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Enough help to help - Mark's Journal
Enough help to help
Found out in a conversation last night with a recipient that food stamps these days provide about $400 worth of food on a monthly basis. After a long time when it seemed food stamps would barely provide subsistence levels of food, it's nice to hear there's a realistic level being provided to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to get good meals.

One of the drawbacks to the system in the past has seemed to be that it pushed people toward cheap, unhealthy food, but this sounds as though it allows for at least the possibility of recipients selecting fresh fruits and vegetables, decent quality meats, and more.
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perisoft From: perisoft Date: August 1st, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
To get that $400, AFAIK, you have to be making almost no money. If you have any job at all, you're pretty unlikely to get anything, let alone $400. I think that $400/month is a rarity in the program.
fabunobo From: fabunobo Date: August 1st, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd be interested to see a study about what food stamp recipients actually buy versus your theorizing. Having actually worked as a supermaket cashier for six years, I have my opinions.

I am glad however that they've ceased actually printing food stamp currency as it really just contributed to a black currency market in the underclass. A lot of the people shopping with currency food stamps weren't the original recipients. The original recipients would use them as a discounted currency through others to buy cigarettes, drugs, beer, pay for babysitting, etc. And again, I know because I've seen it done. I've been to parties where food stamps were in the poker prize pile.

But again, public assistance electronic card fraud is rife too. It's just a teensy bit more difficult to get away with. Which I guess is a good thing.

Disclaimer: I am against most forms of public assistance.

Edited at 2008-08-01 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: ddmd Date: August 1st, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I tend to agree. I'd rather see people go out and work than have to be on welfare, food stamps, or other assistance.

In this, I'm more for no government assistance of any kind. Government should govern and people should be given the opportunity to work - take responsibility, you reap a financial award (i.e. a paycheck); opt out and decide to just rely on someone else, you pay the price of poverty.

On the other hand, there are individuals who are genuinely unable to work (ex. physical disability, health issues, and other significant circumstances).

I guess like any system it gets abused by the people who think they can abuse it (and do) and get away with it. The people who genuinely need the assistance are the ones who really lose.

I saw this every day when I was in civilian dental practice - people abused Medicaid as a means to get dental care. If I ever go back into civilian practice (which I plan to retire before I'd ever consider this again), I would not take any form of Medicaid or government-sponsored dental care. Your teeth, you pay for them. I'll fix them, but I expect full fee for service.

Sounds harsh, but until responsibility falls back into the hands of those capable, the system will continue to be abused.

I'd be interested to see how quick people would snap to get jobs if the assistance WAS taken away. I bet motivations would increase.
aregulardyke From: aregulardyke Date: August 1st, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Been There ...

As an individual who, on a couple occasions, has used food stamps, I can say that what they get used *for* is all about education. Sort of.

I, being in the food game, know plenty about helthy food vs. not healthy food. However, a buck doesn't go as far if one is buying healthy food ( be it a FS buck, or a dollar bill ). And $ 400 a month isn't all that much, especially with rising food costs. And hardly NO one gets that much, the amount is income-based. Anyway, I digress. What people buy with their FS are things that will go further - for example, a package of transfat loaded fried chicken, that will feed a family of 4 for a meal vs. a pound of round steak, for the same price, that'll feed maybe 2 people. It's all about calorie density when one is truly poor, people tend to buy foods that make them * feel * full in their tummies, but nutritionally are not sound. So one can educate until the cows come home, but the reality is that even with food stamps, choices available are not always the best.

belindashort From: belindashort Date: August 1st, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
off the subject, but I was on pixel lounge and noticed that the 'about' and 'contact' pages didn't work yet.

My mom is on foodstamps. She uses the foodstamps for meat and vegetables and fruits mostly. She goes to the free food pantries for anything else, like bread, pasta, readymade dinners/frozen foods/etc. She has more food (and good food usually, when she's not acting crazy) than anyone i know.

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