Lawmakers in Texas have proposed a brand new invoice proscribing shoppers from utilizing meals stamps to buy gadgets reminiscent of power drinks, sugary sodas, cookies, chips, and sweet, the Washington Submit studies.
State Rep. Briscoe Cain, a Republican, framed the invoice as an effort to curb diabetes and different well being points related to sugar. Not less than one latest examine has recommended that shops took benefit of monetary incentives from the Supplemental Vitamin Help Program (SNAP) by advertising and marketing sugary drinks extra on days when SNAP advantages have been disbursed. Legislators argue that it is sensible to take away the motivation to pay for junk meals with taxpayer cash (roughly $70 billion a 12 months), but legal guidelines that restrict how meals stamps are spent do extra to punish folks residing in poverty than really enhance total public well being.
In line with a U.S. Division of Agriculture report, sugary drinks make up a big share of SNAP family meals expenditures — roughly 9.three p.c of the full purchases in 2011. However, whereas this quantity could seem excessive, it’s really almost the identical as non-SNAP households who spent 7.1 p.c on sugary drinks. Purchases of sweet, in the meantime, have been barely larger in households that didn’t depend on SNAP, and salty snacks have been bought with almost equal frequency in SNAP and non-SNAP households.
Diets which might be excessive in sugar actually have an effect on public well being, which has led lawmakers in different states to take steps in the direction of reducing soda and sugary drink consumption by limiting tender drink sizes and altering guidelines on what varieties of drinks eating places can supply youngsters. These soda taxes, nevertheless, are inherently unpopular and troublesome to move due to the power the soda foyer. Within the case of New York Metropolis’s soda prohibition, a court docket dominated that town’s Board of Well being didn’t have the authority to institute a ban. If handed, the Texas legislation will go into impact in the beginning of September.
After all, Texas’s assault on SNAP advantages seems to be extra like an effort to demonize poor folks for his or her spending habits. Because it stands, meals stamps are already below siege by the Trump administration, which views this system not as an essential device for serving to stop starvation, however as a monetary burden on taxpayers. If this actually have been a matter of public well being, than wouldn’t or not it’s higher to create a regulation for sugary drinks that impacts all shoppers, relatively than a small minority of SNAP customers? Or make wholesome meals extra typically inexpensive for everybody?
• Texas SNAP Recipients Could Face Ban on Junk Meals and Sugary Drinks [WaPo]• Why Is It So Exhausting to Tax Soda? [E]• Trump Nonetheless Desires to Exchange Meals Stamps With Meals Packing containers [E]

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