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View Diary: No, food stamps don't cause obesity (206 comments)

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  •  Based on an underlying myth. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mommyof3

    Yes, many unprocessed and unhealthy foods are cheap and easy to buy, fix, eat.

    It is not, however, true that a healthy diet must be expensive.
    One must shop wisely -- and know how to do that -- but healthy eating can be done on a budget.

    It's harder, but a family of four (without babies -- I haven't had to feed a baby in more than a dozen years so I can't really speak to that) can eat well on $15 a day in many parts of the country.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 03:21:45 PM PST

      •  By my calc . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac

        . .  the old rate for a family of for was $668 a month, minus a $34 cut as of now, makes $634 a month = approx $21 a day.

        "We have the habeas corpus act, and we respect it." Dwight D. Eisenhower - November 23, 1953

        by malcolm on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 04:17:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Figures from here . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinotrac, Sychotic1

          "We have the habeas corpus act, and we respect it." Dwight D. Eisenhower - November 23, 1953

          by malcolm on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 04:23:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I can't speak to 'family of 4' on Food Stamps (11+ / 0-)

          since it is not in my experience.  But even to say 'for a family of four' erroneously suggests that a standard  rate per number of people per household exists.  There is no one standard rate per 'household of #'.

          Calculations are made on each household's income vs standard deductible expenses per month, so one 'foursome' household''s Food Stamps would be different from the next.

          As a disabled elder singleton, after the change I am now receiving $.92 per meal.  Horace Boothroyd III posted his current figures in his Nov 1 diary '$21'; he now receives$.62 per meal, if you round up.

          Here's hoping that some actual '4-person households' will speak up here with their actual Food Stamp benefits and some info on how well that feeds their family.

          •  Food stamps are awarded on a sliding scale, and (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OleHippieChick, bewild

            recipients are means-tested.  Most recipients are expected to pay for part of the allotted food budget.

            That said,

            Let's look at my original statement of $15 a day, for a family of four, which is $1.25 a meal.

            I've actually done much better for significant than that with careful shopping and use of leftovers, getting by on $10 a day, which is $0.83 a meal.

            There is one very important asterisk to apply: the per person cost of feeding a family is notably less than the cost per person cost of four people feeding themselves.  Not only do stores sell items in amounts geared for more than one person, but dealing with leftovers, preparation waste, etc is much easier when cooking for an entire family.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 04:43:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  that requires things poor people don't always have (9+ / 0-)

              time to cook--the working poor often have multiple jobs and long commutes

              proper utensils to cook with--have you priced cookware lately?

              a kitchen stove--it's hard to cook on a hot plate, or living in those residential motels

              Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
              Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

              by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 05:19:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  some areas are more expensive than others (5+ / 0-)

              There is no cost of living adjustment.

              In my area, shopping at city supermarkets seems to be about 20-25% more expensive for many items than in the "burbs especially the not-rich burbs farther from the city.

            •  Found: Food Stamp info w example of family of 4 (2+ / 0-)

              Let's inject some reality into this discussion by going -- gasp! -- to the government's food stamp information pages.

              This is really quite helpful for me, because these pages have details I've been trying to pry out of my State's hands for years.

              1. The Eligibility page -- this page describes the allowable gross and net income levels, the standard deductions, then gives an example of calculating net income for a family of four.  It then gives tables showing Maximum Monthly Allotments for both the pre-and post-Nov 1 cuts.  It then takes our imaginary family of four and calculates their food stamp allotment based on pre-cut numbers ($324/mo).  There is other helpful info, such as employment requirements, definitions of 'disabled' and 'elderly', and so on.  A regular compendium on one page.

              Story Problem:  The imaginary family has several deductions.    They have $1,143.5 net monthly income. The current Maximum Family Allotment for 4 people is $632.

              The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment. This is because SNAP households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their resources on food.

              http://www.fns.usda.gov/...

              Net Income   $1.143.5 x .3 = 343.05

              Max Allotment $632 - 343.05 = 288.95/month for 4 people (round up for ease of calculation)

              $289/month times 12, divided by 365 = $9.50/day

              $9.50/ 4 people = $2.37/day/person
              $2.37/3 meals = .79 per meal per person

              These numbers look much more like realistic Food Stamp allotment numbers.

              Other very useful related pages are:

              A Food Stamp eligibility screening tool; you can enter in your own info and get and estimate of what you could receive.  
              http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov/...

              A page leading to a pdf of Standard Utility Allowances:
              http://www.fns.usda.gov/...

              •  You are cheating in your numbers (0+ / 0-)

                The food stamp allotment assumes that the family will bear $340 of the cost, but you do not include the meal allotment.

                That $1143.50 in your net income has already been reduced from gross income by as much as half the cost of shelter (up to $478), and $163 for the standard deductions.

                If the income is earned income, 20% will have been deducted on the assumption that it costs money to work.

                If child care costs are incurred, those may also be deducted.

                In that light, it might not be so onerous to spend $340 out of pocket on food.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 10:15:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  'Cheating' is a strong word, and an insult, (0+ / 0-)

                  therefore HR-worthy.

                  This statement of yours --

                  The food stamp allotment assumes that the family will bear $340 of the cost, but you do not include the meal allotment.
                  -- is unclear to me, but I will address it to the best of my understanding.

                  In your comment, you seem to be using the word 'allotment' to indicate the imaginary family's monthly food stamp amount plus an additional $340 (about 30% of net) you think they have available to spend.  That is not the definition of the term 'Food Stamp allotment', per the USDA's Food Stamp Eligibility page:

                  http://www.fns.usda.gov/...

                  The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment.

                  Several other actual Food Stamp recipients (as well as my self) have made the point here that the very reason to apply for Food Stamps is because you already don't have money for food.  Whatever you or the government may think, people poor enough to need food stamps just do not generally have 30% of their income available for groceries.  

                  My goal in the comment above, which draws so strongly on the Food Stamp Eligibility page, was to introduce fact-based calculations to show that the $15/day that you imagine a Food Stamp family of 4 has to work with is more than they would receive in Food Stamps..  The USDA's own figures have proved me right.

                  In your accusation of 'cheating' you appear to be saying that I ignored deductions this imaginary family might claim, and so somehow falsified the numbers.  If you will look at the Food Stamp Eligibility page under the heading 'Income', you will see a worksheet in which several deductions have been made leading to the net income of $1.143.5 for this imaginary family.   I used this USDA number as the basis for my calculations (whereas you, in your most recent comment, gave rough estimates of deductions and did not include all the deductions the USDA page allows them, once again pulling numbers out of your hat.)

                  In the Food Stamp Eligibility page's 'Benefits' section, tables are shown for the Maximum Monthly Benefit numbers -- amounts that a household with zero income (or with deductions zeroing out net income) might receive -- but in general people do not receive the Maximum.  The Maximum is used as a basis for calculating the Allotment, according to this formula:

                  The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment.
                  The Benefits Tables show both the pre-cut and the post- cut Maximums.  My calculations are based on the post-cut (ie, beginning Nov 1 2013) Maximum for a family of 4 ($632).  I have checked my calculations again, and unless you can point to specific math errors, they are correct.  The USDA's imaginary family of four's post-Nov 1 Food Stamp Allotment would be:

                  Net Income   $1.143.5 x .3 = 343.05
                  Max Allotment $632 - 343.05 = 288.95/month for 4 people (round up for ease of calculation)

                  $289/month times 12, divided by 365 = $9.50/day

                  $9.50/ 4 people = $2.37/day/person
                  $2.37/3 meals = .79 per meal per person

                  Just out of interest, let's look at what happened to the USDA's imaginary family when their Food Stamps Alllotment was cut on Nov 1.  Per the Eligibility page, based on the pre-cut Maximum of $688/month, they were receiving --

                  $668 maximum allotment for 4 - $344 (30% of  
                   net income) = $324, SNAP Allotment for a full month
                  Pre-cut (to Oct 31) - - - - Post-cut (from Nov 1)
                  $324/month . . . . . . . . . . . $289/month -- $35/month lost
                  $10.65/day . . . . . . . . . . . . $9.40/day
                  $2.66 person/day . . . . .  . $2.37/person/day
                  $.89/person/meal . . . . .. . $.79 person/meal

                  If I recollect your original assertion correctly, it went something to the effect of, 'since I used to feed my family of four on $10/day (having high-level skills and sufficient equipment), then a Food Stamp recipient should be able to do it today on $15/day.'  My first reply to you was that $15/day was far more than Food Stamps.  The USDA's own figures have confirmed my assertion.

                  In your other comments, you have said that feeding your family of four on $10/day was hard work, and took a lot of time as well as very skilled application of your knowledge in a very disciplined way.  I believe that.  I also assume that you had adequate transportation, and I believe you mentioned adequate kitchen equipment.

                  Please put yourself back into that time for a moment, as you've just completed another week's meal-planning and budgeting and have just figured out that you will be able to manage to feed your family for the rest of the month.  Now imagine that an Official Person walks in and says, 'Starting next month, you will have to feed your family on $35 less per month.'  You know that every dollar that is coming in is already spent, and there is no way to squeeze out any more money for food.

                  A dime less per meal doesn't sound like much -- until you realize that adds up to ten day's worth of meals for the family that will have to come out of thin air.

                  •  Ah -- I see your point of contention. (0+ / 0-)

                    And yes, if you are making too much money to qualify for more, $10 a day certainly can be more than  food stamps will provide.  But be fair to me -- if you qualify for more, you can get more.  In fact, if you're broke enough you can get more than $20 a day to feed your family of four.  Your blanket statement is just plain wrong.

                    As to my skills -- yes, and that is a very good point.
                    Note that I said it can be done.  I never said it was easy.

                    I think we make a horrible mistake if we don't help people learn how to shop better, to maximize nutrition on a budget, waste less, etc.  I was lucky to have learned some of it from my mother, but also went through a lot of trial and error along the way, and error costs money.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 05:33:11 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Please support your extraordinary claims (0+ / 0-)

                      It is unclear to me how proving that your unsupported assertion of $15/day in Food Stamps is 'unfair' to you.

                      This statement appears to be baseless and needs support --

                      if you qualify for more, you can get more.
                      A 4-person family with less income than the USDA's imaginary family might qualify for more -- if their deductions are high enough to allow for that.  Added medical expenses ( thus additional deductions) could increase a household's amount somewhat, but would also reduce any available cash.  The family situation of the USDA's family will change radically when their small children reach their teen years -- they will lose their substantial child care deduction, thus lowering their allotment while ravenous teenagers increase their food costs.

                      Your statement may be another example of you mistaking your imagination for reality.  The USDA Eligibility page offers all the numbers you would need to run calculations to see if that statement holds water; or maybe you can find an example that supports your claim that 'if you qualify for more, you can get more'.  If you can't support such a statement, you should be more careful to frame your opinions as opinions, and you wishes a wishes; for example, the statement 'I would like to believe that if you qualify for more, you can get more' does not purport to represent fact.

                      This is an extraordinary claim; prove it or rescind it, and please show your math --

                      if you're broke enough you can get more than $20 a day [in Food Stamps] to feed your family of four.
                      And what 'blanket statement' did I make that led you to this? --
                      Your blanket statement is just plain wrong.
                      -- Please spell out the 'blanket statement' you claim I made, and spell out the way(s) in which you think I'm wrong.
                      •  I will never be able to prove anything to you. (0+ / 0-)

                        So it's time to let this charade come to an end.

                        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                        by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 06:57:04 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Using facts might help you prove something (0+ / 0-)

                          although you seem to prefer repeating your favored opinion over and over again, more loudly each time, in hopes that will convince someone.

                          It is, however, surprisingly gracious of you to confess that, in this discussion, you have been playing a 'charade', not arguing in good faith from the facts.

                          On the bright side, however, you now have many more facts about Food Stamp Allotments at your disposal than you did before this discussion began.  You may even want to go back to the link to the USDA's Food Stamp Eligibility Tool link I provided several comments above, and enter the data from the time that you had to endure the hardship of feeding your family of 4 on a meager $10/day.  You might find it conducive to a thoughtful review of your attitudes.

                          Since I have been focusing on facts in this discussion, I have not yet spoken to you about your troubling attitude, expressed in comments like this --

                          I think we make a horrible mistake if we don't help people learn how to shop better, to maximize nutrition on a budget, waste less, etc.
                          Those of us who actually struggle with poverty recognize that kind of statement as a form of poor-bashing which wraps the 'stupid/lazy' meme in a cloak of concern-trolling.  This kind of statement is a kind of bigotry.  I hope you will clear such statements from your vocabulary.
                    •  Your $20/day claim previously rebutted (0+ / 0-)

                      After writing my first response to this comment ( http://www.dailykos.com/... ), I found myself puzzling over the question 'Didn't I already address this $20/ Food Stamp claim?' And the fact is, I had already addressed it, twice.

                      To track my previous responses to your extraordinary claim, we will have to go back to the beginning of this discussion, then return to very near the end.

                      You introduced your 'feed a family of 4 for $15/day' concept here --

                      http://www.dailykos.com/...

                      I replied (with Title only) saying that $15/day was much more than Food Stamp recipients receive.  User 'malcolm' popped in to say --

                      . .  the old rate for a family of for was $668 a month, minus a $34 cut as of now, makes $634 a month = approx $21 a day.

                      http://www.dailykos.com/...

                      I replied, telling malcolm that there was no one set rate for a family of any number because --
                      Calculations are made on each household's income vs standard deductible expenses per month, so one 'foursome' household''s Food Stamps would be different from the next.

                      http://www.dailykos.com/...

                      (Note that I had not found the Food Stamp Eligibility page at this point.  But as that page makes clear, 'malcolm' was using the full amount Maximum Monthly Allotment as the basis for his claim of '$21/month'.)

                      You then re-entered the discussion with your $15/day assertion and received many replies from actual Food Stamp recipients who were attempting to describe reality to you.

                      Later, I found the Food Stamp Eligibility page and used its figures for a family of 4 to show that the USDA's imaginary family would receive $9.50/day.  You replied by saying I was "cheating in my numbers".  ( http://www.dailykos.com/... and ff)

                      In my reply titled ' 'Cheating' is a strong word . . ..', I wrote:

                      In the Food Stamp Eligibility page's 'Benefits' section, tables are shown for the Maximum Monthly Benefit numbers -- amounts that a household with zero income (or with deductions zeroing out net income) might receive -- but in general people do not receive the Maximum.  The Maximum is used as a basis for calculating the Allotment . . ..

                      http://www.dailykos.com/...

                      You then 'doubled down' and raised your $15/day assertion to 'more than $20 a day'as an available Food Stamp Allotment --
                      In fact, if you're broke enough you can get more than $20 a day to feed your family of four.

                      http://www.dailykos.com/...

                      This statement of yours brings your argument back to your supporter 'malcolm's original '$21' statement; both of these 'over $20/day in Food Stamps' statements are based on a misrepresentation of the Maximum Monthly Allotment as an actual amount a family might receive, rather than a kind of 'placeholder' number for use in calculations. The only way a family of 4 could receive $20/day in Food Stamps is if they had " zero income (or with deductions zeroing out net income)"; only in this way could they receive the full Maximum of $324 or $21.77/day.
        •  Your calc based on MAXIMUM allotment (6+ / 0-)

          per the website you link to.  

          Here's how that website describes the Federal level of how things are done --

          How Much Could I Receive?

          Allotments for households in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.

          The amount of benefits the household gets is called an allotment. The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment. This is because SNAP households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their resources on food.

          http://www.fns.usda.gov/...

          Your statement --
          . .  the old rate for a family of for was $668 a month, minus a $34 cut as of now, makes $634 a month = approx $21 a day.
          -- takes the 'maximum monthly allotment' but does not subtract the percentage of net monthly income described above.  Omitting the subtracted percent of net income immediately falsifies your figures, except for families with zero income.

          The missing info here is, of course, what the State Food Stamp offices count as 'net income', and what they use as 'standard deductions' in calculating 'net income'.  (I have not been able to locate these definitions; if you can provide them they will be welcome.)

          •  That would be interesting, but note that my (0+ / 0-)

            $15 a day is about 30% less than that allotment.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 05:03:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What do you base your $15 on? (2+ / 0-)

              Your colleague in arguing for high-living on Food Stmaps at least pointed to a USA  website tha includes actual Food Stamp numbers.  Where did you $15/day (465.25/month) come from?

              •  Having to feed a family of 4 in Illinois while (0+ / 0-)

                unemployed for a very long time.

                I actually did it for closer to $10 for a while.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 05:47:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So your spending $10/day to feed 4 = $15 day (0+ / 0-)

                  assumed Food Stamps for a 4-person household?

                  So, is that the same as pulling the $15 figure out of your hat?

                  •  Umm...no (0+ / 0-)

                    Let's break this down into pieces:

                    My experience was that I could feed my family for about $10 a day.  It took very careful shopping and meal planning to get good healthy meals for that, but it was possible to do.

                    Now -- this next part is critical, so you may wish to go over it a few times:

                    $15 is more than $10.

                    Got that?

                    $15 is more than $10.

                    If I can do it for $10, I can do it for $15.
                    A little better, even. Certainly easier.

                    So -- did you get that?

                    One more time...
                    repeat it slowly if you need to:

                    $15 is more than $10.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 08:00:16 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  When were you doing this? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      CroneWit, Horace Boothroyd III

                      How long ago were you feeding a family of four on $10/day? How old were the kids? Did they have any special dietary needs/restrictions like allergies? How many meals were they eating away from the house? How much was a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk at that time?  

                      Just because you could do it in some random 'when' doesn't mean that everyone, or even the majority can do it NOW for their particular family.

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

                      by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 08:39:46 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Up to about a year ago. (0+ / 0-)

                        If you'll notice, I didn't say it could be done for $10 a day. That was my basis for suggesting it could be done for $15 a day, which is a whopping 50% more.

                        And I didn't say everybody could do it. Special needs are special needs.  No getting around that.

                        But yes, I believe most families (of 4, not of 7 or 8) could do it.  Not in Manhattan.  Not in San Francisco.  Not with an all-mango diet, and certainly not with steaks every day.  Or even beef of any kind.

                        But healthy and nutritious and tasty.

                        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                        by dinotrac on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 08:43:59 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  On what basis do you assume $15/day Food Stamps? (2+ / 0-)

                      Yes, somebody with adequate nutrition info, equipment, and time could reasonably create very nice meals for $15/day for 4 people.  But on what basis do you assume that a family of 4 on Food Stamps gets $15/day?

                      $15/4 = 3.75/day per person
                      $3.75/3meals = 1.25 per person per meal.

                      Yes, nice meals with good nutrition can be prepared on that amount.  What is your basis for assuming that a Food Stamps family of four will have that much to spend?

                      So, do you have a basis for your $15/day, or did you pull it out of your hat?

                      •  Oh, wait: You told us your basis for $15/day (2+ / 0-)

                        when you wrote --

                        My experience was that I could feed my family for about $10 a day.
                        and
                        . . .  $10 a day. That was my basis for suggesting it could be done for $15 a day
                        So you extrapolated from your old experience and pulled the $15/day out of your hat in the sense that your $15/day does not relate in any way to what actual Food Stamp recipients receive.

                        Thanks for helping me clear that up.

                •  maybe you saved money by buying in bulk? (4+ / 0-)

                  I am on SNAP and I am not eating well on my allotment. It may be because groceries are more expensive (large city) than other places.And I CANNOT buy in bulk which I bet you could do with many more mouths to feed.

                  If I buy in bulk I cannot store it because I live in a small apartment. Also, my much smaller monthly allotment it is hard to save up to buy one-time expensive, but ultimately money saving, bulk items.

                  You seem to be basically implying that people on SNAP are whiners or greedy or lazy if they can't buckle down and do what you did. There are a whole lot of reasons why many people might not be able to. We'd have to know you and your life well to perceive any strengths or advantages you may have that others may not.

            •  If you'll hit 'Parent' on my comment, dinotrac (0+ / 0-)

              you'see that the comment of mine you responded to was malcolm's comment above which stated --

              . .  the old rate for a family of for was $668 a month, minus a $34 cut as of now, makes $634 a month = approx $21 a day.
        •  that may be maximum. Doesn't work to say (3+ / 0-)

          "a family of four" as if the rate is fixed. The rate for all "families of four" varies with their income as far as I know.

          My friends are a family of five and they get around $450/month, for example.

      •  Nope. There seems to be some serious (0+ / 0-)

        mythology going on about how stingy food stamps are.

        It's true: If you're a doctor or lawyer or university professor, you will find food stamps to require quite the adjustment.  That's not the same thing as saying you can't eat healthy and well.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 04:35:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't give me that crap. (5+ / 0-)

          I get under $800 per month in disability payments plus the lordly sum of $102 per month in food stamps. If I didn't have a yard and wasn't able to work a small garden by myself (and there's no guarantee I'm going to be capable of doing it next year) I wouldn't be able to get nearly the recommended amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. By that I mean REAL fruits and vegetables, not stuff like canned corn and HFCS saturated fruit cocktail. That garbage exacerbates my inflammation so bad I might as well be shoveling in table sugar.

          So sorry. Impudent me, speaking without being spoken to first. We can eat cake, right?

          Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn

          by Ice Blue on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 05:23:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you don't have decent stores near you, then (0+ / 0-)

            you have a serious problem, but... let's be factual here:

            1.  Is that $102 meant to be your entire food budget?  The food stamp program expects most recipients to contribute money of their own to buying food.

            2.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are very nice.  I get them whenever I can.  They are not, however, essential to a healthy diet.  Most real grocery stores -- not convenience stores -- carry flash frozen fruits without all the crap added to the canned stuff.  Not as nice as fresh.  Absolutely not, but -- can be part of a healthy diet.  Ditto for vegetables.

            Even some fresh fruits -- you could, for example, have a banana a day for about $6.00 a month.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 08:07:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They make $902 a month. Don't you get it? (5+ / 0-)

              Where is the supplemental money supposed to come from?  Do you live on $900 a month.  Pay rent, utilities, medication, TP even.  Really?  The absolute cheapest rent here is $650 a month for a studio.  Why are you arguing?  Seems like most comments think just like the f-ing rich.  That EBT (there are no more food stamps) are plenty.  So let them eat potatoes I guess just like the f-ing Irish.   That worked out really well didn't it.

              We produce enough food to feed every person in the US quite well thank you.  So why don't we?  Duh!  It is a crime against humanity to allow one person in a nation so rich as ours to go hungry.  

              A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

              by YellerDog on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 09:59:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is how Clinton fucked the poor (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FloridaSNMOM, CroneWit, Ice Blue
                Where is the supplemental money supposed to come from?
              •  I think you need your coffee. (0+ / 0-)

                If you object to the food stamp formula, that's fine.
                More than fine, it's reasonable to do.

                $102 a month is probably not enough for one person to live on, The maximum food stamp benefit for a single person is $189, and somebody without special needs can probably eat on that if they're not living in some place like Manhattan or San Francisco.  I add probably because it's easier to feed a family of four on a given per-person amount than to feed a single individual.  Easier to buy meat, take advantage of sales, manage leftovers, just about everything.  My experience has been feeding a family, not an individual.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 08:31:49 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  dinotrac, in what universe can one do this (5+ / 0-)
              The food stamp program expects most recipients to contribute money of their own to buying food.
              if they have very little income?   I'm thinking that after paying for housing/utilities & for items like soap or toilet paper not covered by SNAP, that there is not much of any discretionary income left to go towards food.

              I knew nothing of poverty or aid programs growing up.  Or budgets or living pay cheque to pay cheque.  

              Consequently I was totally unprepared about or for these realities after leaving that childhood lifestyle.  I eventually learned to "budget", carefully plan menus etc.  

              I well recall long ago bursting into tears when I came home from work to discover that the teen sitter had fed self & friends food that represented several meals for my children.  As a newly single mom, that was a very big disaster.  Family far away, me too proud to ask for help & totally clueless about safety nets.  

              Life lesson was I never forgot to remember what that moment felt like.

              And to pay it forward whenever & however I could.

              I also recall feeding a family of 4 on $250 a month-which included sundries such as toilet paper, cleansers, laundry detergent.  In the 1980s-1990s.  Nutritious, balanced meals for $125 every two weeks excluding biggies like holidays or birthdays.

              Coupon queen, menus & careful shopping with no junk food except on a holiday.  A pain in the arse to do then, but to this day I still create a menu to shop for.  Still a pain in the arse to do.

              However, today, there is no way to duplicate what I did in another era for $250 a month.  NO WAY.  

              SNAP benefits need to be increased to reflect the true cost of living, in my opinion.

              Long past time for that to happen & way long past time to focus on what exactly is in the foods we eat in the way of additives, hormones, whatever other weirdness that may be a contributing factor to obesity and other health issues.

              •  I said nothing about wrong, right, sensible or not (0+ / 0-)

                Most people do not get the maximum food stamp benefit.

                But .... check out this link:

                http://www.cbpp.org/...

                Below the table of benefits, it describes the things you can deduct from your income when applying for food stamps.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 08:34:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  *you* don't get to deduct things from your income (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  CroneWit

                  A social worker does it for you. Some will deduct some things, some will deduct others. Some will try to get you the most available, and some will try to get you the least. I've had ours vary by $75 without an income change from one qualification to the next. One worker would count bus passes for everyone, the next would only for the one adult who was working, for example. One would count the internet since we don't pay for a phone line, one would not. In my experience there is no 'set' formula, not really.

                  Family of 5, $149/month of food stamps. We manage, but we have NO extra money, and a lot of months by the end we are going without things. And I stay home and cook, and we walk to and from the store. I buy in bulk, and I shop around for the stores I can get to without a car (and I really contemplate whether using a cab is worth it if a store further out has a good sale).
                  I have a teen ager and a 10 year old, as well as 3 adults. When we first started on food stamps we could get almost 3 weeks of food with what we got (which was higher than now), now we may get 11 days. Prices have gone UP, income has stayed the same, rent and utilities have gone UP, food stamps allotted has come down by about half.

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

                  by FloridaSNMOM on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 10:35:48 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Umm...point without a point. (0+ / 0-)

                    Those are the adjustments to which you are entitled, and they reduce the amount of money that you are required to contribute.

                    You raise one very important point, however:

                    Workers who don't do their jobs properly are a problem with any government (or private) program.  Just as in the private sector, you do yourself a favor by knowing what you are entitled to and making sure you get it.

                    I've noticed the same increase in food prices (though people right here on DK have told me that I'm wrong because some official number or the other doesn't show it). It's part of why I jacked my $10 to $15.  Whether that's a big enough jack, I don't know.  We've moved from Illinois to Texas, and are down to a family of three.  Still learning the new stores.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 11:35:44 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Your link supports my arguments, proves you false (0+ / 0-)

                  and yet you did not provide it, or cite info from that link, in your discussion with me.  Your inclusion of this link here demonstrates that you have full access to Food Stamp facts and are distorting those facts -- to no end that I can see, other than to insult people and win points through bad-faith argumentation.

                •  dinotrac, I know you did not. Just made me think (0+ / 0-)

                  about how some may not have any wiggle room with regards paying for food & necessities like toilet paper not covered by food stamps.

                  While it has been over 35 years since I was in that position (sans food stamps) of food insecurity, I know that if I was suddenly thrust into that position today, I would say the same thing.  

                  Actually, today I would be in worst straits given just the basic costs of living for housing, utilities, petro.....

                  Knowing this, from my current position of the illusion of financial security, it is not a stretch to understand the difficulties for any relying on food stamps.

                  Frankly, I feel that unless everyone truly understands the loop of difficulties faced by those trying to survive without sufficient means to do so, nothing will change for the better.

            •  SNAP benefits ~ MAX (per size) - 30% (of income) (4+ / 0-)

              The assumption is that all of one's dietary needs are met by the max benefit for a given family size (and other qualification category), and that 30% of any income will be spent on food.  Thus someone with $800/mo of income is expected to spend ~$240/mo of cash on food, topped up with the SNAP benefit.  Of course, given that the cash income is too small to support non-food needs for almost anyone who qualifies, folks end up in the position of choosing between food and non-food expenses, and spending less on food than the government says is a typical minimum need.  They can do this in three ways: seeking other food sources (food banks, gardens, family/friends), economizing on cost per calorie (which may reduce food quality), or economizing on calorie count (which may reduce energy for exercise).  None of these are sufficient to bridge the whole gap for everyone, which is part of why we still have food insecurity.

              •  No, not exactly. (0+ / 0-)

                There are various deductions that apply.

                So -- Let's start with $800 month of income.

                We'll presume that it's not earnings income just because minimum wage full-time would yield $1256 per month.  Accordingly, I will not inlcude the 20% earnings deduction and I will not include an child-care deduction.

                That leaves us with a standard deduction of $152, which brings the earnings down to $648.
                There is also a housing deduction -- and I doubt that I have this right, but SNAP assumes you shouldn't spend more than half your income on shelter, but caps the deduction at $478 unless a household member is elderly or disabled ...

                So, let's take the simple case and assume shelter expenses of $500.  

                $500 - (648/2)  = $176, reducing your income to $472.

                The expected contribution in this case would be $157.  If I understand correctly, this person would qualify only for $32.
                A family of 3 in the same circumstances would qualify for $340.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 08:51:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  some people can't. I don't think you understand (5+ / 0-)

          how greatly the amount you might get varies, even with identical "family" sizes. That is a huge one. It isn't logical OR just to conclude as you do with a blanket statement. What is logical is to say "a family on xxx amount of foodstamps could get by". It has to go with the amount people get per month.

          And you are not thinking about the higher grocery costs in larger cities, the difference is often substantial. And that singles and couples can't buy things that spoil in bulk. And that people in apartments can't by in bulk because they can't store it. And they won't have a deep freezer or even a significant regular freezer so that poplular money saving option isn't there. And what about people without access to supermarkets (big problem in cities)? They have to buy at bodegas at inflated prices. Others lack a car or other transport and can't get to where the prices are cheapest. If they are elderly or disabled maybe they can barely get out at all to shop at cheap places. Many elderly and disabled people are on SNAP as you know.

          There are many variables I feel you don't seem to be considering. You simplified how much money people may get to spend and you don't adapt your theory to the variable expenses people have.

          You seemingly don't have enough information to conclude as you do.

        •  Seems to be some serious RW meme-pushing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM

          about how lavish the Food Stamp allotments are, and how poor people on Food Stamps could be living really well if only they weren't so stupid and lazy.

          Well, that and using imaginary numbers to 'prove' their points.

    •  This assumes that healthy foods (11+ / 0-)

      are sold in stores that are accessible to people.

    •  I get twenty two cents a meal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, CroneWit

      I can't even buy a four for a dollar ramen for that.

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