Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

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Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby CorruptUser » Sun May 17, 2015 3:58 am UTC

So a few days ago Wisconsin voted to change the rules on what poor people can buy through SNAP. The rule changes can be found here

WIC's list can be found here.
Notable rules, you can't buy potatoes on WIC. POTATOES. Because these are a luxury item now.
Beans can only be bought in 1 lb bags, nevermind if you want to buy them in bulk to save money.
White rice is banned as well, only brown rice allowed, but ONLY in 1 lb bags.
Milk is allowed but only by the gallon, because fuck you this is Wisconsin.

I understand that Wisconsin wants to be a nanny state and doesn't want poor people thinking they have dignity wasting money on unnecessary items, but just WTF. I don't even.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Sun May 17, 2015 5:38 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Wisconsin Bans Potatoes for Poor People

Postby Lucrece » Sun May 17, 2015 4:19 am UTC

And the truth is, even with these dumb punitive measures, people will not buy food they don't like to eat. It's that simple.
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Re: Wisconsin Bans Potatoes for Poor People

Postby Thesh » Sun May 17, 2015 4:25 am UTC

How is telling people what they are allowed to eat not being a nanny state?
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Re: Wisconsin Bans Potatoes for Poor People

Postby ucim » Sun May 17, 2015 4:48 am UTC

Thesh wrote:How is telling people what they are allowed to eat not being a nanny state?
Irrespective of the wisdom or folly of these specific rules, it is the buying of (or paying for) food for people that makes it a nanny state. Deciding what to buy for people (or what to let people buy with the money you give them) is certainly the right of the one providing the money.

The problem with this arrangement is not the act itself, but the way the act (of supplying food) moves the social boundaries a little more towards the expectation of a nanny state.

As to the list, it looks absurd on the surface; I'd be interested in their reasoning.

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Re: Wisconsin Bans Potatoes for Poor People

Postby CorruptUser » Sun May 17, 2015 4:50 am UTC

Thesh wrote:How is telling people what they are allowed to eat not being a nanny state?


Umm... I said they were being a nanny state.

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Re: Wisconsin Bans Potatoes for Poor People

Postby Lazar » Sun May 17, 2015 5:02 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So a few days ago Wisconsin changed the rules on what poor people can buy through WIC, the list can be found here.

No, I don't think they did. WIC is a federal program, and it hasn't subsidized white potatoes since 2009. You'll see the same exclusion mentioned in the food lists published by California, Massachusetts or any other state. That said, I do think it's a stupid policy, and I would favor a simple cash benefit.
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Re: Wisconsin Bans Potatoes for Poor People

Postby CorruptUser » Sun May 17, 2015 5:07 am UTC

From HuffPo.

Not law yet but may be soon...

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Re: Wisconsin Bans Potatoes for Poor People

Postby Lazar » Sun May 17, 2015 5:11 am UTC

That article doesn't mention WIC, nor does it mention any existing law. Your title is false and you should correct it.
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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Ban Potatoes for Poor People

Postby CorruptUser » Sun May 17, 2015 5:18 am UTC

Fix'd?

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Re: Wisconsin Bans Potatoes for Poor People

Postby Tirian » Sun May 17, 2015 5:20 am UTC

Lazar wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:So a few days ago Wisconsin changed the rules on what poor people can buy through WIC, the list can be found here.

No, I don't think they did. WIC is a federal program, and it hasn't subsidized white potatoes since 2009. You'll see the same exclusion mentioned in the food lists published by California, Massachusetts or any other state. That said, I do think it's a stupid policy, and I would favor a simple cash benefit.


WIC is a supplemental assistance program that is specifically targeted with addressing the nutritional deficits of its clients. It's about steering clients away from empty carbohydrate foods (like white bread, white rice, crappy cereals, and potatoes) and towards vitamin-rich foods with positive amounts of dietary fiber. According to Wikipedia, the nanny state has had a dramatic impact in improving the health of the people on the program.

Of course, it's not the only food assistance program out there, so if you're a poor woman with infant children at nutritional risk and you want potatoes, you can just buy them with your food stamps, your welfare, or your own money.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Ban Potatoes for Poor People

Postby Lazar » Sun May 17, 2015 5:26 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Fix'd?

No, you still don't seem to understand who's banning what. The ban on potatoes for WIC purchases is federal, and it's been in effect since 2009. If you want to talk about proposed new laws in Wisconsin, then any mention of potatoes or currently existing WIC requirements is completely irrelevant.
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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby CorruptUser » Sun May 17, 2015 5:39 am UTC

There, f'x'd?

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Angua » Sun May 17, 2015 6:47 am UTC

Potatoes are pretty healthy though - they've got quite a lot of nutrients and vitamins (though mainly in the skin).
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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby cphite » Mon May 18, 2015 2:56 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:There, f'x'd?


No. It's still wrong. Not even close to right.

First off, that has to be one of the most biased and incorrect articles I've ever seen. It was clearly written by someone with a political ax to grind, with no interest whatsoever in actual fact.

The intent of the bill is to align their own state's program with the federal guidelines. And, despite the authors ridiculous diatribe about how cruel they're being in Wisconsin, it's actually no different than the list of foods that get offered in any other state - including heavily democrat states.

The whole point of WIC is to promote healthy eating, particularly for children. What they've seen over the years is that a lot of people were abusing (or at least, misusing) the program in various ways... for instance, a lot of people would stock up on bulk items like potatoes and rice in order to stretch the money as far as possible; which isn't healthy eating. The point is, a lot of people were spending the money on foods that did not amount to a balanced diet. So the federal government - and most states - have restricted the foods that are subsidized in order to nudge people on the program towards a better balance of cost and nutrition.

Now... certainly there is an argument to be made that folks ought to be able to choose for themselves what they and their kids can eat; and there is also an argument to be made that if the taxpayers are paying for that food, they ought to have a say in what they're willing to pay for. That is a debate worth having.

But to suggest that this is a case of republicans deliberately "banning" certain foods for poor people, presumably just to be cruel, is fucking ridiculous and frankly idiotic; and demonstrates either a complete lack of understanding on the part of the author; or a complete lack of honesty and journalistic integrity. They aren't banning anything; they're saying that if you use the program, you need to spend 67 percent of the money on foods that the program supports; using the same general guidelines as the federal government and most other states.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon May 18, 2015 5:08 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So a few days ago Wisconsin voted to change the rules on what poor people can buy through SNAP. The rule changes can be found here

WIC's list can be found here.
Notable rules, you can't buy potatoes on WIC. POTATOES. Because these are a luxury item now.
Beans can only be bought in 1 lb bags, nevermind if you want to buy them in bulk to save money.
White rice is banned as well, only brown rice allowed, but ONLY in 1 lb bags.
Milk is allowed but only by the gallon, because fuck you this is Wisconsin.

I understand that Wisconsin wants to be a nanny state and doesn't want poor people thinking they have dignity wasting money on unnecessary items, but just WTF. I don't even.


Potatoes have been getting flak for being less nutritious by some metrics. So, I understand why they got swept up in this....and I'm not against restrictions in general, but these in particular are strange. If you wanna restrict soda, well....okay. I can see the practicality. Banning buying in bulk? Cmon. These are bad restrictions that do not seem likely to improve efficiency or the like.

Thesh wrote:How is telling people what they are allowed to eat not being a nanny state?


It's telling people what the government will pay for. That's wildly different.

It's still stupid, mind you, but we need not mischaracterize it to condemn stupidity.

cphite wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:There, f'x'd?


No. It's still wrong. Not even close to right.

First off, that has to be one of the most biased and incorrect articles I've ever seen. It was clearly written by someone with a political ax to grind, with no interest whatsoever in actual fact.

The intent of the bill is to align their own state's program with the federal guidelines. And, despite the authors ridiculous diatribe about how cruel they're being in Wisconsin, it's actually no different than the list of foods that get offered in any other state - including heavily democrat states.


Yeah, it's not at all unique. This sort of pointless regulation exists in many places.

Stretching the money by buying in bulk is, IMO, absolutely fine. Not something that needs to be punished. If someone's doing that, they probably need to do so. Yeah, I'm sure that poor folks often don't have a terrific diet. Welcome to the US. Lots of us don't. Trying to overly twerk the rules to accomplish multiple goals probably makes the program worse at all of those goals.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Zamfir » Mon May 18, 2015 6:00 pm UTC


It's telling people what the government will pay for. That's wildly different.

To the contrary, that's exactly nannying. Caretakers have power over children exactly because they provide for the children and the children have no alternative provisions. So they can buy the children veggies or Snickers, whatever they think is best. We think that literal nannying is OK, because we think that children have unsuitable standards for themselves.

This is a strong analogy, especially for people who need the food stamps. They don't have alternatives, that gives the government power to make them eat veggies, or otherwise treat them as children.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Tirian » Mon May 18, 2015 6:22 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Banning buying in bulk? Cmon. These are bad restrictions that do not seem likely to improve efficiency or the like.


I don't know anything about WIC beyond the links mentioned in this article. But I got the vibe from the brochure that the clients get coupons that say "This coupon is good for one pound of brown rice" or "one gallon of milk" or what not. If that assumption is correct, then the clients don't have to comparison shop or buy in bulk because they are getting food at the appropriate pace for free. (Also, brown rice has a shorter shelf life than white rice because it's actually made of food, so bulk purchases might not be appropriate.)

Yeah, I'm sure that poor folks often don't have a terrific diet. Welcome to the US. Lots of us don't.


I think that the purpose of WIC is that infants, children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn't be malnourished just because poor people or Americans in general don't have great diets. Giving away free food with positive nutritional value seems like a noble program to me.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon May 18, 2015 8:29 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:

It's telling people what the government will pay for. That's wildly different.

To the contrary, that's exactly nannying. Caretakers have power over children exactly because they provide for the children and the children have no alternative provisions. So they can buy the children veggies or Snickers, whatever they think is best. We think that literal nannying is OK, because we think that children have unsuitable standards for themselves.

This is a strong analogy, especially for people who need the food stamps. They don't have alternatives, that gives the government power to make them eat veggies, or otherwise treat them as children.


Once you have to go hat in hand to the government for food, it's patently obvious that you can't take care of yourself. The "nanny state" epithet usually refers to foisting more nannying on folks, not the mere recognition that there are those who do require help. Telling someone who believes they can handle it themselves that they cannot is very different from someone requesting help.

I don't have any moral issues with restricting what aid you are willing to give someone...but any such restriction should be done on solid grounds of providing practical help. People spending food stamp money on booze subverts the efficacy of the program, so preventing that was pretty commonly done. Whatever. That's likely worthwhile. However, these restrictions do not seem to be of a similar caliber. Too many regulations and restrictions end up making the program unwieldy, and hard to understand or use. Each one has a cost in terms of simplicity. A giant gob of them results in someone confused about how to best use it. Maybe they get food they hate, or don't know how to cook, and most of it gets wasted. Weeee.

Nothing *wrong* with encouraging variety in food or the like, but the more goals you try to slap into a program, the harder it is to acheive them all. You can easily end up with an inelegant, ineffective mess. I'm not worried about these being "nannying", just about them being pointless over-regulation.

Tirian wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Banning buying in bulk? Cmon. These are bad restrictions that do not seem likely to improve efficiency or the like.


I don't know anything about WIC beyond the links mentioned in this article. But I got the vibe from the brochure that the clients get coupons that say "This coupon is good for one pound of brown rice" or "one gallon of milk" or what not. If that assumption is correct, then the clients don't have to comparison shop or buy in bulk because they are getting food at the appropriate pace for free. (Also, brown rice has a shorter shelf life than white rice because it's actually made of food, so bulk purchases might not be appropriate.)


I had a friend on WIC a while back, he used to grumble about how they'd give him a kit with several gallons of milk, and his family simply couldn't use it all up before it went bad. They still got the kit, because what they could use was better than nothing, mind, but it's a little inefficient. Now, a completely inflexible kit is a little more extreme than a coupon based system, but it illustrates the problem. Variation in diet is significant, and the more inflexible the one-size-fits-all program is, the more probable it is that the program will suck at providing practical help.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Tirian » Mon May 18, 2015 9:05 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I had a friend on WIC a while back, he used to grumble about how they'd give him a kit with several gallons of milk, and his family simply couldn't use it all up before it went bad. They still got the kit, because what they could use was better than nothing, mind, but it's a little inefficient. Now, a completely inflexible kit is a little more extreme than a coupon based system, but it illustrates the problem. Variation in diet is significant, and the more inflexible the one-size-fits-all program is, the more probable it is that the program will suck at providing practical help.


What else was in the kit?

The United States government and the dairy industry has always been weird and inefficient. They have to buy surplus milk because of price supports, and they can't do anything sensible with it because of price supports. They'd be able to erase the national debt in a few months if they ever figured out how to stockpile butter.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby krogoth » Mon May 18, 2015 11:26 pm UTC

That would actually be a great thing for the colder climates that have homeless, butter is a great source of energy for warmth. Though malnutrition is already a major issue for those on food stamps etc, even when they do have a choice of what to spend it on.
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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Tirian » Mon May 18, 2015 11:54 pm UTC

I just saw an article on Snopes regarding this bill that should clear up all of the misunderstandings.

Long story short, it is not fixing the WIC program. It is in fact a bill saying that Wisconsonites cannot spend more than 1/3 of their SNAP benefits (i.e. food stamps) on what legislators perceive to be unhealthy foods. The allowable foods are what is on the WIC list, plus various meats (but not shellfish), fresh produce, and white potatoes. So you can buy Captain Crunch and spaghetti sauce with food stamps, you just can't blow more than a third of your food stamps on it.

Assuming it ever gets enacted, that is. Because SNAP is funded entirely by the federal government, a state would need a waiver to restrict what people could buy with it, and no state has ever received such a waiver. Proponents of the bill, unsurprisingly, like their chances of getting a waiver, perhaps given that the WIC standards were federally enacted and their intention is merely broadening their scope.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby CorruptUser » Tue May 19, 2015 1:33 am UTC

I'm not against making sure that government assistance is actually used to help, but that cuts both ways; government assistance shouldn't ever be structured to prevent people from improving their lives. Means testing is among the biggest offenders IMHO.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby krogoth » Tue May 19, 2015 2:23 am UTC

"cannot spend more than 1/3 of their SNAP benefits"
How do they restrict that? Does the cash register check the items against the current 2 balances on the card of "trashy foods""not trashy" before approving the transaction? This would need to be implemented into the stores systems wouldn't it? I didn't think transactions sent a list of used bar codes to the transacting bank, are barcodes on food items universal? Like if two different stores have un-packaged meat that gets bar-coded at the meat deli, then taken to the checkout, could other stores pertinently read those bar-codes?
I don't see how this would be implemented. I understand for things across the counter like smokes and alcohol the attendee can just reject you when they see the card.
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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Zamfir » Tue May 19, 2015 6:47 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Once you have to go hat in hand to the government for food, it's patently obvious that you can't take care of yourself. The "nanny state" epithet usually refers to foisting more nannying on folks, not the mere recognition that there are those who do require help.

I'd argue with that "patently obvious". There's no food stamps around here, and the Netherlands are surely a contender for nanniest state. To my best knowledge, most countries do without. Let alone the "no potatoes" level of detailed restrictions. On the other hand, pretty much every country needs government programs to make sure that everyone can buy enough food. No one has yet figured out a system to provide everyone with a market income.

So there is large divide between buying food if you have money, and generating enough cash income to cover basic needs without government assistance programs. Nearly every adult can do the first, outside of people with severe disabilities. But large groups of people can't do the second, everywhere.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby BattleMoose » Tue May 19, 2015 7:30 am UTC

There is a balance here between healthy eating and dignity. I don't know what it feels like to have to use food stamps at a register but it must feel like shit. Especially when you are told, no, you cannot buy that! ("Because that's unhealthy for your children and you are a bad parent and are making bad decisions", implied). Most countries just give cash to people who need help to support themselves and treat them like adults capable of making their own good/bad decisions.

Someone posted a claim that there were health benefits to this program, however demeaning it is. So, balance between health and dignity.

To be fair, the foods that are allowed, can mostly be described as actually healthy food.

Potatoes are pretty healthy though - they've got quite a lot of nutrients and vitamins (though mainly in the skin)


They have a very high GI index and nutrient wise compare badly to other vegetables. I appreciate it is a somewhat controversial topic but there are reasons why potatoes don't find themselves in many eating plans.

EDIT:
I think I would prefer a program that delivered packages of food, maybe weekly. You can preserve dignity and ensure there are healthier and free food options.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Cleverbeans » Tue May 19, 2015 8:10 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I think I would prefer a program that delivered packages of food, maybe weekly. You can preserve dignity and ensure there are healthier and free food options.

How is having my menu chosen for me preserving my dignity? The underlying theme is the same - I can't be trusted with cash. Also, what makes you think people will just eat exactly the items you choose for them? You're not going to try and make me eat beans and drink milk are you? I think if you just sent people food they don't like they'll just throw it away.

The only correct solution is to address the gross income inequality and take from the rich to give to the poor. Raise taxes and minimum wage. Give the poor cash instead to reduce the overhead of micromanaging every spoonful of food that some political shill wants to subsidize this election cycle. Socialize childcare so having children isn't a significant barrier to employment. Make home economics a mandatory course in school. I mean really there are so many better ways to solve this problem than trying to force people to eat a certain way because they're poor.
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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby BattleMoose » Tue May 19, 2015 8:27 am UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:I think I would prefer a program that delivered packages of food, maybe weekly. You can preserve dignity and ensure there are healthier and free food options.


Because you don't have to handle food stamps at a checkout. People in the supermarket won't know you cannot afford to provide for yourself. You don't have to feel judged by them as they might perceive you as a failure. With these feeling being reinforced every time you want to buy groceries.

Taking away the fear of public shaming every time you want to buy food, I think would help. Feel free to disagree.

How is having my menu chosen for me preserving my dignity? The underlying theme is the same - I can't be trusted with cash. Also, what makes you think people will just eat exactly the items you choose for them? You're not going to try and make me eat beans and drink milk are you? I think if you just sent people food they don't like they'll just throw it away.


Feel free to do with the food as you will. Presumably its an opt in system. And sure stuff will get wasted, but considering how much food gets wasted in our modern lifestyles (its a lot!), I really don't consider this a big issue.

The only correct solution is to address the gross income inequality and take from the rich to give to the poor. Raise taxes and minimum wage. Give the poor cash instead to reduce the overhead of micromanaging every spoonful of food that some political shill wants to subsidize this election cycle. Socialize childcare so having children isn't a significant barrier to employment. Make home economics a mandatory course in school. I mean really there are so many better ways to solve this problem than trying to force people to eat a certain way because they're poor.


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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Quercus » Tue May 19, 2015 8:40 am UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:Make home economics a mandatory course in school. I mean really there are so many better ways to solve this problem than trying to force people to eat a certain way because they're poor.


For the food issue education really is one of the keys. If you don't know how to cook quick, tasty, healthy meals using a combination of ingredients you have left over from other dishes and stuff you can get cheaply on that day then your bar for getting out of food poverty is so much higher. That means knowing the principles of cooking, rather than just being able to follow a recipe, because you'll always have lots of leftover ingredients that you eventually have to throw away if you just follow recipes.

I rather like this scheme (and other similar ones run by different people) that's been operating in the UK for a few years. It takes food supply chain surpluses and sells them, deeply discounted, to people on any form of government income support. Their shops also provide training in cooking, finances/budgeting, job skills, CV writing etc. They're run partly by their members and it's completely voluntary and additional to government (cash) support so it's not being forced on anyone who doesn't want it.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Zamfir » Tue May 19, 2015 9:24 am UTC

I rather like this scheme (and other similar ones run by different people) that's been operating in the UK for a few years. It takes food supply chain surpluses and sells them, deeply discounted, to people on any form of government income support.

Similar operation are growing here in the Netherlands. And though the operations themselves have my sympathy, I am not happy with them at all. The provision of food should not be left to the unreliable waste streams of luckier people, or the generosity of volunteers. That's more for the animal ambulance and the largest-pancake-competition.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Quercus » Tue May 19, 2015 9:50 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
I rather like this scheme (and other similar ones run by different people) that's been operating in the UK for a few years. It takes food supply chain surpluses and sells them, deeply discounted, to people on any form of government income support.

Similar operation are growing here in the Netherlands. And though the operations themselves have my sympathy, I am not happy with them at all. The provision of food should not be left to the unreliable waste streams of luckier people, or the generosity of volunteers. That's more for the animal ambulance and the largest-pancake-competition.


I heard a 30 minute radio show on the UK schemes, and while I had the same concerns at first I don't think they really apply too much to this model. Firstly the supply streams aren't really waste - they are perfectly edible, in-date, saleable food that might have, say a printing error or cosmetic damage to the packaging, or come from a cancelled order. They are bought directly from manufacturers and the same food suitability legislation applies to them as to any other food. According to the radio show this source is actually pretty reliable in terms of volume, although the exact mix of products might change day-to-day. If food from this source was available to me I'd be perfectly willing to buy it and eat it, and I can't think of a good reason why anyone wouldn't be. Also AFAIK the scheme is run as a normal business with salaried employees rather than volunteers.

Things like food banks (or rather, the necessity of food banks) are far more concerning from this point of view.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Heisenberg » Tue May 19, 2015 2:49 pm UTC

I always liked the WIC program. Sure, it was a bit of a hassle when checking people out at the store, but no more than the lady that has a coupon for everything.

I think there's a lot of value in ensuring that the food in a child's home will be appropriate for growth and development.
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The real issue is those who can't be trusted with a kid. I watched a friend of mine feed his nine-month-old son Taco Bell for dinner. He had spent all his cash on beer and a TV. I don't want his kid getting diabetes and scurvy, but I also don't want to take his kid away just because he knows nothing about nutrition. Providing his family with an unending supply of applesauce seems a better alternative to me.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby sam_i_am » Tue May 19, 2015 5:58 pm UTC

Safety nets like SNAP aren't about making people feel comfortable and dignified. They're about keeping people from starving to death.

As far as safety net programs go, the only things that really matter are keeping people alive and healthy, and removing barriers for self sufficiency. Everything else is superfluous.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Angua » Tue May 19, 2015 6:50 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:
Potatoes are pretty healthy though - they've got quite a lot of nutrients and vitamins (though mainly in the skin)


They have a very high GI index and nutrient wise compare badly to other vegetables. I appreciate it is a somewhat controversial topic but there are reasons why potatoes don't find themselves in many eating plans.

Potatoes aren't really classed as a vegetable though, they're more of a staple. And I'm pretty sure they compare pretty well against pasta and non-enriched rice.
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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby PAstrychef » Tue May 19, 2015 7:11 pm UTC

Also, If I want to eat beans and rice so I can buy a celebratory steak for my kids' high school graduation, I should be able to that-even if I'm on SNAP.
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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby sam_i_am » Tue May 19, 2015 7:23 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Also, If I want to eat beans and rice so I can buy a celebratory steak for my kids' high school graduation, I should be able to that-even if I'm on SNAP.


Just because you're on SNAP doesn't mean that you're not allowed to pay for food with money that you acquired from elsewhere. Luxuries like steak aren't a right. They have to be earned.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Tirian » Tue May 19, 2015 7:31 pm UTC

Angua wrote:Potatoes aren't really classed as a vegetable though, they're more of a staple. And I'm pretty sure they compare pretty well against pasta and non-enriched rice.


Pretty middle of the road, although pasta and white rice are not WIC-sponsored either. And those stats are presuming that you keep the skin on, which doesn't happen in many common American dishes.

And, for the record, potatoes (and maize) are nutritionally classified as a starchy vegetable in the United States. The concept of staple foods seems sensible, it just historically isn't a leap we've made yet.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Tue May 19, 2015 8:23 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:And, for the record, potatoes (and maize) are nutritionally classified as a starchy vegetable in the United States. The concept of staple foods seems sensible, it just historically isn't a leap we've made yet.

The US can classify a lot of things as a lot of things...

I remember taking Home Ec and CAPP (Career And Personal Planning) in high school. I had to completely redo a budgeting assignment because I only used up $340 of my $450 monthly food budget, which was 'clearly missing the point of the assignment'. They then made me add several trips to restaurants and several fancy foods to my budget, to bring me up to about $450.

A year later, I was on welfare and only had $310 to spend on food.

I laughed and laughed and laughed...

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Tirian » Tue May 19, 2015 8:47 pm UTC



You'll note that those proposed regulations were never enacted. I'll grant you that the 2011 act of Congress declaring that the USDA could not modify the fiction that 2 tablespoons of tomato paste counts as a serving of vegetables when it's served in a school cafeteria on a pizza was a disgrace, though.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby cphite » Tue May 19, 2015 9:19 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:The only correct solution is to address the gross income inequality and take from the rich to give to the poor.


Which is exactly what this program is doing. It's taking money in the form of taxes from people who earn enough to pay taxes, and using it to buy food for people who don't earn enough to pay taxes.

Raise taxes and minimum wage.


Taxes are high enough. No, really... The revenue from taxes in the US is higher than it's ever been even despite the slow economy. We do not have a revenue problem; and we've never had a revenue problem in recent memory. We have a spending problem. Specifically, the problem is that government is horribly wasteful and terribly inefficient at spending money in ways that actually help people directly.

The minimum wage is a political football. It's an issue used to divide people, but not much more. Approximately 4% of workers make minimum wage, and the vast majority of them are not primary wage earners; they're mostly kids or older adults looking for supplemental income. The biggest effect of raising minimum wage is that it tends to suppress hiring for entry level positions.

Give the poor cash instead to reduce the overhead of micromanaging every spoonful of food that some political shill wants to subsidize this election cycle.


The point that you seem to be missing is that, in most cases, these guidelines are originating from the people who actually run these programs. Not elected politicians, but social workers and others who are actually distributing the money and so forth. They are the ones who have noticed that, in many cases, cash gets spent on cigarettes, junk food, or gets used to pay off other debts. And given that the point of these programs is to provide nutritious foods, particularly where children or pregnant mothers are involved, they tend to fall on the side of regulating.

The dirty - and highly politically incorrect - little secret is that a lot of people make really, really bad decisions with money when it comes to buying food, paying bills, and so forth; and that there is a pretty tight correlation between that lack of good decision making and being poor in the first place.

I'm not particularly a fan of government in general, and especially not of government having influence on people's daily lives. However, in the case of a program intended to provide nutritious food, I don't see anything wrong with the program being limited to nutritious food.

Socialize childcare so having children isn't a significant barrier to employment.


Yes... let's eliminate one form of redistribution by replacing it with a much larger and more expensive form of redistribution. This line of thinking is part of why we have a spending problem.

Make home economics a mandatory course in school.


Oh, definitely. I actually agree with you 100% on that one. And not just home economics, but economics in general. Lessons could include how taxing and spending actually work; and how artificially raising the cost of a commodity (like, say, labor) above what it is worth on the market leads to a decrease in demand for that commodity.

It's going to be very interesting to see people's reaction when, soon after being forced to pay people $15/hr to flip burgers and drop fries, companies like McDonald's start putting in machines to do it. Mark my words, in just a few years you're going to see fast food places with zero or close to zero actual employment in a lot of places - especially lower income areas - as a direct result of the issue being used as a political football. I wonder how many folks will actually see the irony?

I mean really there are so many better ways to solve this problem than trying to force people to eat a certain way because they're poor.


Nobody is forcing anyone to eat any certain way. The government is offering to assist them in buying nutritious food; but stipulating that said assistance actually be for nutritious food.

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Re: Wisconsin Repubs to Restrict Poor People Food

Postby Quercus » Tue May 19, 2015 10:06 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:Safety nets like SNAP aren't about making people feel comfortable and dignified. They're about keeping people from starving to death.

As far as safety net programs go, the only things that really matter are keeping people alive and healthy, and removing barriers for self sufficiency. Everything else is superfluous.


I would argue that giving people as much autonomy as is consistent with the goals of the programme is part of removing barriers for self sufficiency. Removing people's autonomy tends to create a culture of dependency, which can be quite hard to break out of.


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