Poll: Food stamps are not for buying crab legs

If there’s one thing Americans can agree on, it’s that we know best how other people should act.

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The Huffington Post polled 1,000 presumably well-fed adults and asked them how the less fortunate should go about their business.

The results? The poor should not eat crab legs.

I’m not on food stamps, but I rarely eat crab legs for several reasons:

  • They remind me of giant underwater spiders
  • I have observed them eating dead stuff
  • I am a Cancer (but not on journalism)
  • They are expensive and I am cheap
  • They are a pain to eat
  • Shrimp is just as tasty if i get in the mood to eat underwater bugs

HuffPo asked “Do you think people who receive food stamps should be allowed to buy expensive food items, such as crab legs, using their food stamp benefits?”

54 percent said no. 32 percent said yes and 14 percent wished they had not answered the telephone.

People are more tolerant of the poor when they decide to eat nutritionally valueless snacks like candy, soda and chips.

45 percent said OK to the sweet and salty stuff, but almost as many, 43 percent, said the poor should not be purchasing such things with food stamps.

Americans, being the lovers of personal freedom we are, think the poor should be allowed to buy crab legs (52 percent) and chips (63 percent) with their own money.

The Huffington Post article says 47 million Americans are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides funds for low-income (and no-income) families. In fiscal year 2012, the program cost about $75 billion. The average person received $135 each month in food money, but most households have more than one recipient. In 2011, the average per household was $287.

Eligibility for food stamps is dependent on income and family size. But a single person would have to gross less than $1,211 and take home less than $931 per month.

Georgia has the 6th most receiving benefits, almost 2 million people.

Old school “food stamps” have not existed since the 1990s. Now, those who get benefits use an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card at the cash register.

The following CAN NOT be purchased with SNAP benefits:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco;
  • pet foods
  • soaps, paper products
  • household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods

This means crab legs you take home and cook are perfectly legal to purchase using SNAP funds.

A woman in the HuffPo article that receives food stamps said she thinks some people misuse the program.

“I see a lot of food stamp recipients, look in their shopping carts and it’s Ho Hos and Ding Dongs and you go, ‘My tax dollars are paying for this?’ Even as a recipient myself I judge those people,” said Hannah Aldrich.

Still, SNAP only accounts for about 2 percent of the $3.5 trillion federal budget. By comparison, 19 percent of the budget goes to the military and related costs.

The House of Representatives will soon vote on a bill to trim SNAP by $40 billion, or 5 percent, over the next 10 years. It is doubtful such a measure would pass the Senate or be signed by the president.

What do you think?

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