All food stamps users are not created equal

After reading this interesting article about hipster-types (and recent graduates in general) who use food stamps to buy organic, free-range, healthy food, I was puzzled about why people in the article and many in the comments section (which had 183 comments as of Tuesday afternoon) were so angry at these hipsters for buying food for quality and not quantity.

Isn’t the EBT debit card they get to use for food purchases only alloted a certain amount of money, so aren’t they free to buy whatever they want food-wise until the card has no money left? Why are people so outraged that Joe Hipster is using his government allotment toward organic food — it’s not like the government only allows hipsters access to that food. Anyone can buy the healthier food, and anyone on food stamps can spend their $150 or $200 per month however they please.

Joe Hipster shouldn’t be attacked because he makes the personal decision to buy healthier food, which in the case of free-range eggs and meat can be significantly more expensive. If someone wants to eat in a healthy way, why are people up in arms because those people are choosing to get “gourmet” food instead of Mac & Cheese? Am I not understanding some form of the government assistance program, or are taxpayers just mad because they expect people on government assistance to eat like peasants:

Of course people are going to be pissed that they’re busting their asses every day in real jobs so that some douchebag can satisfy his “flexitarian” gourmet diet. Did it ever cross their minds to look for a second job – say at McDonald’s or Home Depot or in janitorial services – so they could afford to satisfy their gourmet palate, instead of relying on government?

Are people assuming that these hipsters are using the government to supplement their expensive tastes — as if they have a full-time, decent-paying job but need that extra government help to get the good stuff — or are they unaware that these people are unemployed but still have the ability to spend their monthly allotment on whatever they want, as long as it’s food? Sure, you might not expect someone living on government assistance to go for free-range and organic, but does living in poverty mandate that you have to eat only junk food, or that you have to get as much quantity of food as humanly possible regardless of quality?

People always get grumpy about government assistance, so maybe that’s where a lot of the hostility is — a mindset of, “Well, if my tax dollars are going toward your food, you better not eat healthier than I do!” Maybe people think young college grads are taking advantage of the system — because it’s totally hip to be unemployed and publicly proclaim your own joblessness in line at the grocery store, or better yet to have the cashier deny you sharp cheddar because it doesn’t qualify. Sounds pretty rad to me!

But I think it’s more that people like to dictate other people’s lives, telling them that if they can’t get themselves a job, they don’t deserve nice things like whole grains! This is despite the fact that people with degrees are getting laid off, fired, and can’t find work — and yes, even McDonald’s only has so many jobs to offer. I also think poor people deserve the right to make their own food from scratch, to cook, to know what’s going into the food they eat.

Also, I think people misunderstand “poverty,” and they want you to lose your home and all your possessions first, then you get help (who wants to stop a problem from getting worse?) — and even then, you better not think about eating food that is local, grown without pesticides, or treated humanely. Healthy food shouldn’t be elite food, but apparently it is — you have the right to a healthy lifestyle only if you’re privileged enough. Is that completely ridiculous and bizarre to anyone else?

People need to eat. Sometimes those people can’t find jobs, lose jobs, live with extenuating circumstances. So they get government assistance. What they eat isn’t any of your business, because everyone gets the same amount of money and chooses from the same list of qualified foods. If you’re mad that people on food stamps are eating healthier than you are, then either (1) buy healthier food or (2) realize that healthy food = healthy people, which is less of a burden on government-provided health care. It’s the circle of life!

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2 Responses to “All food stamps users are not created equal”

  1. sue grace Says:

    bravo ! food stamps is NO walk in the park… it’s last resort time, and the food stamps do not last the month, in fact barely covers two weeks AND you cannot buy hot food, there is no reason to eat garbage, but then people want poor people to eat crap, rotten, expired and they want to throw people away… they cut my food stamps off recently, why I don’t know and so not only was I hungry/starving for two weeks but two weeks after that… and I’m 60 and with arthritis, and no one wants to help me… not fun…

  2. me Says:

    uh could it be because you can only eat for about a week at whole foods on a months worth of food stamps and we have a hard time believing they do a three week cleanse the rest of the month we suspect they have unreported resources and dont deserve our hard earned tax dollars

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