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Soda-buying with food stamps

Orion

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Basically, soda (or pop, if you are Canadian) accounts for 4 BILLION dollars in subsidized nutrition spending (food stamps, now referred to as SNAP) per year. Being that obesity with all of its associated health risks is now considered an epidemic in North America, is it right for tax payers to contribute to the buying of this particular junk food - or any, for that matter? There are already bans on what the article refers to as "hot prepared foods" or fast foods. Should we stop there?

I really do feel people should have the right to choose which product they buy, but when they're products that just do harm, I have trouble justifying that. I'm not saying no one should ever drink soda pop again, but people in lower income brackets have much higher obesity rates and I feel like poor people are somehow targeted. If you're getting so much more quantity-wise for your money, it is hard to say no to things that are maybe a lot less nutritional, especially if you are supporting a family.

Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to have a tax on junk foods, for everybody. You have to pay high taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol. I don't see why things loaded with trans fats (which should already be banned IMO), high fructose corn syrup and any number of synthetic chemicals and dyes that cost people their health and take a toll on the health care system should be able to slip by.

Article here: Should Taxpayers Subsidize Soda? ~ Newsroom ~ News from CSPI ~ Center for Science in the Public Interest
 
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Dezaad

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You are literally saying "Tax the stupid people". Your suggestion would likely be an effective way to do so. I would fully support this in the U.S.

The tax could be on all forms of simple carbohydrate and saturated fat content. Tax these things per calorie. Don't place any tax on complex carbohydrates or unsaturated fat, and I think we've got it licked.

Very simple tax, actually.
 

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Basically, soda (or pop, if you are Canadian) accounts for 4 BILLION dollars in subsidized nutrition spending (food stamps, now referred to as SNAP) per year. Being that obesity with all of its associated health risks is now considered an epidemic in North America, is it right for tax payers to contribute to the buying of this particular junk food - or any, for that matter? There are already bans on what the article refers to as "hot prepared foods" or fast foods. Should we stop there?

I really do feel people should have the right to choose which product they buy, but when they're products that just do harm, I have trouble justifying that. I'm not saying no one should ever drink soda pop again, but people in lower income brackets have much higher obesity rates and I feel like poor people are somehow targeted. If you're getting so much more quantity-wise for your money, it is hard to say no to things that are maybe a lot less nutritional, especially if you are supporting a family.

Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to have a tax on junk foods, for everybody. You have to pay high taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol. I don't see why things loaded with trans fats (which should already be banned IMO), high fructose corn syrup and any number of synthetic chemicals and dyes that cost people their health and take a toll on the health care system should be able to slip by.

Article here: Should Taxpayers Subsidize Soda? ~ Newsroom ~ News from CSPI ~ Center for Science in the Public Interest
That's the group that wanted McDonalds to do away with toys.
They want to stick their noses into everything.
Last I knew we were still living in a free country and not a nanny state.
 

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Eating healthy is expensive, and I don't see how rising up taxes on bad foods would help the obesity rate.(Besides maybe that people go hungry because they can't afford food?) Maybe give tax breaks for healthier foods, that would seem like a more logically approach.
 

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Basically, soda (or pop, if you are Canadian) accounts for 4 BILLION dollars in subsidized nutrition spending (food stamps, now referred to as SNAP) per year. Being that obesity with all of its associated health risks is now considered an epidemic in North America, is it right for tax payers to contribute to the buying of this particular junk food - or any, for that matter? There are already bans on what the article refers to as "hot prepared foods" or fast foods. Should we stop there?

I really do feel people should have the right to choose which product they buy, but when they're products that just do harm, I have trouble justifying that. I'm not saying no one should ever drink soda pop again, but people in lower income brackets have much higher obesity rates and I feel like poor people are somehow targeted. If you're getting so much more quantity-wise for your money, it is hard to say no to things that are maybe a lot less nutritional, especially if you are supporting a family.

Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to have a tax on junk foods, for everybody. You have to pay high taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol. I don't see why things loaded with trans fats (which should already be banned IMO), high fructose corn syrup and any number of synthetic chemicals and dyes that cost people their health and take a toll on the health care system should be able to slip by.

Article here: Should Taxpayers Subsidize Soda? ~ Newsroom ~ News from CSPI ~ Center for Science in the Public Interest
Food stamps have become a pretty big rip off for the tax payer.
There are many stores that accept it for beer, cigarettes and even cash.

Some states allow a portion of the food stamp money to go towards fast food.
 

ludahai

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Basically, soda (or pop, if you are Canadian) accounts for 4 BILLION dollars in subsidized nutrition spending (food stamps, now referred to as SNAP) per year.
Or tonic if you are from northern New England... :)

Being that obesity with all of its associated health risks is now considered an epidemic in North America, is it right for tax payers to contribute to the buying of this particular junk food - or any, for that matter? There are already bans on what the article refers to as "hot prepared foods" or fast foods. Should we stop there?
I do NOT believe food stamps or other such welfare programs should be used for soda or similar soft drinks. Food stamps should only be for purchase of the basic foods that a person needs to him him/her and the family nourished.

I really do feel people should have the right to choose which product they buy, but when they're products that just do harm, I have trouble justifying that.
Soda does harm? In small quantities?

I'm not saying no one should ever drink soda pop again, but people in lower income brackets have much higher obesity rates and I feel like poor people are somehow targeted. If you're getting so much more quantity-wise for your money, it is hard to say no to things that are maybe a lot less nutritional, especially if you are supporting a family.

Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to have a tax on junk foods, for everybody. You have to pay high taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol. I don't see why things loaded with trans fats (which should already be banned IMO), high fructose corn syrup and any number of synthetic chemicals and dyes that cost people their health and take a toll on the health care system should be able to slip by.
Why should I have to pay taxes for "junk food" and soda? I consume them in moderate quantities and as such, in moderation, they pose minimal risk to health at worst and when accompanied by regular exercise, pose no risk to one's waistline. I consume soda, snack chips, ice cream, etc. from time to time (admittedly more in the hot summer months than during other times) yet am far from obese. I would wager I am one of the fittest people on this forum. Why should I pay for making the sensible choice to consume these products in moderation simply because others do not make that choice?
 

ludahai

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Eating healthy is expensive, and I don't see how rising up taxes on bad foods would help the obesity rate.(Besides maybe that people go hungry because they can't afford food?) Maybe give tax breaks for healthier foods, that would seem like a more logically approach.
Many states already exempt basic foodstuffs from sale taxes. I note you are in Georgia (I used to live there) and GA is one of those states. Unfortunately, when I lived there, it wasn't except from SPLOSTs. That is a good first step anyway. I agree with your point about the cost. Raising the cost of junk food does nothing to reduce the cost of healthy food, which is the root of the problem.
 

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Many states already exempt basic foodstuffs from sale taxes. I note you are in Georgia (I used to live there) and GA is one of those states. Unfortunately, when I lived there, it wasn't except from SPLOSTs. That is a good first step anyway. I agree with your point about the cost. Raising the cost of junk food does nothing to reduce the cost of healthy food, which is the root of the problem.
My family is on food stamps, and I try to get my family to buy healthy,( I really would like not to get fat because of being poor lol) but it is damn hard. You can't buy enough food for a family to last a month buying really healthy food while on food stamps. It just cost too much.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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My family is on food stamps, and I try to get my family to buy healthy,( I really would like not to get fat because of being poor lol) but it is damn hard. You can't buy enough food for a family to last a month buying really healthy food while on food stamps. It just cost too much.
There is a middle ground.

Not all prepackaged stuff is terrible for you.
Read the labels and try to go with stuff on sale.
I'm in Georgia as well and I find that Ingles have the best deals over all.

If you like Spanish food, there are a lot of cheap/healthy meals to make.
 

tacomancer

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You can buy a bag of rice for very little and flavor it with cheap, but somewhat healthy fruit juices to avoid monotony (which is what we have been doing lately to cut down on our budget while my wife continues to look for a job). You can buy 5 lbs of chicken breast for about $9 and eat all week on that or freeze a portion for later (again, something I am starting to discover, my wife has been awesome at finding these recipes). You can make a snack from fairly cheap oat or grain cereal and flavor it with nuts or chocolate chips (yes, again, saving money). So there are ways to eat cheaply and healthfully and yummy.

Even with the cheap ingredients, it usually takes my wife about 20 minutes to cook a meal and maybe 10 minutes to set up the table.

All of that costs less than many prepackages foods which cost between $2.50 and $4 for a tv dinner per person per meal. Or eggo waffles or whatever. All of that stuff sure as heck tastes better than the crap from McDonalds anyway.

So anyway, as I recently discovered, its possible to eat cheaply, have lots of food, and prepare it quickly. I can link to a few cookbooks later (if I remember, someone remind me if they want to know) on that outline cheap food that is healthy and prepares lots for a large family. We found most of the books we use on the $3 bin at big-lots though. I don't think all of the recipes can be scaled down, but many can. Right now our food budget is about $100 per week for 5 of us and that includes any eating out.

But, I also understand coming home and being tired from physical labor and wanting to just eat something quickly. What I do for those days is try to preprep as much as possible before so there is less to do after. And if I am in a jam, I microwave some rice and peas and it takes a few minutes (yummy too).

However going back to the food stamps thing. I would support legislation to eliminate the use of food stamps for unhealthy meals. The whole point of social spending is the attempt to give people a hand up, not a hand out. At least, that is what I think the point of it should be. If people eat healthy food, than they are going to be in that much better shape to do things that benefit them and help out their lot in life. They will be able to think more clearly, have more energy, have fewer medical issues, and probably other stuff. Plus it is VERY necessary for children who are growing up to have good nutrition so they can better reach their potential.
 
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Aunt Spiker

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Junk food on food stamps?

I absolutely do NOT agree with permitting this - you shouldn't be able to buy candy, soda, ice cream, cake, donuts, little debbies and all that stuff. That is a luxury that your own hard earned cash should buy. You can't buy: energy drinks, fast food and pre-prepped foods, cigarettes - but other crap is ok?

Yeah - to me that's taking advantage of your benefits and abusing them.

Don't freak out - it's not deprivation. I've seen countless people buy groceries with food stamps and a carton of cigarettes with their cash so it's not like they *wouldn't* have these things, ever. I was on food-stamps for quite a while and didn't buy this kind of JUNK because we actually *needed* FOOD instead. .. you know, breakfast lunch and dinner - healthy options. If someone doesn't need their benefits for real food then maybe their benefits should be reduced.

This, though, is why I don't really support 'buy what you want' food stamps - I like WIC where *only* certain foods are approved and if you don't have the coupon for it you can't purchase it.

now - people will complain that "it's not our place to tell people what they can eat" :shrug: To which I say "it is when I'm paying for it"
 
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I could almost take either side of this argument; but I come down more naturally on the side that would more closely regulate how food stamps are used. Surely if there were a program that bought poor families soda (and only soda) we'd say, "Whaaat??" How stupid is that??

I think it would be somewhat of a challenge to feed one's family on food stamps. Allowing them to cover junk food only makes that task harder.

And if one doesn't mind social engineering, then levying a sin tax on all junk food makes excellent sense. I'm surprised it hasn't already been done. I don't mind SE for the public good at all. It's a relatively easy way to change the habits of society. Don't want people to drive gas guzzlers? Put a hefty tax on those vehicles in the showroom....and don't allow that portion to be financed. Want people to stop buying their water in plastic nonreturnable bottles? Put a hefty tax on every one sold. Want people to stop buying junk food? Tax the livin' daylights out of it.

Only problem I'd have with it is that -- all those taxes collected? They'd do nothing to reduce the taxes on anything else. It'd just be a way for government to grow larger. And that's a pretty big problem.
 

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My family is on food stamps, and I try to get my family to buy healthy,( I really would like not to get fat because of being poor lol) but it is damn hard. You can't buy enough food for a family to last a month buying really healthy food while on food stamps. It just cost too much.
you really can...it just takes perserverance. canned vegetables are not as bad as people think, and you can supplement with fresh fruits and veggies in season. beans are a wonderful food. rice is certainly not expensive. you can buy a whole chicken and cut it up and skin it. I used to buy the limit of whole chickens on sale back in the day and do just that. ground beef is fine in moderation. canned tuna makes a great meal. you can bake your own whole grain bread. plant a small garden.

the issue is usually finding time to do things if you are working.
 

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Tax or just base cost spiking - I didn't buy soda for a long time when it was over $2.00 a bottle.

If things were just more expensive then less people would buy them - or take a hit for a while and then slowly give it up because it's too expensive to maintain.

But when someone's on tax-dollars for assistance which includes health-care being covered by the government then it seems senseless to provide the things that are sending them to the Dr - you know.

They should have incentives, then, to buy healthier options - and for companies to produce healthier options that cost the same.
 

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One thing that would help tremendously is to remove the subsidies on corn. Corn syrup is a huge reason people are getting fat. It would cost less rather than more as well.
 

Aunt Spiker

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Nah - corn syrup itself isn't the reason so many are fat.
it's that they're getting it *in* soda and *in* snacks and everything else you don't need to eat, anyway.

People just don't want to be told 'you don't need to eat that' - I guess - eventhough people by the millions prove they're incapable of determining what htey *really* need.
 

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Nah - corn syrup itself isn't the reason so many are fat.
it's that they're getting it *in* soda and *in* snacks and everything else you don't need to eat, anyway.

People just don't want to be told 'you don't need to eat that' - I guess - eventhough people by the millions prove they're incapable of determining what htey *really* need.
If people were capable of determining what they really needed and acting accordingly, we would have no need for most laws and regulations, but the fact is that we cannot.
 

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If people were capable of determining what they really needed and acting accordingly, we would have no need for most laws and regulations, but the fact is that we cannot.
Exactly - and people just refuse to accept that. Many haven't a clue. The human body is prone to too many cravings and other faults - it's amazing we've survived this long.
 

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Exactly - and people just refuse to accept that. Many haven't a clue. The human body is prone to too many cravings and other faults - it's amazing we've survived this long.
I am pretty much in agreement. We evolved to deal with a very different world than what we have now (foodwise meat was rare and there was no such thing as candy, so our emotional responses evolved to deal with fruit, so the response to sugar was amplified) and our bodies and brains have trouble dealing with a world of plenty. We have to social engineer ourselves, there is no way around it.
 

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I do think that you should not be able to buy junk food with food stamps. If you want that stuff on food stamps you should have to make it from scratch by buying the flour,yeast, sugar, vegetable oil and so on. I am opposed to additional taxes on junk food, it just give the government an excuse to spend more money.
 

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I am pretty much in agreement. We evolved to deal with a very different world than what we have now (foodwise meat was rare and there was no such thing as candy, so our emotional responses evolved to deal with fruit, so the response to sugar was amplified) and our bodies and brains have trouble dealing with a world of plenty. We have to social engineer ourselves, there is no way around it.
or, we could just realize we no longer farm from dawn to dusk for a living and adjust our habits to reflect that.
 

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jamesrage said:
I do think that you should not be able to buy junk food with food stamps. If you want that stuff on food stamps you should have to make it from scratch by buying the flour,yeast, sugar, vegetable oil and so on. I am opposed to additional taxes on junk food, it just give the government an excuse to spend more money.
Thank you. Finally, someone said it.

I've seen people on food stamps in front of me at the grocery store. Processed foods, junk, crap, random caloric messes. I almost never see the basic cooking staples. This just enforces a common belief I've had - that the majority of them are just flat out f'n lazy. You can cook foods from basic ingredients for much cheaper and be much more healthy than the standard microwavable TV dinner or Little Debbie snack.

It's not hard to cook, people...and if you're on food stamps, chances are you can spare the extra time it'd take instead of stuffing your obese welfare faces.
 

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See, this is the problem when you accept government money for ANYTHING.... where they put money, they expect control in return.

Self-reliance, baby... it's not just a good idea, its the American way.
 

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I am pretty much in agreement. We evolved to deal with a very different world than what we have now (foodwise meat was rare and there was no such thing as candy, so our emotional responses evolved to deal with fruit, so the response to sugar was amplified) and our bodies and brains have trouble dealing with a world of plenty. We have to social engineer ourselves, there is no way around it.
I just don't see us evolving much between say 1775 and today. The only thing that's evolved is our lifestyle. We're basically the same people who were around back then - farming from dusk until dawn. What's changed is our social and moral values (they've evolved), as well as our standard of living. We're much more used to having "too much" whereas back then, there was never enough. Things like sugar, salt, pepper, fruits ... were not easy to come by. Our bodies only have these cravings because such things are provided to us as toddlers and children. If these things were not given to us and we did not grow up on them - there would be less of a chance to want these things.
 

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I just don't see us evolving much between say 1775 and today. The only thing that's evolved is our lifestyle. We're basically the same people who were around back then - farming from dusk until dawn. What's changed is our social and moral values (they've evolved), as well as our standard of living. We're much more used to having "too much" whereas back then, there was never enough. Things like sugar, salt, pepper, fruits ... were not easy to come by. Our bodies only have these cravings because such things are provided to us as toddlers and children. If these things were not given to us and we did not grow up on them - there would be less of a chance to want these things.
I think you said that pretty well. If those things weren't around, we would have less of a problem. In some ways we are the victim of our own success.
 
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