New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is getting some guff for pushing to prevent poor families from buying sugary snacks and sodas with food stamps while at the same time offering similar items to employees at his financial firm. This is the height of hypocrisy, some say. (“Mayor’s Soda Plan and His Company’s Policy Differ“)
He has, on the record, served junk food at Gracie Mansion and at events in his townhouse. Further — gasp — he uses salt at home.
So, does this deflate his argument that poor families should not be using food stamps to buy crap for their kids? Not at all.
Bloomberg’s employees are given healthy snacks as well as Coke and Fanta. I agree 100% that it’s a little weird that he gives away soda. His employees are basically a captive audience. They will take what is given to them. Just like families on welfare. They’ll take what’s available to them. So, to align better with his public policy, he should probably do away with the free junk food at work.
Better yet, he should install a vending machine. Then will people have to actually buy the stuff. It would be completely their choice and their responsibility.
If he wants to salt his food and if his employees want to spend their own money on junk food or bring in whatever they buy from elsewhere, let them. But we should not allow poor families to use taxpayer money to buy crap for their kids. Force them to make better choices. Lobby retailers to offer better options.
Food stamps should be used for things that are actually nutritionally beneficial for kids. Anything else is a waste of money and an insult to the taxpayers who fund assistance programs. Food stamps are for food: fruit and vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, milk. Someone at some point has already had to decide what families are allowed to purchase with food stamps. Items have already been vetted and either added to or eliminated from the program. Under further scrutiny, it’s a very excellent idea to cut as much nutritionally void content as we can. A government in the business of assisting its less fortunate citizens has a responsibility to give them access to the good stuff, not some bullshit that’s going to make them worse off.