November 2 2011

Food Stamp Stunt

Julie Gunlock

In a stunt designed to illustrate the need for higher funding for the already bloated food stamp program (now known as SNAP), a handful of Democrat House members are taking the Food Stamp Challenge--eating on a “food stamp” budget for a week which amounts to roughly $31 per person, per week. 

Silly politicians and their stunts.  Won’t some kind staffer please point out to these members of Congress that SNAP is supposed to supplement an individual’s food budget—not provide for every food need.  In fact, the “S” in SNAP actually stands for “supplemental.” 

Documenting her sad, little meals on Huffpo, Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky grumble about not being able to afford her Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi and having to drink water and “weak coffee.”

Oh…the…horror…

Despite Jan enduring a soda and coffee-free day, she did manage to get a pretty good list of foods at her local Safeway, including: yams, a bag of carrots, bananas, onions, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, five chicken breasts and a 3 pound bag of apples. 

But there’s more complaining from Jan…who clearly can’t cook (a problem I suspect a lot of people run into when forced to use whole and raw ingredients and not rely on more expensive ready-to-eat options).  Jan explained her culinary prowess:

I put a chicken breast in water in my slow cooker with 1/2 an onion, one carrot, one plum tomato and some seasoning…By the time I came home, the chicken was done but the broth was really watery and boring. I added the half jar of my left over pasta sauce and half a box of noodles, diced some of the chicken into it, and it tasted pretty good. (I've never been much of a cook.) I confess I took a couple of candies from my daughter's trick or treat offerings.

Oh boy.  Someone please get this lady a frozen dinner entrée before she starves to death!

Look, Jan, it’s not our fault that you can’t cook.  It isn’t our fault that you thought a lean chicken breast would taste good after spending a few hours in a crock-pot water bath.  Instead of making the program look under funded, Jan’s helped illustrate that people really can live on a limited food budget (and can live quite well if they use SNAP as a supplement as it is designed to be used).

As the Congresswoman has shown, one might not like what they’re eating; they might have to take a little more time to actually cook a meal and they might have to give up sodas and high-end coffees.  But, they’ll eat. 

Isn’t that the point?

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