Policing Food Stamps to Prevent Obesity is Going Too Far

by on July 11th, 2010
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COMMENTARY | The Sun Sentinel reports that two lawmakers in Florida are sponsoring legislation that would ban the use of food stamps to buy items such as soda and sweets like candy, cake or ice cream. Similar legislation has also been introduced in other states, including New York, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already tried to prohibit soft drink purchases with food stamps. As an American citizen concerned with our shrinking freedoms, here is why this legislation is a horrible idea.

People receiving public assistance should be able to buy whatever food they want, and not be prohibited from buying soda or candy. As a concerned American, I find it very unnerving to think that the government is trying to control what we eat, especially lower-income families. I have personally been to the store and noticed how expensive organic or natural products are, which deters people like myself from buying the products. If a family of four is receiving food stamps, I find it very hard to believe that there will be enough money on the food stamp card to cover healthy food every month. People buy snacks, candy, soda, and other items because they are cheap, which is important for a family that is only eating what food stamps can purchase. It is not the business of the government what someone buys with the food stamps because it is a complete invasion of privacy. I firmly believe moderation is essential to prevent obesity, and drinking soda here and there does not always add up to someone becoming obese.

This whole obesity healthy eating campaign has gone way too far, especially when it comes to the government, and laws banning this or that. As an American, I choose what I want to eat based on my own needs or cravings, and it is not up to the government to be my parent. We are all responsible for what we put into our bodies, and we are all responsible for living within our means, which means not spending every dollar on expensive healthy food. Even if I eat a huge chocolate cake right now, it does not mean I am unhealthy or that I am going to become overweight. I can understand that taxpayers might feel angry footing the bill for food stamps, only to have people buying junk food, but it is not up to the government to prohibit these products. If taxpayers want the system to change, then more people need to be educated about eating healthy, and prices of healthier foods need to go down, which will help lower income families afford the products.

Myself, Personal Opinion

Kathleen Haughney, “No more treats with food stamps?”, Sun Sentinel

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