Comments about ‘Reducing food-stamp benefits would 'take food off the table,' recipients and advocates say’

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Published: Monday, Aug. 5 2013 6:05 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

I have no problem with helping the truly needy with aid when needed, but about a year ago I was in a local supermarket checkout line when I happened to notice the young woman in front of me's purchases. She had several high priced, vegetarian and/or organic products (some of which I quite like myself but rarely buy as they are WAY overpriced) some fresh salsa made by one of Utah's local, upscale Mexican food producers (which is also excellent, but costs around 3x the price of national brands) and she also had a 12 pack of beer, (another very expensive brand, no cheap stuff for this discriminating young lady!) and then topped off her shopping by asking the clerk for a couple of packs of the smokes that they keep behind the counter.

She then handed the cashier a card, (it looked much like a regular credit card) and she was told that she couldn't buy the beer or cigarettes with it, at which she opened up her purse and peeled off a $50 bill without blinking, and then "payed" for the balance of her stuff with the food stamp card....

Salt Lake City, UT

...Now I have NO PROBLEM with people who buy alcohol, (in fact I was buying a 12-pack myself, but mine was a "budget-friendly" brand), cigarettes or overpriced gourmet food when they have the money to pay for it, but it didn't make me thrilled to see tax money go to a perfectly able bodied 20-something who clearly had plenty of ca$h for beer and cigs (and plenty of tattoos, naturally)

Salt Lake City, UT

The solution doesn't have to be "all or nothing." Food stamps need more restrictions on what can be purchased. Run the program like the LDS Church welfare program. Offer nutritious food staples only - milk, cheese, bread, some canned goods, fruits, veggies, etc. Then have the recipients work at the food pantry or some other community service organization to earn the benefits. I see far too many EBT card users buying nothing but junk food (soda, chips, candy) and expensive deli items that I can't even afford.

Provo, UT

I love the idea that the government can help people get on their feet by providing assistance for the most basic of needs -- food. However, as I've known people on food stamps, I'm always flabbergasted by how much money is given. When we were in college 10 years ago, we could have easily qualified and were surprised to learn that a family of four would receive over $500 in food stamps per month! I now have a family of 6, with boys that eat like crazy and we still don't spend that much on food each month.

The problem is that, instead of helping people to their feet, this program discourages them from getting off of it, and any sort of realistic food budget. Those who are on food stamps are unlikely to get jobs tha will allow them to spend what they can while on food stamps. I think if amounts were cut in half, people would have to budget more carefully and would be less likely to want to stay in the program forever.

Laura Ann
Layton, UT

Part of the problem is that many people just don't know how to cook from scratch. We had a time when I was a young girl that we received help. I can make spaghetti from tomato sauce, and other ingredients from scratch. It's healthier and a much better way to use food stamp allowances. I don't believe that junk food should be used for feeding children. If you want taffy, it is easy to make from sugar and other ingredients, so right there you have a treat. I think many of these people could really use some help learning to cook.

springville, UT

This article is quite ridiculous. Dropping $30/month in benefits will NOT take food of anyone's table. Google food stamp average amounts, and you'll find a family of 6 on average is getting $700 in food stamps. That's way, way more food money than my family of six is spending. You have to try really hard to eat that much in food, or just eat processed, expensive food all the time, which is what is likely happening (or giving food away to friends, which is also what is happening).


It makes me sick to think that people have and are starting to think that the only way to live is on the Government. I feel that this is what the Government wants. My husband and I are going on being seniors. Five years ago our life was shattered by the Mortgage crisis. My husband owned his own Mortgage company along with my nephew. One day we were coming back from a cruise it seemed and the next week we were told that he could no longer do loans for investors. Almost over night his business dried up. So at first we were o.k. because we were somewhat prepared for an emergency. Months turned into years. We never thought for once to turn to the Government for help. Maybe call me old fashion but we were taught to go to family and friends then to our Church for help if our friends and family could not help. I am so grateful that we did as I never never want the Government telling what to do or giving me handouts. That takes away our freedoms and so we need to all look out in what is happening here.

Tucson, AZ

My husband and I were on state assistance the last couple of years of school. I'm sorry but the majority of people use this system wrongfully. I have witnessed it while waiting in the lobby where you apply. But it's not entirely their fault. The government throws it at them with every available opportunity from giving it out with deductions with medical, food, electricity bills, cell phones to rent. Why would someone work a job when they can sit at home and receive money and deductions. For our family of 3 it was 493.00 when we had baby#2 it was just under 700.00 just for food. U can buy pretty much anything u can consume -alcohol and cigs. Now my husband and I joke about it. We can pick out a food stamp cart a mile a way. We think its funny that during school we could have filet mignon every night. Now we make 6 figures and we are price matching and going without . Sounds backwards. These benefits should help people out of a tight spot for certain things and time length not use them for as long as they can.

Prescott, AZ

Unless you know what foods that person can eat stop judging what foods, besides junk food, they are buying. There is a growing number of people who can't eat wheat spaghetti because they can't tolerate gluten. Are we going to tell them that they can't purchase rice noodles because they are 4X more expensive? Others become seriously ill when they consume MSG, or other preservatives. I have family members that if they were to eat the wrong foods they would not be able to work for the next couple of days. If they were to lose their job & have live on food stamps they might as well be on disability as they most likely would never be able to function well enough to work again if the amount was reduced even more. My family makes all of their food from scratch, because they can't tolerate processed foods, and use mostly fruits and vegetables they find on sale and still it is not cheap. But it is the only way they survive with the trials they've been handed in this life.

Bountiful, UT

If buying over priced food is a problem, the solution is to specify what brands can be bought. Not to cut back on food stamps for the needy.

If we have budget problems because we have for decades gotten into ill conceived unnecessary wars, the solution is not to cut food stamps, but to .. stop getting into so many illconceived unnecessary wars.

Washington, UT

Ok, so why would any minority argue against this: the government gives me free housing, I get food stamps for free food, I get free medical care, a free education, free college, even free cell phones---losing any of these is not the issue. The issue is why would anyone give up a free life? of course they're going to argue to keep all this free stuff. But take all that free stuff and the illegals go back to Mexico, and the rest of them go to work, get creative, work hard, struggle and make it on their own, and they are far better off for it. And did I mention the government doesn't go broke trying to give an entire nation free everything?

salt lake city, UT

Food Stamps are for assisting those who are in difficult times, for a short span to get on their feet. Most people who recieve this benefit take advantage of this and become comfortable and rely on it...because they don't really have to do much to get this. Find a job, budget your lives.


In fiscal year 2010, the most recent year for which detailed demographic data are available, about three- quarters of households receiving SNAP (food stamps) benefits included a child, a person age 60 or older, or a disabled person.

About 30% of recipient households reported earned income, and about 60% of households reported receiving unearned income from sources including the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, Social Security, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Fami- lies (TANF) program.

The average household receiving SNAP benefits in 2010 had an income of $731 per month (excluding the value of SNAP benefits), or about $8,800 per year (see Table 1). The monthly SNAP benefit per household averaged $287, or $4.30 per person per day.

Austin, TX

I can not understand why these folks are on food stamps, church benefits and state aid continue to have kids and expect the world to pay for their lack of control of having more. It is not my problem when I was young I had the number of kids I could afford and did not sleep around with 2 or 3 dozen other women and have kids with them for others to have to rear. This is a big part of the problem.


I used food stamps while in the military, as do many of our soldiers. I always find it interesting that it is always the ones that call themselves "Christians" that want to take food away from the poor. Oh, you saw someone at the counter using food stamps to buy expensive food when she had cash on her? I saw the US government spend $21 billion dollars on seven Destroyers the Navy specifically said they didn't want. And no one blinked. Our country is not going bankrupt from caring for the poor and needy.

Orem, UT

Some people really do need help. But maybe it's a matter of priorities. Did the reporter dig a bit deeper and find out how many cell phones, wide screen tv's, cars, and other nice but not critical appliances are owned by the family in the story? I think not. Food is a very high profile necessity, and so it is easy to make the lack of it into a heart rending story. But maybe the real story is "Why should taxpayers pay for the race to keep up with the Jones'. The the really sad story now may be the pain of cutting back on the nice but nonessential costs because so many people have been relying on the government to feed them so they had extra money to buy and become accustomed to the extras.

Sandy, UT

The bigger problem is the overall trend of people wanting something for nothing. I have a relative who works in the public school system. She gets frustrated dealing with fee waivers and free breakfast and luch for kids only to see them hop into Mom's Escalade at the end of the day. I have no problem with helping people who really need it, but it should only cover bread, canned fruits and veggies and non-processed foods. $3 will buy 10 lbs of potatoes, or one can of high end soup. It is not my resposibility to make sure you havr all the food you like.

Salt Lake City, UT

I love how my big-hearted, liberal friends above (Scoundrel, FatherOfFour) are so generous with their fellow taxpayers monies, and have Righteously Chastised me for my savage demonization of the destitute, in this case a woman who was so needy that she used food stamps to pay over $9.00 for one pint of fresh, organic salsa, but was able to scrape together the ca$h for imported beer and "natural" cigarettes that cost more than any other brand on the market....

I've spent several years (cumulative) hanging out in some of the most socially liberal places on Earth (New Orleans, San Francisco, NYC, Amsterdam, Barcelona) and in fact I am likely the single most Liberal (capital L) person to ever hold a copy of the Deseret News, (being back in Utah is always an eye-opener, just don't forget to set your watch back 20 years), and I absolutely WANT to see my taxes go to feed the truly needy instead of buying another overpriced weapons system, but I don't like the idea of someone buying the most expensive gourmet food on the shelf when she clearly had enough $$$ to pay for her beer, smokes and yes, even tattoos.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Get a job.

Or another job.

And another job.

If I didn't have money for my family I'd be walking the streets 20 hours a day securing jobs until I could provide for my family.

I think too often people think a good paying 8 hour job should be put in their laps and if its not then other people should pay their bills.

Getting on food stamps needs to be harder than getting a job.

And that's not the case these days.

New to Utah

Scoundrel, although some of what you say is true, it doesn't consider demographics. I have worked in the social services area for nearly 15 years and yes because there are three times as many caucasions they receive the most services. Percentage wise Blacks,with children,Latinos,and other groups have much higher percentage usage. Visit Walmarts in Orem,Springville or anyplace near SLC and observe the money being given in WIC,foodstamps and other government programs. We have a 17 trillion debt and this increases it.Being acutely aware of those truly deserving, it is not the governments job to help those who can help themselves.

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