Put it on the EBT

I have nothing against EBT cards (food stamps). I think it’s a great program that keeps many from going hungry.

Having said that, one thing I don’t get is why the government allows people to use their cards on “foods” like soda, potato chips, cookies, cakes, candy and even Starbucks (inside a Target store, for example).

When it comes to people’s food choices, I know that the government cannot force people to eat one thing or another. The freedom to rise and fall on one’s own merits is one of the many great freedoms in the United States (apparently, many Americans apply this rise-fall concept to their bathroom scales).

Let’s say someone who’s obese and diabetic…or on the verge of becoming diabetic…buys cookies, potato chips, cheesecake, and sodas all in one transaction with their EBT card. I have seen this countless times as a cashier at Target and it continues to baffle me.

Government programs like food stamps are designed to provide the poor and vulnerable with life’s necessities. Buying a venti extra-caramel Caramel Frappucino at the Starbucks inside a Target store is not a necessity (it’s just too much, really).

The unhealthy person who habitually buys junk food with his or her EBT card at the checkout counter will most likely have complications with diabetes and obesity. If they cannot afford food, they cannot afford healthcare and their medical expenses are billed to the government. This is easy to correct or at least curtail.

Currently, the word “investment” is used frequently. “Invest in education.” “Invest in healthcare.” “Invest in the future.” Why aren’t we forbidding the very unhealthy from essentially perpetuating the cycle of dependence? Why is the government helping the unhealthy become even more unhealthy?

The least we can do is exclude junk food and non-essentials from being covered by an EBT card. If one wants to buy a large cheesecake and a side of extra-cheddar chips at the grocery store, buy those items with one’s own money.


2 thoughts on “Put it on the EBT

  1. I hear what you’re saying – I really do – but how involved do you want the government to be?
    What if the chips are multi-grain with zero trans fat? Should someone that is over-weight or disabled be denied a Frappucino because it’s not good for them but it might make their day a little brighter? What about the cheesecake that is intended to be eaten at a birthday party later that evening?
    Who’s to say that the unhealthy EBT user purchases bagged salads – that they won’t go home and put a full bag of crutons on said salad and inhale it and then finish off with 4 apples and some canned tuna? Is that healthy? The food itself might be – but the eating “habits” or eating issues the person has certainly is not healthy.
    How about implementing programs that help teach people, both on and off government assistance, to make better food choices? To screen people with eating issues that go beyond boredom eating or lack of food education…
    It’s most certainly not just the poor or vulnerable on assistance that have health issues that we will no doubt be paying for in some way at some point…
    We may think it’s a no brainer – eat healthy – get healthy – but not everyone knows what they are doing when it comes to healthy eating.
    My point is –
    having the government tell anyone what they can and cannot purchase to eat is most certainly not going to solve the health problems of this country.
    Better healthcare might – but Uncle Sam checking everyones grocery bags is going a little over the top.

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