Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Experts and observers question growth of food stamps, say it's fueled partly by corporate interests

While members of the U.S. House begin debate about whether or not to cut funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) as part of its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, at least one large and powerful group has a vested interest in its continued growth: corporations that make or sell junk food.

Brad Tuttle of Time reports that corporations including Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola and the Corn Refiners of America are likely most interested in continued expansion of SNAP because all have lobbied Congress and/or various states to make sure SNAP recipients have full freedom to decide how to spend SNAP money, including unlimited purchase of soda and junk food. "The idea that the food stamp program is essentially a corporate subsidy sounds like it could have been cooked up by the Tea Party or a libertarian, anti-tax group. But this argument has lately coming from very different quarters," Tuttle reports.

Michelle Simon, a public-health expert and leader of watchdog group Eat Drink Politics, has said "SNAP represents the largest, most overlooked corporate subsidy" in the 2012 Farm Bill. She concluded last month in a report that big bank J.P. Morgan Chase benefits from SNAP just as much as big food corporations because it gets tens of millions a year from states in exchange for operating SNAP electronic benefits transfer cards. New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle told the San Francisco Chronicle that it's "time to consider the idea of limits" for SNAP recipients. USA Today's editorial board has also condemned the growth of SNAP as being politically motivated.

1 comment:

Brian said...

This is probably why you can buy Twinkies with food stamps but not soap.