One of my elderly relatives was in line at the grocery store one day and saw the person ahead of him charging what looked like a cart full of junk food to her food assistance card. My relative was incensed: Why, should his hard earned tax dollars be used to pay for someone’s Cheetos?
Currently, one in seven Americans receive some kind of government assistance to pay for food. The largest such program – called SNAP for “supplemental nutrition assistance program” – subsidizes a wide range of food purchases. No alcohol or tobacco, mind you, but as many Cheetos, Pepsi-colas, and hot dogs as a person can fit within their budget. Subsidizing such unhealthy foods is politically controversial, raising the question: what would happen if people were only allowed to use SNAP dollars to buy healthy food?
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