Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Column Archive |  On Twitter: J Huget and MisFits  |  Fitness & Nutrition News  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

Is it okay to spend food stamps on soda?

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has raised a stir by asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow the city to prohibit food-stamp recipients from using food stamps to buy sugary drinks such as soda.

The mayor's request for the two-year ban was in keeping with his campaign to combat obesity and diabetes in New York, where both run rampant. The plan would allow officials to observe whether the ban appeared to affect people's health.

Proponents of the measure argue that it would encourage people to use their food stamps to buy more nutritious foods than empty-calorie sodas.

But others argue that such an action would add to the stigma associated with food-stamp use and that efforts to educate food-stamp users about making more nutritious food choices would be a more humane way to proceed.

What do you think? Is it okay for people to use food stamps to buy sodas? Please register your opinion by voting in this morning's poll.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | October 7, 2010; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  Childhood obesity, Health Policy, Nutrition and Fitness, Obesity  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Those darned dense breasts
Next: Is that right? Uncle Ben's whole-grain white rice is really brown?

Comments

DIET soda is a great obesity-fighting food; and I don't know how you'd be able to implement a diet-soda only rule for food stamps.

Posted by: WmarkW | October 7, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

What a smoke screen! SODA IS NOT THE PROBLEM.

The drug makers and diabetes drug makers take in 10 billion$$$$ every year with no cure!!

Food Chemicals are the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis NOT SODA!

The FDA and Drug makers know this and are laughing to the Billionaire$$$ bank!

The food chemicals break the gut(insulin) and this is the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis

A filmmaker has been reversing diabetes and Obesity in now 10 countries and the drug makers do not promote the story

just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

Posted by: healing1 | October 7, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

These funds should go one hundred percent to nutritious foods -- not snack foods, not candy, and definitely not soda.

We are not responsible for satiating the sweet tooth of the poor or providing them party snacks -- instead, use that wasted money to feed more who are in need.

Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains...that's all that should be covered. No Pop-Tarts, no Oreo cookies, no Slim Jims, no Doritos, no Pepsi, no Diet Pepsi. Protestations of the soda lobby aside, this ban is no different than not paying for cigarettes.

We don't have enough to go around at it is, and with the sentiments in the nation today about the deficit, it seems that though we can find enough to continue tax cuts for billionaires, and enough to wage unwinnable wars in insignificant deserts halfway around the planet, we can't seem to feed our own people.

Posted by: trippin | October 7, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The "not on my dollar" crowd may wonder if employers, you know, where 95% of Americans get their insurance, may request a similar requirement? Perhaps audit your eating and drinking habits, seeing how much red meat you eat, etc, or nixing insurance for those over 15lbs from standard? Give me a break. This is another example of holier than thou mentality.

Posted by: cadam72 | October 7, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"Those who said no won't be getting into heaven I'm afraid. "You see America can easily afford to allow folks to not only buy soda's with food stamps but also bakery items that are hot but your not allowed to buy, isn't that crazy? You see, "Goodness is the Only Investment, "That Never fails." ---Henry David Thoreau.

The Lord loves a cheerful giver not a tightwald! If those who had voted "NO had an education, like I have one of 24% American's with a College Degree while 76% don't have one is in itself "ASTONISHING! But I digress what I finally have to say about this is "SHAME ON YOU AMERICA" for Voting No!

..."Blessed are who have regard for the weak; "The Lord will deliver them in times of trouble." ---Psalm 40:1

..."So you see, America, "I learned in Sociology/Class/2007/ETSU/Degree/in that, "WE/Americ gives more to "Corporate Wel-fare thanks to Republcians than all the social programs combined, "WOW, I know!

.."It's amazing what you can find out and learn/know when your educated to "REALITY/FACTS" you see a whole different picture then the 76% uneducated who deny the poor, fail to see that they deny themselves as well when they do...

Sincerely, Tom Birchfield, Voter/Vet USAF,
Graduate Student, Masters Program,
East Tennessee State University

Posted by: ztcb41 | October 7, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Back in the early 80's, a local TV news program in Albany, NY, where I lived at the time, carried a news story about a city woman who was on welfare and food stamps and the grief she was getting from the public about using the money to buy Pampers rather than reusable diapers. Apparently these people felt that because, like, $0.02 of their taxes went to support this woman, they could tell her how to run her life and her household. Same thing with the sodas in NYC.

Big Government "safety net" programs like that one have created a society in which everyone, at least everyone who pays taxes, has the right to get all up in everyone else's grill and tell them what to do. This sure sounds like communism to me. To me the solution is obvious: end government handouts. Return those funds back to us taxpayers. Then we can support the charities we want to support helping people in our communities, and no one will have the right to tell Welfare Mom she has to drink water or put her baby's tuchus in cloth diapers.

PS@healing1: You're missing the point. Sugar isn't the issue. The issue is government dictating to us how we can live. Just because something is bad for us doesn't mean it's up to the government to protect us from it.

Posted by: bucinka8 | October 7, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

What next?
Grocery stores already collect information about what people buy on the so called discount cards. Now all they have to do is share that information with the insurance companies and YOUR premiums will go up because you bought soda and ice cream last week. Remember Big Brother is watching.

Posted by: alterego3 | October 7, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

We are not responsible for satiating the sweet tooth of the poor or providing them party snacks -- instead, use that wasted money to feed more who are in need.

Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains...that's all that should be covered. No Pop-Tarts, no Oreo cookies, no Slim Jims, no Doritos, no Pepsi, no Diet Pepsi. Protestations of the soda lobby aside, this ban is no different than not paying for cigarettes.
***
If you are going to mandate that, you will have to start by mandating that these item be sold in all areas at an affordable price. In a lot of neighborhoods, without a car to go to the suburbs, you can't get decent fruits and vegetables whether you are describing looks or price. Even working families feel the lack.

When my family was young, I promised to never to give them anything but 100% fruit juice but teen-aged boys sure changed that tune. I now buy Kool-aid to augment it (which means to make it last more than 2 hours). And we both work.

Posted by: cab50151 | October 7, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Twenty years ago as a high school student, I worked in a grocery store. During training, I was told what I could and could not ring up when people made their purchases with food stamps or with WIC vouchers. As you may know, the WIC program helps mothers and children meet their nutritional needs. People can purchase infant formula, cereal, milk, eggs, peanut butter, cheese and other nutrition-rich foods. Oftentimes, those with the vouchers attempted to purchase Kraft singles, which is "pasteurized food product". I'd have to send them back to the dairy section to get real cheese. It was slightly more expensive than the pasteurized food product but the voucher covered it. These folks had to learn about what is and isn't cheese and what had more nutritional value. While I don't think we should stigmatize food stamp use, I think there is value in having some kind of education campaign to inform people about the nutritional value of the food they are purchasing. But that alone won't solve the problem. People who rely on food stamps for their nutritional needs probably buy sodas or, say Sunny Delight in lieu of orange juice, because it's cheaper, not just because they are unaware of what is or isn't healthy.

We can make judgments all day long about people's nutritional choices, but shopping along the periphery of grocery stores where there is fresh produce and wholesome dairy, and fresh meats and seafood is a luxury. It's cheaper to fill your cart with fruit roll ups, pop tarts, Wonder bread, Chef Boy-ar-dee, dark meat chicken, fatty ground beef and other cheap meats. Children who grow up in low-income households don't have the luxury of learning how to make better food choices, thus perpetuating the cycle.

Posted by: Keepitforreal | October 7, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Is this why I'm seeing so many of those oh-so-obvious lobby ads about how hard it is to feed a family already and now the government wants to take away the right to feed your family complete junk?

Posted by: sarahabc | October 7, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

How does the The FDA and Drug makers make any $$$ on well people?

Posted by: snowbucks | October 7, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I think people are mistaking the idea of not-paying-for-sodas-with-food-stamps for a ban on soda. The latter is not true. Folks can drink all the soda they want as long as they can afford to buy it. But there is so little money available for food stamps, we should make sure everyone gets food stamps for healthy essentials before adding in for luxury items. There's just not enough money for everything. People who want or need luxury items have the option of seeking out a way to afford them.

Posted by: AnonyMiss | October 7, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

no junk food on the tax payer's dime-soda is not a food..it's pure junk!

Posted by: 10bestfan | October 7, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Having recently (august) gotten off of food stamps after 5 years I can assure you that drinking or not drinking soda was the VERY LEAST OF MY CONCERNS FER KEERIST'S SAKE. These people are down down down down. The last thing they need is gov't intervention of the intervention. Support them. Help teach them. But don't tell 'em what to do.

Posted by: Mitchavery7 | October 7, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Having recently (august) gotten off of food stamps after 5 years I can assure you that drinking or not drinking soda was the VERY LEAST OF MY CONCERNS FER KEERIST'S SAKE. These people are down down down down. The last thing they need is gov't intervention of the intervention. Support them. Help teach them. But don't tell 'em what to do.

Posted by: Mitchavery7 | October 7, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Easy answer: soda is not food.

"Food" is stuff that will keep you alive if you eat it.

Soda will not sustain life and therefore it is not food.

Posted by: frantaylor | October 7, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with numerous comments that don't think buying junk food with food stamps is prudent, who are we to mandate what is acceptable or not. Just because one is poor doesn't meant that they should do without something that gives them pleasure. We are all humans with the same needs, desires, and foibles.

Posted by: DrFish | October 7, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tom Birchfield, Voter/Vet USAF,Graduate Student, Masters Program,
East Tennessee State University

I too am a voter, a vet, and I already hold a Master's Degree (but not from ETSU - I left ETSU's Master's Degree program because it wasn't challenging enough academically.). I voted NO. Before you start quoting Scripture at us, you might want to read it in context. Psalm 40 talks about trusting the Lord to provide salvation from destruction, not about providing for the poor or having regard for them. Certainly soda can destroy health. And perhaps "having regard," as you say, for the poor means caring enough for them to say they don't need soda. I know my mother had that regard for me as a kid a lot more often than I would have liked her to.

I also must ask if they taught you in your Intro to Sociology class that Americans give more to charity (i.e. the poor) in terms of pure dollars and per capita than any nation on the face of the earth. From the tone of your post, I suspect they didn't, or you skipped class that day.

Posted by: huguenotklj | October 7, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

They might as well just cut everything then. Mostly everything that you buy has sugar on it. Leave people that get food stamps alone. You might as well take cigarettes and booze off the shelves too. Our government comes up with some stupid theories. They don't care about us, it is just their way to save money for their own pockets.

Posted by: lucas14467 | October 7, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

At age seventy and despite many years of experience and a good education I am unable to find employment. Accordingly my only income is from my social security benefits. Therefore I qualify and receive food stamps. It is really wrong to use food stamps to advance the belief that soda is bad for good health. What other items would Bloomberg seek to exclude? How about salt, whole milk, ice cream, carbohydrates and other food items which some people say is bad for good health. Bloomberg is a rich man and it must be hard for him to relate to those who are not. if he wants to restrict food stamps to "healthy" food why doesn't he try to add things like red wine which is now prohibited. The health benefits of red wine seem to be agreed. In a few years the way things are going half of the adult population in the US will be on food stamps. I hope that voters in NYC who are on food stamps will remember this insulting effort by their Mayor.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | October 7, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The whole idea is that people should be able to buy whatever food they want to and no one should be able to restrict their purchase's.
It is not anyone's business what someone eats or does not eat.

Posted by: skr3211 | October 7, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Any food they want is fine. What if someone simply bought steak and white bread and ate that all day? They still would be damaging their body. The majority of food in any supermarket is bad for you so let's stop kidding ourselves.

Posted by: jackson641 | October 7, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

If the New York city mayor want's to take soda from the people, take all the juices also they are full of sugar. That is why I don't buy juices. 26-39 grams of sugar in the juices on the shelves today. Tell Mr. Bloomberg also take the meat away. Most people fry the meat. Take cookies, cake mixes, cho. milk,Infact take all food from the people but, veges and produce. What a nut. Answer NO!!!

Posted by: georgia_hatton | October 7, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"No Not on my dollar" is not a good response. it should say no, not because it is on my dollar, but because it is the right thing to do. People who use WIC are subject to rules about what they can and can't buy and more often than not WIC forces you to buy the processed junk. Regardless, you don't see anyone protesting the WIC rules, and they shouldn't these either. Soda is not food. It is a snack - a treat - like ready made sandwiches, take out food, cigarettes, liquor and magazines, all things that you also can not buy with food stamps - or EBT as it is more politely known. If you are going to accept the dole, accept the rules. I was on food stamps last year and accepted the rules and am fortunate to know enough about health and food nutrition to know what to buy and not buy. we are back on our feet now and trying to help others in the same situation learn to eat healthier. 1 in 7 illnesses in the US are caused by food issues and obesity. 1 in 7.

Posted by: mdsails | October 7, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't someone in NYC recently selling cheese made from human milk? I wonder if one can use food stamps for that.

Posted by: weetabixjihad | October 7, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

People on food stamps are failures.

Posted by: kenk3 | October 7, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Don't really care what people buy with food stamps. However, what would be a great idea would be a checkout line just for foodstamps. I've lost track of the number of times I've stood in line at the local Giant only to have the family ahead of me whip out foodstamps at the last second and trap us all there for half an hour.

Posted by: zippyspeed | October 7, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

First, if I'm footing the bill for the food stamps through my tax dollars, I should have some input into what they are used for. I'm not telling anyone they have to eat only chicken breast and broccoli, but to point them in the direction of wiser food choices is a positive thing.

Second, these are poor people theat tend to have little education, so using this as an opportunity to educate them on a healthy diet is not morally wrong or cruel.

Third, this just means they can't use food stamps to buy these things. They can feel free to use their own money and pay full price for junk food if they'd like. No one is saying they can't buy these items, they just can't use the food stamps for them.

Fourth, these are likely going to be the same people that are benefitting most from Obamacare. Forcing me to pay for food stamps that are used to buy unhealthy items and then making me fund their medical insurance when they are obese and unhealthy just doesn't seem right.

I understand the idea that you don't want to stigmatize food stamps in a way that demeans people so they don't use them to buy necessities for their families, but at the same time, they can buy necessities.

I make a decent living, but am far from well off. My point is that I don't qualify for any public assistance (at least I don't think I am but I've never looked into it). I can't go out and buy all the things I want or take vacations to all the places I'd like to go. Should their be public funding to provide all the things I'd like? How is that any different than paying for junk food with the use of public assistance money?

Posted by: aflac48 | October 7, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I know the PC crowd desperately wants to avoid highlighting the stigma of using food stamps ... e.g. using other people's money to buy your daily bread, soda, and whatever.
Perhaps having limits on what can be purchased with Food Stamps might cause some to pursue an alternative or incremental source of funding... maybe a job with a paycheck, or get education to make that possible.
I'm just saying that a strong nudge from the existing equilibrium point might not be such a bad thing... as long as we're talking about starting with sodas and not bread, peanut butter and jelly or similar staples of rich and poor households.

Posted by: dbsinOakRidge | October 7, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Bloomberg is the absolute worst mayor in the county, a finger-wagging know it all jack a-- who invades peoples private lives at every opportunity. He is a menace to the country, and a traitor to the constitution.

Posted by: Trout1 | October 7, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I love this argument because it isn't about food stamps or Pepsi. It's about how far the American people want to extend the nanny state.

If the soda ploy works, then next will be chips. After the chips comes anything with sugar --- snacks, cookies, cakes, ice cream, the list is endless.

A more efficient use of government money, if that is what the taxpayers really want, would be to issue the stamps with pictures on them like a McDonald's cash register. Essentially, you would change the program from opt out, to opt in. A food stamp with a picture of collard greens would buy vegetables only. A picture of a steak would buy only freshly packaged meats --- no processed foods here! (Too much sodium!!!).

Once the nanny camel gets a nose under the tent, it NEVER stops.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | October 7, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I know the PC crowd desperately wants to avoid highlighting the stigma of using food stamps ... e.g. using other people's money to buy your daily bread, soda, and whatever.
Perhaps having limits on what can be purchased with Food Stamps might cause some to pursue an alternative or incremental source of funding... maybe a job with a paycheck, or get education to make it possible and feasible for them to purchase whatever they desire... .
I'm just saying that a strong nudge from the existing equilibrium point might not be such a bad thing... as long as we're talking about starting with sodas and not bread, peanut butter and jelly or similar staples of rich and poor households.

Posted by: dbsinOakRidge | October 7, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The bigger question is cost.

My family was on food stamps for about a year when I was a teen.

My Mom didn't buy soda. It was too expensive. Instead, she bought koolaid packets (actually, the generic version).

She could make about ten times as much koolaid for the same amount of money as she'd spend on one 2 liter bottle of soda. And she could control the sugar amount.

I think saying you can't buy pre-made convenience drinks with food stamps is logical, for cost savings reasons alone. If you are too lazy to make a gallon of koolaid instead of buying premade soda, I'm not sure you deserve my tax dollars.

Posted by: TheHillman | October 7, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

zippyspeed said "'ve lost track of the number of times I've stood in line at the local Giant only to have the family ahead of me whip out foodstamps at the last second and trap us all there for half an hour."
HMM in the 80's the EBT card was introduced which is like a debit card for food purchases. So you can't tell when someone is using food stamps. When is the last time you went shopping at Giant?

Posted by: alterego3 | October 7, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

as for the food stuffs you can buy with food stamps,a diet of some items have to be bought that can sustain a family of say four people is not an easy thing to do,there has to be a large intake of rice,potatos,bread and starchy foods.this is the main reason that our children are obese.the parents have to stretch the food stamps so their children do not have to go hungry.

Posted by: SISSD1 | October 7, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

If you are going to mandate that, you will have to start by mandating that these item be sold in all areas at an affordable price. In a lot of neighborhoods, without a car to go to the suburbs, you can't get decent fruits and vegetables whether you are describing looks or price. Even working families feel the lack.

Posted by: cab50151
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
That's a specious argument, Cab. Don't you think that the neighborhood grocer would change his product mix if a good portion of his customers couldn't use their voucher to buy goods he was stocking?

For those of you ragging on fruit juices, I would like to remind you that, while they may have as much sugar as soda, they have many minerals and vitamins not found in soda. I personally don't drink much juice nor do I give much to my children. Still, I wouldn't put soda and juice in the same category.

Posted by: JoStalin | October 7, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Haven't we learned anything. Today it's a coke. Tomorrow it's going to be salt. Day after that something else. Buying a coke is not like going on a cruise or using food stamps in Vegas. Let's not get carried away. Bloomberg is wrong. Leave the people who receive food stamps alone.

Posted by: houstonian | October 7, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

King Bloomberg is just an evil greedy man. How did his net worth jump 14 billion dollars in the last ten years as mayor while the country circled the drain?

Posted by: coogene | October 7, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I thought food stamps or those debit cards only allowed people to buy healthy foods or specific types of foods and not this junk food? The programs used to do it that way...what, did someone whine about not being to binge on their cup cakes and ice cream? Seems like anyone on food stamps would want to buy products that allowed them to make many meals and casseroles to stretch the dollar as it were and not waste it on these one time food items...wasteful. Priorities in this country are so out of whack....

Posted by: michaelaudet | October 7, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"Haven't we learned anything. Today it's a coke. Tomorrow it's going to be salt. Day after that something else. Buying a coke is not like going on a cruise or using food stamps in Vegas."

It's just a matter of degree. Using taxpayer money to purchase your kids expensive pre-made soft drinks because you are too lazy to make koolaid or lemonade is just downright disrespectful to the person that's buying your kid's food.

Posted by: TheHillman | October 7, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I am one of those crazy liberals who believes we have a responsibility to take care of our own, and I certainly don't begrudge people a few dollars for a treat now and then. A few pleasures in life can make all the difference in whether people strive and hope, or give in to cynicism and selfishness. If someone is wants to use WELFARE dollars for occasional treats for the family, well, hey, more power to them. I'm happy to contribute.

That said, I don't think those treats should come from the FOOD STAMP program. This was a program that was created for two reasons: 1) to provide essential nutrition to people who otherwise could not afford it; and 2) to make sure that need is filled, whenever possible, with American farm products. Food stamps used to buy sodas, candy, and other empty calories fewer stamps available for nutritious food.

Posted by: carlaclaws | October 7, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Ghetto culture is to be respected, RIGHT? Food is very much part of a culture. Ask Ophra. Food stamps are a BIG part of ghetto culture. Let them eat what they want (they'll di anyway). A large proportion of food stamp users are not in danger of starvation, not judging by their bling-bling, cars, and, butts. They are simply asserting an entitlement that is their due as reparation for slavery. OK, so, they were never slaves, nor, were those who don't receive food stamps ever slave holders, but, like Obama's Kenyan auntie, it's the ENTITLEMENT STUPID. Yes, we who are paying for this sham are REALLY STUPID. PS. THAT "AFRICAN"-AMERICAN sham is also comic. WHO, pray tell, is "AFRICAN"-AMERICAN? Do REAL Africans have any say in this? Do REAL Africans view American blacks as "African"? Ask one. The Real Africans I know understand less ebonics than any US whitey. They also speak a better brand of English than many US whiteys.

Posted by: craigslsst | October 7, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

A filmmaker has been reversing diabetes and Obesity in now 10 countries and the drug makers do not promote the story

just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

Posted by: healing1


What a scam!!! They want $16 to download this "revelation". If it were true, they should be giving it away to help mankind. They are just as bad as Big Pharma, trying to profit from peoples' fears

Posted by: tagtron | October 7, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

No its not food. Just like its not ok for them to use Government Issued welfare cards at Casinos which they are doing. No wonder Americans want to abolish Welfare.

Posted by: JWTX | October 7, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Be educated today?

Why do you think the post included three choices for their survey?

Two NOs
and one yes?....?

If you do not know why, then you probably shouldn't be voting.

Posted by: docwhocuts | October 7, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

So ironic. The US government subsidizes the US farm industry to an embarrassing level (all those senator pairs from midwest states) resulting in absurdly low crop prices. Many (most? all?) soft drinks rely on the inclusion of cheap corn syrup. That comes from all those government subsidies.

The entire fast food and snack food industry DEPEND on cheap produce that is subsidized by the government.

This results in many people (not just the poor) eating subsidized carbs/sugar, fat and salt.

All farm subsidies should instead go to healthcare - including requirements for children to have healthy food at school. (An astounding number of schools provide quickly prepared garbage food that meets government mandates, but is instead poor quality food. (an easy example milk - sorry sugared milk).

Nutrition in the US is a joke when the needs of the poor are indirectly coupled to subsidies to farmers who don't need them.

(Also: kill the ethanol subsidy - that's another market distorting waste).

Posted by: AlanBrowne | October 7, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps empty calories are better than no calories at all. Empty calories = Zero nutrition = disease.

Diseases like diabetes and obesity or diabesity - real common with Latinos, Blacks and Whites. It's fun going blind and having your toes cut off due to gangrene.

Posted by: alance | October 7, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Overall, welfare is spending is not a major issue. I would like to see the government construct more low income housing where folks can live for free and we can cut defense spending to do it.

What we need from Republicans is a solid guarantee they will create 35,000,000 well paying jobs by the end of 2011. Then the welfare folks can get off welfare.

IE "Well paying" means jobs at or above $50,000 per year.

Will drunk Boehner take the pledge.....BURP!

Posted by: Maddogg | October 7, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

People forget that food stamps (EBT) is only supposed to "supplement" their grocery purchases. It is not meant to buy all of their food. With the current registers it is able to determine what is and isn't covered. Items not covered then they have to pay with cash. I agree that soda is not a "staple" food item and if someone wants soda they pay out of their pocket.
Just because I said "no" doesn't mean that I look down on them or think less of them. As people have already mentioned WIC has restrictions as does EBT. For the most part you can't tell someone is on food stamps because they have an EBT card that looks like any other credit/debt card. My boyfriend had a EBT card at one time. He is now back on his feet and he's thankful for the short-time that he was it.

Posted by: Sharon_ski | October 7, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I can't see any benefit of preventing food stamp recipients from using their 'food money' to buy soda. Most of us drink soda of some kind. If the sugar isn't bad for us, the carbonation is.
If the NY mayor wants to reduce obesity by limiting sugar intake, then he'll need to ban food stamp recipients from buying sugar products, period-----which isn't ever going to happen. Recipients could still buy Kool-Aid & a bag of sugar, and dump the whole bag of sugar into a pitcher of Kool-Aid, if they wanted to.

A better idea would be to start more exercise programs for ALL kids, not just the food stamp recipients. Getting the kids away from their video games, computer games, cell phones, TV, etc. for at least an hour every day will have more effect on obesity than cutting back on sugar ever will.

Posted by: momof20yo | October 7, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

No soda. No Fries. No toys in Happy Meals. What next?

While we concern ourselves with the dietary habits of others, our government is waking up to another mis-adventure: The Social Security Administration sent about 89,000 stimulus payments of $250 each to dead and incarcerated people. The total cost of this error was about $13 billion.

On the sunny side, the inspector general estimates that about 41,000 of the payments were returned.

The downside: The SSA says that the stimulus package didn’t include a provision allowing it to try to retrieve funds that were mistakenly sent out, so it can’t try to retrieve the rest of the money. Money transferred electronically may be sitting untouched in bank accounts of dead people.

The combined total of the mistaken payments is $22.3 million. About $12 million hasn’t been returned.

Why is it we can be concerned about whether someone has a soda but ignore this?

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/10/07/maybe-you-can-take-it-with-you-stimulus-checks-sent-to-the-dead/

Posted by: snowy2 | October 7, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

High Fructose Corn Syrup - for over 35-40 years - has been poisoning America - paid for by farm subsidies. You should call it government sugar - which is killing Americans. It is called the Iowa Primary.

Yes, diabesity, fat, shooting up with insulin. What a life. The more soft drinks you guzzle, the less Social Security they have to pass out.

Posted by: alance | October 7, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I think food stamps should only be able to buy tofu, seaweed, bean curd and carrot/prune juice.
Those getting foods stamps will be well nourished but very motivates to move onward and upward...

Posted by: jblast2000 | October 7, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

This is a very slippery slope that many of you are advocating. Are Oreos okay? How about Twinkies? Chocolate milk? Candy coated apples?

There's no end to the nanny-statism that will take place once we start down this path.

If the worst vice people have on food stamps is that they grab a six-pack of Coca-Cola, I can live with that.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | October 7, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse


A more pertinent poll question is "Should 42 million Americans be getting food stamps?"

Posted by: screwjob21 | October 7, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse


What does it matter what I think? Do I have a billion dollars to buy Congress like Coca Cola and Pepsi? Under the new edict from the Supreme Court, discussions like this are purely academic. If corporations find a law bothersome, they simply use their corporate profits to bring lawmakers in line with their wishes.

Still, it's fun to pretend.

Posted by: motorfriend | October 7, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

If there are to be food police, why stop at soda and why stop with the poor?

Posted by: SarahBB | October 7, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

In general, I think it does make sense that if you are going to be on welfare, the goal is not to necessarily ensure you have the same choices as people not on welfare. Ensuring everyone's ability to buy coke is not the government's responsibility.

Because healthy products cost more, without a government program, it is very likely that people in poverty are not going to buy them. The government has to be really careful about what it will and will allow with food stamps. It is probably unrealistic to only allow fresh produce. Many people on food stamps work multiple jobs and do not have time to cook. I think the government should aim to limit purchases of unhealthy junk food and things like coke. But it is going to be difficult. The government needs to identify easy-to-prepare, not horribly unhealthy staples. Maybe pasta, milk, canned vegetables, frozen entrees... Otherwise, that's not where food stamps are going to go. Bad food is cheap.

Posted by: kimk1 | October 7, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

This proposal, although well-intended, barks up the wrong tree. Instead of perpetuating the stigma that low-income people use EBT unwisely, why not stop subsidizing the production of high fructose corn syrup in the first place? It makes no sense to have an ag policy that creates an artificially high supply for obesity-causing products and an EBT policy that discourages consumption of those very products.

Posted by: mattching | October 7, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Next, the NY mayor should attack people's salt intake, cholesterol and fat intake, alcohol and illegal drug intake. For all NYers, not just food stamp recipients.

Someone should follow the mayor around for a month to see how 'healthy' he eats.

Posted by: momof20yo | October 7, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

You can see where single payer Big Government Care will lead, can't you .....absolute power corrupts absolutely...

Posted by: jblast2000 | October 7, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

You can see where single payer Big Government Care will lead, can't you .....absolute power corrupts absolutely...

Posted by: jblast2000 | October 7, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

You can see where single payer Big Government Care will lead, can't you .....absolute power corrupts absolutely...
Anytime Big Government controls anything they're strings attached and loss of freedoms. I'm always amazed that socialist don't see this or have a problem with it.

Posted by: jblast2000 | October 7, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

But here's the real deal, this is how it really is. If people on food stamps buy lean cuts of meat and good, healthy food, then people complain and kvetch that "hey, look at them, they eat better than I do!" they say that, "People on food stamps buy the best cuts of meat and the freshest vegetables! I should get myself into a racket like that!"

BUT if we buy junk food and carbohydrates and crap, then we need to have laws which force us to buy the healthy stuff.

Why can't you all just find a sack, put a pair of balls in it and come out and say what you *really* want, which is for all of us to just *die* already?

Posted by: dibee | October 7, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I like ginger-ale and sprite (no color soda), while I do not drink them everyday. I purchase healthy soda's at Whole Food or Wegmans, next you are going to tell people using foodstamps they shouldn't be drinking and eating at these kind of stores. You should see the faces when buying healthy foods when you give the cashier your foodstamp cards or customers waiting in line snarling at you. They had the nerve to vote NO. How two face, no four face! I guess corner stores and Murray Steaks should have all poor people needs. My client power was cu-off and she needed to purchase hot foods for her family, not on foodstamps how do people who are homeless purchase stuff? I have really learn a lot working with low income families. I see the bias!

Posted by: drfields | October 7, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Pay the black farmers. If you really care about Obesity. Subsidize there EBT cards with purchasing a gym membership at Golds or/and Washington Sports Club. They have to go 1 hour a day or 5 hours a week. That's a good penalty or your foodstamp card will not work until the hours have been use. Wow! what's next?

Posted by: drfields | October 7, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I am very young and a single mom. I think the whole issue over food stamps should not be even going on. I do not think people on food stamps should be treated any differently in the choices of having food. As for "junk" food the food stamps are mostly for children and I think a little bit of splurging should be fine. I am sure that most of the people on food stamps are a little more responsible with the benefits they are given. I think taking away what kinds of food should and should not be bought is a little redundant. Just because people are on food stamps do not mean they are taking up all the food that some say is not enough to go around is just unfair. I do agree with people that abuse the benefit is wrong and should be punished for their actions. I just do not think it would be fair to take away from everyone that just needs the extra help and want to be able to enjoy everyday common food just as everyone else does. Obviously people who are not on food stamps do not understand the importance it is to the families that need help and have children that may want a pop tart or oreo cookies or Kool-Aid or some kind of chips. I do not think it would be fair to take that away because some do not understand the way people who appreciate the system depend on the help. Also, to be able to give to their children what they cannot give them on a daily basis do to their financial status. So all I am trying to say is food stamps is like money the food that is bought is still getting paid for no matter what type of food or beverage is being bought and, the people who are on food stamps should not be treated any different we are all still people.

Posted by: blosoya18 | October 7, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

The first question should be is it food? The answer is NO. THAT's IT!

Posted by: FatKitty63 | October 7, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm on Food Stamps. So you're tell me I can buy a bag of sugar, but can't buy soda?

I want to buy to healthy juice, but I can't because the juice cost $ 4.29.

An 3 liter of soda cost 79 cent.

Posted by: reflex01 | October 7, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Bloomberg is experimenting on those who cannot say no.

I find this contemptible.

Posted by: sobi1 | October 7, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, of course, food stamps should not be used for soda or for any other fattening, sugary foods OR candy. You can buy candy bars and soda and ice cream with them, but you cannot buy a roll of toilet paper to wipe your arse? How about the $35 cheese cake I saw a woman purchase last week with food stamps? Nice. I love cheese cake, but there's no way I could afford to buy one for $35 bucks.

Posted by: purplereign12010 | October 7, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh jeez, the majority of people here answered yes and wish to see poor people banned from buyig soda with food stamps. I fear what I see here is the nannies of the liberal left meeting the tightwad Scrooges of the tea party right: the lefties want to "reform" the poor and use them as a social experiment, the tea partiers want to punish them for being poor. So really all the spouting about freedom (from the right) and choice (in other contexts from the left) don't mean anything. I guess as long as someone needs government help people here feel entitled to tell them how to live. I don't drink sodas -- diet or otherwise -- and I don't get the appeal of them but I'm sure I do/eat/like things that others would disapprove of (including WaPo readers, my insurance company and Mayor Bloomberg) -- God help me if I ever need govt. assistance. Could we please just trust our fellow citizens and allow them (whether we like their choices or not) to use our assistance to build the lives they want to live. I know some will make "bad" choices but honestly, you have to let people fail -- it's part of life.

Oh yeah and will everyone stop conflating obesity with bad health. Yes, they are correlated but one does not necessarily bring the other.

Posted by: lab-lady | October 8, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully the Agriculture Department will say to NYC "is this a joke?" and that if they want to do something about soda, they can put a $1 a can tax on it.

NYC could do this anytime they want, but it might end the political careers (gasp!) of some of the busybody hacks who come up with stupid ideas like this.

Much better to let the Feds take the heat.

Posted by: corco02az | October 8, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

If they try and ban soda then they should ban other junk items as well instead of singling out just one. I think it's ridiculous in the first place that food stamps will cover any sort of junk food, when I was on them I felt really guilty that I was able to buy candy bars when I really shouldn't be able to with money that was not mine. If you have to go to the government for food money then there should be some sort of tradeoff in the kinds of food you are allowed to buy.

Posted by: kwclinton | October 8, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

A member at the corporate fitness centers I manage recently told me she went cold turkey off her diet soda. She said she had the typical headache that lasted a couple days (usually from the lack of caffeine in the body) but since it went away she truly feels a huge difference. Below are some of the things she noted.

Greater ability to focus
Calm – not as fidgety
Sleeping better
Fewer cravings
I thought this was interesting since the reason most people reach for a diet soda is to avoid eating more or to get that caffeine bump and focus a little more. http://blog.mydiscoverhealth.com/

Posted by: JSC22 | October 8, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse


===== http://www.shoes3.us/ ====

Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

Handbags(Coach l v f e n d i d&g) $35

Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $15

Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30

Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,A r m a i n i) $15

New era cap $12

accept paypal or credit card and free shipping

====== http://www.shoes3.us/ ====

Posted by: pisatrade0 | October 8, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

There are so many reasons for obesity that it is sheer idiocy to target one thing. I never drink soda and I am overweight.
I am losing weight now because I am seeing over eating and overspending as gluttony and that is working for me so far.
Each one of us is motivated differently.
Let him who has never gone over budget or bought anything impulsively throw the first stone.

Posted by: leslieswearingen | October 8, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Sodas are not food. Therefore, food stamps should not be used to buy sodas.

Posted by: foofoofoo | October 8, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

let's make this a whole lot simpler. It should be about deciding what our taxpayer dollars should be spent on, and making them go farther. Surely we don't give people so much in food stamp dollars that they couldn't spend it all on healthy food that's much less expensive, relative to nutritional value, than soda. so why should we cover soda?

Posted by: JoeT1 | October 8, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

the soft drink companies lobbyists will never stand for this and of course they will be assisted by the candy and chips lobbyists as well. how did buying sugared water become either a humane or inhumane issue?

Posted by: george32 | October 8, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

As far as I'm concerned they can just eliminate soda for everybody. You might as well drink Karo Syrup.

Posted by: brewstercounty | October 8, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company