Friday, September 28, 2012

You Couldn't Survive on Food Stamps

This is why food stamps should be double the current allowance of $29 per week and double the maximum eligible income - not just because every food stamp dollar adds $1.70 to the economy, but because people can't work - and children can't learn - when they're starving.
I flagged a piece by Ezra the other day talking about how much effort it takes to get through life when you're poor (and how clueless he rich are when they assume otherwise.) Here's a politician who decided to see for himself, at least with respect to what it's like to live on very little money for food:
When local activist groups challenged Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to live on a food stamp budget for a week to mark Hunger Awareness Month, he took them up on the offer and found out just how hard it was. Stanton kept a diary on the challenge, which allotted him roughly $29 a week, the same amount 1.1 million Arizonans receive from the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) each week.

By day four, Stanton noted that he was “tired” and “it’s hard to focus” after leaving the house for work without time to scramble eggs or eat a decent breakfast:
OK- ran out the door today with no time to scramble eggs or even make a sandwich. So I’m surviving on an apple and handful of peanuts, and the coffee I took to the office until dinner. I’m tired, and it’s hard to focus. I can’t go buy a sandwich because that would be cheating- even the dollar menu at Taco Bell is cheating. You can’t use SNAP benefits at any restaurants, fast food or otherwise. I’m facing a long, hungry day and an even longer night getting dinner on the table, which requires making EVERYTHING from scratch on this budget. It’s only for a week, so I’ve got a decent attitude. If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant.
See? 29 bucks will certainly buy you a big pot of beans and rice. You can throw in a couple of onions and some canned corn and couple of chicken feet or something and then just eat a bowl a day. Why you might even be able to afford an apple and a banana if you're really frugal. What are these people complaining about?

Food stamp recipients deserve empathy and respect, not this.

Shame on Kroger.

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