Florida Republicans' Dilemma: Should They Ban Poor People From Buying Cupcakes?

Categories: Politicks
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It's always fun to see different strains of a political ideology rub against each other in conflict, and that's exactly what's happening as a Florida House committee ponders whether or not to limit the kinds of foods that can be bought with food stamps. On one hand you have the part of the Republican party that just loves to put all sorts of restrictions on people who get government assistance (see: Rick Scott's welfare drug testing laws). On the other you have the type that gets nervous anytime the government dictates what kinds of foods people should eat.

Yesterday, the House Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee approved a proposal that would limit the kinds of food people who receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program money can buy on their EBT cards. Things like soda pop, cupcakes, pretzels, potato chips, ice cream and muffins would be banned.

Some Republicans are all for putting restrictions on those who receive welfare.

"This is money being taken from one taxpayer, and out of compassion being given to another," bill sponsor Rep. Scott Plakon told the News-Press. "So I think it's entirely reasonable for the legislature to put restrictions."

Others, though, aren't so sure Big Brother should be watching what anyone eats.

"I don't want people telling me what to eat and I don't think it's right for us as a government -- even if they happen to be poor," says Rep. Dana Young. "Even if they happen to be on food stamps."

Young is clearly the type of Republican who has nightmares about Michelle Obama force-feeding her arugula.

Rep. Mark Pafford, a Democrat tried to add a little bit of wiggle-room into the restrictions. He introduced an amendment that would allows the EBT cards to be used to purchase cake or cupcakes on children's birthdays. That was quickly struck down, and the Republicans naturally continued to ignore the Democrats in the room, as has been customary for the past decade in Tallahassee.

The bill however isn't completely concerned with cupcakes. It would also eliminate the use of EBT cards in Internet cafes that double as quasi-legal e-casinos. It would also ban the use of cards at places that sell liquor and other spirits, but some legislators realize that provision could eliminate many, if not all, grocery stores.

The bill still has a long way to go before reaching the House floor, including two more committee stops. A similar bill is currently moving forward in the Senate.

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Teeter72
Teeter72

I was in a convenience store at a gas station yesterday and watched a woman buy a candy bar, a bottle of prepared iced tea and a scratch off lottery ticket with her EBT card.  This just doesn't seem right.

Minette061554
Minette061554

While I totally understand the frustration of seeing an overloaded shopping cart full of junk food with 3 or 4 kids trailing behind it only to have the payer whip out their EBT card we have to be very careful when setting such limits.  

What most of you don't understand is if they start with the Food Stamp program eventually they will step out of govt. funded programs and start limiting what can be sold to consumers in this country "for their own good".  Frankly I'm tired of the food police, I'm tired of all minority groups that get legislation passed that forces their beliefs on the rest of us.  If someone wants to eat themselves to death that's their business not ours or the government's.  If you're naive enough to think their quest for control will end with food stamps then you have a sad awakening coming in the next decade.  Sheeple have already allowed the govt. to take too many of our rights because they are numb enough to buy into "national security" and "the war on drugs" propaganda as well as any other catchphrase that is accompanied by dire warnings of things that never do come true.  

Mari
Mari

Well, it's about time!!!  Food stamps is not the ONLY way someone can buy food.  Most of these people also have to buy toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry soap, etc. So they have some cash available.  Use it to buy a box of cakemix ($1) to make a birthday cake for the kid. I am NOT nor have I ever been, NOR will I ever be a Republican.  Just sayin'

icedgreentea
icedgreentea

But if they're spending their actual cash on toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. they may not have much left, and anyway I think those things should actually be covered by food stamps (who can live without toilet paper and soap?).  Plus, this bill may prohibit cakemix as well, and it doesn't discuss treats that might be considered somewhat healthy like oatmeal raisin cookies, or sugar-free Jell-o.  . 

Mari
Mari

The food stamps should only be allowed for real food, not potato chips and soda or beer. I have been on them.  I fed my family of 4 lovely healthful meals that were better than we used to be able to afford (steak, ribs, fruit) for 4 months on 3 months of stamps.  Of course, I never used premade foods.  If we wanted potato salad, I made it from scratch, or a cake, or a pie.  Maybe people should be required to take and pass a food preparation course before getting food stamps. 

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