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Soda for Food StampsFollow

#1 Jan 02 2013 at 8:25 AM Rating: Good
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Should soda be banned from purchase with food stamps?
Yes:25 (54.3%)
No :14 (30.4%)
Partial ban based on sugar/calorie/nutrition info:1 (2.2%)
Other - explain:1 (2.2%)
It's cold and dark in here:5 (10.9%)
Total:46


I'm ok with it. At the same time it's very inequitable. There are lots of stuff that has no nutritional value and yet is purchased with food stamps (coffee comes to my mind at this time of the day - could you imagine banning coffee purchases from those dependent on food stamps? ...It would be an angry angry day in the ol USofA)

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#2 Jan 02 2013 at 8:29 AM Rating: Excellent
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Sure. There might be other items that should qualify but that's a reason to debate those items, not to give up on excluding things.
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#3 Jan 02 2013 at 8:46 AM Rating: Excellent
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No. Either we revamp the whole food stamp system so that only 100% healthy purchases can be made, or we let the poor people have their soda. Soda is a very arbitrary line to draw. Is it the caffeine? The sugar? The carbonation? What about caffeine free, sugar free soda? What about sparkling San Pellegrino water flavored with fruit juice? What about the fact that apple juice from concentrate is just as processed and has even more sugar (and *********

Like I said, though, I fully support an all or nothing approach, if food stamp recipients were only allowed to purchase foods that had been evaluated as healthy, and if the government gave a little bit of effort to educate its citizens about what is healthy to eat and what should be eaten in moderation. Unfortunately, "moderation" is a very dirty word in a capitalist society so I doubt big time that any of Coca Cola's/corn's lobbyists would let any form of this ever pass to see the light of day.
#4 Jan 02 2013 at 8:52 AM Rating: Good
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I'm ok with it

I'm not. It's food stamps, not WIC. The over-involved hand of the nanny state doesn't need to reach in here to decide that apple juice is "healthy" but diet soda isn't. The "soda is evil" science is shaky at best. Might turn out to be completely accurate, but no one knows yet. Cigarettes, sure, no food stamps. Soda? A softball example of what can go wrong with social welfare programs.
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#5 Jan 02 2013 at 9:08 AM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:
I'm ok with it

I'm not. It's food stamps, not WIC. The over-involved hand of the nanny state doesn't need to reach in here to decide that apple juice is "healthy" but diet soda isn't. The "soda is evil" science is shaky at best. Might turn out to be completely accurate, but no one knows yet. Cigarettes, sure, no food stamps. Soda? A softball example of what can go wrong with social welfare programs.

What can go wrong is that the soda companies will add some useless vitamin supplement to mountain dew and sell it as a nutritional drink. Loopholes would abound in any 'no soda' for food stamp legislation.

I'm ok with it because soda sales are huge, hugely huge. Disallowing it's purchase by food stamps could actually bring about a cultural change - for the better. Apple juice not so much.

I don't think the soda companies will let it happen though.

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#6 Jan 02 2013 at 9:12 AM Rating: Excellent
No. I think it's too much. I also think it would be very hard to enforce and loopholes would abound. I also don't want to send the message that people on food stamps aren't trusted to make any choices on their own, I think that's ultimately destructive.
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#7 Jan 02 2013 at 9:14 AM Rating: Good
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Does anyone know if you can buy that 5-hour energy stuff with food stamps?
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#8 Jan 02 2013 at 9:23 AM Rating: Decent
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What Smash and Xsarus said. We can encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices all day long, but ultimately, it's their choice. To arbitrarily single out certain food or drink simply because it's a popular target will cause more trouble than it will prevent. Besides, it's incredibly easy to find a friend who will pay cash for your soda in exchange for food stuffs purchased with your government money. It wouldn't actually solve any problems. Gbaji and fellow republican parrots tout the dangers of big government 24/7, citing social welfare programs as a prime example. While I disagree that social welfare is unnecessary or even excessive, I would place the debate over excluding soda from food stamp purchases squarely in the "excessively large government" spotlight.
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#9 Jan 02 2013 at 9:29 AM Rating: Excellent
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Sir Xsarus wrote:
No. I think it's too much. I also think it would be very hard to enforce and loopholes would abound.

Would it? I imagine it'd be the same way any other items are excluded: their SKU is flagged not to accept it as payment. The cash register can figure out to tax it at a higher rate (here in IL, soda and candy is taxed at the standard rate, not the grocery rate) so I'm sure it can figure out how to accept payment.

BrownDuck wrote:
Besides, it's incredibly easy to find a friend who will pay cash for your soda in exchange for food stuffs purchased with your government money.

While true on an individual basis, in reality your average grocery shopping mom isn't going to be trading shady teens a box of food stamp snack cakes for a two liter of Coke outside the Safeway.

I'll say though that this isn't a topic I particularly care about. My gut instinct says "sure" but I wouldn't lose a moment of sleep if it wasn't the case.
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#10 Jan 02 2013 at 9:43 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:


I'll say though that this isn't a topic I particularly care about. My gut instinct says "sure" but I wouldn't lose a moment of sleep if it wasn't the case.
Selfishly, I don't really care about it either. I don't use food stamps nor do any of the people I care about. I also don't drink soda.

However, if I did use food stamps and someone threatened my coffee supply it would put me at risk of going ballistic.

My Gov has just put forward a bill to ban soda sales from food stamps. I don't see it as a 'big government' getting in your face thing. It's food stamps. There are all sorts of prohibitions on consumable type items whose purchase is prohibited with food stamps. The ease of abuse or fraudulence is really not a reason to go forward with it. It's not specific to soda. If someone wants to sell their food stamps for cash to buy something else and that something else is 'soda' well then I guess they got a bad soda addiction.

It is seemingly arbitrary however to single out 'soda'.

In an effort to keep my new year resolution alive for at least another week, I'm thinking maybe this would be a good topic for a capstone paper. It's fairly well bounded but touches on lots of public policy criteria.
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#11 Jan 02 2013 at 9:45 AM Rating: Decent
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I'll say though that this isn't a topic I particularly care about. My gut instinct says "sure" but I wouldn't lose a moment of sleep if it wasn't the case.

Jack booted soda ****!
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#12 Jan 02 2013 at 9:48 AM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:
I'll say though that this isn't a topic I particularly care about. My gut instinct says "sure" but I wouldn't lose a moment of sleep if it wasn't the case.

Jack booted soda ****!

Wait til they come for his Gyros.
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#13 Jan 02 2013 at 9:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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Unless I miss my guess, fountain sodas are already forbidden (because they're for "immediate consumption"), right? I wonder if individual small bottles (you know, the ones in the fridges near the checkout lines) are also?
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#14 Jan 02 2013 at 10:13 AM Rating: Good
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As far as I remember from my time as a cashier, the only food items forbidden for purchase on food stamps are hot prepared foods. You can even get stuff like deli salads and such on them.
#15 Jan 02 2013 at 10:46 AM Rating: Good
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No.

For the very simple reason that if you ban soda you're going to start having to draw arbitrary and ever changing lines to what can and can't be bought with food stamps and you're not going to get people to eat healthier unless they want to.
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#16 Jan 02 2013 at 10:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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No. It's a slippery slope, you see, as there's always a healthier food. So, once the government crosses that line, and says that it's going to regulate what the poor eat in order to improve their health, then there's no stopping the slide.

First they'll restrict soda.

Then they'll make them drink health shakes.

Then they'll make them eat a balanced, nutritional meal that trims fat and improves muscle growth.

Then they'll make them go to the gym.


Pretty soon, we'll have an army of super-hobos to contend with. They'll rise up and cast us all out of our ivory towers.

And from the work pits, where we toil under the watchful eye of some svelt uber-bum with a whip, we'll mutter under our breath:

"Thanks, Obama."

Edited, Jan 2nd 2013 11:57am by Eske
#17 Jan 02 2013 at 11:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
For the very simple reason that if you ban soda you're going to start having to draw arbitrary and ever changing lines to what can and can't be bought with food stamps

No, you don't. "No soda". There, you're done. Not every change has to beget more change.

As I mentioned, Illinois (and I assume some other states) charges soda and candy at a different tax rate than groceries. This hasn't led to some state-wide chaos of determining what the tax rate of caramel apples should be or thrown the tax code into disarray over flavored water. They decided "soda and candy get standard taxes" and that was it. It may be "arbitrary" but it's not "ever changing".
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#18 Jan 02 2013 at 11:47 AM Rating: Decent
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If people want to waste their limited government food provisions on Soda, then by all means let them waste it on Soda.
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#19 Jan 02 2013 at 4:40 PM Rating: Decent
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No, you don't. "No soda". There, you're done. Not every change has to beget more change.

As I mentioned, Illinois (and I assume some other states) charges soda and candy at a different tax rate than groceries. This hasn't led to some state-wide chaos of determining what the tax rate of caramel apples should be or thrown the tax code into disarray over flavored water. They decided "soda and candy get standard taxes" and that was it. It may be "arbitrary" but it's not "ever changing".


That's all well and good for you mustachioed sausage and pirogi eaters, but these are obviously not direct parallels. Taxing at a higher rate and very incrementally increasing the price of an item already not really purchased based on price (no one gives a **** that soda costs 14 cents a metric ton to produce) is not akin to literally legislating customers for that product out of existence, and thus, because of the increased severity of the statutory penalty, should also meet a higher standard for enactment. We can agree that taxing beer an additional 5 cents a bottle and the 18th amendment aren't really comparable, can't we?

Also, your piddly little state is widely known to be a hotbed of socialism. In Real America; Honey Boo Boo America, this sort of thing will be met with armed revolt.

Are you ready for that blood on your hands, Joph? Because, let me tell you, no amount of Green River is going to wash it off, son.
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#20 Jan 02 2013 at 4:54 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
As I mentioned, Illinois (and I assume some other states) charges soda and candy at a different tax rate than groceries. This hasn't led to some state-wide chaos of determining what the tax rate of caramel apples should be or thrown the tax code into disarray over flavored water. They decided "soda and candy get standard taxes" and that was it. It may be "arbitrary" but it's not "ever changing".


This was more or less where my answer came from. I think we touched on this in an earlier thread. In California, they do not charge sales tax on "staple goods". So milk, flour, bread, water, uncooked/prepared food, etc have no sales tax, while everything else does. I don't support a specific targeting of "soda" in this regard, but that anything which isn't a basic food necessity (which soda, fancy bottled water, beer, etc are not) should have a sales tax attached, and thus should not be purchasable with food stamps. Now, I'm not sure if that's actually the case in terms of food stamps here, but I have no problem with it being so.

You're leveraging an already existing system in place. If you've decided that certain things are not necessary and are luxuries, then food stamps should not be used for them. Obviously, in states which don't already have something like this, they'd need to come up with restrictions. But I don't think it should be "ban soda", but "food stamps can only be used for <insert standard here>".
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#21 Jan 02 2013 at 4:54 PM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:
In Real America; Honey Boo Boo America, this sort of thing will be met with armed revolt.


Just gotta get James Cameron to go down into the Mariana Trench and raise the bar back up.
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#22gbaji, Posted: Jan 02 2013 at 5:06 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Really? Legislating restrictions on what people can buy on the public's dime should require a higher standard than legislating economic penalties for purchasing decisions people make with their own money? In typical Smash fashion, you've managed to completely miss the point (happy new year btw!). A government deciding that it will artificially increase the price of goods I buy with my own money because some interest group thinks it's bad for me is a far far greater intrusion on my liberty. A government taking money from me and giving it to other people (in the form of food stamps) to buy stuff is a far greater intrusion on my liberty as well. There is no intrusion of liberty on the person receiving the food stamps at all because... wait for it... it's not their money.
#23 Jan 02 2013 at 5:15 PM Rating: Decent
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rdmcandie wrote:
If people want to waste their limited government food provisions on Soda, then by all means let them waste it on Soda.


That's a great sentiment until some government bean counting group determines that the current level of funding for food stamps isn't sufficient to ensure that recipients are receiving their RDA of various food groups, or whatever criteria they decide to use this year and decide that they must increase funding.

Most people who receive food stamps do have jobs. They just earn below a minimum that the state decides qualifies them for food assistance. They are free to choose to spend their own money on soda if it's really that important to them to have it. I don't think it's unreasonable for a program with the stated intention to prevent people from going hungry due to lack of money to buy food to limit itself to only those things necessary to prevent people from going hungry due to lack of money to buy food.


I just find this whole discussion interesting because my family grew up pretty poor. We never were on food stamps, but guess what? We never drank soda either. We drank water. Sometimes, we mixed in some instant tea for a bit of flavor. But mostly we drank water. Do you know why? Because we could not afford it. The very concept of people on food stamps complaining because they can't buy soda with the stamps is laughable to me. Do without. You wont starve to death if you don't have soda to drink.
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#24 Jan 02 2013 at 5:20 PM Rating: Decent
It absolutely should be banned. Its not food, and it has no nutritional value. Its a completely unneccessary peroduct, and shouldn't be traded for food stamps, which are meant to purchase food, not fizzy sugar water. If they want soda, let them buy it with money.
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#25 Jan 02 2013 at 5:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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Smasharoo wrote:
no amount of Green River is going to wash it off, son.

We really won't know until we try, will we? Bring it on.
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#26 Jan 02 2013 at 6:01 PM Rating: Excellent
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No.

I rightly don't care what the poor folk spend their food stamps on. I'm much more concerned with getting them off of food stamps.
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