Louis Wayne Cuff of Menominee, Mich., was arrested and charged with food stamp fraud last week for allegedly purchasing $141.78 worth of those items with a state-issued food stamp card, then selling them for 50 percent of their value.
The little enterprise could cost Cuff up to five years of his freedom and a $10,000 fine, the report said, but the greater issue is the fact that taxpayers - many of whom are struggling to make ends meet and would probably love to be able to afford to better meals themselves - are paying for steak, lobster and all the unhealthy soda you can pour down your throat. Cuff's alleged fraud involved no less than 24 cases of Mountain Dew. Why was he even allowed to buy the soda in the first place? Because federal and state guidelines allow the purchase of soda using government-issued food stamp cards.
In an age when the first lady of the United States is waging war on childhood obesity and her husband's administration is focusing efforts to make kids more physically fit, what sense does it make to undermine these noble and necessary efforts with policies that allow taxpayers to continue to subsidize unhealthy living standards?
It's not for lack of evidence. Studies have shown consumption of soda undeniably causes obesity, which, in the U.S., is reaching epidemic proportions. And as the American population "grows" its collective waistline, more will develop health problems like diabetes. That, in turn, will only boost the cost of healthcare.
New York is considering banning foods stamps from being used to buy soda, which is a good idea because it will help get the state out of the business of contributing to unhealthy lifestyles. Contrast that noble effort with other efforts to increase food stamp use in restaurants - not places normally associated with better dieting.
Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for steak, lobster and cases of soda, as well as a host of other unhealthy foods and drinks. It makes no sense to try and reduce obesity while on the other hand subsidizing it.
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