Government Assistance Comes With Strings

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Grady-lady's Avatar
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    Government Assistance Comes With Strings

    First I've heard of this Fl Senate proposal...Mayor Bloomberg tried a similar approach in NYC. Don't think it went anywhere.
    Any thoughts?


    by Linda Chavez

    When it comes to the Nanny State, count me a critic. But I make a distinction between the government improperly sticking its nose where it doesn't belong and government acting as a good steward of my tax dollars. The difference explains why I support a proposal by a conservative state legislator that lets government tell food stamp recipients what they can and cannot buy with government funds. But there are limits to this intrusion.

    In January, Florida state senator Ronda Storms (R) introduced a bill that would limit what items recipients of food stamps could purchase. No longer would they be able to use the program to pay for sodas, chips, candy and other snack food. Liberals screamed discrimination against the poor and some conservatives said Storms was on a slippery slope that would lead to government telling all of us what we can and cannot eat. One Republican colleague dubbed Storms' proposal the "no Twinkie left behind" bill.

    It's time for both sides to take a deep breath. The food stamp program -- a misnomer at this point since most states use a debit card system to provide benefits -- began during the Great Depression. Its purpose was two-fold: to feed the destitute and to provide agricultural subsidies to struggling farmers. As anyone who has ever seen pictures of Dust Bowl refugees from that period can attest, poor people were often emaciated, sometimes starving. Today, the biggest nutritional problem for the poor is that they are overweight, not underweight. The rich are thin and the poor, all too often, obese.

    When individuals are spending their own money to inflict health problems on themselves, there isn't much anyone can do. And a look at statistics on weight in the U.S. shows that a lot of Americans are making bad choices. More than half of all American adults are overweight, and 36 percent are obese, according to the Center for Disease Control. But when some of these people are using other people's money to pay for their bad choices, it's more than a private decision.

    The whole idea behind the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the official name of the food stamps program, is to ensure that the nutritional needs of beneficiaries are being met. A six-pack of sodas and a bag of chips not only don't provide nutrition -- they inflict actual harm. Instead of providing protein and complex carbohydrates, these snacks contain empty calories filled with too much sugar or chemical substitutes, salt and simple carbs that the body transforms into more sugar. And children are especially at risk.

    Storms' bill faces an uphill battle. Republicans are wary of her effort, and Democrats won't do anything to restrict government subsidies to the poor. And even if it were to pass in Florida, it's unclear that a state can impose restrictions on how recipients of a federally funded program spend those benefits. But the principle is important -- and one that conservatives should embrace.

    One of the reasons conservatives are suspicious of government benefits is that they always come with strings attached. If the government is directly paying for your housing, the food on your table or your medical care, it is reasonable to assume the government has some stake in how those funds are spent. The question is: How much of a stake? And how many restrictions can government impose?

    The federal government already restricts many items that can be purchased under the food stamp program: liquor, tobacco, pet food, soap and cleaning products, among them. But the Department of Agriculture has opposed efforts to restrict food stamp purchase of snack and junk foods, claiming that doing so would make the program more cumbersome and wouldn't necessarily encourage most recipients to make better food choices.

    On the latter point, the department says: "Food stamp recipients are no more likely than higher-income consumers to choose foods with little nutritional value." Maybe not, but at least non-beneficiaries are spending their own money to pack on the pounds and will likely pay for the health consequences of their choices out of their own pockets. So long as the taxpayers are paying at both ends, reasonable restrictions make sense.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/linda...ngs/page/full/
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

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  2. #2
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    I whole heartedly agree - Catholic Charities gets over 60% of their funding from the government. They should follow the government's rules or quit taking their money.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sEEkEr's Avatar
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    In January, Florida state senator Ronda Storms (R) introduced a bill that would limit what items recipients of food stamps could purchase.

    C'mon GL, how can the irony of this piece be lost on you....first she denounces the 'nanny' state and then turns 180 degrees and introduces a piece of 'nanny state' legislation....

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mister-Jr's Avatar
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    It seems in light of all the government subsidies and tax credits that are really government spending and that come with no stings attached, she decided to wage class war on the poor. Pitifully sad that anyone would choose to shallow this dribble.

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    I'm all for it. At the Publix near my office where I shop during the day there are a lot of WIC card users. It absolutely amazes me what they buy... decorated cakes - I'm talking the ones you order and customize with little Joey's name and Batman motif - deli made sandwiches and meals to name just a few. ALL COMPLETELY WITHIN THE RULES.

    So yes, further limits on what can be bought are a GREAT idea and I think will be widely supported.

    Along those lines, Chavez couldn't help herself with a little (historically ignorant and incorrect) dig when she said, "Democrats won't do anything to restrict government subsidies to the poor."

    This, of course, is demonstrably false since welfare reforms that "restrict government subsidies" have been instigated and implemented by Democrats and/or with Democratic support in several instances across the country.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sailfish2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arbitrageur View Post
    I'm all for it. At the Publix near my office where I shop during the day there are a lot of WIC card users. It absolutely amazes me what they buy... decorated cakes - I'm talking the ones you order and customize with little Joey's name and Batman motif - deli made sandwiches and meals to name just a few. ALL COMPLETELY WITHIN THE RULES.

    So yes, further limits on what can be bought are a GREAT idea and I think will be widely supported.
    :full
    Hoping for better luck next time......

  7. #7
    Senior Member Grady-lady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hickory Dog View Post
    I whole heartedly agree - Catholic Charities gets over 60% of their funding from the government. They should follow the government's rules or quit taking their money.
    Derail aside...What funding?...reimbursement for treating Medicare and Medicaid patients?

    Seems it's the government changing the rules.
    Be that as it may...If you pay income taxes, you are supporting poor nutritional choices made by folks spending your money...as well as supporting additional health care as a result of those poor choices...all subsidized by you...if you pay income taxes, that is. And when we're all on single payer, except those fortunate 'elite' who can afford boutique health care, how much 'input' on other's lifestyles do you think 'we' should have?
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Mister-Jr's Avatar
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    Wht should I be forced to pay for pastoral housing for tax exempt religious organizations? Why can't I tell them what kind of house to live in? And where it is located?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Grady-lady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sEEkEr View Post
    In January, Florida state senator Ronda Storms (R) introduced a bill that would limit what items recipients of food stamps could purchase.

    C'mon GL, how can the irony of this piece be lost on you....first she denounces the 'nanny' state and then turns 180 degrees and introduces a piece of 'nanny state' legislation....
    :facepalm

    It's too late to close that barn door!...those state 'nannies' have long since escaped.

    Linda Chavez didn't introduce the legislation, she wrote the article. Did you not read it?

    First paragraph:

    'When it comes to the Nanny State, count me a critic. But I make a distinction between the government improperly sticking its nose where it doesn't belong and government acting as a good steward of my tax dollars. The difference explains why I support a proposal by a conservative state legislator that lets government tell food stamp recipients what they can and cannot buy with government funds. But there are limits to this intrusion.'

    State Senator Storms did not institute the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, she is suggesting an amendment to it. Are you of the opinion that our social programs are so without flaw that they never need to be revisited now and then to determine continued efficiency, to reevaluate effectiveness? Are you willing to subsidize poor nutrition?...harmful lifestyle choices?

    Schools are losing soda and snack machines...there are programs to improve the quality and nutrition of school prepared foods...I think our First Lady may be involved in a similar project or two.
    If we must subsidize food for the hungry...it should be healthy food. Let everybody buy the unhealthy stuff with their own money...and pay for the results with their own money. Folks have the right to engage in unhealthy lifestyles, do they also have the right to force others to pay for it?

    What about the rights of the payers?
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

    http://forums.floridasportsman.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=344&dateline=13073685  84

  10. #10
    Senior Member Big Battery's Avatar
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    If the government is to provide food then it should be from government warehouses and in the form of raw food like milk, flour, vegatables, cereal, etc... If those recieving this food dont know how to cook it, then that warehouse should provide cooking classes. Why should tax dollars be spent at retail prices? There are plenty of empty strip malls to setup the food distribution centers or we can use US Post offices. Lets take the profit and abuse out of a system that is designed to help people at the lowest cost. We can use the postal system to deliver it to those that dont have transportation.
    "....once the glitches get worked out." ~gunby31

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