Should Food Stamps Buy Lobsters & Porterhouse Steaks?

June 8, 2011

The Daily Mail claims it has an authentic receipt that proves someone used food stamps to buy more than $140 worth of lobsters and Porterhouse steaks. And for the sake of this argument, let's assume it's genuine, someone really used their food stamps to buy a nice little surf and turf dinner for them and their friends. 

How does that make you feel? Do you think we should monitor what people spend their food stamps on? 

>>Man Wins $2M Jackpot, Admits He Still Uses Food Stamps 

Sure, lobster and steaks are a particularly galling example, but its not hard to imagine that once the government starts dictating what kinds of food poor people should have access to, it could quickly become a slippery slope rife with politics and terrible public policy. How long until the government realizes it can do better by blocking people from using food stamps on organic produce, or higher quality foods that aren't subsidized by the government?

And what about the parents who use all of their food stamps on cheese curls and fruit punch? Are they any less wise with their food stamps? Or is it that we can't stand the idea of poor people using assistance to have something that we all consider a luxury? 

Or are you a hard liner? Do you think food stamps should be reserved only for the most needy and should only be spent on the bare necessities? And what would you consider the bare necessities for a healthy diet? 

What do you think? Should the government monitor how people use their food stamps? Or can we live with a few lobsters and steaks in the name of getting government out of out grocery carts? Let us know! 


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Eileen's picture

I'm really not into big government but when it comes to food stamps most of these people are eating food that is causing them serious health problems. So the answer to your question YES we should regulate what food stampers can buy. I say only fresh healthy foods, no processed foods and above all teach these people to cook for themselves and their children!

Denise's picture

fresh healthy foods would be the ideal thing for all of us to eat, but they cost more, and are not always affordable.

Carol's picture

I'm not sure what the answer is but to tell you the truth it pushes my buttons - real hard! My husband and I both work hard for a living and we cannot afford food like this. Just last month and very young woman in front of me bought $56.00 worth of chips, pop, and snack cakes with her food stamps - that's all she bought. I think there should be some limit on what they can buy - some people have said that "telling them what they can and cannot buy would not work" - but it works and works well with WIC (womens, infant, and childrens program). They should only be able to buy "treats" once in awhile - just like the ones that have to pay for their food do (well, I suppose not everyone does - lol!)

Denise's picture

I don't think it's right for the government to regulate how food stamps are spent. Maybe they should require a class be taken on nutrition as part of qualifying.

Diapers, sanitary stuff, toothpaste, toilet paper, cleaning products etc. are essentials but are not covered by food stamps.

It's nobody's place to assume anything about why the food stamps were spent on such luxuries. It's also not fair to punish everyone for one persons choices!

Renee's picture

I agree, certain "foods" should not qualify for food stamps. Things such as snack chips, candy, sodas & energy drinks should not be included. No one cannot monitor what people choose to feed themselves with but healthy eating classes should be a requirement for those accepting food stamps. As far as the receipt goes, you are allocated a certain amount per month. If this was half their food stamp allotment, what did they eat the other 3 weeks?

Rachel B.'s picture

They should run EBT like they run WIC - only having healthy foods that meet certain nutritional requirements on the list of foods that can be purchased. No one is saying they can't buy lobsters or junk food, they just have to use their own money for that.

Broke in Michigan's picture

Not a wise choice to spend the money on. Personally, I do my best to make my food assistance last through the month. It is unfortunate that there are those who take advantage of the system. But there are also many, that due to circumstances of the economy, are forced to take low paying jobs that barely pay the bills. We certainly are thankful to, at least, not have to worry about putting food on the table. WIC already tells me what to buy and how many ounces of it per month. I certainly don't want the government shaking their finger at me if I decided to buy cookies and chips instead of fruits and vegetables (I don't..just sayin'). Who knows?! Maybe her man was busting his hump at a crap job and it was his birthday and she decided he deserved some lobster n' steak and that they would eat ramen noodles for the rest of the month so that he could feel like a king for the day. I would have made a frozen pizza and had the kids make daddy a paper crown, but who am I to judge...

Jenni's picture

When (if ever) the government decides to give a family of 6 more than $200 a month in assistance on a $300 per week income, and regulates the price of food in general....THEN they can tell me what I can use their "assistance" for. Until then, they can kiss my ass.

marci's picture

Personally I don't have a problem with meat and seafood, whatever the variety. The $ is their allotment to spend.... maybe they are having beans and rice the rest of the month and this was for a graduation or something special - who knows....

What I do have a problem with is the soda pop, donuts, chips, candy, junk food, etc..... Regulate that!

LaDonna Brown's picture

In my opinion ppl mneed to mind their own business. I know ppl always assume that they are the one paying for the next persons food stamps. Well when I was in college and working two jobs I could not afford to pay my bills and eat after all the taxes were taken so yes I got food stamps. So I say to all of you who think someones food stamps are coming out of your chesk think again. That person more than likely works and by the time Uncle Sam gets his cut their food budget may be gone. They may also have family members who work and pay taxes therefore what they fet in food stamps does not com from you, it comes from what Uncle Sam took out first!