Legislation Seeks to Ban Poor From Buying Food too “Luxurious”

© AP Photo/ Jayme Halbritter

© AP Photo/ Jayme Halbritter

Legislation Seeks to Limit What Foods the Poor Can Buy

A Republican state lawmaker in Missouri has introduced a bill that would prohibit people from using foods stamps to purchase certain foods perceived as being luxurious, including steak and seafood.

The proposed legislation would ban the purchase with food stamps of “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak.”

“The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,” Rick Brattin, the representative who is sponsoring the proposed legislation, told the Washington Post.

While curbing food stamp purchases of cookies, chips, energy drinks, and soft drinks falls in line with the food stamp program’s mission to provide nutrition, seafood has been shown to be a healthy part of any diet.

As for steak, it is such a broad category that the bill essentially is banning people from buying any flat cuts of beef – regardless of price.

Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University and author of the book “Living on the Edge: The Realities of Welfare in America,” said the bill “seems really repressive.”

“I don’t see how it makes any sense to ban some of these foods,” he told the Washington Post. “Fish is something that should really be in your diet. And steak, what does that mean in this context?”

Representative Brattin admits that the language might need some tweaking.

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