Big Republican Government Food

New York Republican Wants to Micromanage Food Stamp Recipient Menus

Telling people what to eat is something you would typically expect a Republican to accuse a Democrat of doing, but as far as I know no Democrats have called for micromanaging the menus of food stamp recipients.

New York State Senator Patty Ritchie (R) has introduced legislation that would prohibit food stamp recipients from using their benefits to purchase cake and steak; an impossible proposal for more than one reason.

“Many of these items aren’t just unhealthy, they’re also expensive. This legislation would not only help low-income families and individuals stretch their food budgets further and promote health and nutrition, it would also protect taxpayers from abuse of a program that’s intended to help those who have fallen on hard times.”

Under current law, EBT cards can be used to purchase “non-essential” items—including unhealthy foods like candy, cakes and soda, as well as luxury items, like steak and lobster—that are subject to state and local sales tax.

Given the severe backlash directed at First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy school lunch program, it may or may not come as a shock to see Republicans try to mandate certain nutritional choices. And speaking of which, since when is steak unhealthy? If you know what cut to buy and where to buy it, it may not even be that expensive. Wouldn't this prohibit families from buying a chuck roast? Roast and potatoes is a staple than can feed an entire family with leftovers to spare.

If you're looking for another cost effective cut, I recommend a flat iron cut. Skirt steak is also cheaper than most other cuts and meats and can be used for many things.

But I digress.

Practically speaking, this is a bad idea, but it's also virtually impossible. Nothing would prevent recipients from using cash to purchase steak and, in any event, federal law does not allow for restrictions on what foods SNAP benefits can be used for.

This ridiculous bill is dead on arrival, but we shouldn't take federal law for granted. I have no doubt that a Republican presidential administration backed by a Republican-controlled Congress would amend federal law to allow for such restrictions in the first fiscal year they have control.

There are too many ways a Republican administration could make life much more difficult for everyone to list.

  • Georgie

    I thought it was the Democrats trying to control and ruin everything with “big government”.

    • muselet

      Big Government is bad only when it affects someone who’s likely to be a Republican. If Big Government afflicts the youngs and the poors and the ladybits-havers, well, sucks to be them.


      • Georgie

        So true.

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    The sickening thing about conservatives is they always punch down with sanctimonious glee.
    And these same hypocrites bitch and moan about the First Lady’s message about eating more nutritious foods.

  • muselet

    Would it be ungenerous of me to hypothesize that Patty Ritchie is one of those people who’s seen with their own eyes poor people with shopping carts heaped full of crab legs, filet mignon and Moët, and paying with an EBT card?

    If you asked her, it’s even money she’d claim a supermarket checker told her, “It’s the first of the month. That’s when the Obamamoney gets put on their Obamacards and those people go Obamashopping.” I don’t think she’d go so far as to claim the checker was then dragged away by USDA thugs in jackboots for telling the truth, but I can’t be sure. Those stories do tend to grow in the telling.

    The thought of poors having something to eat other than flavorless gruel enrages some people, who then go out of their way to make the poors’ lives a little more miserable. It’s the only entertainment they ever allow themselves fully to enjoy.

    I invite Patty Ritchie to spend three months on nutritional assistance under the restrictions she’s proposing. I’m not a wagering man, but my five bucks says she wouldn’t make it past day 10.

    (Incidentally, if anyone was curious, I took a peek at the demographics of New York State Senate District 48: the district is 90% white, while the state as a whole is 57.8% white. Draw your own conclusions.)


  • ninjaf

    Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic while the condition of our infrastructure continues to sail toward an iceberg.