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Food Stamp / Welfware Reform

LumbergTech

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2005
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Food stamps should not be able to be used for junk purchases such as soda, chips etc.
We need to put a stop to that. Not only for the sake of wasting less money, but for the health of the less fortunate and especially their children. One huge problem is that corporations would be quite upset to lose that welfare money being needlessly wasted on the junk that they sell. I think that this is a large portion of the reason why nothing has been done about the abuse of this type of assistance. What ways could we reform this system without degrading and belittling those who need to use it?

"Welfare" should not be given to people who demonstrate that they are not willing to use it for the proper reasons. They also should not be able to continuously receive it when they do not do anything to further their situation. This is where the caveat comes in that I believe that we MUST provide educational opportunities that are truly meaningful. Helping people is a very difficult task because it often requires them to overcome mental blocks that are incredibly strong that have been built up over the course of their lifetime. The old saying "You can lead a horse to water..." comes to mind.

I am curious if "liberals" and "conservatives" could come to some kind of agreement on what they BOTH consider to be an improvement over the current system while not violating their core principles. As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that focusing on compromise and not focusing on being right often produces a better result for all. The alternative seems to be a vile stalemate in which groups go back and forth abusing each other.

I'm sure that others have much more interesting views on the matter than my own and I am interested to hear innovative "entitlement" reform ideas.
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,848
1
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The current system IS a compromise between the Democrats and Republicans.

The problem with some conservatives and food stamps is that they seem to throw out all their other beliefs in order to punish people on food stamps. Conservatives should agree that it doesn't make sense to have complicated government programs. There is no simple way to force people not to buy soda. (In a past discussion, a conservative said they wanted government grocery stores.) Conservatives should want individuals to have freedom to make choices. I don't have a problem with a poor person buying calorie-rich fast food if they have to commute a long way to a job.
 

the DRIZZLE

Platinum Member
Sep 6, 2007
2,956
1
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The current system IS a compromise between the Democrats and Republicans.

The problem with some conservatives and food stamps is that they seem to throw out all their other beliefs in order to punish people on food stamps. Conservatives should agree that it doesn't make sense to have complicated government programs. There is no simple way to force people not to buy soda. (In a past discussion, a conservative said they wanted government grocery stores.) Conservatives should want individuals to have freedom to make choices. I don't have a problem with a poor person buying calorie-rich fast food if they have to commute a long way to a job.
Once you receive benefits paid for by others, you have to deal with them exerting some control in that part of your life. This isn't on the top of my list of political concerns, but I think they could pretty easily blacklist some foods. Alternatively, they could whitelist only staple foods.
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,848
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Once you receive benefits paid for by others, you have to deal with them exerting some control in that part of your life.
Right, that's what I meant about penalizing them. The reality is it's easier for government to let them spend it how they please. It's not worth the punishment factor.

This isn't on the top of my list of political concerns, but I think they could pretty easily blacklist some foods. Alternatively, they could whitelist only staple foods.
How would that work at checkout counters? That would require imposing some sort of database system on supermarkets and then forcing the supermarkets to enforce it. Again, not a very business-friendly thing to do.

It really isn't that big of a deal to let people drink soda. It's not the healthiest but it does provide nutrition.
 

LumbergTech

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2005
3,624
1
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The current system IS a compromise between the Democrats and Republicans.

The problem with some conservatives and food stamps is that they seem to throw out all their other beliefs in order to punish people on food stamps. Conservatives should agree that it doesn't make sense to have complicated government programs. There is no simple way to force people not to buy soda. (In a past discussion, a conservative said they wanted government grocery stores.) Conservatives should want individuals to have freedom to make choices. I don't have a problem with a poor person buying calorie-rich fast food if they have to commute a long way to a job.
Can you clarify what you mean by the problem is compromise? I agree that trying to construct an overly complicated system will create more problems, but you don't think that there are any restrictions that we could place that would improve the situation? You really think that the best solution is the current which is to just give them money and hope it works?
 

DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
4,269
1
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The current system IS a compromise between the Democrats and Republicans.

The problem with some conservatives and food stamps is that they seem to throw out all their other beliefs in order to punish people on food stamps. Conservatives should agree that it doesn't make sense to have complicated government programs. There is no simple way to force people not to buy soda. (In a past discussion, a conservative said they wanted government grocery stores.) Conservatives should want individuals to have freedom to make choices. I don't have a problem with a poor person buying calorie-rich fast food if they have to commute a long way to a job.
The well document argument against food stamps is that such programs actually drive up the cost of food and thus the cost of living which then further necessitates that funding increase over time by government. In other words food stamps basically act as subsidy for producers of food stuffs. It is these producers who then reap the benefits of having a steady stream of people who will purchase their products via government food stamps which then allows them to slowly but surely increase the cost of their goods without fear of losing customers at the low end of their targeted demographic.

Edit: Is it also wise to allow individuals on food stamps to make negative food purchasing choices using tax payer dollars? What do you think the cost to the tax payer (especially in the health care system) will be in the longer term when these people develop obesity related issues such as diabetes, heart disease, etc because they were given the option to spend these tax payer paid stamps on unhealthy food items?
 
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Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,848
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Can you clarify what you mean by the problem is compromise? I agree that trying to construct an overly complicated system will create more problems, but you don't think that there are any restrictions that we could place that would improve the situation? You really think that the best solution is the current which is to just give them money and hope it works?
The current welfare system is a reform that was a compromise between Clinton and the Republican House and Senate from the 1990s.
 

LumbergTech

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2005
3,624
1
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The well document argument against food stamps is that such programs actually drive up the cost of food and thus the cost of living which then further necessitates that funding increase over time by government. In other words food stamps basically act as subsidy for producers of food stuffs. It is these producers who then reap the benefits of having a steady stream of people who will purchase their products via government food stamps which then allows them to slowly but surely increase the cost of their goods without fear of losing customers at the low end of their targeted demographic.
That is interesting to me, because it references what I was saying about certain companies and people having too much of a stake in keeping the cash flow. The people who received food stamps have no incentive for discretionary spending of the food stamps because it just basically keeps coming to them no matter what they do. Can't we provide foods that are healthy to them? Is the current distribution mechanism just too efficient to replace? I mean if we as a people are going to be purchasing that much food, why in the fuck aren't we getting some kind of discount for the bulk? It seems like we could provide a variety of healthy foods so that they could still make choices about what they wish to eat, while at the same time eliminating a wide variety of things that most people would agree we don't feel our money should be going towards.
 
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Dr. Detroit

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2004
7,571
226
106
I'm fine with Food Stamps but needs a big change-

What I would like to see is the same system that we have for WIC.

WIC directs its users to purchase specific products like milk, cheese, bread, tortillas, fruit, juice and the like.

Why not have a system to where their food is selected for them:
10lbs ground beef, 5-whole chickens, 3lbs broccoli, 2lbs green beans, 12 cans of vegetables, 5lbs frozen vegetable,s 10lbs white rice, 20lbs potatoes. 6-cans tuna, 4-loaves of bread and on and on and on....................

No more prepared prepackaged HFCS garbage!
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,848
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No more prepared prepackaged HFCS garbage!
Then maybe the government should stop corn subsidies? Otherwise, it seems like the prepackaged food is cheapest. Can you blame poor people for wanting to get calorie-rich cheap food? Does it make sense to have them making their own bread and porridge or do you want them to spend time looking for work or working?
 

LumbergTech

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2005
3,624
1
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Then maybe the government should stop corn subsidies? Otherwise, it seems like the prepackaged food is cheapest. Can you blame poor people for wanting to get calorie-rich cheap food? Does it make sense to have them making their own bread and porridge or do you want them to spend time looking for work or working?
I agree about the subsidies. I have seen some information that stated that we most heavily subsidize the least healthy things. I am not sure how true this is, but I am interested if anyone has reputable information about the subject.
 

DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
4,269
1
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That is interesting to me, because it references what I was saying about certain companies and people having too much of a stake in keeping the cash flow. The people who received food stamps have no incentive for discretionary spending of the food stamps because it just basically keeps coming to them no matter what they do. Can't we provide foods that are healthy to them? Is the current distribution mechanism just too efficient to replace? I mean if we as a people are going to be purchasing that much food, why in the fuck aren't we getting some kind of discount for the bulk? It seems like we could provide a variety of healthy foods so that they could still make choices about what they wish to eat, while at the same time eliminating a wide variety of things that most people would agree we don't feel our money should be going towards.
That still doesn't address the cost of production which increases as demand goes up due to food stamps. The issue unfortunately is that whenever government hands out "free stuff" it ends up potentially promoting waste, removing competition, increasing demand, and eventually increasing costs for producers to keep up, etc which then leads to higher costs for everyone on the retail end. Food producers use these very valid points to then justify the increase of their prices on their goods. In other words there is no "Free ride" and someone has to pay for the resources being brought to the market place and consumed by those on food stamps.
 
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Dr. Detroit

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2004
7,571
226
106
Then maybe the government should stop corn subsidies? Otherwise, it seems like the prepackaged food is cheapest. Can you blame poor people for wanting to get calorie-rich cheap food? Does it make sense to have them making their own bread and porridge or do you want them to spend time looking for work or working?
C'mon man - So what your telling me is that making a home cooked delicious meal takes away from folks looking for a job or working? Give them loaves of bread, no need to bake their own.

BS - More than enough time in peoples lives to cook a fresh home cooked meal, hold down a 8hr job, help their kids with homework.
 

LumbergTech

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2005
3,624
1
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That still doesn't address the cost of production which increases as demand goes up due to food stamps. The issue unfortunately is that whenever government hands out "free stuff" it ends up potentially promoting waste, removing competition, increasing demand, and eventually increasing costs for producers to keep up, etc which then leads to higher costs for everyone on the retail end. Food producers use these very valid points to then justify the increase of their prices on their goods. In other words there is no "Free ride" and someone has to pay for the resources being brought to the market place and consumed by those on food stamps.
OK, no free ride, but are we getting the cheapest ride we could?
 

DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
4,269
1
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OK, no free ride, but are we getting the cheapest ride we could?
Stop subsidizing food producers/farmers via food stamps and other government subsidies. If you remove these subsidies they'll be forced to address consumer demand in the market and compete with each other on prices. Which would result in farmers seeing incentives to grow alternative corps that are higher in demand besides corn of which 90% ends up as animal feed.

In fact corn subsidies are a great example of how over production/waste due to government subsidies can lead to all sort of issues from farmers producing so much corn that government has to purchase it from them and sell it off at a loss to foreign nations, to the by products (HFCS) that are created and put into almost all on the self packaged food items in order to justify farmers growing so much corn in such over abundance in this nation.
 
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DCal430

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2011
6,021
9
81
I support eliminating cash well fare system and replace it with a new tax system that includes 500 a month rebate payment for every man, woman and child. This will be paid for with new taxes on the rich. For a family of 4 it would be 24,000 a year free.
 

LumbergTech

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2005
3,624
1
0
Stop subsidizing food producers/farmers via food stamps and other government subsidies. If you remove these subsidies they'll be forced to address consumer demand in the market and compete with each other on prices. Which would result in farmers seeing incentives to grow alternative corps that are higher in demand besides corn of which 90% ends up as animal feed.

In fact corn subsidies are a great example of how over production/waste due to government subsidies can lead to all sort of issues from farmers producing so much corn that government has to purchase it from them and sell it off at a loss to foreign nations, to the by products (HFCS) that are created and put into almost all on the self packaged food items in order to justify farmers growing so much corn in such over abundance in this nation.
I'm not going to lie, I am a little confused. It seems like you are saying that food stamps causes (contributes to) high cost and over production. It seems counter intuitive.
 

CallMeJoe

Diamond Member
Jul 30, 2004
6,940
5
81
I'm not going to lie, I am a little confused. It seems like you are saying that food stamps causes (contributes to) high cost and over production. It seems counter intuitive.
The food stamp program is effectively a farm subsidy program as well as a program to feed the poor. This is why it is administered by USDA and why conservative legislators, despite their anti-welfare rhetoric, can never bring themselves to do anything to curb the program.
 

the DRIZZLE

Platinum Member
Sep 6, 2007
2,956
1
81
Right, that's what I meant about penalizing them. The reality is it's easier for government to let them spend it how they please. It's not worth the punishment factor.

How would that work at checkout counters? That would require imposing some sort of database system on supermarkets and then forcing the supermarkets to enforce it. Again, not a very business-friendly thing to do.
I think we are disagreeing about facts, not principles. My willingness to support this would depend the cost to implement it, which neither of us knows for certain. However, POS systems are pretty advanced now so I would think it would not be a huge burden as long as they were given at least a year or two to get it in place.

It really isn't that big of a deal to let people drink soda. It's not the healthiest but it does provide nutrition.
Soda is pretty damn bad. It's by far the easiest way to cut calories out of your diet. Lets also be honest about this, we don't really have people starving in this country. If food stamps were just about giving people the calories necessary for survival it would only require about $1/day/person. As with other entitlements, it's based on Western standards of what we think is an appropriate minimum standard of living.
 

conehead433

Diamond Member
Dec 4, 2002
5,212
266
126
After having got stuck behind someone using WIC vouchers, or checks, or whatever they are I will in the future move to another line.
 

DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
4,269
1
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I'm not going to lie, I am a little confused. It seems like you are saying that food stamps causes (contributes to) high cost and over production. It seems counter intuitive.

Over production in this case means a producer is producing more then what is in demand in the market as they have a buyer (food stamp purchasers/government) willing to accept their goods and services at the price they set. In other words if government is going to guarantee a farmer payment for their production of a food item (for example corn) then they'll be more apt to over produce that item (at the cost of producing other corps) and also set their prices higher to compensate for any future spikes in demand (as in being able to sate this demand which increases production costs) or a drop in future demand to protect themselves during harsher periods. That cost even if it is subsidized by government will eventually work its way through the economic system in many forms, one of which is the slow but steady raise in the price of food over a measurable but long period of time.

In a market place where food items are not subsidized producers must compete for the dollars and must also make better decisions on what they produce and how much of it they produce. Consumers not on food stamps are also more apt to value shop as they have a vested interested in how they spend their own money and generally they will seek lower priced food items that generally have the best nutritional value for their buck.
 
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DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
4,269
1
71
The food stamp program is effectively a farm subsidy program as well as a program to feed the poor. This is why it is administered by USDA and why conservative legislators, despite their anti-welfare rhetoric, can never bring themselves to do anything to curb the program.
You're right but there is also the part about those who do advocate revoking such subsidies being labeled as "Evil racists who want to see poor babies and their mothers starving on the streets" or "Anti-Americans who want to see farmers out on the street, homeless and starving", etc .
 

LumbergTech

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2005
3,624
1
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You're right but there is also the part about those who do advocate revoking such subsidies being labeled as "Evil racists who want to see poor babies and their mothers starving on the streets" or "Anti-Americans who want to see farmers out on the street, homeless and starving", etc .
Objectively speaking, do you believe that more people would have food if the program was ended, or do you think that more people would go hungry, but the cost to society would be drastically lowered and the end justifies the means? I can appreciate the logic of what you are saying, but it seems like the true toxic nature of it all comes from interaction between multiple factors that could be tweaked to minimize the damage without just dropping people on their ass completely.

The thing that I find difficult about the argument is that each side seems to be absolutist..WE MUST do EXACTLY this or no good can come from it. Really..there are no intermediate steps that we could get everyone to agree to?
 
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