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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hey Missouri, since when are steak and seafood so fancy?

This is what happens when a bunch of dudes who don't do the shopping for their families make the decisions about what people can and can't buy.  In Missuori, lawmakers seek to ban the purchase of "cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak."

My question is quite simple... since when are steak and seafood "luxury" items?  1 lb of hamburger goes for about $5.99 per pound and some cuts of beef cost about that.  Buy that meat in a family pack and its even less.  If you want a leaner meat, you're going to pay a higher price.  If you've been shopping lately, you know this.  And hamburger has many opportunities to be tainted at some point in processing.  In other words, it's not very good for you. So, what steak do we mean?  Just filet mignon?

And what about seafood?  I can understand not allowing the purchase of shrimp or lobster when it's around 12.99 per pound.  King crab is $34.99 per lb and that would pretty much blow the budget.  I recently bought 1lb of cod for $5 and took a photo for proof!  Is that banned?  That's around the same price as hamburger.

Cookies would be banned under the new law, but you can still buy flour, sugar, and other ingredients to make cookies.  You just can't buy pre-made cookies.  You can buy potatoes and make your own chips, but you can't buy a bag of chips.  Really?

I'm down with banning energy drinks and soft drinks on a personal level. But, some cost about the same as water.  So I don't see cutting this out completely.  People do love their forbidden fruits.  Why shouldn't people be allowed to buy some of these things on occasion?  I agree that water is even cheaper and I personally don't drink soda.  Or do you think drinking soda is a "luxury" which is only for the rich or richer?

My husband says this really isn't about fraud, it's about shaming the poor.  I'm inclined to agree.  even that lawmaker realized his gaffe.  "Brattin admits that the language might need some tweaking. “My intention wasn’t to get rid of canned tuna and fish sticks,” he said. But he also insists that people are abusing the system by purchasing luxury foods, and believes that that must be stopped, even if it ends up requiring the inclusion of other less luxurious items."

Oh... so why not say that?  And seriously, why would you think that fish sticks fried(!) in oil(!) and battered with wheat would actually be GOOD for you?  Wheat is horrible for people with celiac.  Canned tuna is actually not all that cheap per pound if you've looked at the prices.  I can buy chicken for as low as 89 cents a pound, but canned (overcooked and flavorless) tuna soaked in fattening GMO vegetable oil is a around $2.49 for a 12 ounce can.  It's better to get it in water, but there's no discussion about this.  Ask for it soaked in healthful olive oil and the price jumps.  Do you see what I mean about lawmakers being out of touch?

Ultimately, the better option would be to set a "per pound" price limit such that people may buy meats under $9.99 per pound.  Of course, the preference would be a turkey for 19 cents a pound.  But, come on, that's just what the supermarkets do around Thanksgiving to get your business.  And then you're stuck with a huge bird for two people, or something ridiculous like that.

These lawmakers are most likely swayed by what they see on the menu at "fancy" restaurants at the places where they eat - as opposed to doing any actual shopping.  At least that's my take on this outrageous stuff.  Not only do people want to make the poor and struggling feel bad about being on assistance, we feel a need to punish them.  Personally, I think it's awful.  Might be a good idea for some of you to consider the SNAP challenge.

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2015/04/05/3572316_no-steak-or-seafood-with-food.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
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Anonymous said...

I just want to add that many people using food assistance lack access to basic household items such as ovens due to inconsistent housing or live in food islands where fresh foods are not available within walking/affordable transport distance. Think gas station type food. Banning junk food just means banning food in these cases.

SavvyD said...

Thank you for your comment. Many people from lower middle class on up have no real concept of what it means when most supermarkets consider opening a store in your neighborhood a waste of their time and money - as well as a danger to their employees. You get these food deserts where a pack of Fritos is your lunch. It's quite sad.