Mike the Mad Biologist

The Washington Independent ran pictures taken by Joel Berg, the executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, showing what a week’s worth of food stamps will buy you:

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Remember this amount of food includes supplemental funding from the ARRA. Here’s what one week looks like when you get rid off the supplemental funding:

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Here’s what will be lost:

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First, I’m not seeing a whole lot of caviar or filet mignon here. Second, how the hell is a child supposed to learn on a diet like this? (I bet teachers unions are behind this somehow…).

Comments

  1. #1 FrauTech
    October 6, 2010

    First of all, they shoulda bought off-brand oatmeal…

    No I’m just kidding. Maybe fat middle class people like myself should be forced to eating this level of food in order to lose weight so that the poor can eat more. Should mean a higher educated poor and lower healthcare costs for all the now slimmer “obese americans”. Oh wait, this all sounds like communism, nevermind.

  2. #2 Mike Crichton
    October 6, 2010

    FrauTech: You won’t lose weight on a diet like that. You’ll gain weight, but still be malnourished.

  3. #3 Jim Thomerson
    October 6, 2010

    Aren’t Food Stamps part of our subsidization of agriculture? What does this mean for the poor farmer?

  4. #4 Ms. Justin
    October 7, 2010

    I was a food stamp caseworker for 18 years. I now work for a non-profit and am an Emergency Services Caseworker. Now I give food directly to the poor, as well as cleaning and hygiene items. When I hear a Senator say that he wants the Poor to eat organically I want to go to him and say “Finally, someone to raise the food stamp money so that people can feed their children something more than mac-n-cheese (from the box). The cost of food rises more every year. Statistics we see that depict the “median income” are a farce! The Middle Class are no more and according to the Kelly School of Business, at Indiana University, the Middle Class was over more than 10 years ago.

  5. #5 Whoops
    October 11, 2010

    Some of that food will last for more than the stated 5 days(the potatoes for instance.) In other words there will be a rollover and accumulation of food. And even though it was a joke, they should have bought off brand foods. This doesn’t look much different than what I bring home for 5 days. I would have bought soup beans rather than the rice (less than a dollar and will provide the main course for 4 meals.) and I sure as hell would not have bought chicken that way. Whole chickens are much cheaper than the special selections of just wings, or breast, etc. Even the crushed tomatoes could be bought as a store brand. This selection is made to look especially sparse. I make $32,000 a year and I’m more frugal than whoever picked this stuff out.

  6. #6 FrauTech
    October 13, 2010

    Whoops- you might be frugal, but I doubt you’re eating on less than food stamps. This makes me almost want to try it, just to see how obviously difficult it is. I think those of us not living on food stamps tend to spend a little money here and there on things food stamps would not allow to fit in. I spend $3 a month to get coffee at work, probably $10 for three weeks worth of protein bars I eat for lunch, I like to buy juice and soda and things, not to mention how do these people buy soap or other non-food necessities? I bet if you tracked your actual food spending it would be higher, significantly so, than food stamps.There’s a difference between being frugal and starving.

  7. #7 Whoops
    October 16, 2010

    FrauTech – I’ve also been thinking about trying a food stamp budget. There is a thrill in that kind of challenge. We do need to remember a few things though: 1. Welfare systems are designed to be sparse as to not encourage people to remain on them for too long. And, yes, this is a real problem. People accuse me of being harsh and cold, but when I go back home to rural Illinois I have to look in the eyes of my dear friends that have had their lives destroyed by such programs. Even compassion can be evil.(You’re free to ask me about those friends by the way.) Also, generally speaking the Anglo/American legal tradition does its best to withhold government assistance so that voluntary transactions can help to fill in the gaps. It would be far better, methinks, for people in dire straights to turn to their actual neighbors before seeking the government office. Or if you will, it is to encourage the public and the government to complement one another rather than one replacing the other. 2. The cupboard of a person that has just begun to be on food stamps is not likely to already be bare. 3. People often eat much more than their bodies require. I don’t want to sound stuffy, but I’ve found, for a lunch, that a can of peas will suffice. And, although not healthy, ramen noodles will do too (at 25cents a pop!) 4. The items in the pictures seemed to be randomly selected. More later. Glad to know you’re frugal!

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