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WTF is going on in WI?!?! (bill to disallow foods to SNAP users)


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I swear every story coming out about Wisconsin lately is full on crazy.   This came across my facebook feed today.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/05/15/wisconsin-gop-passes-bill-banning-poor-people-from-buying-shellfish-potatoes-and-ketchup/

 

Quotes from the article:

Quote

The legislation specifically bans poor people from buying any kind of shellfish, including lobster, shrimp, and crab. This particular ban, perhaps coincidentally, has a strong religious connection to it since the Biblical Book of Leviticus outlaws shellfish. So perhaps without meaning to, it appears conservative lawmakers are not only banning these foods for poor people, they are forcing only poor people to abide by an unconstitutional biblical law written thousands of years ago in a foreign land. That sure sounds like Sharia law to me.

 

 

Quote

 

The list of “disallowed” foods, which you can view here, also includes the following:

Cranberry sauce and pie filling. (Poor people can forget about making dessert for Thanksgiving dinner.)

Creamed vegetables

Baked beans

Pickles

Pork and beans

Frozen veggies that come in packages featuring pasta, nuts, rice, cheese, or meats

French fries and hash browns

Sharp cheddar cheese, Swiss, and fresh mozzarella, shredded and sliced cheeses (except American cheese of course), cheese food, spreads, and products. Even Kosher cheese is banned unless you apply to get a specific check for it which basically could identify who the poor Jewish people are.

Canned peas and green beans

Albacore tuna, red salmon, and fish fillets

Bagels, pita bread, English muffins

White rice and wild rice

Taco shells

Almond, rice, goat, and soy milk.

Brown eggs and any eggs produced by cage-free or free range chickens, which basically helps corporate chicken farms

Several kinds of infant food

Anything in bulk

Anything organic or natural

 

According to some state rep (republican natch) they are doing it to "make poor people healthier."  This is clearly utter bullshit when you look at the list (and the full list makes it even more apparent).  No brown eggs or cage-free, free range?  No organic or natural?  In the tuna section in the full list it includes no low or reduced sodium varieties.   I guess if you are lactose intolerant you are just fucked because no almond, rice, soy or goat milk.

This is DISGUSTING!  What they are really saying is people on assistance don't deserve "fancy" varieties of food that might cost a little more, but are likely more healthy.   I personally don't think organic is worth it, but that's just my opinion.  However, natural products (no/less preservatives) are something I look for.

Oh in the peanut butter on the full list no reduced fat or natural, etc.  

 

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Bread:

Not allowed

Any package not equal to 16 oz

 

That doesn't seem to have anything to do with anyone's health, it's' just making things harder than they might be

 

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And those allergic to regular milk? Somebody needs to see if they can tie funding to this. Like the Wisconsin dairy farmer lobby group or something? I'm not sure I would tie this directly to Christianity. Most Christians look at people following the dietary rules out of the OT as kind of odd. This is all kinds of nuts. And the poor checkers who will be the ones that will have to explain to people that they can't buy veggies with pasta in them. They are going to get all kinds of hate. 

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So what's their crazy logic against canned peas and green beans?  Or brown eggs, which aren't a damn bit different from white eggs, other than the color of the shell. 

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2 hours ago, AmazonGrace said:

Bread:

Not allowed

Any package not equal to 16 oz

 

That doesn't seem to have anything to do with anyone's health, it's' just making things harder than they might be

 

Preach it! Shop at Aldi's (US) a lot---and a lot of those healthful, economical loaves are in the 20-24 oz. category, as were a lot of breads discounted at Wonder Day-old bakery. Matter of fact, about the only 16-oz. bread I've seen recently was specialty cocktail rye bread, or super-premium special something....

 

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Here's the Snopes take on it: 

http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/wifoodstamps.asp

I hate Aldi's. My mom used to shop there when I lived with her. The food was always on the verge of expiration, the store was dirty, and the brands they carried were gross. 

I don't know about different sizes of bread. I'd love to be able to buy bread by the slice, like how the deli works. I always seem to throw out the majority of a loaf as it goes stale before I can use it. I eat like 1 sandwich every 3-8 weeks. 

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18 minutes ago, Maggie Mae said:

Here's the Snopes take on it: 

http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/wifoodstamps.asp

I hate Aldi's. My mom used to shop there when I lived with her. The food was always on the verge of expiration, the store was dirty, and the brands they carried were gross. 

I don't know about different sizes of bread. I'd love to be able to buy bread by the slice, like how the deli works. I always seem to throw out the majority of a loaf as it goes stale before I can use it. I eat like 1 sandwich every 3-8 weeks. 

This quote from your Snopes link is awesome:

Quote

To illustrate Democrats' opposition, Rep. Evan Goyke held a platter of four Wisconsin cheeses. 

All four were cheddar. One was shredded and three were in block form. Three displayed flags that said "GOP Prohibited." One flag said "GOP Approved." 

The approved cheese was a block of mild cheddar. Two sharp cheddars — one shredded and one block — were not approved. One mild cheddar was not approved because it was too large, Goyke said. 

"The stated goals of this bill are nutrition and fraud," said Rep. Mark Spreitzer. "When you look at something like this cheese plate, there's no evidence of sharp cheddar fraud. People are not buying sharp cheddar in order to defraud FoodShare, and there's no nutritional difference. So if those are the stated goals, the bill is not accomplishing either."

ROFL - sharp cheddar fraud.

Wooooooo.

 

My father tells a story of a woman who came to their local food pantry.  She wanted to make a cake for a child's birthday.

Because my family believes every child should have birthday cakes, cake mix is now one of the things they regularly donate.

The WI bill is the exact opposite of this mindset - completely punitive and without any rational justification.

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Whoa.  This is a special brand of crazy indeed.  This makes absolutely zero sense. Not from a nutritional perspective, a money saving perspective, nor even from a "poor people don't deserve nice things" perspective.    

The cheese thing is insane.  But, also, poor people can't get rice? Or frozen veggies that "that come in packages featuring pasta, nuts, rice, cheese, or meats" (what the fuck does that even mean?!?)?  These are low cost, healthy and filling staples that can actually, you know, feed a poor family that has to rely on $100/week.   Ditto canned peas or green beans. (Seriously?)   And what's up with no baked beans or pickles?  And who knew there was a vendetta against pork and beans and/or creamed vegetables? Looks like the poor can't do tacos, either.  Is that just white lawmakers being racist? The rest of it is full on nuts, too, and seems mostly aimed at actually increasing the cost of buying food for poor people, while limiting many of their healthier choices.  But, hey! at least the poor folks can buy all the steak they want!  /sarcasm.

How about lawmakers work on implementing policies so that poor people can get off of SNAP (and not just kicking them off for arbitrary reasons), instead of trying to dictate what they can and cannot eat.

 

 

Edited by Hera
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You know, it would be so much simpler if, instead of creating arbitrary lists of what can't be purchased, they would just come out with their list of what is allowed. It would look like this:  Gruel.

 

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What the FUCK. From the title, I thought it was going to be about banning cake mix, donuts, soda... which is still a problem because it's still policing people and denying them any celebrations ever, which is no way to live even if you're broke. But this list has some very very basic stuff on it. 

 

I see from Snopes that  the bill doesn't actually ban most of this food but attempts to restrict what percentage of their food stamps goes towards food from this list. Which is slightlty better. Slightly. It's still pretty disturbing that someone came up with this at all. And that so many people thought it was reasonable enough to pass the bill.

 

Also, completely aside from the issue of policing people's food at all, it pisses me off that  we jump into dictating someone's diet according to "nutriltional standards" when honestly we still don't know what we're doing when it comes to nutrition. Yes we know more than we used to about vitamins and nutritional content, but we have only examined the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how various nutrients interact with each other; how different people's bodies react differently to things like gluten, corn, etc; and how diet, exercise, genetics, and disease all interplay with weight loss or gain. It's laughable to suggest we know what is healthy for everyone to eat and can legislate it successfully. 

Edited by libriatrix
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Some legislator in NY is trying to pass a similar bill to stop people on benefits buying "luxury" foods. 

http://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/politics-on-the-hudson/2016/02/18/ny-lawmaker-no-food-stamps-steak-lobster-junk-food/80556866/

Pretty sure some people will only be happy when stuff like SNAP is taken away completely, or reduced to something like only nutritional shakes like that Soylent thing because texture and flavor are unnecessary luxuries. 

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@Hera: (snip) Or frozen veggies that "that come in packages featuring pasta, nuts, rice, cheese, or meats" (what the fuck does that even mean?!?)? (snip)

That means, honey, that you can't buy an occasional nice convenient fast-to-make package of house brand chicken Voila with pasta, chicken, veggies, and sauce for $3 USD, double the utility by adding a dollar package of mixed frozen veggies, and get six tolerable servings out of it for supper. 

Yeah, GREAT benefit to working parents, to have them (or the kids) come home and have to cook pasta, cut up chicken and cook it, fix veggies, and season it---when time and energy may be way short. :my_rolleyes:

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Just now, samira_catlover said:

Yeah, GREAT benefit to working parents, to have them (or the kids) come home and have to cook pasta, cut up chicken and cook it, fix veggies, and season it---when time and energy may be way short. :my_rolleyes:

Assuming they're even allowed to buy pasta!

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Frankly, it's the ban on spaghetti sauce that made my head spin like in an Exorcist outtake.

Maybe it's different elsewhere, but our local food pantries in Southern Maryland are always begging for spag sauce (preferably in cans, because of breakage---many people have to hand-carry or bike their goods away). You know, that horribly costly stuff that runs a whole dollar for a 16-20 ounce can, and which can grease down enough pasta to feed 8---and which can be extended by chopping in a few veggies, or using up cooked meat scraps.

Don't these legislative clowns ever talk to real people who run households?

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My husband worked with the food stamp (SNAP) program for years ...  we've sadly watched Walker's and the Republicans' mean spirited attempts to shame and punish those who benefit from this NUTRITION ASSISTANCE program (NOT "WELFARE" program).... almost all people on SNAP are working.  Poor, but working.  

One thing I find very ironic is that a few years ago, a legislator in Wisconsin tried to eliminate soda/pop/sugary drinks from the list of approved SNAP  foods.  Would have made great sense from a health standpoint.  It was voted down while still in committee since the soft drink lobby in Wisconsin is so powerful.  Yup, the soft drink lobbyists made some campaign contributions and that was the last of the "soda pop" ban.  

What they are trying to do now makes NO SENSE because they're trying to align it with the WIC (Women & Infant Nutrition) program which is something entirely different.  That's why all the nonsensical rules.

This is in conflict with federal food stamp law.  That said, it will end up in a prolonged court battle, which the Wisconsin taxpayers will fund.  Again.     The Walker administration has a long history of tying this crap up in the courts.  Assholes.  

Plus this will be impossible to implement from an operational standpoint.  It's one thing to exclude, for example "prepared" foods, since the hot deli case has a different code from say, the raw meat aisle.  However, just try to adjust all the cash registers to recognize THIS size can but not THAT size can - you get the picture   The cost of implementation will be prohibitive.  

Very very sad for Wisconsin.  

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2 minutes ago, samira_catlover said:

@Hera: (snip) Or frozen veggies that "that come in packages featuring pasta, nuts, rice, cheese, or meats" (what the fuck does that even mean?!?)? (snip)

That means, honey, that you can't buy an occasional nice convenient fast-to-make package of house brand chicken Voila with pasta, chicken, veggies, and sauce for $3 USD, double the utility by adding a dollar package of mixed frozen veggies, and get six tolerable servings out of it for supper. 

Yeah, GREAT benefit to working parents, to have them (or the kids) come home and have to cook pasta, cut up chicken and cook it, fix veggies, and season it---when time and energy may be way short. :my_rolleyes:

Ahh. Gotcha!  I've never seen them described as "frozen veggies that feature to meat, pasta, etc."  Who comes up with this shit? 

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I wonder if the same politicians give speeches elsewhere about how the government should keep its nose off people's private business. 

Regulating what kind of beans you can buy is pretty extreme in-your-business. 

If they were worried about nutrition, what the hell are all the cereal flakes doing on the list? Those things aren't all that healthy, lots of salt and sugar. 

And all the regulations about what size packages you can buy is quite ridiculous when people have different size families that they're feeding. 

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This makes me rage!

However, so does the "remove "junk" food" argument. I've yet to meet or see a person who spent their foodstamps friviously on junk. I have, however, worked with many families who had members with some form of diabetes, and were told by their doctors to keep a can of soda or candy bar handy in case of a drop.

That, and with the hoops already required to even get the assistance, the idea that someone wouldn't be allowed to fix whatever the hell they please to feed themself and their family really gets my eye twitching.

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