Republican lawmakers have once again sparked an outrage with new legislation regarding the food stamps.
A large number of U.S. households depend upon the food assistance program for their nutritional needs; in fact, the number of food stamps beneficiaries has increased noticeably in the past few months, according to the data released by the Department of Agriculture.
Missouri lawmakers, however, are planning to limit the food items that can be purchased through EBT cards. They believe that poor people are “abusing” the system by buying “luxury items” with taxpayers’ money – because nutrition is a definite luxury for poor people.
Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin is sponsoring legislation to prevent food stamps recipients from purchasing “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak.”
“The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,” said Brattin. “I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards. When I can't afford it on my pay, I don't want people on the taxpayer's dime to afford those kinds of foods either.”
Ironically, the lawmaker's latest initiative fails to identify that seafood is indeed a nutritious and healthy part of a diet. As for the steak, its definition is so broad that it could include everything from a flat cut of meat to a rib eye.
“It just seems really repressive,” Professor Mark Rank at Washington University told the Washington Post. “I don't see how it makes any sense to ban some of these foods. Fish is something that should really be in your diet. And steak, what does that mean in this context?”
Even limiting the purchase of junk food on EBT cards doesn’t seem as logical. Chips and cookies might not provide much nutrition but they are certainly an extravagance that people deserve after a grueling week of hard work.