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April 11, 2018

Moby: “Food Stamps Shouldn’t Pay for Junk”

by Anne Paddock

I have a love-hate relationship with the Wall Street Journal. One of the most respected newspapers in the world, the Wall Street Journal was my go-to newspaper for decades but since Murdoch bought the paper in 2007, I’ve reluctantly embraced it.

The news and personal lifestyle information is always interesting while the editorials often frustrate me with their conservative, big brother take on politics and culture.  But not yesterday when an editorial entitled Food Stamps Shouldn’t Pay for Junk by Moby was printed.

The name “Moby” brings a faint recognition – a musician, maybe? Wikipedia tells me he is a 52-year old American musician (got that right), DJ, record producer, singer, songwriter, photographer, and animal rights activist (how could I not know this?).  Anyway, the headline of the editorial caught my eye and I read the editorial, and read it again because Moby is saying what many are afraid to say, lest they be criticized for being elitist.

Moby claims the food stamp program is a part of our social fabric (not his exact words) but that the program should focus on cheap, healthy foods that benefit recipients instead of allowing recipients to purchase the unhealthy food and drinks sold in grocery stores. For anyone struggling with trying to figure out how the food stamp program should operate in a country that values free choice and corporate wealth over health, this editorial is a must read.

A $70 billion program, the food stamp program (called SNAP which stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) serves as a safety net for the poor because we as a nation are not prepared to allow our citizens, and particularly children and the elderly, to go hungry. The decision then becomes do we as a nation continue to allow recipients of the program to buy “candy, soda, processed meat products (that have been called out by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic), processed food products, energy drinks, and “food” filled with high fructose corn syrup and other crap – foods that compromise their health and drive health care costs up? Or, do we limit SNAP recipients to inexpensive healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables  and fruits (frozen, canned, and fresh), beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds?

Of course, this whole topic will anger people who will undoubtedly claim that no one, and especially the government (who are a mix of elected officials, appointees, and employees) has the right to tell them what they can buy or eat…and that’s exactly where the difference lies. People can eat whatever they want buying whatever they want with their own money but they don’t have the right to use our tax payer dollars to support large industrial food producers (who benefit greatly from SNAP) whose products endanger their health, the expense of which also falls upon taxpayers through health benefit programs. Make your opinion known by e-mailing or calling your representatives. To find out who your representatives are, go to www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

And, for the record, it doesn’t matter if Moby is a vegan, a millionaire, the holder of a vast real estate empire…..none of that matters because these labels have nothing to do with SNAP and are off topic.

Read the editorial and decide. Click here to read it.

 

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