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Damn bloodsuckers.

And the next Trumpian budget idea to be complained about: Giving people food instead of debit cards.

The best short exposition of this was found at Instapundit:

PEOPLE: Poor people live in “food deserts” and can’t get anything good to eat.

TRUMP: Okay, let’s send them food boxes instead of SNAP cards.

PEOPLE: That’s terrible and racist!

Can’t fucking please anybody.

Let alone the fact that food deserts are a figment of the left’s imagination (H/T: Instapundit), what is wrong with providing the poor with actual food they can prepare and eat, rather than handing them SNAP/EBT cards which are regularly abused?  Why should my hard-earned taxpayer money be spent for the poor to eat snack foods and sodas instead of healthy foods?  And don’t tell me those stories aren’t true, we’ve all read and heard them for years, even back when actual paper “food stamps” were the means of exchange.

Look, I worked briefly in a convenience store, many years ago.  I remember full well people coming to the register with items they could not purchase with food stamps.  And they knew damn well they couldn’t purchase them that way.  So they’d hand me a $10 food stamp for a low-dollar purchase, for which I had to make at least some change in real US fiat money, and then they’d buy the stuff they couldn’t buy with food stamps.  Like cigarettes.  There was some limit to the amount of change you could give on a food stamp purchase but I don’t recall what it was.  (It may have been limited to amounts under $1, as I think about it, or maybe it was more if you didn’t have food stamps to make change with, but anybody with a brain could game that.)

EBT and SNAP just made it less embarrassing to use food stamps while making it marginally more difficult to buy things that were forbidden.  It was still a case of my dollars feeding you (or perhaps more to the point, borrowed Chinese dollars paying you that I as a taxpayer was responsible at some point for paying back).

I don’t want people to starve because they can’t afford to buy food.  But by and large, people who buy food with food stamps tend to manage to have nice things that often I can’t afford.  I’ve been in plenty of homes in my past life as a service professional to note that the downtrodden in our society generally have a few luxuries like big screen TVs, nice stereos, expensive tennis shoes, and the like.  Most of that past life was before the advent of cheap computers, so I rarely saw a computer in those homes — but there was often a nice game console given pride of place.  Meanwhile, my family didn’t have a color TV till my grandmother passed in 1979 and we got her 19″ Zenith.  There was no game console in my home until I married my wife in 2000 (it was hers), and we didn’t have a new 40″ flat screen TV until Black Friday 2009.  And we’re still using the refrigerator my parents bought 40-odd years ago and in which my dad replaced the compressor about 30 years ago, instead of dropping $3K on one of the cool new french-door fridges with the freezer on the bottom that would make my back a lot happier.*  We still have the clothes dryer my parents bought in the 1980’s, and we’d still have the matching washing machine too, except it packed up about 12 years ago and we bought a new one that required a new agitator/pump motor almost immediately — thankfully, before the warranty period was up.  We replaced the dishwasher my dad and I installed in the early 1980’s just a couple of years ago with the second-cheapest Maytag Home Depot had.

But we’ve always had decent food in the house, and we’ve always eaten in a relatively-healthy manner (admittedly, I hate most vegetables, but we have them).  We live comfortably, in a reasonably large house in a decent suburban neighborhood, and we don’t complain about not having a lot of money after expenses (as noted in the previous article, expenses always seem to rise to the available amount of take-home income around here).

And I don’t see how handing people a box of food instead of an EBT card is somehow demeaning or inappropriate.  The other day, Larry Correia fisked the hell out of some proggy idiot in Texas who wrote an article entitled “Please stop telling poor people to ‘just cook’ to save money”.  Dude had apparently never heard of dollar stores and discount groceries like Aldi, or even farmer’s markets where you can get produce inexpensively, and talked some bullshit about how expensive it is to set up a kitchen and how expensive spices are and all sorts of crap that pretty much proved he was born with a silver (or at least sterling) spoon in his mouth and never actually had to live in poverty.  Even at that, we just splurged on a set of Caphalon cookware that I’ve been drooling over since before we got married, and we were able to afford it because it was on sale at Kohl’s, plus my wife had a 30% off coupon, plus she had Kohl’s Cash.  By the time we were done, it was half price, just over $100 for the set.  And we’ll probably use those pots and pans for the rest of our lives.

For what it’s worth, I just looked at the SNAP program’s allowed purchases, and I see it doesn’t cover “hot foods”.  Given how cheap a grocery store rotisserie chicken can be (often cheaper than buying the same bird frozen to cook at home, because the dirty little secret is that’s how the groceries dispose of chickens that are about to go past their sell by date), that seems a bit restrictive.  And you can eat the chicken and throw the carcass in a slow cooker with various and sundry things like veggies and spices to make soup, so it’s really a win-win.  But typical of the government, throw the baby out with the bath water.

But to get back to the main point:  What’s so damn wrong about giving people food instead of giving people other people’s money to buy food?  There is plenty of surplus food in this country (and don’t get me started on “free cheese”, which exists because of dairy price supports that make milk products hella expensive for those of us who pay retail).  If the surplus food sits around for too long, it spoils.  And keeping it around till it spoils just takes up warehouse space that costs the government — er, the taxpayers — more money.

Plus, if you take choice (“buy more or less what you want”) away from the people to whom you’re giving the food (“take what you get”), maybe they’ll get bored with the same staples all the time and actually arse themselves to find decent jobs so they can pay for better food.

Workfare works every time it’s tried.  Most people on the dole would rather work, and companies are going around begging for help in this economy.  So why not create more incentive for that?

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* Refrigerators with the freezer on top were clearly designed for midgets.

 

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