Eighteen mayors across the country, include our own Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (and as you could probably guess, New York’s Michael Bloomberg) have signed a letter to congressional leaders, requesting that sugary drinks be added to the list of purchases that cannot be made with food stamps.
Now, I get it. We have an obesity epidemic. And public policy changes may be in order. But opportunistically using food stamps to try to dictate someone’s grocery list is a little offensive, and probably totally futile. My family received food stamps briefly, and it didn’t come close to covering our grocery bill. Which is to say, if there were something that food stamps couldn’t buy, we wouldn’t have gone without it.
I don’t think that poor people are buying soda because they are too stupid to make healthy choices. The fact is that healthy choices are more expensive, and price is just as a much a factor whether you are on assistance or not.
So a more worthy — albeit more difficult — objective would be to make healthy foods affordable.
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