Americans Aren’t Cool With People Using Food Stamps To Buy Crab Legs

August 16, 2013  |  

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“Don’t you dare use your food stamps to buy crab legs,” most Americans would say. A surprising 54 percent of Americans are against the idea of food stamp recipients using federal aid to buy expensive food. But when it comes to buying junk food with food stamps, Americans are more tolerant of this expense, The Huffington Post reports.

Only 32 percent of respondents, according to a HuffPost and YouGov Poll, support food stamp recipients buying high-priced groceries. Two months ago, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who supports deeper food stamp cuts, spoke out about a “hardworking constituent” who was in line at a market behind someone using food stamps. The shopper was upset when he realized “he is actually helping pay for the crab legs when he can’t pay for them for himself,” Gohmert explained.

Besides a restriction on alcohol, hot meals, cigarettes, and household products, those enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have few limitations on what they can purchase. Since the Great Recession, SNAP recipients has increased to 47 million; they have grown to be a bigger target for Republicans than ever.

Fifty-two percent of the poll’s respondents said if food stamp recipients want to buy gourmet meals, they should use their own money.

When it comes to food stamp users buying junk food such as chips, candy, and soda Americans were more split on their approval. “Forty-five percent said they should be allowed to buy [junk food] and 42 percent said they should not.”

Unsurprisingly, Republicans and people over the age of 65 were more likely to disapprove expensive purchases with food stamps. Still, Democrats and younger respondents are more likely than not to support restrictions on big ticket food items.

Your clothes are judged also. It seems that even the most polished food stamp users are given the side-eye. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) was upset to see a “physically fit couple” purchasing groceries; he said that they were a “fraud.”

The HuffPost/YouGov poll surveyed 1,000 adults using a sample that matched the characteristics of the U.S. population.

Do you think food stamps should be used to purchase expensive items? Or should there be restrictions?

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