril

                But I also don't believe it's often worth the extra time and expense to make sure funds to support the poor are not misused.

                Before you get really really angry, I'm sure you would agree that:

                1. We should dictate that no funds used to bail out companies be used for any bonuses, executive recreation, or other fringe benefits for the white collars

                2. That SNAP benefits not be able to be used at McD's, BK, etc.

                •  Easy to say that Snap (6+ / 0-)

                  should not go to buy prepared meals of any sort, or just of the places you look down on.

                  A lot of poor people live in housing situations that do not permit them to store or prepare ingredients. If you don't have a refrigerator or a microwave, and your landlord does not permit you to keep food in the room, it's pretty limiting what your diet will consist of.

                  •  They're dying either way then. (3+ / 0-)

                    I can see why it would be a problem for poor folks who live in food deserts, but the % of people who are so poor that even on assistance they cannot afford housing that will allow them to have a microwave or any food (canned?) in their spaces has to be extremely small.

                    Can you give some examples of folks who are too poor to afford an apartment or other private situation that can at least provide a microwave and/or outlets for a griddle, but cannot qualify for housing benefits? And %'s?

                    I know people will eat crap to fill their bellies, but it's not the long-term solution for sure.

                    •  The long term solution would be (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Blueslide, LSophia, blueoasis, shaharazade

                      Universal Healthcare, a mandated-by-law living wage (not just a minimum wage), getting the homeless off the street and into houses/shelters/institutions where they can have support and treatment if necessary for their physical and mental disabilities, and a social safety net that does not allow people to fall through the cracks.  If this was the case we would not even be having this conversation about what the poor can and cannot buy.

                    •  Apartments generally require (5+ / 0-)

                      first and last month's rent, plus a security deposit in order to move in.  They may also require a verifiable income that is between 2.5 and 3 times the amount of the rent.

                      I spent three interminable years as an apartment manager, so I know this only too well.  I felt like Satan's secretary, turning some of these people down.  

                      Many poor people cannot get the funds together to get an apartment with an actual kitchen, so they live in motel rooms instead, with coffeemakers, mini-fridges and microwaves.  Plus, they may be working two or three part-time jobs, and don't have the time to shop or cook healthy meals, so they grab the readily available cheap, crappy processed junk for the comfort, taste and fuel.

                    •  Any childless legally-non-disabled adult (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      shaharazade, pale cold

                      who becomes homeless in almost any state will fit your criteria.

                      (That includes people with disabilities that are undiagnosed due to lack of health care, recently diagnosed, or in the 6-18 month paperwork pipeline for SSDI/SSI.)

                      Also, homeless people with children or disabilities will have to survive for several years (I've seen quotes of up to 8 years!) while they're on the waiting list for Section 8 or public housing.

                      but the % of people who are so poor that even on assistance they cannot afford housing that will allow them to have a microwave or any food (canned?) in their spaces has to be extremely small.
                      It's really not. People often overestimate the strength of the social safety net. For people with children or disabilities, it sucks. For childless non-disabled adults, it doesn't exist. Except for food stamps (in some states, and at an absurdly low benefit rate.)

                      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

                      by kyril on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 05:08:09 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  We're talking about two things here: (0+ / 0-)

                        Being literally homeless is different than having housing that doesn't let you have at least a microwave/griddle.

                        I don't want people to starve, but I don't want them poisoning themselves either. Eating shit every day will kill them, and it'll be a bad death, and likely more expensive in ER costs than it would've been to give them a meager housing benefit, or increase in one.

                        Obviously total reform is important, but I'm not sure we should spend money to help people kill themselves in the meantime.

                        •  There's not much distinction (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          shaharazade
                          Being literally homeless is different than having housing that doesn't let you have at least a microwave/griddle.
                          Most people who are "literally homeless" nevertheless sleep indoors most nights. Sometimes even in the same place. Most people who are "literally homeless" don't get counted in homelessness figures...but if you don't have a kid or a disability, you pretty much have to be homeless (or in a living situation that's almost indistinguishable from it) to qualify for more than a nominal amount of food stamp benefits outside the most generous states. The income cutoff is too low to even qualify to lease a room in any coastal city.

                          As for paying for people to kill themselves, that's simply absurd. Malnutrition kills a hell of a lot faster than heart disease.

                          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

                          by kyril on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 05:47:53 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Fast food only is malnutrition. nt (0+ / 0-)
                          •  You can't get fast food (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kyril, shaharazade

                            with food stamps. Not in any state I know about anyway. You can't even get hot prepared food at the deli counter. You can get a deli sub in some states at a grocery store, but not a hot meal.

                            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                            by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:15:06 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Cool, not sure why it was brought up then. nt (0+ / 0-)
                          •  It's a common misconception/talking point (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            GoGoGoEverton, kyril

                            People say "people on food stamps shouldn't be able to buy junk food" and other people assume 'junk food' means fast food. And then it takes off from there.

                            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                            by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:29:46 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  GoGoGo brought it up (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            FloridaSNMOM

                            I'm not sure if GoGoGo is (was) aware that Snap cannot be used to buy meals at fast food establisments when saying people shouldn't be allowed to use them for that. But I personally am ambivalent about it, considering that fast food can be healthier than some of the crap you get at a convenience store.

                          •  I'm not talking yuppie #FWP malnutrition (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            shaharazade

                            I'm talking actual caloric and macronutrient deficiency.

                            When your food source choices, after your soup kitchen meals 2-3 days a week, are a convenience store and a couple of fast food places, you can survive a whole lot longer with free choice among those limited offerings than you could if the only things you could buy were those sad-looking pieces of fruit at the convenience store.

                            "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

                            by kyril on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:20:38 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  Hear, here, hear! They would indeed. (0+ / 0-)

            "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

            by Gorette on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 09:14:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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