retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today reports that some restaurant industry players are lobbying the US Congress to allow food stamps recipients to use them at their establishments.

According to the story, “That's a prospect that anti-hunger advocates welcome, but one that worries some current food stamp vendors and public health advocates.

The effort apparently is being led by Yum! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC, Long John Silver’s and Pizza Hut.

USA Today writes that “federal rules generally prohibit food stamp benefits, which are distributed under the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), from being exchanged for prepared foods. Yet a provision dating to the 1970s allows states to allow restaurants to serve disabled, elderly and homeless people, USDA spokeswoman Jean Daniel said.

“Between 2005 and 2010, the number of businesses certified in the SNAP program went from about 156,000 to nearly 209,000, according to USDA data ... There is big money at stake. USDA records show food stamp benefits swelled from $28.5 billion to $64.7billion in that period.”
KC's View:
This is nuts.

I know “entitlement” is a dirty word these days, and for some very good reasons. That said, people who cannot afford to buy food - and there are more of them than ever - ought to have access to food stamps.

But use them to buy KFC? Or Taco Bell?

Give me a break.