The Assault on Food Stamps is Misguided

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Media Outlet: Washington Monthly

Justin King and Aleta Sprague wrote for Washington Monthly about the recent assault on SNAP programs:

Last week in Arkansas, the state House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban the use of federal food stamps to purchase food with "insufficient nutritional value." The sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Mary Bentley, argued that "I want the kids in our state to have sippy cups that are full of good, fresh milk from Arkansas dairies and fruit juice and not Mountain Dew and Pepsi."
This justification echoed the narrative of a recent front-page story in the New York Times, provocatively titled: "In the Shopping Cart of a Food Stamp Household: Lots of Soda." The claim? That families receiving benefits under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) spend more money on soft drinks than anything else. Illustrating the article was a photograph of a shopping cart filled with nothing but cases of soda. 


Authors:

Justin King is policy director of the Family-Centered Social Policy program at New America. In this position, he works to develop and advance innovative public policies that expand economic opportunity by broadening access to high-quality financial products, increasing savings and growing asset ownership.

Aleta Sprague is a program fellow with the Family-Centered Social Policy program at New America. Sprague's work focuses on promoting financial inclusion in public assistance programs. She is a member of the California and New York state bars and currently works as a Legal Analyst at the WORLD Policy Analysis Center at UCLA.