13 thoughts on “Shopping in Florida with EBT

  1. Thought under nanny Michelle Obama they had reduced SNAP- eligible junk food items. But pears at $1.69/lb are pricey for SNAP recipients compared to high calorie snacks.

  2. Wow, it’s like a Wall of Chips and Snacks! Forgive me.

    And that’s nationwide AFAIK, not just Florida. Those are all food items according to the definition of food as codified in the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008. The USDA has got this question covered:

    “Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are therefore eligible items. Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also food items and are therefore eligible items. Since the current definition of food is a specific part of the Act, any change to this definition would require action by Congress. ”

    See here, under: “Junk Food” and Luxury Items

    The USDA has apparently put some thought into this, since there’s a link to an 11 page PDF hosted as part of the UDSA’s Azure cloud explaining and defending their rationale. Because of the government shutdown, they warn you at the root that the site will not be updated until the shutdown ends, but at least the document is still there so we can mollify our junk food outrage in the meantime.


    We know premium brands can be expensive at convenience stores, so does Circle K at least offer their in-store “Favorites” brand, which I presume would be value priced in comparison to the big, flashy retail brands, and at least save a little EBT money for people who had to have a bag of barbecue potato chips? Favorites is on the Circle K website but seems to be fairly obscure – I can’t find a comprehensive product list.


    And the beat goes on…

  3. Addendum: What’s interesting is that at least at this Circle K, they’ve gone to the trouble to print up shelf labels for EBT-eligible items and must have trained their staff to put them in the right places. If you look at the USDA’s PDF, they argue that’s a burden they wanted to avoid saddling stores with.

  4. I found these facts on food stamps interesting, especially the comparison of public versus private spending. This is from the book “The Fifth Risk,” by Michael Lewis.

    “But the facts of the program he ran for eight years are innocent: its average benefit is just $1.40 cents a meal. Eighty-seven percent of that money goes to households with children, the disabled, and elderly. “The idea that we are going to put these people
    to work is nonsense.” Able-bodied adults on food stamps are required to work, or attend job training, for at least twenty hours a week. The nation’s private food banks dispense about $8 billion in food each year, while $70 billion in food is provided through food stamps: private charity alone will not feed everyone who needs feeding. The problem with the program is not that people are cheating it. The problem with the program is that people who should be on it are not.”

    Lewis, Michael. The Fifth Risk (p. 104). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

    • This reads like nonsense — people have to work but can’t work? Must attend 20 hrs of “job training” — like what is that? A household with children as a sympathetic class but not breaking out the children’s portion — thus conflating an able bodied person who has a child with the disabled and elderly in order to beef up the numbers? Food stamps may or may not be a good idea (on the one hand we don’t want people starving in the streets (gives the US a bad reputation among the oh so civilized Europeans) but on the other hand all freebies must incentivize at least some not to work) but this quotation does not prove anything except to those who are already committed.

    • You should put more effort into this, Jack. You could probably use Google to learn what’s involved in the required job training. Children are included because there’s not a practical way to take away food from parents and only feed the kids. Also, we all know that a large portion, probably a majority, of the poor families with kids are single parent families. So a work requirement means that someone has pay for day care.

      Of course, there could be a noteworthy reduction in the SNAP rolls once Trump brings back those great union manufacturing jobs from China and Mexico. The pay would be enough that people will be able to fully support themselves, including paying for day care. When they’re elderly they’ll have good pensions in addition to Social Security and won’t require any sort of welfare.

  5. G C: there is no work requirement in Massachusetts if a person (a) is unsuited to work, (b) has a minor child, (c) is older than 49, or (d) lives in a low-income ZIP code. See https://www.masslegalservices.org/content/snap-time-limit-able-bodied-adults-without-dependents-abawds-advocacy-tools-and-dta-forms , notably “The ABAWD medical exemption is a lower incapacity standard than SSI or Social Security, and does not require a specific disagnosis or medical testing results.” I don’t see why anyone would be precluded from a lifetime of collecting food stamps in Massachusetts. Looks like a “family” of 4 (“assistance unit”) would receive $7,704 per year, tax-free (https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/09/27/c-snap-364-600.pdf ). Negligible compared to the value of the free apartments in Cambridge and Boston ($36,000 to $65,000/year) that are provided and to the health insurance ($30,000/year for a family) to which a non-working family is entitled, but the total package is worth more than the after-tax earnings of someone at the median wage (see https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/the_work_versus_welfare_trade-off_2013_wp.pdf ).

  6. I think the country is going to come apart completely in the next 15 years. Fiscally we’re wrecked. We don’t make babies at the replacement rate. We import poverty. We’ve sent all the manufacturing to elsewhere. Nothing except high end invested wealth is going to matter. You know when Greenspan is telling people not to invest that we’re totally screwed.

    We’ve visited the apocalypse on ourselves and everyone should be praying. Capitalism is going to destroy people’s lives and the only alternative to it is going to be Democratic Socialism, which is going to be worse.

    40% of jobs lost by 2035? Or more? It’s impossible to compensate for it. We cannot steer the ship around it. The government cannot possibly handle its entitlement crisis along with a new, huge group of unemployed people and a declining population, combined with a massive exodus of jobs that people are already in debt for. And that is what they’re going to be faced with. So we’re going to have really bad things happen.

  7. Here’s a family that collected food stamps for four generations: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/local/2017/06/02/generations-disabled/

    Alex: I didn’t know about Alan Greenspan’s doom prediction. I found it at https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/business/alan-greenspan-stock-market-party-over/index.html

    But does that mean “don’t invest in Europe”? Or “don’t invest in emerging markets”? Why should the U.S. market going down have a serious impact on Korea, Japan, China, Germany, India, Singapore, Australia, et al.?

    • collected food stamps for four generations

      Using the “for four generations” makes it sound like they’ve been doing it for 80 years more, which is not the case.

  8. Mememe: That is nuts! https://twitter.com/Chapterjackson seems to have a lot of spirit. She says “I love to write about subjects people would rather not talk about.” With that lyric “All you gotta do is f*ck and nine months later you get the big bucks” I think she proves her point!

    [Though her career advice in the video is suboptimal. http://www.realworlddivorce.com/California offers unlimited child support profits. So having sex with a no-income partner in order to collect welfare is not as lucrative as having sex with a high-income partner in order to collect child support (although, when you consider the value of free housing, free health care, and other aspects of welfare that are contingent on having a dependent child, probably welfare does pay better than having sex with a mid-income partner).]

  9. God, you guys are depressing me. Think I’ll go back to my old standby: “They can’t finish fuckin’ it up in my lifetime.” Although this hurricane has put that in some doubt, affirming that “Everything works until it doesn’t.”

Comments are closed.