You don’t get a say in this

  • Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Like Governor Nikki Haley or not, it is the government’s business to tell food stamp recipients what kind of food they should be able to buy with them. It’s our money they’re spending. Not theirs.

Most recipients interviewed about the matter disagree. Well, of course they do. They haven’t learned yet that a hand out is not a hand up. And frankly, when you’re spending someone else’s money on yourself, would you really want it any other way?

And most certainly, they don’t want those handouts to come with restrictions or conditions.

Haley has proposed restricting the purchase of soda, candy and chips and other high sugar, low-fiber foods when it comes to purchases made with food stamps. She announced the plan in February in an effort to help curb the state’s obesity problem.

Members of Haley’s Cabinet, including Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine Templeton, have endorsed the plan. However, DHEC’s website includes a hyperlink to an 11-page federal report published six years ago explaining why the proposal isn’t practical.

But more important than helping to curb obesity is making it not so satisfying and easy to live off the dole. The idea is to take help while you need it and learn to stand on your own two feet without government assistance. Then, and only then, can you buy what you want.

Afterall, by then, it will be with your own money - not the taxpayers.

Templeton said in an interview with The Post and Courier that the state is subsidizing obesity.

But it’s so much more than that. We’re subsidizing laziness, too. And allowing those folks who never get off the dole to tell us how they want it to be.

More than 878,000 South Carolinians, about 18.5 percent of the state’s population, rely on food stamps.

Because the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP, is administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Haley administration will need permission from the federal government to implement the proposal.

Make the change and maybe, just maybe, the obesity epidemic will begin to slim down. But take away the voice of the recipients, and tell them this is how it is going to be. Help them help themselves by changing behavior and not expecting something for nothing.

DHEC is conducting a series of meetings around the state to solicit comments about the idea.

The final meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 2 at the Navy Yard in North Charleston.

Comments also can be submitted online on DHEC’s website, scdhec.gov.

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