Using food stamps to buy fast food?

Using food stamps to buy fast food?
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The federal food stamp program is a gargantuan program with the worthy cause of keeping people from going hungry. But are big business interests about to pervert the program’s purpose, or will those interests help more Americans avoid hunger?

The food stamps program

Sometimes I read something and I think it’s a joke. And then when I find out it’s not, I just shake my head.

Such was the case when I read that Yum! Brands — the owners of Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and Long John Silver’s — is lobbying to get in the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) so that more impoverished Americans can use their food stamps to buy fast food.

The states of Florida, California, Arizona and Michigan already allow select restaurants like Golden Corral, McDonald’s, Subway, some Yum! properties and others to accept food stamps. But the new Yum! effort would potentially give their particular brands the ability to accept food stamps in all 50 states.

On another note, I overheard a conversation between a grocery store cashier and a customer who knew each other during a recent trip to the supermarket. The customer was putting nice food items up on the belt and the cashier said, ‘I’ve never seen you buy those before, you always buy the store brand.’ The customer replied, ‘I’m done with that [expletive,] I’ve got food stamps now!’

Oh, boy. That’s not what program was designed for!

Likewise, despite the fact that I’m a dedicated fast food junkie, I’m not so sure about people using their food stamps to buy fast food. How about you? Vote in my poll and let me know what you think.

Finally, the Wisconsin Assembly is now trying to crack down on how food stamps can be used. A bill has been approved that will necessitate at least two-thirds of monthly benefits to be spent on milk, bread, and vegetables. Remaining benefits can be spent on any authorized food. The assembly did not define ‘junk food’ in their bill.

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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