Yes, you can still own a car in Alabama if you get food stamps

Today’s daily dozen… 12 things related to SNAP.

  1. Are There Enough SNAP Shoppers in My Community? – This discusses why farmers’ markets may not find it worthwhile to accept EBT. The small town where we used to live had a certain prestige and we were the only family who used SNAP there.


  2. Alabama isn’t going to take cars away from food stamps recipients – Last week it was widely reported that Alabama Republicans introduced a bill that would prohibit people from owning a car if they get SNAP.  I’m not sure why it was reported the way it was but basically, this bill is like Maine’s asset test reinstatement from last fall. Asset test for assistance is a federal policy that most states waive. This reverses that waiver.

  3. The budget from the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), a.k.a. “the people’s budget.” is everything we need – “The CPC budget bulks up funding for food stamps, child nutrition programs, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance, along with housing assistance for low-income families. It indexes Social Security to a more generous cost-of-living measure, so benefits increase more over time. It expands both the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, which top-off the paychecks for poorer Americans with extra cash. And it appropriates federal funding to create either national-level or state-level programs for paid sick leave and paid family leave.

    Along with replenishing these preexisting welfare programs, it would push non-defense discretionary spending back up to its historical average of 3.5 percent of the economy by 2021, down from the historic lows of 2.3 to 2.4 percent it’s at now. “In the long run [the CPC budget] spends a lot on needed public investments to push back against slowing productivity growth,” Blair said.

    But the CPC budget also contains some genuinely new additions: a public option for ObamaCare’s exchanges, funding to provide preschool for all families, a new program to refinance student debt, and a change to the law to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with providers. But arguably the biggest addition — in terms of economic impact — is the $1.2 trillion in new infrastructure spending the CPC budget would deploy in its first decade. There’s widespread agreement that at least that much is needed to repair the country’s seaports, roads, bridges, railways and such. And there’s hundreds of billions more needed to update the national infrastructure to make it more green friendly and environmentally sustainable.”


  4. ‘Congrats on Your College Degrees. Here Are Your Food Stamps.’– ugh. Just ugh.

  5. Senators uphold Nebraska food stamp ban for drug felons – Of all the policies that restrict people from getting food stamps, this one always makes me so angry. Felony convictions up the odds of living in poverty after release and then we take away the safety net. It’s ridiculous. I hope Sen Morfeld reintroduces the proposal.

  6. 9000+ Arkansans Losing SNAP at End of Month, Pantries Prepare to Serve More – this is the result of Arkansas reinstating work requirements

  7. Arkansas is looking at restricting certain foods from being purchased– That link goes to a misleading headline that makes it sound like a study was done that shows SNAP recipients buy junk food and “luxury” foods. What’s actually happening is an interim study was requested to look at how people spend SNAP money.

  8. House Agriculture Committee Questions USDA over Proposed SNAP Rule – Basically, those new proposed rules I talked about last week is what they’re asking questions about. Are these new requirements going to deter retailers from accepting SNAP?

  9. Tampons Shouldn’t Be Tax Free. They Should Be Covered by Food Stamps and Medicaid. – yes. yes, yes.

  10. Thousands of Unemployed Missouri Residents Will Soon Lose Their Food Stamp Benefits – same story as Arkansas

  11. Rules for SNAP benefits tightening in Maryland – same. Changes start April 1

  12. Proven at last: Want to raise a sneer? Buy organic while poor. – Oh,hell yes.
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Despite Our Saviour Gwyneth Paltrow, politicians are still being jerks to poor people

Ok, let’s get this over with before moving on to more important things.

Gwyneth Paltrow went food shopping with $29 and pretending to be poor for a week. You might have heard about it. 

She only made it through 4 days and then went back to biz as usual but predictably, as with other celebs & politicians who pretend to eat poor, she was applauded for raising hunger awareness and showing people how to eat with $29/week. Because we poor people had no idea before.

The disregard for poor people’s voices is what I’d rather address more than how ridiculous Gwyneth’s SNAP challenge was.

People who are actually on SNAP tried to tell what it’s like to live on SNAP and were told to sit down and shut up. We were told to stop picking on Gwyneth. Be grateful that someone is trying to speak up for us. Those telling poor people to appreciate the celeb’s efforts claimed to be “advocates for the poor”. Allies. Yes, allies!

Dear Allies –
If your ally-ship involves silencing the voices of marginalized people in order to boost those of privileged people who lack the firsthand knowledge and experience, than your ally-ship is crap.

Love,
All the marginalized people

People who are living in poverty are constantly explaining the challenges they face daily. Please listen to them. If you have the opportunity, share their experiences with others. Amplify their voices in a way that does not exploit them but empowers them.

Thank you. The end.

Meanwhile, in Kansas this week, the strangest welfare reform bill was passed. The bill was designed to prevent TANF recipients from spending government assistance money on things that poor people on welfare love according to popular stigmas instead of research, like tattoos, beer,cigarettes,lottery tickets, and fortune tellers. No taking cruises,either.Or going to the movies and swimming at public pools.

The average TANF benefit in Kansas is $114 per person. Besides the obvious question of what sort of cruise one can take for that money, most are wondering how to get around the logistics the state has put in place to try to enforce the new rules. TANF recipients can now only withdraw $25 at a time using their EBT cards. So, I guess landlords and utility companies will have to be patient and learn to accept $25 at a time? That sounds like an added frustration and stress poor people don’t need. Also,the fee for each transaction at an ATM is 85¢ after the 1st one and if using the cashback option at a register, whatever fees the store applies. A typical family of 3 would have to make a dozen trips to the ATM and then not even get their full amount thanks to bank fees.

In Indiana, Rep Terry Goodin (D- Austin) is proposing a drug testing for welfare bill. Via Indy Feminists, “He admits it’s an urban myth and that only 9 adults without kids are using TANF in Scott County, but he still wants to use 2 million in tax dollars for this discredited plan.”

This drug testing bill is slightly different from others in that the basis is to prevent the spread of HIV through IV drug use and based on flawed ethics. Still, it’s operating on the mythical  premise that those on TANF hold the key to pinpointing where HIV drug use is happening.  And they will spend $2 million to find out that’s not actually the case.

Also, Missouri is the latest state to introduce a bill to restrict what SNAP can be used for. No seafood (which might even include tuna & fish sticks) ,steak,cookies, and whatever else poor people aren’t entitled to eat.

That concludes all the new policies happening in the States this month. I think we’ll continue to see “welfare reform”  and SNAP restrictions on the state levels. We could have a whole passel of celebs do SNAP challenges and it isn’t going to affect policies.  I think anti-poverty advocates who have concentrated their efforts on keeping safety net programs available need to extend the effort out wider. We need to be working on multiple fronts here to help low income families. Better wages for working families and  benefits for disabled and elderly people would make a world of difference. Demand living wages, reduce need for safety net programs. Ta-da.