The “Food Stamp Diet” has become a popular way to raise awareness of the pitifully low level of support that food stamps provide to put food on the table. The idea is to spend a week buying only as much food as someone would get in food stamps, about $30 for the week. Overall, this strikes me as a good way of raising awareness of hunger in America, and understanding the difficulty of affording nutritious food with such a paltry grocery budget. The problem is when it collides with food snobbery, and separates the Food Stamp Diet participant from the poor people that they are trying to understand. Continue reading
The Ryan Budget makes enormous cuts to critical safety net programs that help low-income families access health care and put food on the table. Its author, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), claims that these programs will become more efficient, by transferring control over them from the federal government to the states. This belief in the power of giving states flexibility is central to the Ryan Budget. If the states fail to dramatically improve program efficiency, then the Ryan Budget would shred the social safety net.
Given the stakes, one would expect the Ryan Budget to be deeply committed to the idea of giving states flexibility. However, the budget only supports that concept when it is being used to justify deep spending cuts. The Ryan Budget actually takes a dim view towards programs where states already have flexibility, and is especially critical of decisions by the Obama Administration to delegate more authority to the states.