Aw, SNAP!

I’m just now reading this article on sacbee.com from Monday about the increase in food stamp use in Sacramento.

With more people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the marketplace is shifting as more retailers accept food stamps and some retailers consciously market to those customers.

Well, that’s a catchy name isn’t it? And now even Whole Foods Market accepts your SNAP stamps. Our society sure loves to react to the symptoms of problems rather than the causes, huh?

Since 2004, SNAP benefits have converted to Electronic Benefit Transfer, or what is essentially a debit card loaded with the benefit amounts that are deducted by retailers. As discreet as gift cards, EBT cards lessened the social stigma and simplified the process for retailers, Berg said.

Wasn’t the “social stigma” sort of the deal you made with the government when you accepted the assistance? That is, regardless of where you stand politically, isn’t shame the one constant social regulator we have left?

That and the “Pants on the Ground” song, of course.

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Author: RonTopofIt

RonTopofIt is a complex personality, as are most of the small breed of modern day renaissance millionaires. He wishes more people were like him and yet believes that it takes all kinds. You've met RonTopofIt many times, you just don't remember him.

15 thoughts on “Aw, SNAP!”

  1. You must be for starving children. Shame is a real problem, it can lead to sadness, and even a desire to not be sad anymore. When they feed you, shelter you, and defend you, you wont question them.

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  2. Food stamps is a classic example of a government program that should serve as a fall back for those on termporary hard times, but instead does everything it can to market itself into perpetual self-perpetuation.

    The SacBee graphics only went to 2005, but if you look at the whole data set you see steadily increased spending and participation since 2000. Good times / bad times, the program just keeps getting bigger.

    Shame? Ha!. As we speak the USDA is working to rename the program “FREE FOOD – COME GET IT” so that they can crow about how “successful” the program has been.

    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/SNAPsummary.htm

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  3. So I guess that the guy trying to sell me his $40 food stamp card for $20 so he could buy smokes was doing it for his kids. There is a lot of fraud in the system.

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  4. Interesting that the growth in food stamp benefit doesn’t coincide with unemployement other economic drivers. Cogmeyers data shows shrinking benefit levels during the 2003-2007 period when we had decreasing unemployment, we have very rapid growth in food stamp benefit levels.

    As the author pointed out, shame is not a strong motivator in a society with people walking around with their pants on the ground.

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  5. One thing about unemployment statistics–they don’t show the percentage of people unemployed, they show the percentage of people receiving unemployment benefits. Once your unemployment benefits run out, you are no longer considered “unemployed” for purposes of unemployment statistics, even if you go on food stamps. The feds used to track such things, but during the Bush administration it was decided that it was better not to know.

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  6. EBT/Food Stamps is so widely abused it’s not even funny. Only occasionally would people talk about their hardships, but the vast majority of EBT users would buy steaks, expensive fish, and novelty items. It was ridiculous. Oh, and then they’d hand the card to their friends. It’s sad that’s where our tax dollars go to. Some fat woman can go out and buy filet minion for her kid.

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  7. Unfortunately their are a lot of people who misuse these benefits and stay on them for a life time instead of a temporary moment of need. It’s these people who make people like me look bad and it’s people like those here who ridicule and put down who wear the shame. I am a full time student, mother, and employee. My husband has worked all his life til this past year in ’09 when he was hospitalized and made unable to work. Do I quit school to go to work 2 to 3 jobs in the name of self pride that I may have cash to pay for my groceries; or maybe be a slave laborer all my life so others can still look down on me as if I am not equal to them? Is it not my tax dollars out of my hard earned money that helps to feed me and my family? It is the government’s fault for the abuse of the program! They give more to those who do nothing to help themselves to get back on their feet and less for those who work to earn a living! If I say I need gas to get to work, I have a federal mandated car insurance to pay, or school fees to pay they say tough, figure it out! Here’s a $100 but if I am a nasty lazy slob who does nothing but to stay an ignorant, uneducated, unemployed fool, here’s $600 to feed your family. It is the few who choose the road harder to travel by, knowing that they will be strengthened by the journey. I do not wear any shame in my eyes for I know judge not less you be judged also!

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  8. Ah..ernandez, you aren’t seeing the bigger picture here. By being a full time student, mother, and employee, are you not trying to improve yourself and your income? Perhaps trying to find a career that is both fulfilling AND keeps the lights on? Is the desire to support yourself and not use government assistance what keeps you going? If so, my guess is that making it easier, cleaner, prettier, etc. to use government assistance will not be powerful enough for you to give up your aspirations and become a “nasty lazy slob.” For others, it just might, and that’s where I was going with this post.

    Thanks for chiming in though. You’re fighting the good fight.

    Oh, and so I can sleep tonight, I believe the phrase is “Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged”

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  9. Maybe it was this:

    John 7:24 – Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment

    or this:

    Matthew 7:1-3 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    Please discuss. Thank you.

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  10. Saconomist, regarding enrollment rates —>

    Enrollment in the FSP is rarely above 50% of the eligible population. In the last 10 years, the feds have stepped up their efforts to increase enrollment, which would explain the unusual increase that outpaces other economic indicators.

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  11. …and thanks for the quotes from the Good Book, Saconomist. I always forget about that thing. It’s a bestseller!

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