"If you're poor, you're not allowed to enjoy a piece of steak."
A Republican lawmaker in New York wants to prohibit food stamp recipients from using the federal aid to buy steak or lobster at the grocery store. Because apparently people living in poverty shouldn't be allowed to eat either of said items?
How dare they.
The bill introduced in the New York Legislature by state Sen. Patty Ritchie refers to steak and lobster as "luxury food items," according to The Washington Post
. And it would also prohibit people from buying things like soda, candy and cake.
The proposal falls in line with a decades-old conservative fear that people use government assistance to purchase high-end foods. A strikingly similar proposal popped up last year in Missouri last year and another was signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in April.
writes that the New York Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program already restricts buying liquor, cigarettes, pet food and hot or prepare foods—understandable. But with this proposal it seems more about chipping at people's dignity. "Only rich people can buy a cake for their child's birthday!"
From the WaPo
Essential items, her proposal notes, include "milk, juice, fruits, vegetables, granola bars, peanut butter and dozens of other healthy foods."
The goal of [SNAP] is to help low-income consumers make wise and healthy food choices—however in New York State, SNAP beneficiaries are able to use their taxpayer-funded EBT cards to purchase things like soda, candy, cake and other types of junk and luxury items," the statement says referring to electronic benefit transfer cards.
No, this isn't a case of being concerned for people's health. It's about continuing the denigration of low-income communities. Let's be real.