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Friday, March 22, 2013

HOW much am I supposed to be spending?!!?

It's Frugal Food Friday again.  And I'm thinking hard about people's food budgets.  Several articles came out this week talking about food stamps.  (It's actually called SNAP now--"Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.) 



This article says that the average American spends $151/week on one person.  That's $21.57/day.  And that it is such a drop down to the measly $4/day that is given on food stamps.  A self-sufficient family is trying it out to see how the "working poor" can possibly survive on the $4/day.  They find it very hard.  

This article talks about Republican Senator Jeff Sessions and how he is pressing the USDA for more information on how SNAP is being run.  How there is a partnership with the Mexican government.  How people are being pushed to accept food assistance.  

"Sessions cited as examples a promotional guide provided to USDA recruiters to “overcome the word ‘no,’” and another that claims SNAP helps the economy. He also pointed to an award the USDA gave a recruitment worker for solutions to overcoming “mountain pride,” or the desire by some who are eligible for assistance to remain self-reliant."


This article in the Washington Post describes how a whole town in Rhode Island depends on the SNAP program and that the town's economy revolves around the 1st of the month when the SNAP money becomes available.


This article talks about the above Washington Post article and says that the SNAP program is ruining whole economies.  It suggests that:


"No matter how well-meaning programs like food stamps are, they can end up draining the dignity and self-respect of those who rely on them.
And despite what liberals claim, they don't stimulate the economy, but distort it in ways that make real growth and prosperity all the more difficult."



I have no desire to take food away from starving children.  I believe families in need need to be helped!  But I do wonder what is going on here!  The statistics say that 1 in 6 Americans is currently receiving food stamps.

Has the food stamp program become a sort of "golden handcuffs?"  Is the government offering so much assistance and painting such a pretended reality of "average American food costs" that no one can see the truth?

It reminds me of a time Scott and I got suckered into listening to a pushy salesman try to get us to buy his cleaning products.  We could receive a "free computer" if we would only sign up to buy the cleaning products for a whole year.  They started out asking us how much we spent on cleaning products each week.  Then they talked about how much the "average American" spends on cleaning products.  It was WAY MORE than I spent and I was made to feel like I certainly must not be keeping a clean house if I didn't spend more.  Then they showed the superiority of their products and wanted me to spend only "slightly more" for them than the average American.  And then I could have their better products in my home and get a new free computer!  What a deal!

Has the food stamps program become something else?  Something other than a way to keep poor Americans from starving?  

Perhaps.

Whether you vote Republican or Democrat or something else, this issue is worth reviewing.    

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